The songs of Zion (צִיּוֹן), "i.e.", the lyrical hymns which express the longing of the Jewish nation to see the hill of Zion and the city of Jerusalem shine again in all their former glory, date back to the time immediately after the destruction of Solomon's Temple. Since that period the poets and singers of Israel have devoted their best talent to painting in the most brilliant colors the ancient glories of Zion.

By far the greater number of these songs unite in voicing a heartfelt desire to see the nation, the city of Jerusalem, Mount Zion, and the Temple restored to their former splendor.

Oldest songs

The oldest song of Zion in Jewish literature was written in the fifth century B.C., and is a lamentation that the enemy compels Israel to live on foreign soil; this is the celebrated Psalm cxxxvii. 1-3. A similar Zionide of the same period is Ps. cxxvi.; in it the poet, full of hope, sings of the day when the Captivity shall be over and the joyfully returning exiles shall sing a new song of Zion. The elegy ending with a desire for deliverance, which is found in the fifth chapter of Lamentations, dates probably from the first pre-Christian century.

Middle Ages - Ibn Gabirol

During the Middle Ages, Zionides from the pens of the greatest poets formed the chief comfort and consolation of the people. As early as the time of Ibn Gabirol (11th century) songs of Zion were incorporated in the liturgy, partly as lamentations for the Ninth of Ab and partly as tefillot and piyyut'im. Among the songs of lamentation for Zion which are sung on the Ninth of Ab the following may be specially referred to: a song beginning with the words "בליל זה יבכיון ויילילו בני" and giving a vivid description of the destruction of Zion; the well-known song which begins with the words "עוני שמרון קול תתן מצאוני", and in which Samaria and Jerusalem try to excel each other in the description of the misfortune which has fallen upon them; and, above all, the song with the refrain:

::"("Send a prince to the condemned people which is scattered hither and thither")" and that beginning:

::"("My heart, my heart is full of pain; see, my grief is an ancient one")";

Equally well known is Joseph Almanzi's::"("From all corners comes rejoicing on the day of celebration to God, who is good")".

The most prominent Hebrew poets have written Zionides, among the number being M. S. Rabener, Micah Levisohn, Judah Loeb Gordon, S. Mandelkern, M. M. Dolitzky, and N. H. Imber. Countless songs have been produced under the influence of Zionism: of these may be mentioned the song adopted by all the Zionists of the world as their national song, and beginning with the words "There, where a slender cedar kisses the clouds"; the song of the academic society Kadimah in Austria, "Knowest thou whence freedom comes"?; the song of the united Zionists, "Sluchajcie bracia gueśni tij"; and "hatTiqwah" (Hope), composed by N. H. Imber, which has the refrain:::"("Our hope has not yet gone, the old hope to return to the land of our fathers, to the city where David lived")".


* "Kinnor Tziyyon", Warsaw, 1900 (collection of all the Zionides from the oldest times to the present day [Hebr.] )
* "Yevreiskyie Motivy", Grodno, 1900
* Heinrich Loewe, "Liederbuch für Jüdische Vereine", Cologne, 1898
* Jacobs, "Jewish Ideals", p. 131


*JewishEncyclopedia|url=http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=131&letter=Z|article=Zionides|author=Joseph Jacobs and Schulim Ochser

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