The title of the "By the Waters of Babylon" comes from the Bible in Psalm 137:
"By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion" (Psalm 137:1).
Benet's choice of title and Biblical allusion reflects the sense of tragegy and loss felt by those remembering the greatness of a fallen civilization. The psalm shows the depth of the Jewish people's despair in their captivity and their yearning for their destroyed homeland. John feels the same sense of loss and despair in his realization of the terrible fate suffered by the 'Gods.' Benet's Biblical allusion and reference to Babylon in the title also grounds his story with a feeling of ancient storytelling.