PSALM 137:9

Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657
Paul the Apostle, by Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn c. 1657 (from here)

Here the author, Beejai, presents us with what appears to be nothing more than crudely violent and awful prayer.

Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks! (Psalm 137:9)

Read: 1Kings 20:1-21:29, Acts 12:24-13:15, Psalm 137:1-9, Proverbs 17:16

Relate: Before I begin to write any post, I will always spend some time in prayer and then reading that portion of the Bible that is part of the Bibile reading plan. It is a devotional for me long before I write it out as a devotion for the world. Sometimes immediately a verse jumps out to me and as soon as I’m done reading I will go right back to it. Other times there will be a theme running through both the Old Testament and New Testament readings and I will work off that theme. [2015 addition: On occasion, like today, I will simply go back to a post from a previous year dealing with that same scripture.] As I was reading today I was thinking, “I’ve got nothing.” I read through the OT and NT with no idea where I was going to go today. I read through the Psalm and then on the last verse… boom. Then, “Oh no, God. Please no.” I thought. But I am a firm believer that Paul was writing truth when he wrote that all scripture, even Psalm 137:9, is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness. (continued here)

We often tend to be selective in the scriptures we read. That can be a mistake. If we don’t make an effort to study and understand the whole Bible, then we cannot understand any of it as well as we should. In addition, we cannot pray, discuss the Bible with others, and divine the true meaning.

Consider.

2 Peter 1:19-21 New King James Version (NKJV)

19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

If you want to appreciate what the Jews suffered during that war, read Lamentations.

18 thoughts on “PSALM 137:9

  1. Well said, Tom. I wrote a post about that verse long ago. To me it seems so simple, a lamentation about grief, oppression, war, perhaps the desire for revenge/and or justice. Prior to those words we have “happy is the one who repays you, according to what you have done to us.” If you put yourself in the mood and feelings of the day, they are harsh words, but rather human ones and understandable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I read your post.
      https://insanitybytes2.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/rautakyy-has-a-question/
      Very good.I scanned the discussion. Lengthy, but very interesting. Perhaps when I have more time.
      😦
      I noticed Rautakyy was trying to bring up the issue of cherry-picking the Bible.

      So, you are saying, that not everything in the Bible was inspired by your god. Are you? How do you know what parts were inspired and what parts were not?

      I have the belief that everything in the Bible is there because God wants it there. Hence, He inspired all of it, but sometimes we have trouble understanding it. That is usually because we take a verse or even a passage out of context. Devoid of context, PSALM 137:9 sounds awful. If we know what happened to Jerusalem, and why God allowed it to happen, PSALM 137:9 becomes an expression of incomprehensible anguish.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Tom, I appreciate you taking the time to read. I’ve struggled with many passages in the bible myself, but when we can let go of the emotional reaction for a moment and let calmer heads prevail, God really will reveal the truth and explain it to us in six different ways if necessary 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I guess what people don’t consider is the fact that this verse does not convey the nt concept of the believers response to suffering but rather the ot call for retribution. Such a difference wouldn’t you have to say?

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    1. The Bible says God is love. God is also just. Can you imagine a God who is indifferent to justice? He is our Father. What would you think of a Father who treated His children unjustly? What would you think of a Father who permitted His children to exact vengeance upon one another?

      Where Babylon once stood, no one lives.

      Revelation speaks of how God punishes those who persecute the believers. The Bible prohibits us from taking vengeance. Vengeance belongs to God.

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  3. Good stuff Tom as usual. Lamentations is a tough read for sure. As IB pointed out, and you as well, the mood there was unusual and a response to many, many horrors. Not necessarily a nice response, but very human.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. After you read Lamentations,, consider what is happening today in the Middle East and Africa. Seems every new generation is a repeat performance of King Solomon’s Ecclesiastes “Nothing new under the sun. What will men do after the King, what men have done before..”

    Will we ever wise up?

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Like

  5. What was Joshua 6 21 in retribution for? Never made sense to my why the complete extermination of all life

    Like

    1. The Bible does not explain everything to our satisfaction. It seems God just tells us what we need to know. At some point, we have to take things on faith, and we know enough for that.

      Why did the Hebrews destroy everyone and everything? I suppose God did not want them to profit from their conquests. He had given them the Promised Land, but He did not want to teach them to live by the sword.

      Why did God want the Canaanites destroyed? We know they did evil. Why did God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah? Don’t you remember how God sent angels for Lot and his family? He apparently considered the people of Sodom and Gomorrah degenerate beyond recovery. To allow them to live longer would just allow them to worsen their condition and infect others.

      Consider, however, He did wait.

      Genesis 15:14-16 New King James Version (NKJV)

      14 And also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come out with great possessions. 15 Now as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried at a good old age. 16 But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.”

      The Amorites were one of many the many tribes in Canaan, but it appears that one tribe gave God sufficient cause not to immediately exterminate them.

      What sort of evil did the Canaanites do? Here are several articles that describe one example.
      http://www.gotquestions.org/who-Molech.html

      http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/jan/21/carthaginians-sacrificed-own-children-study

      http://www.ox.ac.uk/news/2014-01-23-ancient-carthaginians-really-did-sacrifice-their-children

      The Carthaginians were Canaanites, by the way.

      Like

      1. if I might ask a personal question… would your answer have sufficed and satisfied you when before you were a believer, and why or why not?
        I’m asking an honest question without malice towards you. -mike

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        1. I don’t consider that question especially personal. What I think you want to know is what induced me to view the matter differently. Therefore, I consider the question about decision making and the process I used. Did I make a logical decision for Christ?

          We often think of decision making as a straightforward process, and we generally think in terms of business decisions. This model, for example.
          http://www.umassd.edu/fycm/decisionmaking/process/

          Unfortunately, there are all kinds of ways to foul up the decision making process.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decision-making
          http://psychology.about.com/od/problemsolving/fl/Problems-in-Decision-Making.htm
          http://home.ubalt.edu/ntsbarsh/opre640/partxiii.htm

          These days we have tendency to decide the Bible is untrue without having ever read it. The public school system does not help us to understand the Bible. Instead, it leaves us with the belief the Bible is unimportant and even the product of superstition. That was the trap into which I fell. When I finally took the time to study the Bible carefully, I realized my mistake.

          Note that with respect to the subject of decision making none of the links I provided above provides better advice than the Bible itself. What it takes to make a good decision is wisdom, and that is something the Bible helps us to learn.

          Like

        2. No. Actually I was asking whether your answer to me regarding Joshua 6 21 would have satisfied you prior to believing in christ. More specific than you widened it out to be. If you are uncomfortable or perhaps unwilling to answer I will understand. Just please do me the honor of answering or telling me that you wont. Thx again

          Like

  6. no, I did read your answer. it just didn’t have a thing to do with my specific question. whether you would have found your previous answer to my question on Joshua 6 21 satisfying before you were a believer.but I guess I’m ok with you not answering. it seems you are going thru a lot of effort on my behalf not to answer directly.
    -mike

    Like

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