Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
Psalm 137:9
They are terrible words aren’t they? They are words that should bring us to have a strong emotional reaction. They are words which many opposed to Christianity will quote in an effort to show the invalidity of the Bible and Christianity. How should a Christian interpret these verses?
As always we start with the context. We read in verse 1 that they are in Babylon which leads us to assert that this psalm was written after the Babylonians had taken Judah into exile. This had happened because the Israelites had continually rebelled against god their maker and worshiped other gods.
In war terrible things happen. I dare say that the man who wrote this psalm had seen terrible things done in the name of war as he and his family were taken off to Babylon.
He probably saw things that made him scream out things like:
Happy is the one who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
Psalm 137:9
See these are not the words of a politician or a general coming up with a war strategy. These are the deeply pained words of one who has been through war and seen the atrocities of war. He screams out because he wants vengeance. Is this vengeance sinful? Yes.
So why is it in the Bible? I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly, God’s people are in Babylon because if their own sin. They rebelled against god and worshiped other gods. These words are a result of them rebelling against god therefore I think these words are in the BIble to show us where rebelling against God ends up. When you rebel against God you end up in a place which is so ugly and depraved that you may cry out ugly and sinful words like these.
Secondly, when we take these words in the context of the rest of the book of psalms we see the psalms are full of different kinds of emotion, some high and some very low. One of the reasons that the psalms are replete with emotional language is to show God can connect with and even does welcome our deepest darkest emotions. Therefore I am tentatively proposing that  these words are in the psalms to show that God cares for those of us that are so hate filled that we would utter or think words akin to these. These kind if displays of emotion show that in the end we may want vengeance but we need a saviour who will rescue us from ourselves and ultimately ourselves.
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