Which best describes your view of the Imprecatory Psalms, as, for example, Psalm 69? If more than 1 choice applies, choose best.

Fully appropriate then and now,as long as God's enemies & not just ours; we should await God's revenge (as per Romans 12:17-21)
57% (8 votes)
Appropriate for Israel under the Law, but not under the New Covenant or spiritually applicable now (against Satan)
21% (3 votes)
Prophecies of what God would do, not really requests
7% (1 vote)
To be understood figuratively
0% (0 votes)
Are actually the words of the Psalmist's enemies
0% (0 votes)
Are actual expressions of what the Psalmist feels without the implication that his thoughts are appropriate
7% (1 vote)
Other
7% (1 vote)
Total votes: 14
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There are 9 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

The Imprecatory Psalms are the interpreter's nightmare.  No matter what conclusion you hold, these portions are uncomfortable.

 

When I visit folks in hospitals and nursing homes, I never read Psalm 69. Could you imagine reading this at a wedding or funeral?  Yet we know all Scripture is inspired and profitable, but not necessarily appropriate for all situations.

 

So what is your take on this issue?  How do Psalm 69 (a good case in point) apply to us?

 

Looking forward to learning a thing or two!

"The Midrash Detective"

christian cerna's picture

I see nothing offensive about this and like Psalms. Our society has become too soft. We either become offended, or worry about offending, too quickly.

Ed Vasicek's picture

Christian, I can see why people find this a problem.  If we are to love our enemies and bless those who curse us, it seems contradictory to ask God to bring destruction upon them.  How are those two consistent?  We know they are (there are no GENUINE contradictions in the Word),, but how we we reconcile these two?  Do we delegate it to different dispensations (under Law this was the way to think, but Jesus has shown us a different way), or do say that such wishes are actually prophecies, or do we say that these were David's thoughts and he is venting, or do we say that praying such prayers is consistent with loving our enemies?  If the latter, we have to ask, then, what it looks like to love our enemies.  Does it really mean anything, or can we pray God would plague them and still love them when Jesus said to bless them that curse us?

 

For practical purposes, if for no other reason, we have to harmonize these two strains of truth.

"The Midrash Detective"

christian cerna's picture

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

(Revelation 6:9-11 ESV)

 

There are times when the saints can plea to God for justice.

Ed Vasicek's picture

christian cerna wrote:

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brothers should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

(Revelation 6:9-11 ESV)

 

There are times when the saints can plea to God for justice.

 

Christian, I agree that the desire for revenge/justice is holy, unless it is a case of us not just getting our way.  I agree that it is good to ask God to see and judge.  I have long preached and taught this; in broad principle, we agree.  Neither of us have the "nice" God that is so popular.

But the imprecatory psalms are so specific, they seem to be in a different category, almost a calling down of curses.  For one thing, the Psalmist is still on earth; if we are to pray for those who despitefully use us, I don't think imprecatory prayer seems to be the type of prayer Jesus had in mind.  It is one thing to pray for God to bless your enemies and find consolation in the back of your mind, knowing everyone will give an account to God; it is another to pray for God to bring disaster on them and pray that their eyes rot out or glory that their infants will be dashed to pieces.  In some conflicts I have had, I have been tempted to say, "The Lord judge between you and me."  I have also been tempted to pray for God to punish and curse my enemies,  but I restrained myself because I know I have to love my enemies.  Would you be comfortable praying the imprecatory psalms?  

"The Midrash Detective"

christian cerna's picture

Maybe therein lies the difference. The Bible speaks of God's enemies and OUR enemies. 

I think it is acceptable to feel a holy anger and hatred towards the enemies of God. (e.g. false teachers, false prophets, ungodly men who infiltrate the churches to lead people astray, people who cause divisions, nations that declare war on Israel, satanists, etc.) And it is acceptable to pray that God would free us from such people, and that he stop those people from continuing to harm the church and his people. 

 

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I've seen that difference too -- sometimes it's clear that the Psalmist is calling out for judgment on God's enemies vs. his own. However, in Psalm 69, that difference is not evident, or at least not clear.

Dave Barnhart

christian cerna's picture

But we must remember that the Psalmist wrote these words while inspired by the Spirit of God. So even if he was speaking of his own enemies, we know that he had a just cause for hating them, and asking God to punish them. And we must also remember that many of the Psalms are prophetic, meaning that the words prophecy of the sufferings of God's anointed one.

Shaynus's picture

Remember that David's enemies were trying to KILL him and/or destroy Israel. Should I pray against the kind of enemy that doesn't like me and said mean things? Probably not. Should I pray against governments like North Korea who persecute Christians and oppress their own people? All day long.