WVW: Hitting Rocks with Babies - Psalm 137:9
Who wants to throw some babies?! My votes on the rock.
I don’t know about you, but my children are my prized possessions. They mean the world to me. The Bible is filled with verses that describe children as a gift from God. In fact, in the book of Mark, Jesus encourages the disciples to bring the little children to Him so that He can bless them. Scripture also teaches us to raise up a child the right way and to invest in them. Oddly, slap right in the middle of our holy book, we have a very unusual point in scripture; In Psalm 137:9, the Psalmist seems to be saying that we should throw our beloved babies against rocks. Seems unusual... the perfect topic to write about on this glorious Weird Verse Wednesday!
“Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!”
As always, it’s important to get into context and not jump to conclusions that God’s holy word wants us to throw babies at rocks. Let me set the tone here. This specific verse is a request from the dinger community, so I want to make sure I don’t leave anything out.
First, Psalm 137 is considered to be an Imprecatory Psalm.
This Psalm and some others, are specifically written in regards to violence against the enemies of God. The background of Imprecatory Psalms are Jewish writings pleading with God to get revenge on their enemies. Seems intense right? That’s exactly the point. The Jews were considered God’s people and their experiences were burdensome and intense. Like in my other posts, I like to break these points into memorable questions that should be asked when interpreting any verse.
What was the setting?
In its entirety, the Psalmist in Psalm 137 is writing while exiled in Babylon. While being held captive, they were being mocked; their homeland and all they knew was destroyed. Starvation was guaranteed and weeping seemed to be the only human response; The Babylonians fed off of their grief and said, “sing us one of the songs of Zion!” Imagine a setting of mocking victims - a setting of bloodshed and anguish. A setting that most of us, would not be able to look at without crying.
Wouldn’t you want to throw your enemy’s babies on rocks and end their generations to come? What if they had just thrown your babies against a rock? Wouldn’t you want to destroy the evil right before your very eyes?
I assure you, the psalmist did not enjoy killing babies; he wanted justice for his people, for his land, and for his home- justice meant the end of the Babylonians. In other words, verse 9 is simply saying, blessed is the person that can end the generations that burdened my people with such anguish.
In today’s society, our court system finds justice for the families of murdered victims by sending the murderer to the death penalty; this is exactly what the psalmist is asking for.
Why and how was this Psalm written?
Keep in mind that Psalms are poems. Frequently, Psalms contain a lot of descriptive imagery and symbolism. With verse 9, I believe the Psalmist used words that helped bring his grief to life for the people singing the poem. You can’t sing or read this verse without questioning it and through the journey of seeking answers, you find this psalmist and his people’s intense sadness- so I guess he did his job here.
What does this verse mean for us today?
This specific verse is meant to hold its historical context. By no means is scripture indicating that an eye for an eye should be the Christian response. It is completely normal to feel how the Psalmist felt when going through such despair-He's crying out for help and wants justice. It is a perfect example as to how we are at God’s mercy and at desperate times, He is literally all we have. Romans 12 tells us not to repay anyone evil for evil, it is God’s job to intervene. I encourage our readers to love their enemies and pray for them; God has never failed us, not even once.
I love you guys!