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How can horrific actions be not only condoned, but encouraged and considered something to be praised in some places in the Bible?

Psalms 137:9 is saying that someone would be blessed if innocent children were to be violently slaughtered: 

"Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones 
and a dashes them against the rock!"

How can it be that this is considered acceptable, and even praiseworthy?

Psalms 137:9

ESV - 9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!

Clarify Share Report Asked January 19 2017 Mini Samuel Bourassa

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
I would make the following points in relation to this passage:

1) The speaker here is a human, not God.

2) The speaker is honestly expressing the raw emotions and "natural" human desire for retribution against a people who apparently committed similar atrocities in their prior conquest of Jerusalem and Judah.

3) The speaker's concept of blessedness is within the framework of carrying out what he believes would be righteous judgment against a pagan nation that performed such actions against God's chosen people. 

4) It is perhaps easier, being dispassionately separated by thousands of years and not having personally experienced the Babylonian conquest of Judah, to be judgmental of the attitudes expressed. It would be less so if the memory of it was still fresh in the mind of the speaker.

5) Our attention is drawn to this passage because it is so extremely graphic. If the speaker had said something less explicit, such as, "Blessed is he who requites you in kind for what you did to Judah", we would not have the same sense of revulsion, and might more readily agree with the speaker's sentiments, even if the speaker had the same thoughts in mind, but did not express them. 

6) There are other places in the Bible where similar sentiments and actions are expressed or directed against the enemies of Israel -- in some cases ordered or even executed by God Himself (such as the death of the firstborn in Egypt, or the destruction of the nations occupying Canaan) -- in executing judgments that are (in His righteousness and omniscience) just and fully merited.

January 19 2017 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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