Correct Understanding of Psalm 137 8 and 9
Happy – that taketh and dasheth thy little ones – That is, So oppressive hast thou been to all under thy domination, as to become universally hated and detested; so that those who may have the last hand in thy destruction, and the total extermination of thy inhabitants, shall be reputed happy – shall be celebrated and extolled as those who have rid the world of a curse so grievous.
These prophetic declarations contain no excitement to any person or persons to commit acts of cruelty and barbarity; but are simply declarative of what would take place in the order of the retributive providence and justice of God, and the general opinion that should in consequence be expressed on the subject; therefore praying for the destruction of our enemies is totally out of the question.
It should not be omitted that the Chaldee considers this Psalm a dialogue, which it thus divides: – The three first verses are supposed to have been spoken by the psalmist, By the rivers, etc. The Levites answer from the porch of the temple, in Psalm 137:4, How shall we sing, etc. The voice of the Holy Spirit responds in Psalm 137:5, Psalm 137:6, If I forget thee, etc. Michael, the prince of Jerusalem, answers in Psalm 137:7, Remember, O Lord, etc. Gabriel, the prince of Zion, then addresses the destroyer of the Babylonish nation, in Psalm 137:8, Psalm 137:9, Happy shall be he that rewardeth thee, etc. To slay all when a city was sacked, both male and female, old and young, was a common practice in ancient times.
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