Psalm 137 is a Genocidal Passage!

Here is the text of the Psalm in full:
1 By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.

2 There on the poplars
we hung our harps,

3 for there our captors asked us for songs,
our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
they said, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

4 How can we sing the songs of the LORD
while in a foreign land?

5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
may my right hand forget its skill.

6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
if I do not remember you,
if I do not consider Jerusalem
my highest joy.

7 Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
"Tear it down," they cried,
"tear it down to its foundations!"

8 O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is he who repays you
for what you have done to us-

9 he who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.
I'll make this short. This Psalm was written by someone with nationalist fever. Jerusalem was home to the one and only God in that his temple was there. And it was destroyed by the Babylonians. It's written from the perspective of someone carried away from Jerusalem who is now in Babylon, and there is no joy for him as he contemplates where he is and what has happened.

The Psalmist is upset at what had happened, and in verse seven he's praying to God for revenge. That's what it means to "Remember..." What else could it mean? He's asking God to remember what they did to God's people, or in other words, don't forget it. People who refuse to forget an evil deed are people who want to repay that evil deed.

The Psalmist probably had the same view of God as can be found in the book of Job, where God brought disaster on Job and his family (yes, we're told God did it: Job 2:3; 42:11; see also Isaiah 45:7). You see, nothing happened but that God had a hand in. So if the Babylonians are to be destroyed then the Psalmist believes God will bring it about. The Psalmist is gleefully awaiting the day of their destruction. The people who smash these babies against the rocks will be doing God's will, and they should be happy to be used by God in this way.

The language is definitely picturesque. The only reason to hope that the babies will be smashed against the rocks is because the Psalmist is hoping for a complete and total genocide of these people. For only if the parents are first dead could they do such a thing. It was clean up work after the parents have all been killed. The Psalmist is hoping for God to bring a genocide on his enemies to the extent that even all of the innocent babies are killed in this horrific way.

Christians and Jews believe this Psalm was inspired by God, and that the children (or daughters) of Babylonia are "doomed to destruction." These words are believed to be expressing not just the Psalmist's views, but God's views. God himself doomed the children of Babylonia to destruction!

Let's have a sermon on this passage! Let's hear some "Amens" too.

The Bible debunks itself. Its authors are nationalists, racists, and genocidal maniacs. Why would anyone believe anything else they say since this is so patently obvious?

[This was first posted in 2008].

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