The right place for anger
…is prayer. This is apparently the strongest of the imprecatory Psalms. Fancy word for wishing disaster for your enemies. There’s a lot of theological hand wringing about what to do with them. Glad I don’t have to decide when to sing or read them in church!
David was famous for his honour and mercy in practice. He was never harsh enough with rebellions started by his own children. And of course he rewarded Saul’s staggeringly unreasonable, mad behaviour – randomly throwing spears at him etc, with mercy on several occasions where he could have easily had vengence. There are lots of examples.
This Psalm contains a long series of curses on an enemy and his family, and the hope that his enemy will be judged by a really mean, evil person. The curses are exceptionally strong:
“Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children“
Been re-watching some game of thrones episodes, and it’s worth remembering that a lot of the staggering cruelty and betrayal that made the series the most talked about television is simply drawn from history.
Our go-to embodiment of evil remains Hitler or possibly Pol Pot. Seems the ancient world had plenty of choices, who may have had a lower body count, but were more extravagantly sadistic.
This Psalm is written as a prayer. David takes his exceptional disgust and frustration at his enemies to God, which is what I take from this Psalm. It’s venting, and trusting god’s justice.
In a small way I’ve been lashing out a bit more than usual, a product of self doubt I think. It’s a good reminder. God is ready and willing to hear all that stuff. He knows we think it anyway. Trust God for fairness. The well of anger in your heart, laid on the altar, stops owning you.