Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:
“O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us—he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.” Psa. 137:8-9
These invocations are not mere outbursts of a vengeful spirit; they are, instead, prayers addressed to God. These earnest pleadings to God ask that he step in and right some matters so grossly distorted that if his help does not come all hope for justice is lost….
The word translated infant is somewhat misleading. The Hebrew word does not specify age, for it may mean a very young or a grown child. The word focuses on a relationship and not on age; as such, it points to the fact that the sins of the fathers were being repeated in the next generation….
What, then, does “Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us—he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks” mean? It means that God will destroy Babylon and her progeny for her proud assault against God and his kingdom. But those who trust in God will be blessed and happy. For those who groaned under the terrifying hand of their captors in Babylon there was the prospect of a sweet, divine victory that they would share in as sons and daughters of the living God. As such, this is a prayer which Christians may also pray, so long as it is realized that what is at stake is not our own reputation or our personal enemies, but the cause of our Lord’s great name and kingdom.
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Hard Sayings of the Old Testament (Downer’s Grove IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), pp. 172, 174-75
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