"Test everything; hold fast to what is good."
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Today’s Chick-fil-A Biblical Family of the Day: Babylonian toddlers (Psalm 137:9).
Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rock!
Oh come on, Bible! Now you’re not even trying!
It’s talking about Schoolhouse Rock, right?
Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.
Conjunction Junction, how’s that function?
I got three favorite cars
That get most of my job done.
Conjunction Junction, what’s their function?
I got “and”, “but”, and “or”, They’ll get you pretty far.
This verse is clearly a prophecy describing the mental state of anyone who was waited for 4 hours in line at the DMV while someone’s children screamed incessantly.
But, but, but the bay-bees. Every life is precious to God. What kind of heartless moral monster would even think of killing a bay-bee. God will surely send anyone who does that straight to the lake of fire if they don’t show proper repentance.
I like this psalm. The Babylonian conquerors are trying to make nice by asking to learn about their captives’ culture. They respond by hoping someone murders their children. I approve.
But Lori, Republican God only cares about the bay-bees before they are born. To be dashed against rocks, they clearly need to have been born. After that, they’re on their own. And if they happened to be born to the wrong race or class, well they should have known better and we can foster a culture of dependency by thinking they’re entitled to life, liberty and not being dashed against rocks. BOOTSTRAPS!
We’re sure “little ones” means babies, right? It’s not some old-timey euphemism for … you know, the “family jewels”? I ask because if this were Shakespeare it would definitely mean something filthy.
From what I can tell, the phrase (מעולל o-la-la-yik per Strong’s) is only used in contexts that mean children, usually specifically infants/suckling babies
My version (NIV) says “he who siezes your *infants* and dashes them against the rocks.”
So when Biblical literalists argue that the Psalms are the inerrant word of God…how does that work, exactly? Is God providing word-perfect templates for how you should rant if your kids are murdered by foreign invaders, or something? What does it mean for somebody’s song about getting married or losing their house to be “inerrant?”
I just have this image of God going “HERE DAVID, I MADE THIS DEMO TAPE, THOUGHT YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN PLAYING IT AT YOUR PARTIES AND STUFF. GIVE YOUR FRIENDS COPIES, BUT IF ANYONE MAKES AN UNLICENSED REMIX I’LL SEND THEM TO HELL.”
This psalm provides the text for a great song by Bob Marley and the Wailers. One night long ago my youngest brother and I adverted to an old bible for some reason and it fell open to that page. He was amazed. I helpfully reminded him that 137 was the reciprocal of the fine structure constant and was at one time considered a more credible candidate for the meaning of the world than 42.
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we laid down, and there we wept, when we remembered Zion.” The tune doesn’t include the slaughter of the infants, for some reason.
There are times when I wonder what on Earth a directive like that is doing in the Bible.
This one isn’t a directive, though. It’s a song written by someone who is upset (to put it mildly) about being exiles in a foreign land removed from their homes and is expressing that. One of the nice things about the Psalms is that they contain a wide range of emotion, not always the pretty “I love you Jesus and life is good” sort of thing. (The Bible contains other directives that are disturbing — I was just in a conversation about the fall of Jericho and the directive to slaughter all of its residents, including much of the livestock — but I think this one is different.)
Agreed. The problem isn’t what the Bible says, imo. It’s treating the Bible as divinely inspired and as a moral compass rather than a mirror that reflects just about everything of the human experience.
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