Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones – Boney M’s missing exegesis

Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones – Boney M’s missing exegesis December 31, 2012

Psalm 137 is one of the most famous Psalms, it has been set to music by many composers (you have most likely heard the famous interpretation by Boney M), but virtually always, the last verse is omitted. Why is that? Well, let´s look at the Psalm:

1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.

4 How shall we sing the LORD’S song in a strange land?

5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.

7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.

8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

Psalm 137:1-9 KJV

Yeah… verse 9 kind of kills the mood, doesn´t it? Is the Psalmist really talking about people murdering infants(!) and being happy because of this? It´s even worse than that actually – the word that has been translated to “happy” (H385 in Strong´s hebrew dictionary) could also be translated to mean “blessed“!

No matter which Bible commentary you look at, they all understand this last verse to refer to the Psalmist, writing in babylonian captivity, wishing for punishment to be exacted upon his captors (including their little children). Let´s see what Gill´s “Exposition on the entire Bible” has to say about this:

Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. That takes the infants from their mothers’ breasts, or out of their arms, and dashes out their brains against a “rock”, as the word (k) signifies; which, though it may seem a piece of cruelty, was but a just retaliation; the Babylonians having done the same to the Jewish children, and is foretold elsewhere should be done to theirs, Isaiah 13:16. Nor is this desired from a spirit of revenge, but for the glory of divine justice, and that such a generation of cruel creatures might be rooted out of the earth; see Revelation 2:2

I agree with John Gill´s (18th century english baptist pastor) interpretation of what the Psalmist wished for, although I disagree that his wish corresponds to “just retaliation” or “divine justice” – murdering innocent infants for the crimes of their parents is not “justice”, it is the opposite of justice and I find it baffling that a sane person could disagree with that.

So, this seems like a clear case of the Bible providing it´s blessing to an act that any decent person could only condemn in the strongest possible terms. However, our local young-earth creationist JohnM disagrees. His interpretation is:

If you read the bible like that, then you’ll end up concluding, that Jesus was a Sheep, or a branch of wood, and not a human being..

 

Psalm 137 : 8-9

Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction, happy is the one who repays you according to what you have done to us. Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

 

The infants that are dashed agasint the rocks, are the infant, born of the daughter, of babylon. These are not babies as such. These are new converts of the babylon mystery religion. And it’s pretty standard biblical terminology. Just like all Christians, young or old, are referred to as “Children of God”.

JohnM

Babylon the great. A She.

Who is she?

The daughter of Babylon, a pagan world-religion, in the end-times.

JohnM

Does his interpretation make sense? He is obviously right that “children” could refer to adults, depending on context as in “Children of God”. However, the Psalm does not use the word children, all Bible translations translate the respective hebrew word (H5768) to “infants” or “little ones” or “babies”. Strong´s hebrew dictionary provides the definition “a suckling: – babe, (young) child, infant, little one.” – there is another hebrew word which is usually translated to “children” (H1121) and which has the meaning that JohnM needs for his interpretation to make sense (this word is actually used just 2 verses before that in Psalm 137:7 – “children of Edom”).

The language used unambigiously tells us that the Psalmist is talking about infants, and the context only confirms this. The “little ones” are to be “taketh” (H270 – could also be translated as “seized”) and “dashed” (H5310) against the rocks. “Seizing” an adult human and “dashing” him / her against rocks would require superhuman strength. “Dash” could mean “break by striking violently” or “hurl” – in the context (“against rocks”) it obviously means the latter, try hurling(!) an adult human being…

So, what does “daughter of Babylon” mean? This one is difficult, the term is used only four times in the OT (besides Psalm 137, it is used in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zachariah). It seems to be similar to “daughter of Zion”, which is used much more frequently in the OT (28 times) and which seems to refer, depending on context, to either the Temple Mount, the city of Jerusalem, or the people / nation of Israel. In fact, “daughter” (H1323) can refer to a city / town according to Strong´s hebrew dictionary.

JohnM suggested that it instead refers to a “pagan world-religion in the endtimes”. Can this be? Most certainly not for Psalm 137, because the Psalmist clearly refers to the Babylonians. The Psalmist wrote this text in babylonian captivity (the Septuagint version contains the superscript “For David. By Jeremias, in the Captivity.”). He also mentions the Edomites (children of Edom), who pillaged the city of Jerusalem together with the Babylonians during the babylonian conquest of Judah, and he talks about revenge for something that had already been done to them (“… that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us”). The psalmist thus cannot possibly talk about an “endtime pagan world religion” – he talks about something that already happened and the evidence is overwhelming that the Babylonians are the target of his anger.

When we compare this to the references to the “daughter of Babylon” in Isaiah and Jeremiah, it becomes clear that the “daughter of Babylon” has indeed a similar meaning to the “daughter of Zion”. It refers to either a geographic location, the city of Babylon, or to the babylonian people / nation.

Jeremiah has this to say about the “daughter of Babylon”:

33 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor, it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.

34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

— Jeremiah 51:33-34 KJV

1 Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.

2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

4 As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.

5 Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms

6 I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand: thou didst shew them no mercy; upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.

— Isaiah 47:1-6 KJV

Both Jeremiah and Isaiah are clearly talking about the city of Babylon and the babylonian Kingdom, note how Jeremiah specifically talks about the babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar and how Isaiah (who seems to use “daughter of Babylon” and “daughter of the Chaldeans” interchangeably, “Chaldea” refers to a region in southern Mesopotamia, the 11th dynasty of the Kings of Babylon, which includes Nebuchadnezzar, came from this region) refers to it as the “lady of Kingdoms”.

The reference to the “daughter Babylon” in Zechariah is not that straightforward:

6 Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD.

7 Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon.

8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

— Zechariah 2:7-8 KJV

JohnM thinks that this makes the interpretation of “daughter Babylon” to mean, depending on context, either the city of Babylon or the babylonian people / nation / kingdom, impossible:

The Decree of Cyrus allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem around 538 BC. Zechariah’s prophetical career began around BC 520, about sixteen years after the return from their last Babylonian exile.

He’s talking about a future event, as the last Babylonian exile thus far in history, had just ended.

JohnM

Me: Zechariah, Isaiah and Jeremiah all mention the “Daughter of Babylon”.

 

JohnM:Indeed they do mention that title. Even Zechariah. Which is rather lethal to your claim.. As Babylon, had ceased to exist at that point.

The only rational thing for you to do at this point, is to realize, that the title doesn’t mean, what you think it does.

JohnM

At this point, the discussion morphed into an example for the fact that for some believers, there is simply no limit to the mental gymnastics they are willing to go through to avoid admitting that the Bible contains unimaginably cruel and unjust verses.

JohnM was no longer willing to talk about Psalm 137 (the actual subject of discussion), he just kept repeating that the “daughter Babylon” must mean something other than the city of Babylon or the babylonian people / nation, based on Zechariah 2, like a broken record. After it was pointed out to him that Psalm 137 is unambigiously talking about “infants”, not “children”, he completely ignored this fact and that independent of what “daughter Babylon” means, the Psalmist is talking about murdering infants as an act of revenge in any case!. He also completely ignored that his own interpretation of “daughter Babylon” (an “endtime pagan world-religion”) cannot possibly be the intended meaning in Psalm 137, Jeremiah or Isaiah (just read the respective verses assuming his interpretation is true). No matter how often this was pointed out to him, he completely ignored it – preferring to complain about my lack of “biblical and historical insight”.

And he is not even right about his interpretation of “daughter Babylon” in Zechariah 2 (and even if he were, it changes nothing about the obvious fact that Psalm 137 is talking about murdering infants as an act of revenge!). Zechariah was indeed writing 14-18 years after the decree of Cyrus, that allowed the Jews to return to Jerusalem (~538BCE). And it is also true that the babylonian empire no longer existed at this point since Cyrus the great had conquered it. However, the city of Babylon still existed and it had a big jewish community. Not all Jews left Babylon immediatly after the decree of Cyrus, allowing them to return to Jerusalem. In fact, archaeological evidence indicates that the return was “a trickle, taking place over perhaps decades. “Daughter Babylon” meaning the city of Babylon thus makes perfect sense of Zechariah 2, and fits the accepted understanding of the first six chapters of the book of Zechariah: “…a series of eight visions …intended to furnish consolation to the returned exiles and stir up hope in their minds.

The conclusion is unambigious, Psalm 137 gives it´s blessing to the brutal murder of infants(!) as an act of revenge. But it is also clear that a “true believer” will find ways to ignore that, if only by simply by making up ridiculous fantasies and ignoring all facts and all biblical and historical context.


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  • Every theist explanation is an attempt to do theology. And theology, to them is watering down the plain words of the bible and giving it some ‘other’ explanation other than what it simply says. The reason? It’s obvious…..Once the bible is understood, it is shown to be a complete piece of shit.

  • lartanner

    This is a terrific post, both for the analysis of the psalm and the demolition of the apologetics. I might depart from you a bit: I think the psalm is even worse than you characterize it because (1) it’s key that Babylon get figured as a woman and (2) it’s key to remember the specificity of verse 9.

    In the first place, figuring Babylon as a woman gives a rather rape-y vibe to the retribution being sung about.

    In the second place, it’s very clear that the psalm makes it praiseworthy to dash the babies of Babylon, again as retribution. To me, it’s more frightening in its specificity than as a general blessing for baby-killing. Taking these specific babies and dashing their specific brains is what’s praiseworthy. It’s construed as noble and moral; it elevates the person who does the deed.

    It’s not a blanket license to kill; it’s a rationale for going berserk on those whom your enemies hold most dear.   

    • Andy_Schueler

      In the second place, it’s very clear that the psalm makes it praiseworthy to dash the babies of Babylon, again as retribution. To me, it’s more frightening in its specificity than as a general blessing for baby-killing. Taking these specific babies and dashing their specific brains is what’s praiseworthy. It’s construed as noble and moral; it elevates the person who does the deed.It’s not a blanket license to kill; it’s a rationale for going berserk on those whom your enemies hold most dear.   

      Yes, it is rather shocking that the Psalm praises the murder of innocent infants. Christian apologists usually retort to similar excuses as John Gill (who I quoted in the post) did:
      “Nor is this desired from a spirit of revenge, but for the glory of divine justice, and that such a generation of cruel creatures might be rooted out of the earth
      => they argue that the enemies of the “chosen people” were incorrigibly wicked, that wiping them out is the only moral thing to do, because they are not human, they are wicked sub-human monsters. Even contemporary apologists like William Lane Craig or Paul Copan resort to this line of reasoning. 

      It´s also noteworthy that the old testament is rather ambigous about whether children are to be punished for the “sins of their fathers” or not. There are verses that support the notion, like Exodus 20:5:
      “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
      and verses that contradict this notion, like Deuteronomy 24:16
      “Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin.”
      The Psalmist who wrote Psalm 137 apparently came down on the side that children are indeed to be punished for the “sins of their fathers”…

      In the first place, figuring Babylon as a woman gives a rather rape-y vibe to the retribution being sung about.

      Not sure about that one – the hebrew word that has been translated to “daughter” was apparently often used to refer to geographic locations. The “daughter of Zion” for example could not only be used to refer to the nation of Israel but also to refer to the city of Jerusalem or to the Temple Mount.
      Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has this to say about this topic:
      “The name “daughter” is given to it by a personification in accordance with a common custom in Eastern writers, by which beautiful towns and cities are likened to young females. The name mother is also applied in the same way. Perhaps the custom arose from the fact that when a city was built, towns and villages would spring up round it – and the first would be called the mother-city (hence, the word metropolis). The expression was also employed as an image of beauty, from a fancied resemblance between a beautiful town and a beautiful and well-dressed woman.”

      • lartanner

         On verse 8, the Hebrew part of “who art to be destroyed” can have ‘destroyed” legitimately rendered as ‘violated.’ The sexual aspect of violation (i.e., of the Hebrew word in play here) is demonstrable–I should think–by comparison of use throughout the appropriate biblical texts. I haven’t checked it.

  • JohnM

    Had it been Babylon, it would just have said Babylon. Not Daughter of Babylon.

    Had it been the people living in Babylon, it would have been plural. Sons and Daughters of Babylon.

    Daughter of Babylon is singular. It is neither the city nor the people living there.

    The Daughter of Babylon, is Babylon the Great or the whore of Babylon. A She. The woman riding the beast of Revelation.

    • Andy_Schueler

      1. Everything you say has been conclusively disproven in the OT. Try reading it before commenting. 
      2. Nothing you say, even if it would be true (which it isn´t), changes the unambigious conclusion that Psalm 137 gives it´s blessing to the brutal murder of infants(!) as an act of revenge.
      3. Thanks for proving my final point (again):

      But it is also clear that a “true believer” will find ways to ignore that, if only by simply by making up ridiculous fantasies and ignoring all facts and all biblical and historical context.

  • JohnM

    Psalm 137 : 9 – Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.

    No matter which Bible commentary you look at, they all understand this last verse to refer to the Psalmist, writing in babylonian captivity, wishing for punishment to be exacted upon his captors

    That’s a brain-dead interpretation.

    This is a prophecy. It’s not about “wishing for things to happen”. It’s about foretelling the things that are going to happen. And you can be sure, Cyrus of Persia was happy with himself, when he conquered Babylon and completely slaughtered all the wicked worshipers of “The daughter of Babylon”.

    So “Happy shall he be” was not a wish. It was a foretelling of the future.

    Your interpretation is invalid.

    • Andy_Schueler

      This is a prophecy. 

      No, it is actually a Psalm (i.e. a song). You might have guessed as much because it is called Psalm 137 and because it is written in the Book of Psalms.

      Cyrus of Persia was happy with himself, when he conquered Babylon and completely slaughtered all the wicked worshipers of “The daughter of Babylon”.
      So “Happy shall he be” was not a wish. It was a foretelling of the future.
      Your interpretation is invalid.Your interpretation is invalid.

      Let me quote myself:
      1. Everything you say has been conclusively disproven in the post you are commenting on. Try reading it before commenting. 
      2. Nothing you say, even if it would be true (which it isn´t), changes the unambigious conclusion that Psalm 137 gives it´s blessing to the brutal murder of infants(!) as an act of revenge.
      3. Thanks for proving my final point (again):

      But it is also clear that a “true believer” will find ways to ignore that, if only by simply by making up ridiculous fantasies and ignoring all facts and all biblical and historical context.

  • JohnM

    Reading the last 2 verses, one has to be pretty stupid, to not pick up on it being foretold as a future future event.

    Psalm 137 : 8 – 9

    Daughter Babylon, doomed to destruction,
    happy is the one who repays you
    according to what you have done to us.
    Happy is the one who seizes your infants
    and dashes them against the rocks.

    Let me quote myself

    That’s right. Go ahead and make an a joke of yourself. Now everyone can see for themselves, that you’re the one that just “keeps repeating himself”.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Let me summarize:
      1. I explained the vocabulary (“children”, “infants”, “daughter”) and the context used, based on the original hebrew text, which completely disproves your claim. You ignored it completely. 
      2. I explained the context for each of the four occurences of the “daughter of Babylon” in the OT, and the root of the hebrew word that has been translated to “daughter”, which (again) completely disproves your claim. You (again) ignored it completely.
      3. I explained how your interpretation of “daughter of Babylon” would render the respective verses in Jeremiah, Isaiah and Psalm 137 into unintelligible gibberish, while the accepted interpretation fits all four occurences perfectly, thus (for the third time) disproving your claim. You ignored it completely.
      4. You changed your opinion on the interpretation of “daughter of Babylon” from:
      “endtime pagan world religion” 
      to:
      “The Daughter of Babylon, is Babylon the Great or the whore of Babylon. A She. The woman riding the beast of Revelation.”
      without acknowledging that you disown your original interpretation and try to defend a new one (which still changes nothing about points 1-3).  
      5. You vomit your insane opinions on an innocent thread without engaging any of the points raised in the post you are commenting on and without providing ANY evidence to support your claims
      6. I refer you to the original post, which you ignored completely and which conclusively disproves everything you had to say.
      7. You reply:

      That’s right. Go ahead and make an a joke of yourself. Now everyone can see for themselves, that you’re the one that just “keeps repeating himself”.

      This would be quite shocking if it would not be standard procedure for you, you are a despicable liar and a troll.

  • JohnM

    I explained the vocabulary used (“children”, “infants”, “daughter”) based on the original hebrew text..

    I explained the context for each of the four occurences of the “daughter of Babylon” in the OT ….

    You read Babylon, when it says daughter of Babylon… and you haven’t got the mental capacity to realize, that if it was Babylon, it would just have said Babylon…

    Why would anyone think, that you have the slightest clue, what you’re actually talking about?

    I explained how your interpretation of “daughter of Babylon” would render the respective verses in Jeremiah, Isaiah and Psalm 137 into unintelligible gibberish

    Not at all. It’s just you who lack the insight needed to comprehend the message being communicated in the text.

    You changed your opinion on the interpretation of “daughter of Babylon” from:
    “endtime pagan world religion”

    to:

    “The Daughter of Babylon, is Babylon the Great or the whore of Babylon. A She. The woman riding the beast of Revelation.”

    ..without acknowledging that you disown your original interpretation and try to defend a new one

    There’s old Babylon and new Babylon. Yet only one Daughter of Babylon. “Endtime Pagan world religion” is just another way of saying “Woman riding the beast”. Do I really have to explain everything to you?

    No, it is actually a Psalm (i.e. a song). You might have guessed as much because it is called Psalm 137 and because it is written in the Book of Psalms.

    There are many many Psalms that deals with future events. Such as the coming of the Jewish Messiah. Why do you even bother discussing these things? You clearly haven’t got the slightest clue what you’re talking about.

    • Andy_Schueler

      You read Babylon, when it says daughter of Babylon… and you haven’t got the mental capacity to realize, that if it was Babylon, it would just have said Babylon…

      Explained in the original post. Try to read it before commenting. 

      Not at all. It’s just you who lack the insight needed to comprehend the message being communicated in the text.

      Look up the word “insight”, it doesn´t mean what you think it means. 

      There’s old Babylon and new Babylon. Yet only one Daughter of Babylon. “Endtime Pagan world religion” is just another way of saying “Woman riding the beast”. 

      Conclusively disproven in the original post. Try to read it before commenting. 

      There are many many Psalms that deals with future events.

      A prophecy is a revelation of things to come based on (alleged) divine inspiration. When I say “bored will be the one that listens to JohnM´s insane fantasies”, I´m not uttering a prophecy – if I would say however “Santa Claus revealed to me that everyone that will listen to JohnM´s insane fantasies will be bored”, I would utter a prophecy.

  • JohnM

    Your objection was, that Psalm 137 : 8-9 could not be foretelling a future event: ”because it’s a song”.. I then point out, that there are many songs that deals with future events, such as the coming of the Jewish Messiah… And you suddenly start talking about Santa Claus. Talk about epic fail.

    • Andy_Schueler

      And I tried to explain to you how “dealing with future events” does not turn a statement into a prophecy. 
      Interpreting it as a prophecy however would still not change anything – you would still be wrong about the actual subject (Psalm 137 giving it´s blessing to the brutal murder of infants(!) as an act of revenge) on every conceivable level. 
      You should work on your trolling skills – you are almost as bad as a troll as you are as a wannabe apologist.

  • JohnM

    No. Psalm 137 is foretelling the ( at the time ) future destruction of old Babylon, and the slaughter of the worshipers of “The Daughter of Babylon” by Cyrus in 539 BC.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Boy do you ever suck as a troll…. You are not even trying! 

  • JohnM

    Jeremiah 51 : 1 – 5
    “See, I will stir up the spirit of a destroyer
    against Babylon and the people of Leb Kamai.
    I will send foreigners to Babylon
    to winnow her and to devastate her land;
    they will oppose her on every side
    in the day of her disaster.
    Let not the archer string his bow,
    nor let him put on his armor.
    Do not spare her young men;
    completely destroy her army.
    They will fall down slain in Babylon,
    fatally wounded in her streets.
    For Israel and Judah have not
    been forsaken by their God,
    the Lord Almighty, though their
    land is full of guilt before
    the Holy One of Israel.

    Young men, the youth of the country, the future of the empire, slain on the stone streets of Babylon. Sounds familiar?

    • Andy_Schueler

      1. The word that has been translated to “young men” in the passage you quote is H970, which according to Strong´s hebrew dictionary, means:
      “Participle passive of H977; properly selected, that is, a youth (often collectively): – (choice) young (man), chosen, X hole.”
      which is very different from H5768 (the one that has been used in Psalm 137:9) which means:
      “a suckling: – babe, (young) child, infant, little one.”

      H977 refers to young men, H5768 to infants.

      2. This is a prophecy, not history. What actually happened is that Cyrus the Great did not destroy Babylon and even proclaimed himself to be chosen by the babylonian patron deity Marduk, which a large fraction of the Babylonians, including the strongly pro-Marduk priesthood, believed. Adding yet another layer of wrongness to your insane fantasies. 

      3. My summary:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/12/31/happy-shall-he-be-that-taketh-and-dasheth-thy-little-ones-against-the-stones-boney-ms-missing-exegesis/#comment-757046723
      still stands. You don´t even try to address the original post. You are wrong on every conceivable level. And all you do is adding new layers of idiocy on your insane fantasies.

  • JohnM

    “Let not the archer string his bow,
    nor let him put on his armor.”

    Don’t you know how Babylon fell to the armies of Cyrus?

    http://www.livius.org/ct-cz/cyrus_I/babylon07.html
    Hereupon the Persians who had been left for the purpose at Babylon by the, river-side, entered the stream, which had now sunk so as to reach about midway up a man’s thigh, and thus got into the town. Had the Babylonians been apprised of what Cyrus was about, or had they noticed their danger, they would never have allowed the Persians to enter the city, but would have destroyed  them utterly; for they would have made fast all the street gates which gave access to the river, and mounting upon the walls along both sides of the stream, would so have caught the enemy, as it were, in a trap. But, as it was, the Persians came upon them by surprise and so took the city. Owing to the vast size of the place, the inhabitants of  the central parts (as the residents at Babylon declare) long after the outer portions of the town were taken, knew  nothing of what had chanced, but as they were engaged in a festival, continued dancing and reveling until they learnt about the capture. Such, then, were the circumstances of the first taking of Babylon.

  • JohnM

    What ? Do you really think that Cyrus marched unnoticed into the city, while they were having a party.. and left the army of Babylon to themselves, without laying hands on them?

    They should have been up on the walls shooting arrows. But now they were being slaughtered without their armor on. That’s what happened. Just as predicted in Jeremiah 51.

    • Andy_Schueler

      What ? Do you really think that Cyrus marched unnoticed into the city, while they were having a party..

      :-D.
      According to Herodotus, which you just quoted yourself but apparently did not read:http://www.livius.org/ct-cz/cyrus_I/babylon07.htmlthis is indeed precisely what happened. As Herodotus writes:”Owing to the vast size of the place, the inhabitants of  the central parts (as the residents at Babylon declare) long after the outer portions of the town were taken, knew  nothing of what had chanced, but as they were engaged in a festival, continued dancing and reveling until they learnt about the capture. Such, then, were the circumstances of the first taking of Babylon.”

      And Babylon was not “devastated”, it was not “opposed on every side”, there is no evidence whatsoever that civilians were slaughtered (“Do not spare her young men”) etc. – Jeremiah sucked at foretelling the future just as bad as every other self-proclaimed prophet. 

      And let me point out (again), that my summary:http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/12/31/happy-shall-he-be-that-taketh-and-dasheth-thy-little-ones-against-the-stones-boney-ms-missing-exegesis/#comment-757046723still stands, and that you don´t even try to address the original post and that you are wrong on every conceivable level regarding the actual subject (Psalm 137 giving it´s blessing to the brutal murder of infants(!) as an act of revenge)

  • JohnM

    According to Herodotus, which you just quoted …

    …Cyrus marched unnoticed into the city, while they were having a party. And slaughtered the whole army, while leaving the civilians to party on, until they woke up noticed that the city had fallen.

    And in that conncetion, it’s worth noticing that Jeremiah 51 says:

    Do not spare her young men;
    completely destroy her army.

  • JohnM

    And Babylon was not “devastated”..

    Jeremiah 51 talks about the land.. The army of Cyrus had to eat, you know. I wonder where they got supplies.

    ..it was not “opposed on every side”

    What are you talking about?! The city was besieged.

  • JohnM

    please provide evidence that the babylonian youth served in the babylonian army, that would certainly be news…

    The civilians would have consisted of children, very very old men and women. No young and able boy/man, would have been allowed outside the army, during a siege. They would all have been forced to take up sword and defend the city!! That’s how society worked back then.

    • Andy_Schueler

      First, let me point out that you (again) completely changed your original argument without acknowledging it. You originally argued:
      “No. Psalm 137 is foretelling the ( at the time ) future destruction of old Babylon, and the slaughter of the worshipers of “The Daughter of Babylon” by Cyrus in 539 BC”
      which is complete and utter Bullshit because Cyrus the Great proclaimed himself to be chosen by the patron deity of Babylon and was actually very popular in Babyon, especially among the pro-Marduk priesthood, which was close to rebelling against the King because he tried to suppress the worship of Marduk. He didn´t slaughter anyone for religious reasons!
      You´ve now completely given up on that and instead try to argue that Jeremiah´s prophecy regarding the fate of Babylon is not complete Bullshit – this is now a completely different argument.

      …Cyrus marched unnoticed into the city, while they were having a party. And slaughtered the whole army, while leaving the civilians to party on, until they woke up noticed that the city had fallen.
      And in that conncetion, it’s worth noticing that Jeremiah 51 says:
      Do not spare her young men;
      completely destroy her army.

      Their army being completely slaughtered is implausible (because, as military history tells you, armies virtually never fight to the last man, they surrender long before that – if this happened, historians pointed it out exactly because this was highly unusual) and also completely your invention – your source doesn´t imply it in any way, shape or form. 
      The babylonian youth serving in the babylonian army is also completely implausible and again nowhere mentioned in any source on this matter. 

      Jeremiah 51 talks about the land.. The army of Cyrus had to eat, you know. I wonder where they got supplies.

      The word that was translated to “devastated” is H7843, which means:
      “A primitive root; to decay, that is, (causatively) ruin (literally or figuratively): – batter, cast off, corrupt (-er, thing), destroy (-er, -uction), lose, mar, perish, spill, spoiler, X utterly waste (-r).”
      Don´t you get tired of being wrong about everything ? 

      What are you talking about?! The city was besieged.

      According to the source you quote, it was taken by surprise from the riverside.

      And let me point out (again), that my summary:
      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/tippling/2012/12/31/happy-shall-he-be-that-taketh-and-dasheth-thy-little-ones-against-the-stones-boney-ms-missing-exegesis/#comment-757046723
      still stands, and that you don´t even try to address the original post and that you are wrong on every conceivable level regarding the actual subject (Psalm 137 giving it´s blessing to the brutal murder of infants(!) as an act of revenge)

  • JohnM

    Their army being completely slaughtered is implausible (because, as military history tells you, armies virtually never fight to the last man, they surrender long before that

    If you knew anything about history, you would know, that taking male prisoners is a recent concept of war.

    According to the source you quote, it was taken by surprise from the riverside.

    Riverside?!?! The Euphrates went through Babylon.

    • Andy_Schueler

      If you knew anything about history, you would know, that taking male prisoners is a recent concept of war.

      No it isn´t. Roman gladiators for example were frequently captured soldiers.
      An army being completely destroyed would have been a noteworthy event, but no one noted it – it remains your invention.

      Riverside?!?!

       “The famed walls of Babylon were indeed impenetrable, with the only way into the city through one of its many gates or through the Euphrates, which ebbed beneath its thick walls. Metal gates at the river’s in-flow and out-flow prevented underwater intruders, if one could hold one’s breath to reach them. Cyrus (or his generals) devised a plan to use the Euphrates as the mode of entry to the city, ”
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon

  • JohnM

    He didn´t slaughter anyone for religious reasons!

    Oh, so how was not chosen by “Marduk” to conquer Babylon?

    • Andy_Schueler

      Oh, so he was not chosen by “Marduk” to conquer Babylon?I wonder what “Marduk” wanted him to do that for..

      Hint: Marduk doesn´t exist, just like Yahweh.
      Also, you can lie as much as you want, your bullshit: 
      “Cyrus of Persia was happy with himself, when he conquered Babylon and completely slaughtered all the wicked worshipers of “The daughter of Babylon”.”
      is still completely wrong because Cyrus the Great identified with their God and didn´t slaughter anyone for worshipping him. Quite the opposite – the pro-Marduk babylonian priesthood was very unhappy with their King because he tried to suppress the worship of Marduk and they welcomed Cyrus as savior.
      Your point thus is not only false – it is the complete opposite of what actually happened.

  • JohnM

    The babylonian youth serving in the babylonian army is also completely implausible

    Not at all. Just think of WW2. What did Hitler do when he ran run out of soldiers? He gave the old men, Panzerfausts and the young men of Hitler Jugend, machine guns.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkssturm

    Imagine what little of the german male population would have been left, had the allied forced not taken prisoners.

    • Andy_Schueler

      Not at all. Just think of WW2. What did Hitler do when he ran run out of soldiers? He gave the old men, Panzerfausts and the young men of Hitler Jugend, machine guns.

      The reason for the Volkssturm was Hitler and Goebbels being insane, evil and most of all completely desperate. It was a military disaster because the untrained civilians were completely worthless as a military unit, were quickly routed by the red army, and blocked the line of fire for the german army – General Weidling, who was in charge of defending Berlin, opposed the use of untrained civilians as soldiers in the strongest terms. This was a highly unusual event. 

  • Andy_Schueler

    Let me point out the evolution of your responses:
    Phase 1 – simply repeat the Bullshit that has been refuted in the original post without giving any evidence to support your position, and without engaging any argument from the original post despite me repeatedly asking you to read the original post and engage the arguments.
    Phase 2 – Completely switch topics and make up new bullshit about Cyrus “slaughtering all the wicked worshipers of “The daughter of Babylon”” and ignore all refutations, as always.
    Phase 3 – Completely switch topics again and make up some Bullshit about the conquest of Babylon in the context of Jeremiah.

    You have long reached a point that has nothing to do with the actual subject of discussion (Psalm 137 giving it´s blessing to the brutal murder of infants(!) as an act of revenge). Either you are too stupid to stay on topic, or too dishonest – which one is it ? 

  • JohnM

    The reason for the Volkssturm was Hitler and Goebbels being insane, evil and most of all completely desperate.

    And king Nabonidus, would certainly not have been desperate considering that his empire was in ruin, and Babylon was besieged. Babylons situation certainly had no resemblance to the last weeks in Berlin. Not at all, except for the “Das untergang” music in the background.

    No it isn´t

    I wonder where the “Take no prisoners” phrase comes from.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Take_no_prisoners

    Riverside

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babylon
    The city itself was built upon the Euphrates, and divided in equal parts along its left and right banks, with steep embankments to contain the river’s seasonal floods.

    Marduk doesn´t exist

    That wouldn’t prevent Cyrus from picking a fight with the Babylonian army, because they had a falling out with “ Marduk”.

    Cyrus the Great identified with their God and didn´t slaughter anyone for worshipping him

    Have you heard about the Ishtar gate? Why would the Babylonians have such a gate? Maybe because they revered Ishtar?

    And Ishtar was the goddess of love and war. So I guess the soldiers of Babylon, would have been her children or something?

    And do you know that Ishtar is one of the Queen of heaven goddesses?

    • Andy_Schueler

      And king Nabonidus, would certainly not have been desperate considering that his empire was in ruin, and Babylon was besieged. Babylons situation certainly had no resemblance to the last weeks in Berlin. 

      Some hints:
      1. Berlin was not taken by surprise like Babylon – the red army needed almost a month. 
      2. The Wehrmacht was, unlike the babylonian army, ready for the invaders.
      3. The people of Berlin were not having a huge party while the red army took the city.
      4. Using untrained civilians as soldiers remains an incredibly bad military decision and historians would have pointed it out, it remains your invention.  

      I wonder where the “Take no prisoners” phrase comes from.

      Your argument being that because sometimes armies were wiped out completely, they were always wiped out completely. 
      Think about that for a moment, maybe you realize why it is completely idiotic. 

      Have you heard about the Ishtar gate? Why would Babylonians have such a gate? Maybe because they revered Ishtar?

      They worshipped quite a lot of Gods – and Marduk was at that time the most popular one among the citicens and the priesthood while the King tried to suppress Marduk worship and promote the Moon God Sin. 
      And again, no one was slaughtered for worshipping Marduk, Yahweh or any other God.

      And Ishtar was the goddess of love and war. So I guess the soldiers of Babylon, would have been her children or something?

      1. The “daughter of Babylon” does not refer to any God as I have conclusively demonstrated and which you keep ignoring. 
      2. Ishtar was a minor goddess and associated with war, fertility, love and sex. The Ishtar cult survived the persian invasion and no one was persecuted for worshipping her (hint: a goddess associated with fertility was worshipped by pretty much everyone at times of harvest).
      3. If you plan to argue that the daughter of Babylon refers to Ishtar, the reference to the “daughter Babylon” in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zecheriah makes no sense whatsoever and the reference in Psalm 137 would only make sense if the Israelites would blame the Ishtar cult exclusively for their defeat, instead of the Babylonians in general, their rulers, and their patron deity (i.e. Marduk) – which is completely ridiculous. 
      4. For at least the dozenth time now, Psalm 137:9 does not talk about “children” , it talks about babies, the hebrew word for “children”, which could also refer to adults based on context, is a completely different one. 
      5. Why don´t you read the original post before commenting ?

  • JohnM

    Your argument being that because sometimes armies were wiped out completely, they were always wiped out completely.

    No. The argument is, that they were trapped, defenseless, and that he had no strategic reason to spare them.

    They worshipped quite a lot of Gods – and Marduk was at that time the most popular one among the citicens and the priesthood…

    But that’s irrelevant. The point is that the soldiers would have worshiped Ishtar, as was the goddess of love and war.

    Ishtar was a minor goddess

    Oh yeah… They constructed the Ishtar gate to honor “a minor goddess”.. Right..

    Babylon was a military empire! Babylon was known for it’s might military might and it’s strong walls. Of course Ishtar is the Daughter of Babylon. And of course the soldiers were the children of Ishtar..  They were her worshipers.. And it was her children that conquered Jerusalem, and destroyed the temple.

    and the reference in Psalm 137 would only make sense if the Israelites would blame the Ishtar cult exclusively for their defeat

    Why would Israel not blamed the Babylonian soldiers for their defeat?

    • Andy_Schueler

      No. The argument is, that they were trapped, defenseless, and that he had no strategic reason to spare them.

      Cyrus wanted to keep the city and a needless bloodbath increases the odds of the people revolting – it´s possible that he killed all soldiers, but there´s no evidence that this happened and since no historian mentions it, it is extremely unlikely.

      But that’s irrelevant. The point is that the soldiers would have worshiped Ishtar, as was the goddess of love and war.

      Several of their gods were associated with warfare you idiot, including Marduk.

      Oh yeah… They constructed the Ishtar gate to honor “a minor goddess”.. Right..

      Every God, no matter how minor was honored with temples etc. 

      Babylon was a military empire!

      With many Gods associated with warfare, the chief one being Marduk.

       

      Babylon was known for it’s might military might and it’s strong walls.

      Many walls, one of which dedicated to Ishtar.

      Of course Ishtar is the Daughter of Babylon.

      Nope, read the original post. 

      And of course the soldiers were the children of Ishtar..

      FOR THE DOZENTH TIME, PSALM 137:9 DOES NOT TALK ABOUT “CHILDREN” IT TALKS ABOUT INFANTS YOU FUCKING MORON.

      They were her worshipers..

      She was associated with fertility – everyone worshipped her occassionally. And they had many more Gods associated with warfare.

      Why would Israel not blamed the Babylonian soldiers for their defeat?

      3. If you plan to argue that the daughter of Babylon refers to Ishtar, the reference to the “daughter Babylon” in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zecheriah makes no sense whatsoever and the reference in Psalm 137 would only make sense if the Israelites would blame the Ishtar cult exclusively for their defeat, instead of the Babylonians in general, their rulers, and their patron deity (i.e. Marduk) and if the persian soldiers would have had superhuman strength and were able to hurl adult human beings against rocks.  4. Several babylonian gods were associated with warfare, the main one unsurprisingly being Marduk (as the heads of a Pantheon usually were). Making it even more ridiculous for the Israelites exclusively blaming the Ishtar cult than it already would be based on the previous point.

  • JohnM

    FOR THE DOZENTH TIME, PSALM 137:9 DOES NOT TALK ABOUT “CHILDREN”

    It talks about the little ones, of the Daughter of Babylon. Which is neither Babylon, nor the people of Babylon, for obvious reasons. And “little ones” are little children of various ages, what else would it be?

    So it is perfectly valid to say “The Children of the Daughter of Babylon”. And no, you haven’t got the slightest clue, what you’re talking about.

    you have shifted your argument again – you no longer try to defend the statement that Cyrus slaughtered all worshippers of whatever you currently think the daughter of Babylon

    I am where I have been all along.

    Cyrus slaughtered the soldiers of Babylon. Babylon was a warrior empire, known for conquest and strong walls. They had a goddess which they revered. She was called Ishtar. Therefore they build an inner gate to the city of Babylon, dedicated to Ishtar. Ishtar was the goddess of love and War. Therefore SHE was the one sending soldiers against Jerusalem. Therefore SHE, was the evil force responsible for destroying the temple. Therefore SHE is the daughter of Babylon.

    So when Cyrus slaughtered the soldiers of Babylon, he slaughtered the children ( the worshipers ), of the the Daughter of Babylon. A Babylonian war goddess / cult / religion.

    Several of their gods were associated with warfare, including Marduk.

    Liar, Liar, pants on fire.
    Marduk was the chief creator god, associated with water, vegetation, judgment, and magic.

    Many walls, one of which dedicated to Ishtar.

    Gates, not walls. And the Ishtar gate, was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. But ignorant as you are, you probably haven’t got the slightest clue, why that is important.

    Cyrus wanted to keep the city and a needless bloodbath increases the odds of the people revolting

    That’s rich…

    “OK listen up guys. I’ve just invaded your country. Burnt your fields. Killed your cattle. Killed the majority of your fathers and sons in the army….. BUT!!! I’ve saved these few stragglers.. So now you won’t revolt, right?!”

    You must have absolutely zero clue about how military might works. You don’t worry about revolts, when the armies are is in the cities. You kinda put down revolts with armies, you know… You worry about revolts, when your armies are away from your cities, on conquests.

    Every God, no matter how minor was honored with temples etc. 

    It’s the Ishtar gate, Mkay? It was once considered one of the seven wonders of the world. It not something that you build for “a minor goddess”. Learn2debate, Mkay?

  • Andy_Schueler

    It talks about the little ones, of the Daughter of Babylon. Which is neither Babylon, nor the people of Babylon, for obvious reasons. And “little ones” are little children of various ages, what else would it be?
    So it is perfectly valid to say “The Children of the Daughter of Babylon”.

    Conclusively refuted right in the beginning of the original post. 

    And no, you haven’t got the slightest clue, what you’re talking about.

    Fuck you.

    So when Cyrus slaughtered the soldiers of Babylon, he slaughtered the children ( the worshipers ), of the the Daughter of Babylon. A Babylonian war goddess / cult / religion.

    1. Psalm does not talk about “children”
    2. As a Goddess of war, love, sex and fertility, she was worshipped by many and not only soldiers. 
    3. No one was killed for worshipping her, the cult survived the invasion and Cyrus did nothing to suppress it. 

    Liar, Liar, pants on fire.
    Marduk was the chief creator god, associated with water, vegetation, judgment, and magic.

    Congratulations on reading the first three sentences in the wiki article. If you read a little further, you´ll see that Marduk gradually gained importance and gained new attributes by syncretism, and if you check translations of prayers to Marduk, you´ll see that he was indeed revered as “Lord of War” (and many other things )

    “OK listen up guys. I’ve just invaded your country. Burnt your fields. Killed your cattle. Killed the majority of your fathers and sons in the army….. BUT!!! I’ve saved these few stragglers.. So now you won’t revolt, right?!”

    You are a moron. 

    It’s the Ishtar gate, Mkay? It was once considered one of the seven wonders of the world.

    And they built a fucking pyramid for Marduk – the patron deity of the city. 

    Learn2debate, Mkay?

    Go die in a fire, M´kay ? 

  • OK, let me step in here.

    John,
    Andy is being very rational and thorough. You are jumping backwards and forwards and throwing in everything including the kitchen sink. And failing. Andy is clearly refuting your points. You are reading them (perhaps) and merely ignoring them or forgetting them.

    Please engage more rigourously with the points or not at all. Andy gets frustrated and wears because you are so frustrating.

    Please be more critical and thoughtful when posting here.

  • I love Andy, sorry, I just do…..