“Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous”: Some Reflections On The Imprecatory Psalms
Like the quotation in the title? No?
The one in the picture here above? Neither?
What about this:
Pour out thy wrath upon the heathen that have not known thee, and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thy name.
What do you say? Unchristian? You know this is called, and rightly so, “the word of God”, right?
Or perhaps you think these are single statements taken out of context? How about this:
Do unto them as unto the Midianites; as to Sisera, as to Jabin, at the brook of Kison: 10 Which perished at Endor: they became as dung for the earth. 11 Make their nobles like Oreb, and like Zeeb: yea, all their princes as Zebah, and as Zalmunna: 12 Who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of God in possession. 13 O my God, make them like a wheel; as the stubble before the wind. 14 As the fire burneth a wood, and as the flame setteth the mountains on fire; 15 So persecute them with thy tempest, and make them afraid with thy storm. 16 Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD. 17 Let them be confounded and troubled for ever; yea, let them be put to shame, and perish: 18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
You have already understood that I could go on for very long, but I think I have made my point. Any search for Imprecatory Psalms will give you a wealth of quite robustly written, testosterone-laden but, crucially, Divinely ordained and Divinely inspired quotes to impress your friends at a party, if we will ever have parties again.
As you might have noticed, this little effort delights in distributing little Catholic red pills around, and in shocking and scandalising his new readers before it makes them, hopefully, think smartly about Catholicism for the first time in a long while. Therefore, I would like to spend some words on these beautiful, if nowadays studiously avoided, Imprecatory Psalms.
Preliminary consideration: do not think that this is all Old Testament “stuff”, and Jesus started “to do things differently”. The New Testament is the completion of the Old one, it is not in contrast to it. The truth remains the truth, and does not change with the Incarnation. The Old testament is as much the word of God today as it ever was, but now it is inserted in a completed, perfected frame of reference. If you have any doubt, have a thorough read of a Gospel of your choice and looks for the many times Our Lord expresses Himself on several occasions with such brutality, that every milquetoast PC guy of our times would not hesitate in calling him all sorts of vile names, obviously in the name of “lurv”, or “peace”. I have written often about this, so feel free to scour this blog for the fruits of my efforts.
Once made clear that this stuff is not “outdated”, let us reflect on why what we know must be right is, in fact, right. This will require, alas, the ingestion of a number of red pills that I have just here with me, and that I will proceed to give to you now.
You are welcome.
- The Imprecatory Psalms were seen as totally normally, and logical, in manlier times. But we now live in the Age Of The Concerned Man, and this man will look for a shallow “goodness” in all the wrong places. Yes, it’s the lack of testosterone. All that soy milk, and no red meat at all. Terrible. If you suffer from the soy milk affliction, I suggest the introduction in your diet of copious quantities of red meat, fairly rare – actually, dripping blood – for a while. Just for the experience, you know.
- The Imprecatory Psalm caused no scandal in times in which people got angry at those who offend God. Why? because they loved Christ. In modern times, people love themselves first, second, third and 237th, though they call this “tolerance”, “inclusion” and many other fashionable but hollow sounding names. However, they don’t love Christ. Imagine asking your garden variety parish priest around, say, 1931, whether the Imprecatory Psalms have a place in the Bible. Note: those priests didn’t drink soy milk, either.
- As we aren’t Proddies, we read Scripture within the frame of Catholic doctrine. It is obvious that the punishment called upon the wicked is not the fruit of an unguarded moment, or even of a Friday night escapade. It is, rather, the fruit of hardened, insisted, ideological enmity with God. It is, so to speak, what you know is going to happen to Reprobates who are quite bad even as Reprobates go. We pray for our enemies. I pray even for darned Francis. The Imprecatory Psalms describe, evoke and call for what happens when that fails.
- The Imprecatory Psalms are not personal. David is not calling for God’s vengeance upon his dishonest plumber, the mailman who keeps opening and reading his subscriptions, or the guy who stole his smartphone. His (and God’s) anger is (and shall, at the appointed time, be) directed at God’s enemies. Hostility against God makes the good man’s blood boil. See above: red meat. Also see above: love of Christ.
- With their very existence, the Imprecatory Psalms alert us to a simple facts: at times those who seem “rude” or “violent” or “hateful” are, actually, on the side of Christ. Those, on the contrary, who preach their fake gospel of lurv, inclusion and – most popular nowadays – “niceness”, are those who make the work of the devil. This is very interesting, because niceness has now – in parallel with the disappearance of the real article – become a veritable religion, with his very own priests. You have, I am sure, met many of them.
There. Five Red Pills to swallow with some water and digest calmly.
I think they will be very useful.
There is far too much soy milk around.