By the Rivers of Babylon: Interpretation and Application of the Imprecatory Psalms
“Break the teeth in their mouths, O God. Like a stillborn child, may they not see the sun” (Ps 58:6,8). Such curses have shocked casual readers of the psalms and biblical scholars alike for years. They seem to be incompatible with Jesus’ command, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Mt 5:44). For this reason, many Christians have simply tried to ignore these psalms, or to explain them away. This paper will assert that the imprecatory psalms are compatible with Jesus’ command to love our enemies and are applicable to the twenty-first-century American congregation.