Meditations on the Psalms #313

Psalm 137 Part 2

In v7 God is asked to remember the Edomite’s (descendants of Esau, Jacob’s brother) for their conduct in Israel’s conquest. The call to ‘remember’ was a call to judge those who should have supported Israel when the Babylonians came against Jerusalem. Instead they supported Babylon and were responsible for ‘razing’ the wall to the ground. The small book of Obadiah is a prophetic pronouncement against them for their part in the conquest of Israel. (see e.g.Obadiah1:12.)

The word ‘foundations’ implies more than the actual foundations of the walls of Jerusalem, it also pertains to the God-established order in creation, in his rule, and in his election of a special nation. The Edomite’s were hoping for the destruction of the ‘foundations’ of Yahweh’s rule on earth!
In v8-9 The psalmist directed his words to future generations of the Babylonian empire, giving them notice that they themselves would be destroyed in God’s judgment. V8 is a blessing on the one who brings judgment against the Babylonians, and a judgment corresponding to what the Babylonians paid out to Jerusalem and Judea. ‘To dash in pieces their little ones’ was a common enough sequel to a heathen victory, and Babylon had been in no mood for restraint at the fall of Jerusalem.

The awful blessing of v9 must be understood in light of v8. No doubt the singer had seen this done to the little ones of Jerusalem, and the horrible image was seared upon his mind. He prayed that the Babylonians would get as they had given. While we sympathize with the impulse of the psalmist; the NT calls us to a higher standard! But we should also understand the moment of this verse: they had seen their temple burnt, their city ruined, their wives ravished and their children slain! Could you remain passive and conciliatory under such circumstances? Isa13:16 had made such a prediction upon Babylon.

Today Edom (Petra) is desolate, and Babylon is a ruin. God cannot be mocked. Never to be inhabited or dwelt in ever again the prophets Isaiah & Ezekiel declared! Two astounding prophecies of the OT that have stood the test of time.

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