Imprecatory Psalm Analysis
The Imprecatory Psalms, according to Bullock, are “psalms of anger” and “psalms of wrath” in which the “psalmist prayed that evil would befall their persecutors.” This forum entry reflects on the Imprecatory Psalms in relation to their Old Testament context; what they teach about God and God’s judgement; and how they should be viewed in light of the New Testament. Finally, the author’s conveys his view as to whether the Imprecatory Psalms should be used as a model for prayer.
Imprecatory Psalms in the Context of the Old Testament
Bullock categorizes Psalms 35, 55, 59, 69, 79, 109, and 137 as imprecatory. Day considers the same seven psalms as imprecatory and in addition categorizes Psalms 7, 52, 58, 83, 94, 129, and 140 as imprecatory also. In these psalms, the psalmist asks God to bring curses on their opposition. The curses include such things as God’s wrath and anger (Psalm 69:24), confused thought and speech (Psalm 55:9), shame and dismay (Psalm 35:4), a short life (Psalm 109:8), and even the death of their children (Psalm 137:8-9). Are these types of prayers for harm consistent with Old Testament covenants, law, and theology? God’s initial covenant with Abram established the precedent for these types of prayers. God promised to Abram “I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse” (Genesis 12:3). In Deuteronomy 31:30 - 32:47, Moses speaks a song to the assembly of Israel in which he extols the righteousness and justice of…