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The Real Irony of Psalms 109

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We've seen a lot of comment about a new twist on the right, a whole campaign (t- shirts, bumper stickers, e-mails and more) all built on the biblical passage in Psalms 109 which says in part:

May his days be few;
may another seize his position.
May his children be orphans,
and his wife a widow.

Many have pointed out that this campaign seems to imply the urgent need to eliminate President Barack Obama at the earliest opportunity by any means necessary, (you can figure out the rest).

But what is Psalms 109 really about?


NYC - Metropolitan Museum of Art: Limestone Head of King David flickr image by wallyg

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In Psalms 109, King David, who is one of the revered heroes of the Old Testament is lamenting. He says:

For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
speaking against me with lying tongues.
They beset me with words of hate,
and attack me without cause.
In return for my love they accuse me,
even while I make prayer for them.
So they reward me evil for good,
and hatred for my love.

For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me? He goes on:

They say, Appoint a wicked man against him;
let an accuser stand on his right.
When he is tried, let him be found guilty;
let his prayer be counted as sin.
May his days be few;
may another seize his position.
May his children be orphans,
and his wife a widow.
May his children wander about and beg;
may they be driven out of the ruins they inhabit.
May the creditor seize all that he has;
may strangers plunder the fruits of his toil.

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And then King David says,

Help me, O Lord my God!
Save me according to your steadfast love.
Let them know that this is your hand;
you, O Lord, have done it.
Let them curse, but you will bless.
Let my assailants be put to shame; may your servant be glad.
May my accusers be clothed with dishonour;
may they be wrapped in their own shame as in a mantle.
With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
For he stands at the right hand of the needy,
to save them from those who would condemn them to death.

For those would quote the Bible for their justifications, wouldn't you think they can do a bit better than this?

The rich irony is that those who have chosen this Bible verse as a slogan clearly have no idea of the context and meaning of that which they quote.

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articles reprinted from Dailykos.com


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