If you only knew the power of verses of Psalms and their effect in the highest Heavens, you would recite them constantly. Know that the chapters of Psalms shatter all barriers, they ascend higher and still higher with no interference; they prostrate themselves in supplication before the Master of all worlds, and they effect and accomplish with kindness and compassion
– Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Lubavitch ("Tzemach Tzeddek, 1789-1866)
What he means is a lot of the Psalms are very revengeful. They asked that God would bring revenge to the supplicant’s enemies. As Christians we are not supposed to pray to God to get revenge over others. We are supposed to forgive our enemies and even love our enemies. At most, we pray for God’s mercy and foregiveness.
But Not Worthy is right, there are beautiful beautiful psalms praising God and his majesty, power, and love!
Well, certainly we can understand those Psalms as praying for victory (not necessarily revenge) over spiritual enemies - or even over the warring parts of our own divided nature. And glorying in those occasions when God DOES give the victory in spiritual battle!
I’m with you Not Worthy. Here is one that is a little disturbing to say the least:
58:1 Do you indeed speak righteousness, silent ones?
Do you judge blamelessly, you sons of men?
58:2 No, in your heart you plot injustice.
You measure out the violence of your hands in the earth.
58:3 The wicked go astray from the womb.
They are wayward as soon as they are born, speaking lies.
58:4 Their poison is like the poison of a snake;
like a deaf cobra that stops its ear,
58:5 which doesn’t listen to the voice of charmers,
no matter how skillful the charmer may be.
58:6 Break their teeth, God, in their mouth.
Break out the great teeth of the young lions, Yahweh.
58:7 Let them vanish as water that flows away.
When they draw the bow, let their arrows be made blunt.
58:8 Let them be like a snail which melts and passes away,
like the stillborn child, who has not seen the sun.
58:9 Before your pots can feel the heat of the thorns,
he will sweep away the green and the burning alike.
58:10 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance.
He shall wash his feet in the blood of the wicked;
58:11 so that men shall say, “Most certainly there is a reward for the righteous.
Most certainly there is a God who judges the earth.”
I’m also thinking of one where the psalmist prays that his enemies babies are dashed upon the stone. I can’t recall the psalm, and I’m not 100% sure that I found it among the psalms.
I must reiterate that I love the psalms - I even get to sing them twice a week at morning vespers at our local retreat center/monastery - but I can’t admit to have my arms around all of them, so to speak.
I could be wrong, but I believe there’s a lot of hyperbole in the Psalms. We have to remember that for many of the Psalms, particularly authored by King David, he had a very rough time with people conspiring against him, including one of his own sons. I believe he was expressing what was in his soul, right or wrong.
The early Jews and Christians would recite the psalms - all 150 of them.
The rosary became the illiterate’s Psalter. Instead of memorizing each Psalm, the Christian would recite a Hail Mary. That’s probably how we came up with 3 sets of mysteries, to get 150 of them in all.