When reading in Psalm 21 I came across a message that might be considered by modern Israel. The first seven verses are general praise toward God but the atmosphere changes starting in verse 8.
(Psa 21:8 KJV) Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.Now David starts to focus on his political situation. David, as God’s anointed king, understands that his enemies tend to be enemies of God. He then goes on to detail the punishment for people who are enemies of God and enemies of God’s people, Israel. It seems rather barbaric and violent.
(Psa 21:9 KJV) Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.To us this sounds overly brutal. That is because we have been sheltered by a culture that is basically Christian in its values and behavior. We think of the atrocities of the Germans and Japanese during World War II, shudder, and then compare it to how gently we handled them after the war was over. Sensitive people need to read more and get a flavor of how it was in the past.
(Psa 21:10 KJV) Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.
(Psa 21:11 KJV) For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.
(Psa 21:12 KJV) Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.
Understand the historical context of these remarks.
Cities unsuccessful in resisting a siege expected certain consequences. These were not just possible. They were assured. A city that was overrun by an enemy assumed three things would happen: Pillage, rape and murder. If you managed to survive the carnage then you would be sold into slavery. Mercy was not on the agenda. This was standard in the ancient world. You might ask yourself why cities resisted. Why not just surrender? Because there was no guarantee that it would not happen even if you submitted. The last time we saw this in most people’s minds would be when the Russians entered Berlin. In the bigger world you might take the Communist takeover of Cambodia into consideration.
Much of the world has moved on. That is the part of the world that has been influenced by Europeans civilization based on Christianity. Islam is still living in that past. The attacks the world witnessed by Hamas were part of that barbaric tradition.
Psalms 21 is in that age. The targets David mentioned are specifically enemies who have been attacking. Israel is not building an empire but defending a country. That would be similar to what is going to happen as Israel responds to Hamas.
Islam has similar statements but with a difference. Psalms is about defense and response to attack. The Koran commands are for Muslims against anyone who resists their goal of world domination. That makes a difference to you and me.
How do we as civilized societies respond? Usually with the rule of law. That means a body of rules that have been agreed on and allow people to know how to act. In the past it has included capital punishment and even slavery. One of the reasons slavery existed for so long was because the slaves themselves understood their legal position. They may not like it but they acknowledged it. If they were the slave owners they would have thought it was fine.
Understand that the rule of law in our nation was not allowed to be ex post facto or have bills of attainder. The rules were to be clearly stated and punishment was to be evenly meted out.
We are living in a day when the rule of law is being ignored. What the people ignoring don’t seem to understand is that if they succeed in breaking the system we will go back to the fang and talon rule of the sword. In that scenario they will be the first to find out how brutal it can be.
Pray that we make it through without everything falling apart. There are no winners in chaos.
homo unius libri