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Holman Bible Dictionary

Imprecation, Imprecatory Psalms

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Act of invoking a curse. In the Imprecatory Psalms the author calls for God to bring misfortune and disaster upon the enemies (Psalm 5:1 ; Psalm 11:1 ; Psalm 17:1 ; Psalm 35:1 ; Psalm 55:1 ; Psalm 59:1 ; Psalm 69:1 ; Psalm 109:1 ; Psalm 137:1 ; Psalm 140:1 ). These Psalms are an embarrassment to many Christians who see them in tension with Jesus' teaching on love of enemies (Matthew 5:43-48 ). It is important to recall the theological principles that underlie such Psalms. These include: (1) the principle that vengeance belongs to God (Deuteronomy 32:35 ; Psalm 94:1 ) that excludes personal retaliation and necessitates appeal to God to punish the wicked (compare Romans 12:19 ); (2) the principle that God's righteousness demands judgment on the wicked (Psalm 5:6 ; Psalm 11:5-6 ); (3) the principle that God's covenant love for the people of God necessitates intervention on their part (Psalm 5:7 ; Psalm 59:10 ,Psalms 59:10,59:16-17 ); and (4) the principle of prayer that believers trust God with all their thoughts and desires. See Blessing and Cursing .

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Imprecation, Imprecatory Psalms'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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