Psalms: Revised and Updated (NSFW) | Sojourners

Psalms: Revised and Updated (NSFW)

Steer their karts into a banana peel, causing them to swirl off the edge of Rainbow Road.

IN HER RECENT article “Praying the Imprecatory Psalms Is an Act of Nonviolence,” Liz Cooledge Jenkins explains that the imprecatory psalms of the Hebrew Bible “demand that God exact judgment against evildoers.” These psalms are particularly ... colorful. Take Psalm 35, for example:

Let ruin come on them unawares.
And let the net that they hid ensnare them;
                let them fall in it—to their ruin.

In comparison to other imprecatory psalms, the above is fairly sanitized. Often in these verses, the psalmist calls for teeth-breaking, infant murder, and widow-making. To be honest, I’ve struggled to read them. My privileged life has left me with few enemies worth cursing and scant violence to avenge. But I realize that many people of faith—especially those living under oppression’s boot—may find a certain catharsis in these psalms as they imagine God judging the truly hurtful people and powers of the world. “In praying these psalms,” writes Cooledge Jenkins, “we process our rage and give our violent impulses over to God.” One problem, though: The curses in the imprecatory psalms are a bit dated and unrelatable. I’ve gone to the trouble of updating them for modernity. For your consideration:

Psalm 1
O Lord, may the iPhone of the slumlord in Crown Heights fall into a toilet of his own urine. May a single AirPod follow quickly behind.

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