To most Bible readers, the conclusion of Psalm 137 is troubling. Here, it is written, “Remember, O Lord, against the sons of Edom the day of Jerusalem, who said, ‘Raze it, raze it to its very foundation!’ O daughter of Babylon, who are to be destroyed, happy the one who repays you as you have served us! Happy the one who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock!” (vv. 7-9).
To gain a better perspective on these words, consider these three observations:
First, the destruction of evil is the complement of the preservation of good. Before Paul exhorts his brethren in Roman 12:9 to “cling to what is good”, he commanded “Abhor what is evil”. To be truly righteous one must be just as passionate in opposing evil as in supporting good. The great beauty and appeal of heaven is that “there shall by no means enter anything that defiles or causes an abomination” (Revelation 21:27). The reason why this will be true about heaven is because “anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15). The belief that you can have heaven to reward the righteous without having hell to punish the unrighteous is nonsensical and unBiblical.
Second, the words of Psalm 137:9 are actually an echo of an earlier prophecy about Babylon. In Isaiah’s “burden against Babylon” (chapter 13), he wrote the following: “I will halt the arrogance of the proud and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible…Everyone who is found will be thrust through, and everyone who is captured will fall by the sword. Their children also will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be plundered, and their wives ravished. ‘Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also, their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” (vv. 11, 15-19). How ungodly is it for a person who has been captured, carried away to a foreign country, and forced into slavery to desire the day when their captors who have brutalized them are stopped? Civil wars have been fought to end the horrific practice of slavery. Is it unrighteous to desire the end of such inhumane treatment?
Finally, it is amazing how often the sensitivities of Bible critics are offended with such language as “Happy the one who takes and dashes your little ones against the rock!” (Psalm 137:9), yet these same people support the abject barbarity of abortion! How does dismembering an innocent child via medical instruments while in its mother’s womb somehow not generate any sense of outrage, but Psalm 137:9 does? Hypocrisy is an evil and hideous character flaw.