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A Beatitude For Social Justice Activists

Psalm 137  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Review of Context

Who wrote it?

The strong emphasis on Temple music and the songs of Zion suggests the (Asaphite) group of Temple singers must be considered authors. This is, as our exposition will show, more plausible on the whole.

When was it written?

some authors locate it in time very soon after the destruction of Jerusalem and explain it as a first reaction “in the shadow of trauma.”

some authors locate it in time very soon after the destruction of Jerusalem and explain it as a first reaction “in the shadow of trauma.”1

some authors locate it in time very soon after the destruction of Jerusalem and explain it as a first reaction “in the shadow of trauma.”

In opposition to this “contemporary” dating of Psalm 137, quite recently there have been an increasing number of voices who interpret Psalm 137 as having been created in Jerusalem as a look back to the exile and a postexilic “reflection” on it.

Psalm 137 is very directly and immediately associated by a great many commentators and authors with the experience of deportation and the daily lives of the deported in Babylon

some authors locate it in time very soon after the destruction of Jerusalem and explain it as a first reaction “in the shadow of trauma.”1

Psalm 137 is very directly and immediately associated by a great many commentators and authors with the experience of deportation and the daily lives of the deported in Babylon

Other authors interpret the psalm as a typical reflection of the exilic situation, whether as an expression of resistance or as a document of religious depression.

Why was it written?

Other authors interpret the psalm as a typical reflection of the exilic situation, whether as an expression of resistance or as a document of religious depression.

General setting.

Overview of

Overview of
Key stylistic elements.
When was it written?
Main Idea of .
Main Idea: Oppession reoccurs in the minds of the oppressed, but the oppressed should remember their God and call him to act on their behalf.
Review of stanzas
Why was it written?
General setting.

The analysis of Psalm 137 may be summarized in the following structural plan:

I. Look Back at the Deportees’ Situation of Suffering

1–2* Sorrow and resistance of the Temple musicians

3* Ridicule by the tormentors

4* Reflection of the deportees

II. Emphatic Adherence to Jerusalem

5* First oath: no longer being able to act!

6* Second oath: no longer being able to speak!

III. Imprecations against the Edomites and Babylon

7* Judgment on Edom

8–9* Retaliation on daughter Babylon in accordance with talion—destruction of the children of daughter Babylon.

Stanza 2

Stanza 3 - A Closer Look

What is a what is a beatitude?
Latin Term - Condition or statement of blessedness.
The concept of blessedness is not easily translated into English. "Happy, " "fortunate, " and "favored" have all been offered as less than completely satisfactory translations. "Happy" focuses narrowly on emotional well-being, not taking into account that within relationship to God sin is confessed ( ). "Fortunate" is derived from the Latin word for chance or luck and was used also for the Roman goddess who determined arbitrarily and capriciously each person's destiny. It still means a haphazard random selection, success, collective possessions and wealth, not given others. Since the poor ( ), those who confess sin ( ), and the dead ( ) are subjects of the beatitudes, "happy" and "fortunate" seem inappropriate. Favor is the Latin word for grace; to avoid confusion "favored" should not be used. "Blessed" should be used in all cases, so that the English reader will recognize that these passages are related as beatitudes. Blessedness should not be seen as a reward for religious accomplishments, but as an act of God's grace in believers' lives. Rather than congratulating them on spiritual or moral achievements, the beatitude underscores the fact that sinners stand within a forgiving relationship made possible by Christ's atonement.
Main Idea of The 3rd Stanza
Main Idea: The exiled community is seeking for God to repay the babylonians, by blessing someone to overturn them.
Key Elements and Terms
Talionic Law - TALION, a concept of punishment whereby the prescribed penalty is identical with, or equivalent to, the offense.
Daughter Babylon vs. Zion/Jerusalem
Daughter Babylon (Conversely Daughter Zion is a theological-political designation for the capital citer or center of the empire.
Babylon’s Children
Those who live in Babylon and reap the benefits of Babylons colonial mind.

Applying The Text

Policy Areas
Education
Economic
Criminal Justice/Restorative Justice
Healthcare (maybe)
Organizations to Watch/Join
TogetherOK.org (State Budget Watchdog)
OKPolicy.org (State Policy Watchdog)
VoiceOKC.org (OKC Faith-Based Community Organizing [Affiliate of Industrial Area Foundation])
OKChurches.org (Connecting Church Faith with Social Justice Causes)

Questions?

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