The roots of human violence…

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Psalm 109: 11 My eyes are spent with weeping; my stomach churns; my bile is poured out on the ground because of the destruction of my people, because infants and babes faint in the streets of the city. 12 They cry to their mothers, “Where is bread and wine?” as they faint like the wounded in the streets of the city, as their life is poured out on their mothers’ bosom. 

The writer describes what happens when a city is under siege. As you know, a siege is a battle strategy used to take a city when the city is too well fortified to attack directly. Because of advances in technology (airplanes for instance) siege is generally obsolete. But in ancient times, if the walls of a city were too strong to breach the attacking army would simply cut off a city’s food and water supply – and wait. Eventually starvation would take its toll and a city would surrender. This is what happened to Jerusalem when attacked by the Babylonians.

This psalm describes the siege of Jerusalem. Mothers held their babies whom they could not feed. They watched the life drain from their children, “as their life is poured out on their mother’s bosom” (v.12). Terrible. It’s the sort of tragedy a people would not soon forget. It’s events like these that support the ongoing conflict between Israel and surrounding nations. Atrocities committed on all sides fan the flames of violence and destruction that never ends.

Lord bring peace in a world hopelessly embroiled in violence. Amen.

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