The Cords of the Wicked

by Wayne S. Walker

"The LORD is righteous; He has cut in pieces the cords of the wicked" (Psalm 129:4). The heading given to Psalm 129 in the New King James Version is “Song of Victory over Zion’s Enemies.” Some Bible critics have raised objections to the argument for the inspiration of the scriptures based on the superior moral standard of the Bible, claiming that the “imprecatory” psalms which call upon God to punish the enemies of His people evidence mere human emotion seeking vengeance rather than divine origin. It is affirmed that the spirit of hatred expressed in these psalms is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Jesus to love one’s enemies (cf. Matthew 5:44).

Of course, Bible believers deny the charge. To call for the punishment of evildoers is not equivalent to hatred for them. God Himself so loved the entire world that He gave His only begotten Son to die for the sins of all mankind so that those who believe might not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Yet when people reject God’s overtures of love and continue in their rebellion against His ways, “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18). Like God, we do not want any to perish but all to come to repentance (II Peter 3:9). However, for those who refuse to obey God, we must accept the fact that they will be punished.

Say to them, ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?’” (Ezekiel 33:11). Neither do the righteous have any pleasure in the death of the wicked. The song of victory over Zion’s enemies is not exulting over their downfall but simply an expression of joy that God’s ways are vindicated. We would that all be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (I Timothy 2:4). At the same time, God has no choice regarding those who persist in disobedience but to punish with everlasting destruction (II Thessalonians 1:7-9). It is sad but true.