By The Waters Of Babylon. Dashing The Infants Against The Rock.


Synopsis: "By the waters of Babylon", Psalm 136 is sung only three times in the year, on the three Sundays before Great Lent, at matins. The Psalm is historical, being a lament of the exiled Jews in Babylon for their beloved Jerusalem, but like everyting in the Scriptures, there is also a deep spiritual meaning. This is especially true at the end of the psalm, which talks of "dashing thine infants against the rock". What does this mean? This is really important!

More homilies on the all the Sundays before Great Lent are HERE

For David. By Jeremias, in the Captivity, 136.By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and we wept when we remembered Sion. Alleluia.
/ Upon the willows in the midst thereof did we hang our instru-ments. Alleluia.
/ For there, they that had taken us captive asked us for words of song; And they that had led us away asked us for a hymn, saying: sing us one of the songs of Sion. Alleluia.
/ How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? Alleluia.
/ If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand be forgotten. Alleluia.
/ Let my tongue cleave to my throat, if I remember thee not, If I set not Jerusalem above all others, as at the head of my joy. Alleluia.
/ Remember, O Lord, the sons of Edom, in the day of Jerusalem, Who said: Lay waste, lay waste to her, even to the founda-tions thereof. Alleluia.
/ O daughter of Babylon, thou wretched one, blessed shall he be who shall reward thee wherewith thou hast rewarded us. Alleluia.
/ Blessed shall he be who shall seize and dash thine infants against the rock. Alleluia.

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1 comment

  1. It is not just the violence of this metaphor that is shocking….it is the use of infants ('little ones' they are called in other translations) as the the objects of this violence.  None but the most heartless of men, worked up in the frenzy of battle and hate could take a little child and dash it upon the rocks. There is something more to this terrible metaphor….
    I know from experience that the 'logismoi' that these infants represent in this metaphor do not first appear as the hideous sins that they grow up to be.  In the beginning they often deceive me with the cherubic beauty of little ones. It is only after I have taken them into my home and heart, fed and nurtured them do I realize what a horrific mistake I have made.  Once seeming innocents grow into soul destroying nightmares.
    This metaphor and its violent imagery not only tells us what we must do to these types of tempting thoughts but warns us that they can begin as seemingly sweet and innocent thoughts.  It takes experience to recognize the deceit and the danger that can lie beneath a facade of innocence and beauty.  And it takes tremendous effort to take something that seems precious and harmless and smash it to pieces before it can grow into its true form and destroy us.

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