|About the Book|
Public reading of the psalms facilitates corporate worship, but it can also create a degree of awkwardness as a number of passages in the Psalter contain curses, asking God to avenge enemies. The presence of vengeful speech seems antithetical to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. What are these psalms really about? This book recovers the value of imprecatory speech in Scripture, arguing that such passages continue to be relevant today, both in preaching and therapy.The interpretive model Nehrbass suggests is that of dependence: these psalms transfer the burden of ones enemies to God and affirm that it is Gods prerogative alone to avenge. The authors of the imprecatory psalms were victims of violence, so this book looks to contemporary victims of violence for their interpretation and application of these psalms.This study is decidedly practical. Nehrbass examines the nature of anger and hatred and highlights some of the redemptive aspects of these emotions. He concludes that the imprecatory psalms offer several positive aspects for dealing with hatred. Use of these passages fosters in believers a passion for Gods reputation and can also aid us in surrendering our problems to Gods control.“The author creatively weaves biblical, theological, and psychological material while remaining well grounded in human experience. He succeeds in demonstrating that, indeed, imprecatory psalms have enduring therapeutic and preaching value. This book is a gift to victims of violence who long for justice and need to regain courage, meaning, and hope. It is therefore a timely resource for pastoral ministers, counselors, and spiritual caregivers, and I strongly recommend it.”—Daniel S. SchipaniAnabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary“What do we do with the imprecatory psalms? Did they get into the Bible by mistake? Do they simply belong to the situation before Jesus came? Are they just a way of getting things off our chest? Is there any sense in which Christians can pray them or preach them? This is a wonderful survey of the interpretive possibilities, written with theological insight and practical wisdom.”—John GoldingayFuller Theological Seminary“Dr. Nehrbass has carried out a brave and necessary task in this project, whose progress from dissertation to publication I applaud. Contemporary culture cannot say a good word for the imprecatory psalms, while Christians whose sole mantra is ‘God is love’ are equally dismissive. The author explores a contrarian track by studying these texts on their own terms with the aid of biblical scholarship and by demonstrating their positive value with the aid of ethical and psychological studies.”—Leslie C. AllenFuller Theological SeminaryDaniel Nehrbass (PhD, Fuller Theological Seminary, ThM, Biola University, MDiv, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the executive director of Nightlight Christian Adoptions in Anaheim, California. He previously served as a pastor for seventeen years, as an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary and Biola University, and as a professional counselor.