Sometimes a line from Scripture sticks out like a sore thumb. Consider Psalm 104.

An inclusio frames the song: Bless the Lord, O my soul! (v 1, 35).

A cursory outline for Psalm 104:

vv1-9 Praise for the majestic Creator | vv10-30 God’s providential care/control over all creation | vv31-35 Praise for the glorious God who is greater than his creation

A song that begins an ends with blessing. Reveling in God’s power over creation. Nature flourishing under God’s care. You get the idea.

Observing these themes and features make the final verse all the more jarring:  Let sinners be consumed from the earth And let the wicked be no more. Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD! {NAS}

It’s worth considering why an uplifting psalm should conclude with a vengeful hope.

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Author: Jonathan P. Merritt

Happily married father of six. Associate pastor for education at Edgewood Baptist Church (Columbus, GA). Good-natured contrarian and theological Luddite. A student of one book.

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