In Search of Better Stories

The Bible says it’s OK to Plunder

O Lord my God, if I have done wrong
or am guilty of injustice,
if I have betrayed a friend
or plundered my enemy without cause,
 then let my enemies capture me.
Let them trample me into the ground
and drag my honour in the dust.

Psalm 7:3-5

I have just cause (?)

The implication that jumped off the page to me in this passage in light of today’s current events is that it might be OK to plunder your enemy, at least in some situations.
To plunder means to push someone down and take their stuff.
Sometimes in David’s mind, it’s OK to do that. If there is just cause, then grab a brick, smash a window and help yourself.
Is this ever OK?

Plundering is what’s happening in the States right now.

Does a black person legitimately upset with the broken system that profiles him and makes him guilty every time he leaves his house by virtue of his skin colour have a right to plunder?

My initial thought is no, of course, he doesn’t. This sort of thing leads to anarchy, which will help no one in the long term.

But then what gave David the right to assume it was OK in certain situations in his time? In a tribal war culture, plundering was a legit business opportunity, I guess (?)

Could someone draw a straight line from David’s presupposition in Psalm 7 to the chaos in Minneapolis and New York? Could the logical conclusion possibly embrace picking up a brick, smashing a window, and plundering away, just like good old David?

No, not really

David is not doing a study on the justification of plundering. That’s not his point at all. He’s searching his heart to see if there’s any evil in it. If he is guilty of wickedness whatever it might be, then he is OK with the divinely sanctioned punishment that will result, including getting thrashed by his enemies.

The point is that David was more concerned about whether his heart was pure before God than whether or not he beat the bricks off the bad guys.

No one likes to be on the receiving end of injustice. No one wants to be violated. Vigilante justice becomes very appealing, especially if you can’t get justice through the proper channels of civilized democracy. I get it. We all have a breaking point where we pick up bricks in the belief that our cause is just enough to throw them.

But the better question to ask from this ancient text is not, “do I have a right to plunder?” It’s “What wickedness do I need to repent of?”

All of us, regardless of colour, ethnicity, background or experience need to come round to the truth that David is driving at: It is only through repentance that we gain access to the healing road.

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2 Responses

  1. It’s an attention grabber that’s for sure. Sorry to hear about how everything is going down in Mpls. Are you guys OK?

    I had to spell colour weird for 17 years while I lived in Wisconsin and Minnesota, now it’s back to commonwealth spelling, where we throw u’s into our words indiscriminately. So much fun!

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