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How can one reconcile the use of Psalm 94 in the New Testament Jewish-speaking world? I have always assumed Jesus was of great familiarity with the Psalms.

Psalm 94:15 NET

For justice will prevail and all the morally upright will be vindicated.

What does the “for” mean here? Who did Jesus have in mind when he prayed Psalm 94? Did Jesus have enemies?

I am trying to understand how the avenging God of the OT (Psalm 94, Psalm 6:1, Psalm 90:7, Hosea 13:11) is found in the NT. God’s wrath is his response to sin. God does not take vengeance on the innocent. Wrath in the New Testament is full of symbols. Do people use symbols of horror because the reality is less than that of the imagery?

God's fury is a necessary component of his judgment against injustice, wickedness, and wrongdoing. His justice and judgment were meted out swiftly on a few occasions (Acts 5:1–11; Acts 13:8–12). But some have told me in the past that you should visualize God as an elderly English judge dressed in a white collar, ribbon-tie, red robe, and white wig. Is this then the divine vengeance described in Psalm 94?

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    Welcome to BH.se Christian Saucier. The question would be improved if you explain why you think Jesus prayed ps. 94. Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 4:34
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    This question falls well below the standard expected by Stack Exchange as a platform and by SE-BH as an hermeneuituc website. It is not clear what the question actually is. There is no supporting explanation of why one would need to 'reconcile' anything. What is the contradiction ? We don't know, because it is not substantiated. Did Jesus have enemies ? Why does the name 'Jesus' appear in the context of Psalm 94 ? ?
    – Nigel J
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 13:00
  • I wish new users could be given leeway when it comes to meeting the site's standards. He is asking how Psalm 94's plea (that the "avenging God" come forth to punish the wicked) can be reconciled with NT teachings to love one's enemy. This is an important question. About why Jesus' name appears, the OP apparently presumes that Jesus was familiar with the Psalms and read them as prayers. I hope @Christian will improve the question so that it can be re-opened. Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 22:37
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    @DanFefferman You're a much better mind reader than I am! Maybe you're right, but maybe not. If the question is edited then it can be reopened.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Nov 4, 2023 at 22:41

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The Psalm refers to a period in which unrighteous rulers prevailed and justice could not be found. Vss. 3-7:

How long, Lord, shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked glory? How long will they mouth haughty speeches, go on boasting, all these evildoers? They crush your people, Lord, torment your very own. They kill the widow and alien; the orphan they murder. They say, “The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob takes no notice.”

Jesus did have opponents or enemies who resembled those of the Psalmist. The Romans and their puppets (the Herods) were cruel oppressors who tolerated no opposition. Luke 13:1 refers to an example of Roman repression:

At that time some people who were present there told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with the blood of their sacrifices.

Jesus must have shared his countrymen's anguish at such actions by their enemies. He also felt keenly the injustice of his Jewish opponents among the Pharisees who denounced some of his teachings and the Sadducees who controlled the Temple and cooperated with Rome. He often showed his disdain for certain of the Pharisees, calling them hypocrites and "blind guides." Regarding the Sadducees, he did not bridle his anger when he disrupted the money changers' operations, which were crucial to the Temple's economy. Echoing the prophet Jeremiah. he declared (Mt. 21:13):

It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a den of thieves.

In this sense Jesus indeed had enemies who were corrupt oppressors. Ultimately, some of them even succeeded in putting him to death. If he read Ps. 94, he probably thought of people such as those mentioned above as well as those whom the Psalmist himself had in mind.

But Jesus also practiced a higher ethic than simply appealing to God to for justice and vindication. He taught that we must love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Based on the above examples, this was no easier for him than for us or his ancestors. However, in the end, he practiced what he preached, and his final prayer was not for vindication or justice. It was that God would forgive those who had put him to death.


Note: the OP also asks what the word "for" means in vs 15. It is a conjunction connecting the current sentence to the previous one. Many translators do not include it.

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