A few modern treatments can be found of the imprecatory psalms and the problem of their relation to biblical theology and to what is in some circles called the "New Testament believer." These treatments, however, have been, in large measure, cursory, and the proposed solutions have been largely inadequate theologically. The imprecatory psalms have been unsatisfactorily explained in three ways: (1) as evil emotions--whether to be suppressed or expressed [C. S. Lewis & Walter Brueggemann]; (2) and old covenant morality inconsistent with the new covenant church [Carl Laney & Meredith Kline]; (3) words appropriately uttered solely from the lips of Christ and consequently uttered only by his followers through him and his cross [James E. Adams & Dietrich Bonhoeffer].
In contrast, I propose to recover the proper use of the imprecatory psalms for the New Testament church. First, these psalms root their theology of cursing in Torah. Authorization to cry out for God's vengeance is strongly set out in the Song of Moses (Deut. 32), the lex talionis (e.g., Deut. 19), and the covenant of God with his people (e.g., Gen. 12). Second, this theology is carried through essentially unchanged to the end of the New Testament canon (e.g., Rev. 6:10; 18:20), buttressing its applicability to believers today. Some Old Testament and New Testament passages appear to contradict the cry of the imprecatory psalms, but texts through Scripture also confirm the right of God's people to plead for justice (pp. 10-11).
It is the godly alone who can say with the psalmist,
But I pray to you, O LORD, in the time of your favor;in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.
Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink;deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters.
Charge them with crime upon crime;do not let them share in your salvation.
May they be blotted out of the book of lifeand not be listed with the righteous (Psalm 69:13-14, 27-28).