Death Threat In Psalm 109:8?

"May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership."

Again, a few words have sparked a firestorm of reactions. The power of words and, in the case, the power of Scripture. Psalms - always known for having short nuggets of wisdom from King David and others - is the focus of media attention because the scripture verse Psalms 109:8 is appearing on shirts and stickers as a prayer for President Obama and considered a veiled death threat.

Undoubtedly, this "campaign" will be used to brand Christians as terrorists, extremists, and right-wing nuts. Some may even claim Christians are no better than suicide bombers and perhaps consider Christians cowards because they hide behind a scripture verse while suicide bombers follow through on actions.

Believe it. Someone on MSNBC will likely go that far.

So, instead of foaming at the mouth like a bunch of rabid dogs, let's step back a second. Allow me to offer a Scripture, "This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger." (James 1:9)

Or listen and shut your face.

To take the verse in context, Psalm 109 is an imprecatory psalm which means it asks for judgment on the wicked. Imprecatory psalms are written to invoke judgment or curses on one's enemies, demonstrate God's just and righteous judgment toward the wicked, show the authority of God over the wicked, to lead the wicked to seek the Lord, and to cause the righteous to praise God.

David speaks against his enemies in the first five verses, prays against them in verses 6-15, justifies his reasons in verses 16-20, and prays for his own safety in verses 21-31.

We cannot speak ill of David for his prayers. For if we do, we must realize we are speaking ill of ourselves. God said David was a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22) and yet David lusted after another man's wife, slept with her, got her pregnant, had the woman's husband killed, and these actions led to the death of the baby. The key here is that David realized that what was good in him was his obedience and fellowship with God. Thus his relentless pursuit of faith and knowing God deeper - even when he stumbled and sin - made him genuine in his love of God.

Thus, we are no better than David. We are all sinners. Just because you have not committed adultery or murder, don't think you're better than David. For sin is sin is sin. God views all sin the same. And just like King David, we make mistakes. Yes, Christians are people and all people make mistakes.

So, is this a campaign of hate? Is it a campaign to call down God's wrath on President Obama?  I cannot speak for the originator of the campaign, but I can speak for myself and other Christians who nodded in agreement with the Scripture.

I, like many others, would like President Obama out of office and soon. Why? Because of his agendas which seem reckless: abortion, homosexuality, excessive spending, big government, idolatry, and embracing of multiple faiths.

If you disagree with someone in a political office, you likely will reach a point of wanting them out of office. This is likely the intent behind offering this as a "Prayer for Obama" - that if it is God's Will, Obama will soon be removed from office.

So, while I agree with the intent, this is still a bandwagon Christians should never have jumped on board, because it's a classic example of taking Scripture out of context and causing non-Believers to see mixed-messages. While the Psalm 109:8 verse may never have been intended as a death threat, the surrounding verses and the purpose of David's writing imply the desire to have God spite the President.

There's nothing wrong with disagreeing with President Obama and his Administration. Nothing wrong with praying that they receive wisdom and discernment from God. Nothing wrong with praying that God remove him from office - if it's God's Will - but that request should be way down on the list. More important is to pray for the President's protection, wisdom, discernment, as well as our own heart being sensitive to the Holy Spirit's guidance.

Remember what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount: “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6: 27-31).”

Paul in Romans 12:3 says, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” 

Proverbs 12:16 says “A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.”

Love God, people, and seek guidance from the Bible for your life.

Also read: An Open Letter To President Obama


  1. Maybe if you read Acts 1:20, you would know that the passage is a prophecy about Judas Iscariot.

  2. Well put. I mean him no harm. I like Obama as a person. But sheesh, his policies are lousy.

  3. Anonymous 1, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Indeed, these verses were foretelling of Judas' punishment.

    Don, thanks for your support. What many seem to forget and not understand is that you can disagree with someone's choices but still love and pray for them.

  4. Not much of a reader, are you?

    Read the following verses - which anyone with even a passing relationship to actual Biblical exegesis will tell you are absolutely necessary to understanding the meaning of a single verse.

    The following verses express a wish for the wicked man's wife to be made a widow, and for his children to be left fatherless and made into wandering beggars.

    Is that your wish? Do you want to see Michelle widowed, or Sasha and Malia made wandering beggars? No? Then it's long past time you repented of your support for this line of thinking and started to work to make things better by standing up strongly against it - both on this site and in your own life if you know anyone displaying these bumper stickers. In the name of Jesus Christ I call on you to do precisely that.

  5. "Listen and shut your face"? How Christian, how slow to anger.

    As I'm sure you know, the United States has lost an obscene number of presidents to assassination.

    Here in the real world, wishing death upon someone is a wussified way of threatening them.

    I don't really care what the rules of your theological discourse are. Here in the larger world, your coy t-shirt slogan is inciting people.

    People who are inclined to violence will take this as a sly wink, an affirmation of their dark agenda.

    The Secret Service is inundated with threats against Obama, more than ever before in living memory. They are struggling to keep this president safe from ravening crazies. Whether you're with Obama's political program or against it, you've got to make a choice: Are you with the Secret Service in its quest to keep the president safe, or are you willing to abet those who wish him bodily harm?

  6. Anonymous 4, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. It would appear you're not much of reader. Or perhaps you're reading out of emotion. If you had read my post completely, you'd seen that I was indicating understanding why Christians (or others disagreeing with President Obama's polices) might support the intent of such a campaign BUT that this wasn't a campaign to support.

    If you have no disagreement with Obama, you're likely to be very quick to judge those who do and those who might mistakenly support such a campaign instead of taking time to examine why it's out of context.

  7. Lindsay Beyerstein, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    You don't know my sense of humor and therefore ours may differ. That's my paraphrasing of James 1:9 - "Listen and shut your face."

    The remainder of your comments show me you're blinded by emotion. See my previous response to Anonymous 4. I pray for the President and his family daily...for safety, wisdom, discernment, and for hearing the cries of Americans.

    My post examines Psalm 109 in far more detail and doesn't rush to judge and spit hate at people for rushing into support of this campaign.

    Again, I can disagree with you, the President, and anyone...but still love and pray for them.

  8. Obama's stated position on gay marriage is identical to Carrie Prejean's, but don't let the facts get in the way of your oily sanctimony.

  9. Well gee, rick. I guess you are saying that it's ok to read the bible by just taking a verse here and a verse there and to heck with the context. Of course, that is exactly what too many "christians" that I know actually do. The psalm, written by David, a man who did not shirk from using his position of authority to murder a man so he could sleep with his wife, is a plea to god to kill his enemies, condemn his enemies' families to exile and poverty, and then to give himself, i.e. King David, his divine protection. To read it any other way is to clearly expose the hypocrite you actually are. And what then, does this "message" mean as applied to the President?

  10. Did it ever occur to you that God and you may not always see eye to eye? Maybe She's trying to talk to you, something along the lines of, "That last Godly knucklehead you put in the Oval Office drove your country off the cliff, and you cheered him on. Did it ever occur to to listen and shut YOUR mouth for a change?"

    Quite obviously the answer to that question is no.

  11. Anonymous 8, thanks for stopping by. An interesting comparison you have - Obama and Prejean. Indeed, they both have stated in the belief marriage is between one man and one woman. However, Prejean is not trying to contradict that belief by attempting to redefine marriage through repealing DOM.

  12. Anonymous 9, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. No, I am not saying that it's okay to strip verses out and apply them here and there. While some Christians (and non-Believers) do this many others don't believe the entire Bible is real/applicable to life today. The Bible is a living document because it applies yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It is the Word of God and thus you either believe all of it or none of it.

    To judge King David is to judge oneself as we are no better than he. We have committed adultery and murder in our hearts. For this sins of David you speak, he asked for forgiveness and the Lord God forgave him - BUT there were consequences for his actions. For his adultery and murder his child died.

    Again, I am not condoning praying this verse for President Obama. If you read my post and/or the comments above, my effort is to understand why some might agree with this verse out of context (nothing before it or after) because they want Obama impeached or removed from office - but not assassinated - and to focus on praying for his protection, wisdom, and discernment.

  13. Anonymous 10, thanks for visiting! It is irrelevant if I agree with God. What is important is that I'm seeking His Will for my life daily and can only learn this daily through reading the Bible and in prayer.

    I do effort to listen and shut my mouth. This is something Believers and non-Believers need to do more of. We'd all learn a lot more instead of trying to be "first" and "correct" with our assertions.

    Your perception of George W. Bush is clearly opposite of mine. He didn't drive this country off a cliff. He kept us safe and was a great President.

  14. Rick, has anyone really looked into who started all of this about the printing of the tees and bumber stickers? For all we know it could be the LEFT and they are making it look like God loving people started it all.

  15. Anonymous 14, thanks for your comment. From what I've gathered this "campaign" began as shirts and stickers on,, and perhaps elsewhere.

    Searching CafePress revealed images with deleted stores and only an anti-hate tshirt. Zazzle offered many "Pray for Obama" products with search verses as:

    Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."

    Matthew 5:44 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

    Romans 13:1 "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God."

    No reporter has appeared to be interested in finding the source of this but more so in propagating it's appearance of hate.

    The possibility of a liberal doing this to generate is hate would not be inconceivable, however, it seems more plausible this began as an attempt to sell shirts & stickers to those who would peacefully like Obama out of office and not the death strike many are propagating.

  16. You write that Psalm 109 is an imprecatory psalm which means it asks for judgment on the wicked. While you explain that you don't approve of Obama because of his policies in several areas, do you think he's wicked? Is he deserving of the judgement you caution against others applying to King David?

  17. parse, thanks for your sharing your question and discussion. Webster's definition of wicked is

    1) morally very bad - evil
    2a) fierce, vicious (a wicked dog)
    b) disposed to or marked by mischief - roguish (does wicked impersonations)
    3a) disgustingly unpleasant - vile (a wicked odor)
    b) causing or likely to cause harm, distress, or trouble (a wicked storm)
    4) going beyond reasonable or predictable limits - of exceptional quality or degree (throws a wicked fastball)

    While I might agree with 3b in that his policies are likely to cause harm, distress, or trouble...the most common perception of wicked is "evil." No, I do not perceive our President as evil which is even more reason that this verse should not apply to him.

  18. Rick, thanks for leaving the link to this article at my page. You may be interested in a slightly revised version of the article that is at

    Anyway, you say that the comments criticizing your article are due to them not reading carefully enough. I think that they have read your article but see that you placed most of your attention on those who criticize the prayer and on defending folks who like the prayer but not the sentiment of hate. Although you do make the point that folks should not support the 109:8 campaign, it's so subtle that you appear to be giving them a pass. And that is one of the main criticisms that folks like me have of the moderate Republicans (be they Christian or otherwise) -- that when the extreme right wing uses inflammatory rhetoric (whether direceted at Obama, immigrants, abortion doctors, or others), the moderates are painfully silent.

    All evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing. Although your article and comments are a step in the right direction, it falls short of what's necessary to correct the problem.

  19. Cliff Albright, thanks for sharing your thoughts here. Indeed, the bulk of this post was to examine the Psalm and consider the reasons why one might wish to promote this campaign. Only at the end did I indicate how foolish it was to rush into support.

    I'm more inclined to view those that consider the campaign's ONLY possible intent to be that of a death threat to be guilty of spreading hate themselves. Anyone shouting this proclamation is stereotyping Christians, conservatives, and/or Republicans. It's such a knee-jerk reaction and presumption...not unlike calling T.E.A. Partiers racists.

    You're absolutely correct. All evil needs to succeed is for good people to do nothing.

  20. Rick, I think you are creating a straw man to argue against. Nobody has said that the "ONLY possible intent" is a death threat. The issue being raised is whether that is the intent for some, and if so, what is the appropriate response. Your failure to see the difference then leads you to incorrectly conclude that "anyone shouting this proclamation is stereotyping".

    The truth is the exact opposite. It is because those of us criticizing the campaign(some who happen to be Christians ourselves) believe that there ARE other Christians, conservatives and/or Republicans who don't share the threat intentions that we expect such folks to voice their concerns. But apparently, you're unable or unwilling to do so.

    At first, i thought that your failure to more directly condemn the threat was just an oversight, but now i see that it is because of your admitted inclination to be more concerned with the response to the threat than the threat itself. Thank you for the clarification.

  21. Cliff, you say no one has claimed the only possible intent of this campaign is a death threat? I completely disagree. There are numerous articles posted where that's clearly what the writers are promoting: that this campaign is a veiled death threat to assassinate the President.

    Therefore, my point is that anyone who concludes this can be the ONLY intent is rushing to a presumption. Is it a possible intent? Sadly, yes, it is a possibility. Should Christians go around wearing these tshirts or stickers? Absolutely not.

    I return to my original reasons for writing this post, to lay a foundation of the origins of the Psalm, the reasons for its writing, and how easily Christians can accept a campaign without knowing the context first because time isn't taken to reflect on the Scriptures.

    Not sure why we're disconnecting here but it seems you're concluding that I don't view this as a threat and/or won't denounce it. Yes, it could be viewed as a threat and may have been intended as one. HOWEVER, I'm inclined to feel that it was not written as a threat and was meant as a means to promote President Obama having one term - as in not being re-elected.

  22. I was once an abortion provider.."Christians" threatene me with the comment "It is better to kill one (meaning me) and save a thousand....I believe they meant me harm. This campaign is sickening. No matter how you look at at, or from any angle.

  23. Anonymous, thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's unfortunate you encountered those who were more focused on their cause than Christ. Sadly, people often react off their emotions. Focus too long on emotions and anything can be justified.

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