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Catholic Dictionary

Find accurate definitions of over 5,000 Catholic terms and phrases (including abbreviations). Based on Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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IMPRECATORY PSALMS

Those in which the psalmist pronounces a curse over the enemies of God and God's people, as when David prays, "May no one be left to show him kindness, may no one look after his orphans, may his family die out, its name disappear in one generation" (Psalm 109:12-13). Such imprecations should be seen as the ardent expressions of the Oriental mind, and written under divine inspiration. They were not only statements of the human author, asking God to punish evildoers, but in prophetic terms foretold the divine intention, i.e., what God was going to do to those who resisted his will. (Etym. Latin in- + precari, to pray: imprecor, to call upon, to invoke on a person.)