I’ve spent a fair amount of time in the psalms but have always had trouble with the imprecatory psalms. I could never quite understand how God was OK with people calling down curses on their enemies. Or, if he condescended to our weakness in our prayers, how he endorsed it enough to include in revelation.
Psalm 10 helps a little. Rather than cursing his personal enemies, the psalmist is attacking those who attack the poor. They directly hurt those who should be protected, those who have a special claim on God’s people.
The wicked man actively exploits and takes advantage of the vulnerable. He “lurks that he might seize the poor” so we can understand why the Psalmist asks God to “break the arm of the wicked and evildoer, call his wickedness to account until you find none” (v 9; 15).
I’m still not certain how to understand this violent language – and how we can use it. It feels as if it isn’t an option for those of us living after Jesus’ teaching – despite how Jesus attacks the wicked himself (see Mt 23, among other places). This Psalm sets some context for how this language can be legitimate.