I'm having to spend much of today on USDA work, so the Ticker post this time will be a quick discussion of link recommended by Nick Peters. It's for those who say confrontational language leads to violence. That wasn't the case in the agonistic world of the Bible, and here, it's merely an excuse most of the time. As I said in an article once:
Ps. 137:9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.
Barbaric? As noted above, this is partly answered by noting the frankness and openness of the ancient mind. Actually we do think such things often today (lest it be said, "Well, we're more advanced than those barbarians!"), if only fleetingly, and seldom repeat them in polite company.
At any rate, such are simply typical expressions of Oriental imprecation. Rihbany (The Syrian Christ, 92ff) gives more modern examples: "May God burn the bones of your fathers"; "May your children be orphaned and your wife widowed", and so on. Such wishes were expressed in clan fights and quarrels in Rihbany's native Syria; and yet: "...the Syrians are not so cruel and heartless as such imprecations, especially when cast in cold type, would lead one to believe." Such petitions actually serve a purpose as a "safety-valve" through which the Oriental vents his wrath.
Further: "As a rule the Orientals quarrel much, but fight little. By the time the two antagonists have cursed and reviled each other so profusely they cool off, and thus graver consequences are averted." The Anglo-Saxon social order being more complex cannot resolve things so simply; yet the Oriental shudders at the Anglo- Saxon ready resort to fisticuffs.
Who's the barbarian after all? All of us! For comparison, sci-fi fans may consider Alan Dean Foster's book, Quozl, which depicted a peaceful society of beings who vented their hostilities through art with blood-curdling scenes of war.
In light of this consider also this commentary from Thomas Sowell.