In his movie review of Higher Ground (11/11/2011), Kenneth Burns begins with an Old Testament quote from Psalm 137, "Happy shall they be who take your little ones and dash them against the rocks," as if God is saying that. He then goes on with a discussion of this quote.
This only problem is, the original Hebrew Psalm is a little different. It definitely does not preach smashing your little ones, the translation from the biblical Hebrew is faulty, and the quote is taken out of context. The original Hebrew text of this Psalm begins with the famous "By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept...."
It's the Israelites who are in captivity in Babylon. They go on and remember Jerusalem and its destroyers, the Babylonians. Towards the end of this Psalm it deals with the hated captors, and the Israelites say, "happy is the one who repays you," and "happy is the one who dashes them...." Throughout the whole Psalm it's the Israelites who sing, cry, remember and curse their captors.
So there is an element of revenge and cursing your enemy, but God does not say "killing children is associated with happiness." Actually, God doesn't say anything here, it's the Israelites.
Kenneth Burns replies: A Christian commonplace has it that the Bible is the word of God, and it's in this sense that I attribute the unsettling scripture to him. I never said the verse preaches smashing little ones, and Katzan misquotes me. What I wrote - as a troubled query, not a claim - is, "Really? God says killing children could be associated with happiness...?" I chose my guarded wording carefully.
In quoting the verse I consulted the New Oxford Annotated Bible, New Revised Standard Version with the Apocrypha, Third Edition.