Death Stranding: Sam’s Connections With Psalm 137:9

Even before its release, Death Stranding has inspired a wide variety of mysteries and conspiracy theories. The reason for this is that both the game and its lead developer Hideo Kojima are notorious for hiding details and Easter eggs in the most obscure of places. One such example is in a promotional image for Death Stranding, a necklace worn by Amelie can be decoded to reveal the name of a song featured in the game, "Give Me An Answer" by Low Roar. The message was written in an ancient form of communication that was used mostly in the Andes, Quipu. Suffice to say, nothing is too far-fetched or intricate to be ruled out as a Death Stranding theory.

One such theory that has been circulating since before the game was released concerns the numbers on Sam's Porter suit. While no concrete answer has been found, and likely never will (unless a sequel and/or Kojima himself confirms), the prevailing theory is that the numbers on Sam's suit reference a particularly controversial bible verse, Psalm 137:9. The theory is supported by the numerous other biblical references in Death Stranding, such as a doomsday-like event, resurrection, and indeed Sam's name, which directly relates to God in Hebrew and is also the name of multiple biblical prophets.

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Psalm 137:9 in Death Stranding

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The numbers that appear on Sam's suit are 0914-137. The one major issue with the theory that this references verse 137:9 is the 14 in the middle of Sam's number. The answer offered for this problem is that the 14 references the number of words of the bible quote in English. While the Bible is a translated book, and translations differ, is it possible the number was intended to reference this version of the text. This sort of technical precision tends to get pedantic, especially considering this is a Japanese game. However, considering the level of detail included in Amelie's necklace, maybe there is some deeper meaning to the 14. Regardless, Psalm 137, verse 9, reads as follows:

Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.

The verse is controversial for an obvious reason. Within the context of the bible, the different interpretations of this line generally revolve around a feeling of deep and profound grief and a thirst for vengeance; it is certainly one of the most violent parts of the bible. In the context of Death Stranding though, the quote fits with the themes of the game. At least, sort of.

On the simplest level, Death Stranding does contain infants and fetuses and the game's terrain, as well as the ever-important beach, is filled with rocky cliffs. The violent imagery of helpless infants being dashed against rocks is certainly very evocative but also alludes to being powerless against a higher power (not necessarily God, in this case, but governments, leaders, and organizations) and the desire to fight back against them. This too holds some weight with respect to Death Stranding, as Sam is denied important information by those more powerful than him.

Another interpretation could be that the verse actually refers to Clifford Unger, played by Mads Mikkelsen. Unger does have his child taken from him, which leads to a violent confrontation and Unger's death. Death Stranding is probably the one game where fans can and should read into things as much as possible since it's clear it was developed with the expectation of hypotheses. It's possible the upcoming remake, or a potential sequel, may shed more light on this issue, but it's more likely it will remain open to interpretation.

Death Stranding is available now on PC and PS4.

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