PSALM 2 - Messiah, God's Son, the King
Like most of the Psalms, there are multiple facets, or layers of application here.
The Historic setting of this Psalm may be the coronation of a king of Israel, perhaps David or Solomon.
A corresponding outline might be:
  • The Futility of Energetic Rebels, v.1-3 - The surrounding nations, not under Jerusalem's jurisdiction, and enemies of the Davidic dynasty within Israel itself, may think the time of transition between kings is their opportunity to turn the tables in their favor (eg., to change borders, to throw off tribute payment, etc.). But their cause cannot succeed.
  • The Foolishness of Opposing the God appointed King, v.4-6 - It is God who has established this King and Kingdom. Who are you (enemies) to fight against the King of the universe whose throne is in Heaven?
  • The Sovereignty of David's Son, v.7-9 - Take heed to God's decree, His unchangeable statute: God has made a firm covenant with David (see 2Sam 7:8-16, Psm 89:34-37). Beware, O enemies, God Himself has established this Kingdom, and given authority to this King.
  • The Wisdom of Submission, v.10-12 - Be wise, potential enemies: if you know what's good for you, you will align yourselves speedily with the King whom God favors.
But in this historic view of the Psalm, some things seem overstated.
- - The colors seem too bright for an earthly king.
- - The 'King' and 'Son' who is the subject of this Psalm, rises above David and his sons.
It is true that the Davidic kings were referred to as God's "anointed" (HB= "mashiach", messiah).
It is also true that, God referred to David's son Solomon as "my son" (2Sam 7:14). But note the context: God promised that when Solomon sinned, he would be chastened, but would not be cast out.
However, the Anointed One described here, is
  1. above all reproach, the standard by which others are judged (v.1-6),
  2. a Son begotten of God (v.7),
  3. One who communes with, and speaks for, God, as an equal (v.7,8),
  4. One whose dominion is worldwide and absolute (v.8,9),
  5. One who is worthy of worship (v.12).
The prophetic view of the Messiah (First Advent)--
The NT quotation, in "Acts 4:23-28", identifies the characters involved.
Psalm 2 Acts 4
2:1 Why do the heathen {HB=goi} rage, -the gentiles
and the people imagine a vain thing? -the people of Israel
2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, -Herod & Pilate
and the rulers take counsel together, -the jewish rulers, cp. Mat 12:14, Mat 27:1-2
against the LORD,
and against his anointed, [saying], -against thy holy child, Jesus. cp. Luk 19:14
{ God's enemies speak: }
2:3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
'their...'- He who rejects the Son's authority, also rejects the Father's authority.
Joh 5:22-23; Joh 19:15
2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:
the Lord shall have them in derision.
laugh - It is preposterous (not humorous) that man should oppose Him.
the Lord {HB=Adonai, master} - There is One whose dominion is absolute.
Yet, they fancy themselves lords, masters of their own destinies.
2:5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath,
and vex them in his sore displeasure.
{ God the Father speaks: }
2:6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
Yet - ie., In spite of your counsel & craft, to the contrary...
have I set -The verb is past tense.
It is accomplished fact. Rebellion is a vain thing. (v.1)
set {HB= nacak, lit., poured out} - Here, this word refers to the King's anointing.
But usually, this word refers to pouring out a drink offering.
Thus, the One whose blood was poured out in anger by His enemies,
was established as King, in the very pouring out of His sacrifice.
Zion - the site of Christ's death, the seat of His Kingdom.
{ The Son speaks: }
2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me,
the LORD - Jehovah, the "I Am," the self-existent One, who has life in Himself.
This Word, from the Spring of Life eternal, proceeds from the One poured out in death.
the decree - His Word is unchangeable and determinant. cp. Num 23:19; Acts 2:23,24
Thou [art] my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
- This refers not to the virgin's womb, but to the vacant tomb. Acts 13:26-"33"
At Christmas (the incarnation), we observe that God became a man. cp. Rom 1:3
At the Resurrection, the Holy Spirit declared that this man is by nature God. Rom 1:4
The Son is the only begotten of (GK= monogenes, one in kind with) the Father (Joh 3:16).
- This verse also refers to:
- - Christ's superiority to angels. cp. "Heb 1:5"
- - Christ's priestly office was not by self-appointment. cp. "Heb 5:5"
{ God the Father speaks: }
2:8 Ask of me, and I shall give [thee] the heathen [for] thine inheritance,
and the uttermost parts of the earth [for] thy possession.
ask of Me.- Thus far, we have seen the Son as King.
These words refer to His priestly office.
The thought of v.8 is better expressed without the italicized [bracketed] words.
The Son is to ask for those things which are already His, as heir of all things. Heb 1:2
C.H.Spurgeon observed:
God promised to uphold the Son (Isa 42:1),
yet, He prayed with strong crying & tears. (Heb 5:7)
God promised Him a seed (Isa 53:10) and victory over His enemies (Psa 110:1),
yet, for both He prays.
Likewise, the saints: Promise makes them both...
A. Kings over their lusts and over their enemies, and also
B. Priests toward God, to sue for those things which He has promised.
2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;
thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Judgment is coming, at the hand of the One appointed Judge. (Joh 5:22, Acts 17:31)
The iron rod - speaks of its severity.
The shattered pottery - speaks of its finality: no restoration is possible. Luk 19:27
Which brings us to:
The prophetic view of the Messiah (Second Advent)--
  • v.1,2 - Find ultimate fulfillment in the Antichrist and his confederates. Rev 17:12-14; Rev 19:19
    But even now, mankind refuses the rule of the Lord and His Messiah.
  • v.3  -  Even "christian" nations refuse to be bound by God's precepts.
    By popular opinion and legislative action, men unite to overturn God's Word (eg., re: adultery, sodomy, abortion, etc.; cp. Mat 5:21-22,27-28,31-32).
  • v.4,5 - God's Word is final, and He will have the final word.
    The world will be vexed as never before at the Great Tribulation.
    The world's rebellion will be cut off by the Sword proceeding from Messiah's mouth. Rev 19:15-21
  • v.6,8 - God's King will depose Antichrist, though he seats himself in Jerusalem (Zion). cp. 2The 2:3,4,8
  • v.9  -  God's King will judge the world thoroughly. Mat 25:31-33-f (also, Rev 20:11-15)
{ The Lord counsels men in every age: }
- Consider: My King, and your hopeless rebellion. v.10
- Humble yourself before Him. v.11
- Align yourself with Him. Submit to Him. v.12a
- Entrust yourself to Him. v.12b
2:10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings:
be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
-- Your warfare against God & His Son cannot succeed. Desist and yield to Him. [CHS]
2:11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
serve - ie., labour in subjection.
with fear {ie., terror, reverance},
and rejoice {lit., 'spin,' ie., be stirred emotionally, cringe} with trembling {quaking}.
Submissive reverence is appropriate when one understands that this King is the LORD.
There is awful responsibility and accountability, in serving the Great King.
2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish [from] the way,
when his wrath is kindled but a little.
kiss - a sign of love, loyalty, and obeisance.
There is hope for the rebellious. Judas' kiss was an act of betrayal. But remember Jesus' words to him: "Friend, why are you come?" (ie., Judas, you have fulfilled prophecy. I am delivered into the hands of my enemies. But why have you come? Would you like to change this kiss into one of acceptance? cp. Mat 26:47-50)
Verse 12 is the OT equivalent of "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."
Joh 3:35,36; Acts 16:31
Blessed [are] all they that put their trust in him. cp. Rom 10:9-11

This Concludes the study in Psalm 2.
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