Psalm 2

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Before tackling the main question of “why,” let’s answer the question “who.” That is who is the author, there is not a superscript to tell us, but most attribute this Psalm to David. Documented by Luke, the Apostles quoted this Psalm.
Acts 4:24–27 KJV 1900
And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
It was also quoted by he Apostle Paul:
Acts 13:32–33 KJV 1900
And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
Notice in the first Psalm the Apostles gave David credit for writing the Psalm; by quoting the Psalm Paul, without mentioning a name, reinforces the Apostles statement.
This Psalm is in Book 1, naturally, but it is the first of the Messianic Psalms which are: 2, 8, 16, 22, 40, 45, 69, 89, 95, 102, & 110.
To answer our question of why, we need to look at the Psalm in 4 ways. The people speak (vs.1-3), Yahweh responds (vs. 4-6), the Messiah is presented (vs. 7-9), a warning to the people vs. 10-12)

1  aWhy do the heathen rage,

And the people imagine a vain thing?

2  The kings of the earth set themselves,

And the rulers take counsel together,

Against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3  Let us break their bands asunder,

And cast away their cords from us.

The Psalm begins abruptly, asking a significant question, Why? A simple question. Heathen may be translated a Gentiles; rage is our word tumultuous which is a loud, excited, emotional, leading to an upheaval or riot. Next we learn it is the people in this agitated state. The picture is one of Gentile people , engaged in extreme agitation, I picture a mob. Also in verse 1 we have the word imagine; it is the same Hebrew word for mediate.Here the persons referred to are thinking about some purpose, and here it is also stressed it is a vain purpose. Vain meaning empty. Now, what does this teach us: Sinners are opposed to God’s plans, and their plans to resist God will be vain and ineffectual.
Vs. 2, moves from the people to the kings or rulers. Two other phrases in this verse detail their actions: Counsel together implies they have assembled together to deliberate on an important matter; and take counsel together, or coming to a unanimous decision to oppose the Anointed.
Psalms, Volume 1 § 4. The Question to Whom the Psalm Refers

The reference is to be determined by something in the connexion. All that the word here necessarily implies is, that there was some one whom Jehovah regarded as his Anointed one, whether king or priest, against whom the rulers of the earth had arrayed themselves. The subsequent part of the psalm (vers. 6, 7) enables us to ascertain that the reference here is to one who was a King, and that he sustained to Jehovah the relation of a Son

Psalms, Volume 1 § 4. The Question to Whom the Psalm Refers

the Messiah properly so called—Jesus of Nazareth. This is expressly declared (Acts 4:25–27) to have had its fulfilment in the purposes of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, in rejecting the Saviour and putting him to death. No one can doubt that all that is here stated in the psalm had a complete fulfilment in their combining to reject him and to put him to death; and we are, therefore, to regard the psalm as particularly referring to this transaction

Vs. 3 states lets us break their bands paints an unique picture, figure is probably taken from fastening a yoke on oxen, or the bands or cords which were used in ploughing—the bands of the yoke being significant of their subjection to the authority or will of another.

4  He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh:

The Lord shall ihave them in derision.

5  Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath,

And vex them in his sore displeasure.

6  Yet have I set my king

Upon my holy hill of Zion.

Yahweh is in heaven, men on earth are raging, while He remains is calm. The verse states He will have the people in derision or ridiculing and laughing at their vain attempts.
Psalms, Volume 1 § 4. The Question to Whom the Psalm Refers

The truth taught in this verse is, that God will carry forward his own plans in spite of all the attempts of men to thwart them. This general truth may be stated in two forms: (1) He sits undisturbed and unmoved in heaven while men rage against him, and while they combine to cast off his authority. (2) He carries forward his own plans in spite of them. This he does (a) directly, accomplishing his schemes without regard to their attempts; and (b) by making their purposes tributary to his own, so making them the instruments in carrying out his own plans

Yahweh will speak to them The word wrath here, it is hardly necessary to say, should be interpreted in the same manner as the word “laugh” in ver. 4, not as denoting a feeling precisely like that which exists in the human mind, subject as man is to unreasonable passion, but as it is proper to apply it to God—the strong conviction (without passion or personal feeling) of the evil of sin, and the expression of his purpose in a manner adapted to show that evil, and to restrain others from its commission. It means that he will speak to them as if he were angry; or that his treatment of them will be such as men experience from others when they are angry
Vex them, KJV language; what would we say to cause to tremble, to terrify, to strike with consternation This might be done either by a threat or by some judgment indicative of displeasure or anger. Ps. 83:15; Dan. 11:44; Job 22:10. The idea here is that he would alarm them, or make them quake with fear. Their designs, therefore, would be frustrated, and if they did not submit to him they must perish (see vs. 9–12).
Yet I have set My king. It is not simply a king, or the king, but “my king,” meaning that he derived his appointment from God, and that he was placed there to execute his purposes. This indicates the very near relation which the anointed One sustains to him who had appointed him, and prepares us for what is said in the subsequent verse, where he is called his Son.
Next, Upon my holy hill of Zion. Zion was the southern hill in the city of Jerusalem. . It was the highest of the hills on which the city was built. It was made by David the capital of his kingdom, and was hence called the city of David. the meaning is, that in that metropolis or capital God had constituted his Messiah king, or had appointed him to reign over his people. The truth taught in this passage is, that God will carry forward his own purposes in spite of all the opposition which men can make, and that it is his deliberate design to make his anointed One—the Messiah—King over all.

7  I will declare the decree:

The LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son;

This day have I begotten thee.

8  Ask of me,

And I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance,

And the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9  Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron;

Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Psalms, Volume 1 § 4. The Question to Whom the Psalm Refers

will declare the decree. We have here another change in the speaker. The Anointed One is himself introduced as declaring the great purpose which was formed in regard to him, and referring to the promise which was made to him

The Son of God is revealing a conversation between the Father and Himself that occured sometime before the foundation of the world. In that conversation the decree was given that God’s Son would become the sacrifice for humanity’s sin, that God would exalt Him as King of Kings and Lord of lords, The Son is declaring the decree of God the decree of God’s will, officially adopted and enacted in heaven, the appointed King.
What does these verses say about the Son of God?
Has the heathen for an inheritance,
Given the uttermost parts of the earth for possession
Break them with a rod of iron;
Dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
The Treasury of David, Volume 1: Psalms 1–26 Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

It implies that by some previous arrangement on the part of God, he had already assigned an inheritance of the heathen, and the possession of the earth, to the person of whom he says, “Thou art my Son.” And when God says, “I will give,” etc., he reveals to his Anointed, not so much in what the inheritance consisted, and what was the extent of possession destined for him, as the promise of his readiness to bestow it. The heathen were already “the inheritance,” and the ends of the earth “the possession,” which God had purposed to give to his Anointed. Now he says to him, “Ask of me,” and he promises to fulfil his purpose. This is the idea involved in the words of the text, and the importance of it will become more apparent, when we consider its application to the spiritual David, to the true Son of God, “whom he hath appointed the heir of all things.”

10  Be wise now therefore, O ye kings:

Be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11  Serve the LORD with fear,

And rejoice with trembling.

12  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry,

And ye perish from the way,

When his wrath is kindled but a little.

Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

Now the warning. Be wise or make an intelligent decision. Kings, rulers, governors forget your rage; it will result in nothing. But serve the LORD with fear. With reverence, and with deep apprehensions of the consequences of not serving and obeying him. That is, serve him in not opposing, but in promoting his purpose of establishing a kingdom under the Messiah, with fear and trembling .They are mingled feelings, derived from the mercy of God on the one hand, and from his wrath on the other; from the hope which his promise and purpose inspires, and from the apprehension derived from his warnings and threatenings
Psalms, Volume 1 § 4. The Question to Whom the Psalm Refers

Kiss the Son. Him whom God hath declared to be his Son (ver. 7), and whom, as such, he has resolved to set as King on his holy hill (ver. 6). The word kiss here is used in accordance with Oriental usages, for it was in this way that respect was indicated for one of superior rank.

Psalms, Volume 1 § 4. The Question to Whom the Psalm Refers

The practice of kissing the hand of a monarch is not uncommon in European courts as a token of allegiance. The meaning here is that they should express their allegiance to the Son of God, or recognise him as the authorized King, with suitable expressions of submission and allegiance; that they should receive him as King, and submit to his reign. Applied to others, it means that they should embrace him as their Saviour.

Psalms, Volume 1 § 4. The Question to Whom the Psalm Refers

Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. Kings, princes, people;—all, of every age and every land; the poor, the rich, the bond, the free; white, black, copper-coloured, or mixed; all in sickness or health, in prosperity or adversity, in life or in death; all, of every condition, and in all conceivable circumstances,—are blessed who put their trust in him. All need him as a Saviour; all will find him to be a Saviour adapted to their wants. All

The first Psalm was a contrast between the righteous man and the sinner; the second Psalm is a contrast between the tumultuous disobedience of the ungodly world and the sure exaltation of the righteous Son of God. In the first Psalm, we saw the wicked driven away like chaff; in the second Psalm, we see them broken in pieces like a potter’s vessel. In the first Psalm, we beheld the righteous like a tree planted by the rivers of water; and here, we contemplate Christ, the Covenant Head of the righteous, made better than a tree planted by the rivers of water, for he is made king of all the islands, and all the heathen bow before him and kiss the dust; while he himself gives a blessing to all those who put their trust in him. The two Psalms are worthy of the very deepest attention; they are, in fact, the preface in the entire Book of Psalms, and were by some of the ancients, joined into one. They are, however, two Psalms; for Paul speaks of this as the second Psalm. (Acts 13:33.) The first shows us the character and lot of the righteous; and the next teaches us that the Psalms are Messianic, and speak of Christ the Messiah—the Prince who shall reign from the river even unto the ends of the earth. That they have both a far-reaching prophetic outlook we are well assured, but we do not feel competent to open up that matter, and must leave it to abler hands.

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