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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Psalms 2

Verses 1-12

Missions: Promises and Prophecies

Psalms 2:0

Diocletian's medal is still existing, on which he had caused to be inscribed that the name of Christians had been extinguished. The Council of Constance in 1414 met to burn Huss, to lay a solemn curse on Wycliffe's memory, and to put an end to schism. James I., after the Hampton Court Conference, said of the Puritans: 'I shall make them conform themselves, or I will harry them out of this land, or else do worse'. Ranavàlona I. undertook to blot out the Christian Church in Madagascar by the help of unspeakable horrors ending in death: but instead of being obliterated, the Church grew marvellously.

References. II. 1. W. L. Watkinson, The Ashes of Roses, p. 9. II. 7, 9. John Thomas, Myrtle Street Pulpit, vol. iii. p. 127.

The World for Christ

Psalms 2:8

This brief Psalm is not, like most of the Psalms, a lyrical effusion, coming from the experience of an individual soul; but it is, if we may say so, dramatic in its form. In a few condensed sentences the whole history of the world is made to pass before us.

(1) First of all here are the heathen and the kings of the earth. The nations imagining a vain thing. They are met together in council, not as you might suppose, to ask how they can submit themselves to the eternal will of God, not to ask how they can make their government upon earth some slight shadowing of the government of God in heaven, but they are met together to take counsel how they can be rid of God, how they can cast off His restraints and defy His reign. (2) The spirit of this Psalm bids us lift up our eyes from the earth to the heavens, and to Him that sitteth there. (3) Once more the spirit turns our eyes from the heights of heaven down to the earth, to behold the king whom God hath chosen. A king though there is no proclamation of His reign, except the scornful writing over the felon's cross on which He died. This wonderful Psalm may be trusted to deliver its own message and to teach its own lesson to us all.

I. First that God does intend to bring the whole world, the whole rebel world into subjection to His holy will; that notwithstanding these marshalled empires and these conspiring forces of evil, He will not be baffled; they shall all bow before Him, and from this among other reasons that in the last resort all thrones, dominations, princedoms, virtues, powers that remain unsubjected to His will, must be dashed to pieces under the care of the Divine triumphant power.

II. And the second point is that the mighty end is to be attained by that humble-seeming King, Christ Jesus; that it will be given to Him in answer to prayer; for the Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son, and the Son has come into the world, not to judge the world but to save it. The world shall be brought to God, and brought to God by Jesus Christ and in answer to prayer.

R. F. Horton, The Sermon Year Book, 1891, p. 252.

Psalms 2:8

Archbishop Tait (when Bishop of London) took this as the text of his C.M.S. sermon in 1859, on the day following the national thanksgiving for the final restoration of peace and order in India after the Mutiny.

Psalms 2:10

This verse was the remonstrance addressed to Henry VIII. at Smithfield by John Lambert, who was burned in 1538: 'Now, ye kings, understand O ye which judge the earth, be wise and learned. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice in Him with trembling.'

Lambert's martyrdom was one of the most cruel of that time, and the often-quoted words came from him as he lifted his fingers flaming with fire,' None but Christ, none but Christ'.

John Ker.

Christian Reverence

Psalms 2:11

In heaven love will absorb fear, but in this world fear and love must go together. No one can love God aright without fearing Him, though many fear Him and yet do not love Him. Self-confident men, who do not know their own hearts, or the reasons they have for being dissatisfied with themselves, do not fear God, and they think this bold freedom is to love Him. Deliberate sinners fear but cannot love Him. But devotion to Him consists in love and fear, as we may understand from our ordinary attachment to each other. No one really loves another who does not feel a certain reverence towards him. When friends transgress this sobriety of affection, they may indeed continue associates for a time, but they have broken the bond of union. It is mutual respect which makes friendship lasting. So again, in the feelings of inferiors towards superiors. Fear must go before love. Till he who has authority shows he has it and can use it, his forbearance will not be valued duly; his kindness will look like weakness. We learn to contemn what we do not fear; and we cannot love what we contemn. So in religion also. We cannot understand Christ's mercies till we understand His power, His glory, His unspeakable holiness, and our demerits; that is, until we first fear Him.

J. H. Newman.

Psalms 2:12

We are thus told that Christ at His coming will greet us most lovingly. He will not come to destroy the human race, but to save all those who flee to Him, as He says, Come unto Me, all ye that labour. These words are a pleasant salutation and the sweetest kiss that He offers us. Christ does not enter Jerusalem, as Herod did, slaying the people, but offering salvation to all.

Melanchthon on the Psalms.

References. II. 12. Expositor (3rd Series), vol. v. p. 305. G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 133. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. v. No. 260. I. Williams, The Psalms Interpreted of Christ, p. 86. S. Cox, Expositor (2nd Series), vol. iii. p. 13. F. W. Macdonald, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iii. p. 81. S. Black, Contemporary Pulpit, vol. iv. p. 316. Parker, The Ark of God, p. 117. S. A. Brooke, The Spirit of the Christian Life, p. 95.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Psalms 2". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/psalms-2.html. 1910.