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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 2

Verses 1-12

This psalm, by a constant succession of the rabbins, is applied to Christ. If it have any bearing on David’s enemies, for the eyes of prophets were often directed from objects near, to those which are remote, it is not the less prophetic on that account. The rending of the altar, 1 Kings 13:0., and Isaiah’s infant son, chap. 7., are both of that nature. To restrict this psalm to the Philistines, who took alarm at David’s coronation, would be applying it to an object not altogether novel, there having been wars and battles with that nation for half a century, and with but short interruptions. Add to this, that the new testament regards this psalm not only as prophetic, Acts 4:0. Hebrews 5:0.; but as one of the most luminous prophecies of the old testament.

Psalms 2:2 . His anointed. The Chaldee reads, his Messiah, which properly distinguishes the passage from the anointing of David.

Psalms 2:9 . With a rod of iron. Monarchs are generally invested with sceptres; parcere subjectis, et debellare superbos; to spare the lowly, and subdue the proud.


After the introductory psalm of piety, this justly follows as a luminous prediction of the Messiah, and of his kingdom. It contemplates the rage of the jewish rulers, of Herod and Pilate against the Lord and his church. Yea, it extends its views to the Roman emperors, who thundered out their edicts against the faithful in oft repeated persecutions. It has a strong and equal bearing on all revolting powers, which take counsel against the Lord to retain their sins, and cast off the yoke, the easy yoke of Christ.

While the rulers and persecutors are taking counsel against the anointed king, the Lord sits all calm in the heavens, and laughs them to scorn. He makes their anger subservient to his pleasure, either to scatter the flock and enlarge the work, or to make them destroy one another by a succession of wars.

Amid the rage of men, or the winds which shake the earth, the heralds of the Lord shall publish the decree; that is, the doctrines and precepts of the gospel, for no other law except the gospel law was published to the jews, and by them to the gentiles.

This gospel declares the Messiah to be the Son of God. Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee; that is, God’s own Son, or literally τον εαυτου υιος , the Son of Himself. Romans 8:3. The adverb, “to-day,” cannot be restricted to present time, because his “goings forth were of old, from everlasting;” yea, according to the Psalmist, “from the womb of the morning.” Psalms 110:0. Micah 5:0. It is the current doctrine of the fathers, that there never was either morning or noon or night with God, for “he dwelleth in light.” When Praxeas had accused the primitive christians of tritheism, Tertullian replies: “There is then One God the Father, and besides him no other; by which he [the prophet] does not mean to deny the Son, but the existence of any other God. Now, the Son is not another, distinct from the Father. On investigating the bearing of these forms of speech, you will perceive that their peculiar reference is to those who make and worship the work of their own hands; that the Unity of the Divinity might supersede the multitude of false gods, while it associates the Son, who is undivided and inseparable from the Father; and understood to be in the Father, though not named. Had he, for instance, named him, it would have been understood as separating the Son from himself. Had he said, There is none other besides me, except my Son, he would have made another [God] of the Son, and taken exception against him.” Igitur unus Deus Pater.

The enlargement of the Messiah’s kingdom is connected with his mediatorial intercession. Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance. This is the current language of the prophets. “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him.” “Look unto me, all ye ends of the earth, and be saved.” They are all connected with the “effusions of the Spirit on all flesh,” and all the blessings of the new covenant. As the clouds rise out of the sea, and water all the plains with showers, and then descend on the great and dry mountain ranges, so these promises, having refreshed all ages of the church, reserve the plenitude of benedictions for the hill of Zion in the latter day.

In preaching Christ therefore, and in commanding the nations to bow the knee, we are not to degrade him as the son of Joseph, like the Socinians, who affirm that the words, son and begotten, mean only his resurrection, for which they corruptly turn Acts 13:33. An apostle however has given us the true meaning of the passage, in Romans 1:3-4. He affirms that “God had promised the gospel afore by his prophets, concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, when he had raised him from the dead.” Here then are the two natures of Christ. He was the Son of God, as to his divine nature; and was afterwards conceived in the flesh by the Spirit of holiness, and consequently free from original sin. The resurrection has no reference to the word begotten, but was an act of the Divinity, which declared to the world that the Saviour was the Lord from heaven. The resurrection added no paternity to the Father, no filiation to the Son, it only declared his Godhead.

Be wise then, oh ye kings. Kiss the Son, lest he shiver you, as vases of the earth, whose sherds can never be rejoined. Lay aside your infidel notions, and daring words, and embrace the truth with humble hearts and bended knees, for his throne alone is everlasting.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 2". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.