Attention!
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Psalms 2

Psalm 1 and Psalm 2 belong together. Psalm 1 begins with “blessed” (Psa 1:1) and Psalm 2 ends with “blessed” (Psa 2:12). Psalm 1 is about the Word of God and Psalm 2 is about the incarnate Word of God (Jn 1:14), Christ, the Son of God, the King of Israel (Jn 1:49).

Psalm 1 is about the teaching of God on the Scriptures that is meditated in by the believing remnant and especially by the Lord Jesus. Psalm 2 is about the Messiah, the King of God, the Person Whom the Scriptures are all about (Jn 5:39) and on Whom the hope of the believing remnant is based. The law of God and the King of God belong together. Man must submit to both in faith. He finds his joy in the Word (Psa 1:2) and sets his hope in Christ, the Son of God, the King (Psa 2:12).

As in Psalm 1, Psalm 2 the name of the poet is lacking. From Acts 4 we know that this psalm is of David, and that in connection with God’s promise (2Sam 7:13-14). Psalm 2 is quoted by the early Christians in their prayer prayed in response to the arrest of Peter and John who, after their release, shared their experiences with their fellow believers. In their prayer following the report of Peter and John, they quote Psa 2:1-2 of this psalm (Acts 4:25-26).

Immediately following the quote, they say to God: “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel” (Acts 4:27). Believers may be the target of the world’s enmity, but the enmity is fundamentally directed at God and His Christ.

God rules the nations and especially Israel by the law and He exercises His government through His King, the Messiah of Israel. In Psalm 2, the nations are the main subject in that government exercised by God’s King from Zion. The rights of the Anointed do not concern only Israel, but go to the ends of the earth (Psa 2:8). In Psalm 8 we see that the entire habitable earth is subject to the Son of Man. From the New Testament we know that His government also includes heaven (Eph 1:10).

Prophetically, the psalm points to both the first and second coming of Christ. We may well say that we live just before the second coming of Christ. However, it is primarily about the time of the great tribulation that is yet to come. The rebellion of the nations, of which David speaks in Psa 2:1-3, will then reach its climax (Rev 19:19). That is the time when the Lord Jesus will come back to earth. Then He will judge the rebellious and reign from Zion. We see this in Psa 2:6-9.

This psalm is also the first example of what are called the Messianic psalms (Psalms 2; 8; 16; 22; 24; 40; 41; 45; 68; 69; 91; 97; 102; 110; 118). Messianic psalms are psalms that are not applied to Christ, but in which we hear Him speak personally. We find the evidence for this in the New Testament, where it is said of these psalms that the Lord Jesus speaks in them.

The poet of such a psalm is a prophet who by the Spirit speaks words that only the Lord Jesus has spoken. They come from the mouth of the perfect King, Christ, Messiah, God’s Anointed (Psa 2:2). He is the King, Who is given the title Son of God in Psalm 2 (Psa 2:2; cf. Jn 1:49). Then we can also apply parts of those psalms to the faithful remnant and to us.

We can divide Psalm 2 into four sections of three verses:
1. Psa 2:1-3 the worldwide rebellion against the LORD and the anointed King.
2. Psa 2:4-6 God’s response to it.
3. Psa 2:7-9 God announces the coming of the Son.
4. Psa 2:10-12 God’s advice to the nations of the world.

Verses 1-3

Apart From God


The why-question in Psa 2:1 with which the psalm begins is not a question to which an answer is expected. It is a question of amazement in the sense of ‘who in a right mind would dare to do that?’ The rebellion of the nations is foolish, unfounded, senseless. After all, it is clear in advance that all their fussing will come to nothing, or worse, will end in their ruin (cf. Job 9:4). Their uproar is all wasted effort. And what they devise – this is the same word as “meditate” in Psalm 1 (Psa 1:2) – is “a vain thing”.

With one single sentence, God refutes all the conspiracies of the nations and their rebellion against Him. They come up with proposals that are meaningless because in reality they turn “against the LORD and against His Anointed” (Psa 2:2). In the discussion of the issues by the nations and their proposed solutions, God and His Anointed have no place, because the kings will not submit to Them.

What the ‘great minds’ hatch are weapons they set up against heaven. It is all well-wrapped and presented in pleasant words, so that their subjects go along easily. But those who have eyes to see will see that they take counsel together, that they are joining forces, to banish from society and people’s thinking anything that reminds them of God and His Christ.

Everything God says feels to them like “fetters” and “cords” (Psa 2:3). They do not want restrictions imposed on them. They know well that God and Christ have given rules of life. That they are aware of this is evident from what they say, because they speak of “their” fetters and cords. Man feels autonomous and wants to be free from God. Therefore: Away with the squeezing yoke of marriage as only valid between one man and one woman. Away with the squeezing yoke of the family where a child is raised only by the father and mother by whom it was conceived and given birth in love.

Nor is their rebellion merely against the LORD by resisting His law – which is mentioned in Psalm 1 (Psa 1:2). Their rebellion is profoundly expressed by resisting His Anointed. This is true both for His first coming (Jn 1:10-11) and for His coming back in glory (Rev 17:14). The kings and lords of this world refuse to recognize the authority of the King of kings and Lord of lords.

At His first coming we see a Herod and a Pontius Pilate putting aside their differences and conspiring to resist the Lord Jesus. They are a type of the two beasts described in Revelation 13. Herod is a type of the second beast, the antichrist, the future false king of Israel (Rev 13:11-18). Pontius Pilate is a type of the first beast, the future leader of the restored Roman Empire, the united states of Europe (Rev 13:1-10). They will both fight against the Lord Jesus at His return, a fight that will take place in the plain of Megiddo, which is in Har-Magedon (Rev 16:16).

The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God (Rom 8:7). We see the enmity at the coming of the Lord, both at His first and at His second coming. However, this enmity is not only the result of man’s depraved heart, but also and especially the result of the power of satan, whom the Bible calls “the ruler of this world” (Jn 12:31).

Verses 4-6

God’s Response


It is ridiculous to defy and reject God’s authority, to rebel against Him and to try to be independent of Him. The response of “the Lord” – that is, Adonai or the Commander, the Ruler – to this is a mocking laughter (Psa 2:4; cf. Psa 37:12-13; Psa 59:7-8; Pro 1:24-27). God does not laugh at people who bow down to Him, but at people who rebel against Him. He cannot take their attempts seriously. After all, He sits, or is enthroned, in heaven, untouchable from the rebellion of the nations.

That He cannot be affected by it does not mean that He is indifferent to it. That which He is far exalted above does not mean that He is indifferent to it. He knows exactly what people want and do. He will respond to that in His time in an appropriate, completely righteous way. His throne is in heaven, which means that He has supreme authority over the universe. He rules and not the kings and rulers.

Then He acts by speaking (Psa 2:5). When He speaks, He acts. God acts through His Word. He only has to speak a word, and it happens. He will therefore wage war with the sword that comes from His mouth: His Word. He announces what He is going to do.

The tone in which He speaks is terrifying. The content of what He says means the end of all rebellion. God does not look lovingly on people who ball their fist at Him in conscious rebellion against Him and who roar at Him with muscular language. He speaks to them in His anger about what He intends. “His fury” indicates a consuming judgment. The anger of Adonai is like a fire that consumes everything.

His fury will be executed by His King, His Anointed, His Messiah (Psa 2:6). The Messiah is Adonai Himself. He is none other than the Lord Jesus, the glorified Lord. Almost every word of this verse indicates why the resistance of the nations is so foolish and the installing or appointment of God’s King is so obvious. God says: “But as for Me, I have.” If God has done something, what will any man do to change it? The very idea is ridiculous, utter madness.

And what has God done? He says: “I have installed [or: consecrated, or: anointed] My King.” With that, everything is determined and the future is fixed. Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords. His authority is fixed, as is the submission to it of everyone and everything, whether voluntarily or forced. Before Him every knee will bow (Phil 2:10). No one escapes this. When God has installed or anointed His King, that is the end of all rebellion. Now we don’t see that yet, but we see Him to Whom all things are submitted, and He is the guarantee that it will happen (Heb 2:8b-9).

That it is about the government of God’s Messiah – “Anointed” is the translation of the Hebrew word Messiah and of the Greek word Christ – is evident from the center of His government: Zion, which is Jerusalem, and the holy mountain, which is the temple-mountain. This also makes it obvious that that government is yet to come, for His throne is not yet in Jerusalem.

Verses 7-9

God’s Son, the Messiah


In Psa 2:7, the Lord Jesus is speaking. He tells of the decree that God made known in the previous verse. This means that no man is excusable if he does not know this decree. He who does not know it has to blame himself. He could have known, but he did not want to know. It is a conscious and therefore culpable ignorance.

The Lord Jesus says what the LORD said to Him. First of all, there is that personal relationship: “You are My Son.” Here we hear God’s personal pleasure expressed in Him, a pleasure of which the Son is fully aware (Lk 3:22; cf. Heb 1:5; Heb 5:5).

The LORD promised David that the King Messiah, the Son of David, will be at the same time the Son of God: “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me” (2Sam 7:14). This means that the King will reign as the representative of His Father. Israel’s hope is inextricably linked to the Person of the King.

The purpose of the entire history of the world is God’s plan with Him. The fact that people have seen the world as their property since the Fall and have treated it as such does not change that. On the contrary, it increases their responsibility toward God. They misuse what God has intended for His Son by using everything for themselves without any recognition of Christ as the rightful Owner.

Christ as Creator is the Owner of creation. Through the sin of man, creation has come under the authority of satan. But the Lord Jesus as Redeemer has retaken the right to creation through His work on the cross. He does not yet exercise that right publicly, but He has it. In order to do the necessary work of redeeming creation, He, Who is the eternal Son, became Man. This happened because God the Holy Spirit conceived Him in Mary (Lk 1:35).

This means that the Lord Jesus is Son of God in two respects. First, He is the eternal Son. He is eternal, just like the Father (Jn 1:1; Jn 16:28; Jn 17:4; 24; Heb 7:1-3). It is clear that the Father is eternally Father because the Son is eternally Son. He is, in the second place, Son of God as Man. He has not been that eternally, but He has become that and will remain that forever. He, Who has always been and always remains the eternal Son, came in the flesh. He was not begotten by a sinful father, but by God the Holy Spirit. This means that He is also the Son of God as Man.

Reference has already been made to Paul’s speech in Pisidian Antioch, in which Paul quotes this psalm, and specifically this Psa 2:7 (Acts 13:32-33). It is clear from the quote that the Lord Jesus is more than just the Son of David. He is also, by His birth, the Son of God; it points to the origin of His life as Man on earth. After the quotation indicating His conception, Paul goes directly to His raising from the dead (Acts 13:34-35).

Christ, as the risen Lord, has been given all authority in heaven and on earth (Mt 28:18). God says to Him here that He may ask to actually exercise that authority (Psa 2:8). He doesn’t do that on His own either. The despised, rejected and dead, but now risen and glorified Messiah waits for the time of the Father. He remains the dependent Man, Who will only act when the Father commissions him to do so. Then He will actually appropriate His rightful property and possession.

In His prayer to the Father the Lord Jesus says that He asks not for the world, but for those whom the Father has given Him (Jn 17:9). Then He will ask for the ends of the earth. He will do that when the church is complete. Therefore, He is not yet claiming His property and possession. After the church is caught up, He will do so and begin to reign.

The nations of the whole earth will notice this. When He rules “with a rod of iron”, He will shatter all the enemies of God and His people (Rev 19:15b). What He does to them is like smashing “earthenware”. This symbolizes the frailty of man. He is no more than easily broken pottery (cf. Jer 19:11). After all, man is made of dust of the earth (Gen 2:7), to which the word “earthenware” refers.

The exercise of judgment is here attributed to the Lord Jesus. This exercise of judgment is also declared applicable to the overcomers in the church in Thyatira. They are allowed to reign with Christ as a reward for their faithfulness (Rev 2:27). Any grant of power by the Lord Jesus to others is the grant of a power which He Himself received from His Father (cf. Mt 11:27a; Mt 28:18; Jn 3:35; Jn 5:22; 27; Jn 13:3).

Verses 10-12

Invitation to Do Homage to the Son


After the Father speaking to the Son (Psa 2:6) and the Son speaking about Himself (Psa 2:7-8), the Holy Spirit speaks in Psa 2:10-12. The anger of God has not yet been kindled and the Lord Jesus does not yet rule with an iron rod on earth. With the exhortation, “now therefore”, the leaders, “kings” and “judges of the earth”, are called to action (Psa 2:10).

It is “now” the prosperous time, it is “now” the day of salvation (2Cor 6:2b). “Now therefore”, quickly, change your attitude toward God. Kings must begin to show discernment, to act wisely. This is only possible if they break with their sins (cf. Dan 4:27). Judges or rulers must no longer seek their own advantage, but must begin to administer justice honestly. To do so, they must be willing to be taught and accept the teaching of God’s Word. Perhaps it is also meant that they let themselves to be taught and repent by the discipline that God brings upon them.

True repentance is evidenced by worshiping or serving “the LORD with reverence”. Human life is about worshiping or serving God. This is what God created man for, and therein lies the true meaning of his humanity, through which He fulfills his deepest desires. Worshiping or serving God is the only thing that gives satisfaction and meaning to one’s existence. We may worship or serve God with reverence for Who He is. It is worshiping or serving Him Who is far above us and entitled to our worship or service because He created us and sustains us.

There is joy associated with worshiping or serving God. That means it is not a forced, slavish worship or service. Yet we must never forget that the One we worship or serve is “the Lord who is great and awesome” (Neh 4:14). That includes an appropriate “trembling”. This is not about fear, but about reverence. Acknowledging the majesty of Him Whom we may worship or serve will keep us from a frivolous, arrogant attitude toward Him.

The last verse contains a gracious invitation and an earnest warning (Psa 2:12). In order to worship or serve the LORD in a way that is pleasing to Him, it is necessary for man to be in the right relationship with the Son. With this, the whole life of any human being stands or falls. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father either (Jn 5:23b), no matter what he may claim about his own worship or service to God. To honor God means to honor the Son. Therefore, in conclusion, the call is to do homage to [literally: kiss] the Son, that is, to bow before Him in reverence (cf. 1Sam 10:1; 1Kgs 19:18; Hos 13:2; Lk 7:38; 44-45) and be reconciled to Him.

The flip side is the kindling of His wrath. His wrath hangs menacingly over any man who is in “the way” and lives for himself without regard to the authority of the Son. Those who do not kiss the Son perish by the kindling of the Son’s wrath. The wrath kindling “soon” means a rapid end of the man who has not kissed Him. “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31). “For our God is a consuming fire” (Heb 12:29).

The psalm ends with the word “blessed”, the same word with which Psalm 1 begins. This “blessed” is offered to all who have not yet kissed the Son. It is a final invitation. In it a safe refuge from God’s wrath is offered. That refuge is none other than He Who exercises judgment. He is also the One Who protects everyone from judgment who takes refuge in Him. He rejects no one who comes to Him with sincere repentance and confession of his sins.

Prophetically, this verse is also an introduction to the following psalms, Psalms 3-7. Before the violence of the great tribulation erupts over the heads of the believing remnant, it is proclaimed here where salvation is to be found: only with the LORD. We can compare this to the ark being built as a means of salvation before and in view of the coming flood. The ark is a picture of Christ and the flood is a picture of the great tribulation.

Copyright Statement
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
No part of the publications may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author.
Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 2". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-2.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.