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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 2

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-12

Psalms 2:1-12.

1-3 The occasion of this psalm might be taken from David’s advancement to the throne, and his expectation of triumphing over the opposition made to his authority, both by disaffected Israelites and the surrounding nations : (Notes, 2 Samuel 2:4-9. v :) but it is throughout an evident prophecy of Christ, and repeatedly quoted as such in the New Testament ; where it is ascribed to David, though his name is not prefixed to it. (Acts 4:25-28; Acts 13:33.) The Jews and Gentiles, the rulers, and the people, set themselves to oppose Christ, when he was condemned by the Jewish council, and crucified by the Roman authority, amidst the insults of surrounding multitudes.

(Notes, Matthew 27:1-2; Matthew 27:11-18; Matthew 27:27-44.) After his resurrection the same opposition was made to the establishment of his religion ; and in every age in one form or another, his kingdom has generally been opposed by the rulers of this world. But the event has uniformly proved, that this attempt, however sagaciously planned, or vigorously conducted, was " a vain thing," an ineffectual and ruinous contest against omnipotence; which originated from a rooted enmity to the authority and commandments of God, and the restraints which they impose on the selfwill and corrupt passions of mankind.

V. 4- 6. The almighty Sovereign, being fully aware of the intentions of his combined enemies, and able to disconcert them in a moment, disdained their impotent rage ; as men deride and laugh at those, who would but cannot hurt them : yet at the same time their enmity excited his indignant wrath ; and by his powerful word he determined to confound and destroy them. He would also establish (or anoint, marg.) his King upon his throne and in his authority over his holy church ; of which the temple and its worship, and the kingdom of the house of David, upon mount /ion, were types. Accordingly, when the priests and rulers prevailed on Pilate to crucify their anointed King, they eventually forwarded his exaltation ; and their persecution of his disciples drove numbers into remote regions, and thus greatly promoted the promulgation of the gospel. (Notes, Genesis 3:14-15. John 11:47-53. Acts 8:4.) After a time, the Roman legions, the executioners of divine vengeance, surrounded Jerusalem ; and at length destroyed the city and temple, and subverted both their civil and ecclesiastical state, with the most dreadful miseries and destruction of the devoted Jews ; the wretched remains of whom to this day, scattered throughout the nations, unwillingly attest the fulfilment of this ancient prophecy. The Roman empire too, having set itself against the cause of Christ, began directly to decline, and at length sunk in the unequal contest. (Note, Zechariah 14:13.) The emperor Julian also, an apostate from Christianity, having undertaken to rebuild the temple and restore the Jews, was strangely baffled, and soon came to an untimely end ; while the kingdom of Christ continues to this present time, in contempt and defiance of all the machinations of earth and hell. The Septuagint render the sixth verse, as the words of David or of Christ : ’ But I have been constituted King by him,’ &c.

V. 7- 9. The King himself is here introduced, proclaiming the eternal purpose of the Father respecting his mediatorial authority, which was to be the recompence of his propitiatory sufferings. At his resurrection from the dead, he was declared to be the Son of God. (Romans 1:4.) His Sonship in this place seems mentioned as coeval with the decree, which is grounded upon it : " Thou art my " Son," ’ and therefore I make the decree of which, in ’ due time, this declaration shall be published." Christ is here recognized as the begotten of the Father, and as partaker of the divine nature and perfections as really, as any son is of the nature of him who begat him. (Note, John 1:18.) When he had accomplished his work on earth, he was authorized to ask and receive the heathen for his inheritance. For his mediatorial authority extends throughout the earth, for the benefit of his church ; and all who are not made his willing subjects, will be as easily and entirely destroyed by his power, as a potter’s vessel is broken by the stroke of an iron rod. (Marg. Ref. r.) The divine appointment of David to be king of Israel, the special favour shewn him, the victories that he obtained, and the dominion which he exercised over the surrounding nations, were very faint shadows of the intended events.

V. 10- 12. It would be vain to oppose the unalterable decree of God, that his Son should reign over the whole earth. It was therefore the wisdom of kings and rulers to submit ; to fear the wrath, and reverence the majesty of JEHOVAH, and become his servants ; to rejoice in their superior rank and prosperity with trembling, lest these should subject them to more aggravated vengeance ; to do homage to Christ as their superior Lord, from whom they have their authority ; to adore him as their God ; and to welcome him as their Saviour, by the kiss of reverence, submission, love, and adoration. (Notes, 1 Samuel 10:1. 1 Kings 19:18. Hosea 13:1-2.) Otherwise they must perish in their rebellion, far from the way of life : for even those, who provoked this almighty King, by rejecting his authority, though without any circumstances of peculiar aggravation, would experience the terrible effects of his wrath : but all who put their trust in him, as their Saviour, would share the blessings of his righteous and merciful government. (Marg. Ref. d. Note, cxivi. 3, 4.) The evident fulfilment of the unequivocal predictions in this psalm, by a series of events exactly answerable to them, during the lapse of many ages, is in reality a full demonstration, that both the prophecy and the accomplishment were from God, and that our holy religion is of divine original and authority. The Jews themselves attest, that this pslam was extant many ages before the birth of Jesus ; and many of them allow, that it principally relates to the promised Messiah, whom they are yet vainly expecting !

How can any one then be so absurdly sceptical, as to imagine that human sagacity, or mere conjecture, could have suggested explicit predictions, which should at length be verified in the most exact and circumstantial manner, by events no otherwise to be accounted for, than on scriptural principles, and by allowing them to have been effected by the power of God himself!


As this apostate world is in fact the kingdom of Satan, unconverted men of every rank, party, or character, may be excited by him, to concur in opposing the cause of God, and the kingdom of Christ. But the kings and the rulers of the earth have generally been especially instigated, by the slanders and misrepresentations of false teachers, and other interested persons, as well as by their own prejudices and passions, to combine in this opposition. They do not brook submission to a superior ; the humbling truths and spiritual precepts of Christ run counter to their ambitious projects and worldly lusts ; and they are apt to suppose that his authority is inconsistent with their dignity, or their felicity. Thus they are often excited to employ all their power and policy " against the LORD and against his "Anointed;" whilst they deceive themselves with the idea, that they are only opposing some obstinate sectaries, who refuse submission to their edicts. (Note-s, John 16:13. Acts 9:3-6; Acts 26:9-11.) But these are vain imaginations, which the Lord disdains and abhors ; and can effect nothing but the confusion and ruin of those who indulge them. For Jesus, the eternal Son of God, is established, and shall reign upon his holy throne, as the Saviour of his people, and the Avenger of his enemies. The decree of the Father has in part taken effect : the kingdom of the Mediator is fixed on the ruins of Jewish and heathen opposers ; and it shall at length universally prevail, whilst every enemy shall be dashed in pieces by his iron rod. (Note, Revelation 2:24-28.) He was indeed crucified in apparent weakness; but he arose in power, and has asked and received his kingdom over all things, for the benefit of his church. Let then kings and rulers, as well as their subjects, lay down their arms, submit to his authority, trust in him as their Saviour, and worship him as their Lord and God ; and let them use all their influence, as his servants, to promote his cause, and advance his kingdom. Indeed we should " rejoice with trembling " in all outward distinctions and possessions, lest the abuse of them should enhance our condemnation ; and even in our attempts to serve the Lord, we sinners have need to fear and tremble, lest we come short of his acceptance : but if we have submitted to the Saviour, and come to the Father in his name and merits, we may rejoice in him with reverence, but without consternation. For " he casteth out none who " come to him," however sinful they may have been ; but they shall all be blessed for ever : whilst all who oppose, despise, neglect, or abuse his gospel, and will not have him for their Saviour and their King, will incur his indignation ; the effects of which, even when " kindled but a little," will be too dreadful for words to express, or imagination to conceive. ^

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 2". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-2.html. 1804.
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