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Bible Commentaries

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 2



Verse 1

1. The heathen rage—The nations tumultuously assemble. The idea is that of a hasty gathering of conspirators, as Daniel 6:6; Daniel 6:11; Daniel 6:15. In Psalms 64:2 the cognate word is rendered conspirators, and is applied to the conspiracy of Jews and Gentiles against Christ, Acts 4:26-27, where see notes.

Vain thing—A thing of vanity or emptiness; a thing that shall never succeed, and, by implication, wicked. The interrogative why, or to what purpose, or for what cause, indicates the groundlessness as well as the futility of all this combination, and the question seems asked in astonishment. Neither these purposes of David’s enemies nor of Christ’s ever succeeded.

Verse 2

2. Kings of the earth… rulers—The chief powers of the earth are arrayed against Jehovah and his Anointed.

Set themselves—Literally, place themselves firmly. The word is often used in a military or hostile sense, as 1 Samuel 17:16, and here denotes an attitude of determined opposition.

The verb is in the future, but imports what is going on at the present time.

Take counsel—Have consulted confidentially.

Anointed—Hebrew, Messiah, for which the Greek is Christ, (see note Matthew 1:1,) here referring historically to the Hebrew king whom God had anointed with holy oil, (1 Samuel 16:13,) but prophetically to Christ, the royal Son of David, to whom it is directly applied Acts 4:24-27, and who was consecrated, not with oil, but by the fulness of the Holy Ghost at his baptism. Matthew 3:13-17

Verse 3

3. Their bands… their cords—The plural suffix their refers to Jehovah and his Messiah. The result of these hostile deliberations is the mutual exhortation to break asunder and cast away the bands of Messiah’s government. “Bands” and “cords “are the restraints and authority of law, and its moral rebuke of sin. The enemies will neither submit to law and obligation nor accept pardon through Christ. Their language implies that they already felt the restraining and reproving power of the Law and Gospel, and were partly under that power, but were bent on freedom in sin and hostility to God. This was the course of the Pharisees and rulers against Christ. See introductory note.

Verse 4

4. Laugh… derision—A bold anthropomorphism, here signifying not only exultation, but the infinite ease with which God shall render abortive all their plans, which in Psalms 2:1 are called “vain,”nothing. See Psalms 37:13; Psalms 52:6

Verse 5

5. Then—Emphatic. At the moment when their “counsel” was about to be executed: at the crisis when they expected success. See Deuteronomy 29:19-20; where “then” indicates that point where success was looked for. The connexion shows that God had suffered them to prosper for a time, but at length “he arose to judgment.” Psalms 76:9.

Speak—God speaks in his acts as well as his words. The context shows that the speaking is in wrathful judgment, and that men shall hear and know.

Vex—He will perplex and terrify them by a sudden miscarriage of their plans. See Exodus 14:24-25

Verse 6

6. Set my king—The word rendered “set” (a different one from that so rendered Psalms 2:2) means to pour out, as a libation; also, to appoint, anoint. Furst renders it here, “To appoint with a libation.” David was not anointed king upon Zion, but in Hebron; yet he was “set,” or established, in Zion as by a new anointing. The Septuagint reads: “I have been made king by him upon Zion, his holy mountain.”

Verse 7

7. I will declare the decree—David now prophetically speaks in the person of Christ, or in Christ’s stead, who is called, Psalms 2:2, the “Anointed” of Jehovah, and, in Psalms 2:6, Jehovah’s “King,” and in this verse, Jehovah’s “Son.” The language now passes to the highest reach of prophetico-typical description.

Thou art my Son—The “my” denotes the promulgator of the “decree;” the “Son” is he in whose favour the decree is proclaimedDavid’s royal descendant and yet David’s Lordthe Christ. He is “Son,” not by adoption, as are all the true Israel of God, but by being the “only begotten of the Father.”

This day have I begotten thee—The expression, “this day,” does not mark the origin of Christ’s Sonship, but the period of the promulgation of this decree, be that when it might. The open manifestation of its fulfilment was, when “Christ was declared to be the Son of God with power by his resurrection from the dead.”

Verse 8

8. Heathen—Mixed people, Gentiles.

Uttermost parts of the earth—The total boundary of the world. The kingdom of Christ embraces the whole world, all worlds, all things visible and invisible. Colossians 1:16-17. The Church is only that part of his kingdom on earth which has publicly submitted to his authority, and has obtained pardon and reconciliation through him. The rest are under him dominion, though in a state of revolt. See on Psalms 2:9

Verse 9

9. Rod of iron—The sceptre, which is the emblem of authority, shall be an iron rod, the symbol of severity, called “the rod of thy [Messiah’s] strength,” (Psalms 110:2,) which Jehovah would “send out of Zion.” This severity applies only to Christ’s judgments on his enemies, who refuse submission and despise the gospel. The New Testament abates nothing of this language or doctrine. The gospel is a free amnesty to all who will accept it, and a rule of judgment against all who reject it: (compare Jeremiah 19:11; Revelation 12:5; Revelation 19:15;) “of vengeance on them that… obey not the gospel.” 2 Thessalonians 1:8. “The wrath of the Lamb,” (Revelation 6:16,) is no less than that threatened in Psalms 2:9; Psalms 2:12 of our psalm.

Verses 10-12

10-12. Be wise now—An admonition to kings and rulers to make peace with King Messiah.

Be instructed—Be corrected, chastened, restrained.

Fear… rejoice… trembling—Reverence for the glory and majesty of Messiah’s character, joy at his benignity toward those who receive him, and trembling for all who disobey because of the terror of his iron sceptre.

Kiss—Submit, pay homage and obedience to the Son. Kissing the hand was a token of homage and respect. 1 Samuel 10:1.

TrustTake refuge, in the Son of God. The word “trust,” which is here used, is almost universally applied in the Old Testament to saving faith in God. Here it applies to the Son of God, Messiah. See note on Psalms 34:8; and compare John 5:21; John 5:23-27. Those who believe in God must believe also in Christ. John 14:1; John 16:3.


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Bibliography Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 2:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.

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