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Why do the nations rage so furiously together?

Psalm 2 is the second Psalm of the Bible. It tells us that we can either defy God and perish, or submit to him and be blessed. Psalm 2 itself does not identify its author, but Acts 4:25-26 clearly attributes it to David.

Contents

In the original Hebrew

Scroll of the Psalms

In the original Hebrew, Psalm 2[1] reads as follows:

א לָמָּה, רָגְשׁוּ גוֹיִם; וּלְאֻמִּים, יֶהְגּוּ-רִיק.
ב יִתְיַצְּבוּ, מַלְכֵי-אֶרֶץ-- וְרוֹזְנִים נוֹסְדוּ-יָחַד:
עַל-יְהוָה, וְעַל-מְשִׁיחוֹ. ג נְנַתְּקָה, אֶת-מוֹסְרוֹתֵימוֹ; וְנַשְׁלִיכָה מִמֶּנּוּ עֲבֹתֵימוֹ.
ד יוֹשֵׁב בַּשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׂחָק: אֲדֹנָי, יִלְעַג-לָמוֹ.
ה אָז יְדַבֵּר אֵלֵימוֹ בְאַפּוֹ; וּבַחֲרוֹנוֹ יְבַהֲלֵמוֹ.
ו וַאֲנִי, נָסַכְתִּי מַלְכִּי: עַל-צִיּוֹן, הַר-קָדְשִׁי.
ז אֲסַפְּרָה, אֶל-חֹק: יְהוָה, אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה--אֲנִי, הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ.
ח שְׁאַל מִמֶּנִּי--וְאֶתְּנָה גוֹיִם, נַחֲלָתֶךָ; וַאֲחֻזָּתְךָ, אַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ.
ט תְּרֹעֵם, בְּשֵׁבֶט בַּרְזֶל: כִּכְלִי יוֹצֵר תְּנַפְּצֵם.
י וְעַתָּה, מְלָכִים הַשְׂכִּילוּ; הִוָּסְרוּ, שֹׁפְטֵי אָרֶץ.
יא עִבְדוּ אֶת-יְהוָה בְּיִרְאָה; וְגִילוּ, בִּרְעָדָה.
יב נַשְּׁקוּ-בַר, פֶּן-יֶאֱנַף וְתֹאבְדוּ דֶרֶךְ-- כִּי-יִבְעַר כִּמְעַט אַפּוֹ: אַשְׁרֵי, כָּל-חוֹסֵי בוֹ.

In the Vulgate

St Jerome, main author of the Vulgate.

In the Vulgate, Psalm 2[2] is translated as follows:

1 quare turbabuntur gentes et tribus meditabuntur inania
2 consurgent reges terrae et principes tractabunt pariter adversum Dominum et adversum christum eius
3 disrumpamus vincula eorum et proiciamus a nobis laqueos eorum
4 habitator caeli ridebit Dominus subsannabit eos
5 tunc loquetur ad eos in ira sua et in furore suo conturbabit eos
6 ego autem orditus sum regem meum super Sion montem sanctum suum adnuntiabo Dei praeceptum
7 Dominus dixit ad me filius meus es tu ego hodie genui te
8 postula a me et dabo tibi gentes hereditatem tuam et possessionem tuam terminos terrae
9 pasces eos in virga ferrea ut vas figuli conteres eos
10 nunc ergo reges intellegite erudimini iudices terrae
11 servite Domino in timore et exultate in tremore
12 adorate pure ne forte irascatur et pereatis de via
13 cum exarserit post paululum furor eius beati omnes qui sperant in eum

In the English Authorised Version

Frontispiece to the King James' Bible, 1611, shows the Twelve Apostles at the top. Moses and Aaron flank the central text. In the four corners sit Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, authors of the four gospels, with their symbolic animals. At the top, over the holy spirit in a form of a dove, is the Tetragrammaton "יהוה" ("YHWH").

In the English Authorised version, Psalm 2[3] is translated as follows:

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.

11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

In Jewish tradition

Psalm 2 is considered Messianic by many rabbis.[4]

  1. Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 52a: "Our Rabbis taught, The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the son of David (May he reveal himself speedily in our days!), 'Ask of me anything, and I will give it to thee', as it is said, I will tell of the decree etc. this day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the nations for thy inheritance" (Psalms ii. 7-8).[5]
  2. Genesis Rabbah 44:8 R. Jonathan said: "Three persons were bidden 'ask', viz.: Solomon, Ahaz, and the King Messiah. Solomon: Ask what I shall give thee (1 Kings III, 5). Ahaz: Ask thee a sign (Isa. VII, 11). The King Messiah: Ask of Me, etc. (Ps. II, 8)."[6]
  3. Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer (9th c.), Section 28, on verse 1: All the nations will be gathered together to fight with the Son of David, as it is said: The kings of the earth set themselves, etc.[7]
  4. Rashi (11th c.): Our teachers interpreted the subject of this Psalm with reference to King Messiah, but according to its plain meaning it will be right to expound it of David himself."[8]
  5. Midrash on Psalms (11th c.): This day have I begotten thee (Psalm 2:7). R. Huna said: Suffering is divided into three portions: one, the Patriarchs and all the generations of men took; one, the generation that lived in the time of [Hadrian's] persecution took; and one, the generation of the lord Messiah will take. When the time comes, the Holy One, blessed be He, will say: "I must create the Messiah -- a new creation." As Scripture says, This day have I begotten thee -- that is, on the very day of redemption, God will create the Messiah. Ask of Me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession (Ps. 2:8). God, speaking to the Messiah, says: If thou dost ask for dominion over the nations, already they are thine inheritance; if for the ends of the earth, already they are thy possession. R. Johanan taught: To three men -- Solomon, Ahaz, and the lord Messiah -- the Holy One, blessed be He, said, "Ask of me." To Solomon, as is written In Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night; and God said: "Ask what I shall give thee" (1 Kings 3:5). To Ahaz, as is written "Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God: ask it either in the depth, or in the height above" (Isa. 7:11)....To the lord Messiah, as is written Ask of Me, and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession.[9]
  6. Maimonides (11th c.), introduction to Sanhedrin, chapter 10: The prophets and the saints have longed for the days of the Messiah, and great has been their desire towards him, for there will be with him the gathering together of the righteous and the administration of good, and wisdom, and royal righteousness, with the abundance of his uprightness and the spread of his wisdom, and his approach to God, as it is said: The Lord said unto me, Thou art my son, to-day have I begotten thee.[10]
  7. David Kimchi (13th c.), comment on verse 12: There are those who interpret this psalm of Gog and Magog, and the "anointed" as the King Messiah; and thus did our rabbis of blessed memory interpret it (b. Berachot 7b).[11]
  8. Yalkut (13th c.), Section 621 On verse 7: R. Huna said in the name of R. Idi, In three parts were the punishments divided: one for King Messiah, and when His hour cometh the Holy One, blessed be He, saith, I must make a new covenant with Him, and so He saith, To-day have I begotten thee. On verse 9: "Thou wilt bruise them with a rod of iron"; this is Messiah ben Joseph.[12]

In Christian tradition

Christ the Saviour (Pantokrator), a 6th-century encaustic icon from Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai.

In Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary (1708-12), verses 1-6 are viewed as threats against Christ's kingdom, verses 7-9 as promise to Christ as the Head of this kingdom, and verses 10-12 as counsel to all to serve Christ.[13]

In Adam Clark's commentary, verses 1-3 are viewed as opposition raised against the kingdom of Christ; verses 4-6 as Christ's victory, and the confusion of his enemies; verses 7-9 as the promulgation of the Gospel after his resurrection; and verses 10-12 as a call to all to accept it, because those who reject it will perish.[14]

Musical Settings

Psalm 2 is one of the psalms used in George Frideric Handel's Messiah, where it is featured prominently towards the end of the second part of the composition.

References

  1. ^ תְּהִלִּים
  2. ^ Psalm 2, Jerome's Latin Vulgate (405 A.D.), The Book of Psalms
  3. ^ Psalm 2 (King James Version), from Bible Gateway
  4. ^ Jews for Jesus
  5. ^ Soncino Talmud edition
  6. ^ Soncino Midrash Rabbah (vol. 1, pp. 365-366)
  7. ^ A. Lukyn Williams, A Manual of Christian Evidences for Jewish People (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1919), vol. 2, p. 123.
  8. ^ A. Lukyn Williams, A Manual of Christian Evidences for Jewish People (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1919), vol. 2, pp. 122-123.
  9. ^ Williams G. Braude, translator, The Midrash on Psalms (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987, © 1959; Yale Judaica Series), vol. 1, pp. 41-44.
  10. ^ A. Lukyn Williams, A Manual of Christian Evidences for Jewish People (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1919), vol. 2, p. 122.
  11. ^ A. Lukyn Williams, A Manual of Christian Evidences for Jewish People (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1919), vol. 2, p. 121.
  12. ^ A. Lukyn Williams, A Manual of Christian Evidences for Jewish People (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1919), vol. 2, pp. 121-122.
  13. ^ Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on Psalm 2
  14. ^ Clark's Commentary on Psalm 2
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Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

1: Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? edit

2: The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, edit

3: Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. edit

4: He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision. edit

5: Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. edit

6: Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. edit

7: I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. edit

8: Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. edit

9: Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. edit

10: Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. edit

11: Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. edit

12: Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. edit

Many believe this psalm was used in the coronation of a Davidic king. While one section of it has coronation language (vv.7-8), the point of it is not about coronation, but warfare.

Context and summary: Many times in the history of Judah and Israel they had political oversight over other nations. Often, as these nations wished to obtain their political freedom, they would do acts of "rebellion" such as refusing to pay their annual "protection fee" or take up arms against the ruling nation. This psalm is warning such nations not to be rebellious against the Davidic king of Judah or else God would destroy them, for the Davidic king had God's full support.

Anointed: The anointing of oil was used for different offices in Judah, such as priest and sometimes, prophet. In this case, the title is used of the Judean king.

Laughs: God does not laugh with humor, but in derision.

Zion: A hill in Jerusalem, where God's authority rests.

Son: This is in reference to the promise to David, where David's son who becomes king is adopted by God. (II Samuel 7) It was common in ancient empires to call the emperor the "son of God", with the reference to deity meaning whichever god is the patron god of the nation.

Your inheritance: Since the Davidic king is God's son, he receives an inheritance from God. In this case, it is all the nations of the earth which is to be under his rule.

Reverence, trembling, homage: The nations of the world should give honor to the king, in showing him proper worship as an emperor deserves-- including annual payments and bowing down in submission. This is done out of fear of God's power which will be put upon them in His wrath.


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