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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 2

Verses 1-12

The historical situation of this Ps. cannot now be recovered. It may refer to some threatened rebellion of subject kings in the early days of Solomon, or to some similar movement under one of the later kings; but it is impossible to give it any precise date. This, however, is of the less importance, as the leading feature of the Ps. is its application to the Messianic King—the ideal ruler of Israel. Some writers deny that it had any historical setting, and hold that it refers exclusively to the ideal King, the viceroy of Jehovah. As one of the Messianic Pss. it is appropriately used on Easter Day. It is divided into four strophes or verses, and is a dramatic poem, different speakers being introduced. The divisions are, Psalms 2:1-3, Psalms 2:4-6, Psalms 2:7-9, Psalms 2:10-12. In the first two strophes the Psalmist is the speaker; in the last two the King. (1-3) The poet views the nations plotting against Jehovah and His representative, the Messianic King (4-6) but remembering the power and majesty of God, he sees a speedy end to their devices. (7-9) Then the King is introduced relating Jehovah’s decree and promise of sovereignty over all nations, and (10-12) bidding the rebellious kinglets therefore be warned in time and repent.

1. The heathen] RY ’the nations,’ i.e. the Gentile or non-Jewish peoples. Rage] better, ’plot together.’

2. Against the lord] In rebelling against Jehovah’s anointed King they were rebelling against Jehovah Himself.

3. Bands] The words of the kings are of course metaphorical; they were seeking to cast off what was to them a foreign yoke.

4. The contrast between Jehovah in His majesty and the puny plotters is dramatically introduced.

5. Then] i.e. when the plot ripens into action.

6. Yet] lit. ’and.’ Upon my holy hill of Zion] Zion is the eastern hill of ancient. Jerusalem on which the ’city of David’ with its stronghold was built; it is used poetically for Jerusalem the holy city: cp. Isaiah 64:10.

7. The Messianic King now speaks, quoting the promise given to David, the father of the dynasty, through Nathan the prophet: see 2 Samuel 7:4-17. Thou art my Son; this day, etc.] on the day of his anointing, when he was set apart to his high office. But some refer it to the day of his birth. In any case the king was adopted as the son of God, reigning in His name over His people (cp. Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:6; Hebrews 5:5).

9. A rod of iron] because they are rebels who can only be restrained by repressive methods.

10. Be wise] The obvious lesson from the truths stated in the preceding w.

12. Kiss the Son] This is a difficult passage. The translation of the AV is only got by assuming that the Psalmist has chosen the Aramaic word for ’Son’ instead of the Hebrew. LXX renders, ’Lay hold of instruction,’ which is in harmony with the general drift of the passage, and is supported by the Targum. Others translate ’Kiss’ (i.e. worship or serve) ’with sincerity.’ The doubt does not affect the teaching of the Ps. as a whole. From the way] RV ’in the way.’ When his wrath, etc.] better, ’For soon His wrath will burn.’ Blessed are all they, etc.] This is either a pious reflexion of the Psalmist at the end of the words put into the mouth of the King; or, as Prof. Briggs holds, a liturgical addition suitable when the Ps. was used in worship.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 2". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.