Psalm 2:1

A close examination of this psalm will show it to be at once prophetic and Messianic. Its date and author are not certainly known. The style rather points to David as the probable writer. To him especially the promise of a King who should reign in righteousness formed part of that "everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure." By faith in that covenant he foresaw him, who, being emphatically the Just One, should rule in the fear of God (see 2 Samuel 23:2-5, where, as well as in this psalm, we have a remarkable illustration of what the Apostle Paul speaks of as the foresight evinced in the Old Testament Scriptures; see also Galatians 3:8). In fact, we regard this psalm, though much briefer than Isaiah 53., yet as being as distinctly and clearly, yea, as wonderfully, Messianic as even that celebrated chapter of the evangelical prophet. Hence we regard it as affording as clear a proof of the guidance of a foreseeing Spirit, and of the facts of inspiration and of revelation, as are the starry heavens of the glory of God. For we know, as matters of fact,

(1) that this psalm finds its fulfilment in Christ;

(2) that it has been fulfilled in no one else;

(3) that hundreds of years intervened between prophecy and event; and

(4) that there are here not merely general statements,

but numerous minute details which no human eye could possibly have discerned beforehand; so that we are shut up, by a severely intellectual process, to the conclusion that the author of this psalm is none other than he who sees the end from the beginning. This will, we trust, appear as we proceed to examine and expound it.

I. HERE IS AN ANOINTED ONE FORESEEN. (Ver. 2.) "His Anointed." Who is this "Anointed One?" Let us see: Anointing was chiefly for purposes of consecration and inauguration. It signified the setting apart of the anointed one for God's service, and symbolized those heavenly gifts which were needed in its discharge. Priests, prophets, and kings were anointed (cf. Leviticus 4:3, 5, 16; Leviticus 7:35; 1 Kings 19:16; 1 Samuel 16:12, 13; 1 Kings 1:39). There is in this psalm One referred to as the Anointed One. The Hebrew word for the Anointed is "Messiah." The Greek word, in its Anglicized form is "Christ." This Anointed One is the Son of God (see ver. 7). He is King (ver. 6). He has the nations for his possession (ver. 8). He is One before whom kings are to bow (vers 10-12). This cannot possibly be any other than the King of kings. To no one can the words of the psalm possibly apply but to him who is Lord of the whole earth, i.e. to the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Psalm 132:17; Daniel 9:25, 26; Acts 17:3).


(1) from the nations, and also from

(2) kings and rulers. Five forms of resistance are indicated.

1. Raging. Tumultuous agitation, as when waves of ocean are lashed to fury.

2. Imagining. Meditating (same word as in Psalm 1:2). Turning over and over in the mind some plan of opposition.

3. Betting themselves. The result of the meditation in a resolution.

4. Taking counsel together. For combined action.

5. Saying, etc. Meditation, resolution, and concerted action taking effect in a verbal utterance: "Let us break their bands asunder," etc. (For the fulfilment of all this, see Matthew 21:33-44; Matthew 23:31-35; John 5:16-18; John 7:1, 30, 45; John 8:40-59; John 10:39; John 11:53, 57; John 12:10; John 18:3; John 19:15, 16, 30; Acts 4:24, 27.)

III. RESISTANCE TO THE ANOINTED ONE IS FOLLY. (Ver. 1.) Why do the nations rage? Vers. 4-6 foretell the utter discomfiture of the opponents, in four respects.

1. The utter impotence of the assault would be matter for infinite ridicule and scorn. (Ver. 4.) It were as easy for a spider to remove Mont Blanc from its base as for puny man to injure the Lord's Anointed One.

2. The displeasure of God should trouble the opposers. (Ver. 5; cf. Matthew 23:37, 38.) Note how fearfully the imprecation in Matthew 27:25 was fulfilled. Read the account in Josephus of the miseries that came on the Jews at the destruction of their city (cf. Acts 12:1, 2, 23).

3. The power of God would effect a mighty restraint, and even a complete destruction. (Ver. 9.) See Spurgeon's 'Treasury of David,' vol. 1. p. 29, for some admirable remarks on ver. 9; Dr. Geikie, in his 'Holy Land and the Bible,' vol. 2. p. 50, et seq., for some strikingly instructive remarks on the pottery of the East; and also Dr. Plummer's extraordinary collection of historic facts on the miseries which have befallen the persecutors of the Church (in Spurgeon's 'Treasury of David,' vol. 1. pp. 17, 18).

4. The Anointed One would be enthroned in spite of all. (Vers. 6, 7.) The seat of Christ's throne is called "my holy hill of Zion," in allusion to Zion as the city of David. Christ is the Son and Lord of David, and hence David's throne is the type of Christ's. Christ is now reigning in heaven. He is at once our Prophet, Priest, and King (see Acts 2:22-36; Acts 3:13-15; Acts 4:10-12; Hebrews 10:12, 13; 1 Corinthians 15:25).

IV. WHATEVER MAY BE THE DECREES OF EARTH, THERE IS A DECREE IN HEAVEN, WHICH THE ANOINTED ONE DECLARES. (Verse 7-9.) "I will declare the decree." The decree of the kings and rulers, which they resolve to carry out, is given in ver. 3; but! will tell of a decree from a higher throne. It has four parts.

1. The Anointed One is to be the begotten Son of God. (Ver. 7.)

2. He is to have the sway over the whole world. (Ver. 8.)

3. He is to have this as the result of his intercession. "Ask of me" (ver. 8.)

4. His sway and conquest are to be entire and complete. (Ver. 9.) If men will not bend, they must break.


1. Be wise. Kings and judges are reminded that the only true wisdom is found in yielding to the Anointed One. There is no reason why he should be resisted. Resistance can end only in defeat.

2. Be instructed. Learn the Divine purpose and plan concerning the King in Zion.

3. Serve the Lord with fear. Not in servile terror, but in loyal reverence.

4. Rejoice with trembling. Be glad that the sceptre is in such hands.

5. Kiss the Son. Do homage, acknowledging his supremacy. This course is urged on them by two powerful pleas.

(1) If they refuse, they perish from the way; i.e. they wander; they miss the way so seriously as to be lost; they perish as the result of being, lost. Professor Cheyne's rendering is, "Ye go to ruin."

(2) If they yield the Anointed One allegiance and trust, they will be happy indeed (ver. 12). Note:

1. It is very foolish to fret and chafe against the government of God.

2. All mankind are under Christ's sway, whether in this state of being or in any other.

3. Christ has a heart of love as well as a sceptre of power; and he rules to save.

4. Those who will not submit to the sceptre of Christ's grace must feel the weight of his iron rod.

5. True blessedness is found in submission to Christ; this blessedness is greater than tongue can express or heart conceive. - C.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever.
We are to consider the abiding and habitual effect of the Word of God upon believing hearts. And this effect is expressed in this phrase, "the fear of the Lord." Note what is said of it.

I. IT IS CLEAN — ITS PURITY. It is so, because it is the only true and sound basis of a due social regard to man, and the only valid bond of union, whether domestic, private, or public. Every believer ought to bear witness to the cleansing, purifying power of the fear of the Lord.

II. ITS PERPETUITY — "enduring forever." This tells of the effect of the principle rather than of the principle itself, though this latter is not to be omitted. But in its effects it is consistent, unswerving, abiding, all-powerful. It enters into the man, and goes with him wherever he goes. He cannot and would not shake it off. And its effects are eternal, they can never pass away. And all may possess it, through Christ. It shall be for your peace here and happiness hereafter.

(Thomas Dale, M. A.)

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether

1. The expulsion of our first parents from Eden. None can understand why God created man capable of falling, and foreknowing that he would fall. But this does not say that God made him on purpose that he should fall. This would be to assume that we know all God's purpose in creating man, which we do not. We cannot reconcile the supremacy of God and the free agency of man. It is of no use to attempt to be "wise above what is written," but our duty is to take man as he is — capable of understanding and obeying God's command, which Adam unquestionably was. There was in him no moral difficulty as in us, since the imagination of his heart was not, as ours, "evil continually." We must deplore the instability of the man, bat we cannot on that account take exception to the judgments of the Lord. And the transmission to offspring of the properties of the parent — this law had been ordained before this fatal event, and what right have we to think that He who made all things "very good" should remodel or reverse His laws in consequence of that event? Hence, although "in Adam all die," was it unrighteous in God to act in accordance with His own previously established law? Adam himself caused, of his own choice, that it should work ill to him and his. But are we to blame God for that?

2. The judgment upon Cain. Surely this was far less than he deserved. And the gate of mercy and of grace was not closed upon him.

3. The deluge, the overthrow of Jerusalem, and many others. In reference to each of these we might prove it to be "altogether righteous." For by righteous we understand perfect consistency with previous revelations given by God — with the laws enacted and bearing on each case, and with the penalties threatened by God and consciously incurred by man. And when men object to these judgments they do not attempt to justify the con. duct of the sinner, but only to condemn the law under which, and the Judge by whom, he was condemned. They affirm that God is without compassion for human frailty, and without consideration for human folly.

II. AS MATTERS OF FAITH — they are altogether true. Necessarily, many of the judgments of God are matters of faith. For the interpositions of God, though sometimes seen in the crisis and agony of nations, are, in the case of individuals, scarcely, if at all, discernible.

III. IN THEIR BEARING UPON OURSELVES. As we cannot impeach God's righteousness in His judgments in the past, can we, in what we expect in the future, doubt His truth? Meantime "the victory that overcometh the world is this, even our faith."

(Thomas Dale, M. A.)

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