Psalm 2—The Messiah’s Speech

Psalm 2—The Messiah’s Speech

You are living in a world in which the Anointed Son of God is the Shepherd of the nations. That is the reality, it cannot be reversed by UN decrees, or even by your own sinful failures. Christ who won You, shall bring you at last to glory. He who He justified, He will also sanctify and glorify.


The first two Psalms form a sort of introduction to the Psalter. Where Psalm 1 introduces us to the contrast between the blessed life of walking with God and the miserable life of walking with the scoffers and evildoers, Psalm 2 presents an eschatological vision. The first Psalm tells us how to live in the here and now, and the second Psalm goes on to lay before us the glorious future under the global reign of the Messiah.

The Text

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.
Psalm 2

Summary of the Text

This Psalm pits mankind’s word against the Word of God’s Messiah. This song opens with the question which often confronts God’s people (v1). Why do the goyim rage? Why do the people have brains full of daydreams? Earth’s kings & rulers have called a war-council to determine what to do about Yahweh & the one He has Anointed (v2); they issue the results of their council: “let us overthrow the Almighty (v3).”

How does God respond to this challenge? He laughs (v4). Then He replies with the Word of His wrath (v5). What judgement shall these rebels bring forth upon themselves? How will He vex them? Despite their raging, despite their protests, despite their vanity, His anointed King shall reign from Zion (v6).

The Messiah then speaks. He reveals to the nations God’s decree. This Christ is Yahweh’s begotten Son (v7; Cf. 2 Sam. 7:14). This Sonship comes with the right to ask of the Most High for an inheritance of nations (v8, Cf. 1 Kg. 3:5, Is. 7:10-16); the Anointed Son might shepherd the nations firmly to either obedience or damnation (v9). He has every right to crush the nations into powder. But He holds out wisdom to the kings of the nations (v10). Obey His imperatives. Serve Yahweh with joyful reverence (v11). Kiss His Son in humble love, and so His lawful wrath might be removed (v12). This done, all the covenant blessings of Eden & Sinai held out in Psalm 1 are offered to these nations by trusting in the Christ of Yahweh.

An Apostolic Favorite

At the Apostolic Psalm-sings this second Psalm was likely a crowd favorite. It is one of the most cited Psalms in the NT. After Peter and John’s examination before the Chief Priests, after healing the lame man, the early Christians lift up a prayer with one accord. This congregational prayer quotes this Psalm and applies it to Herod, Pilate, and the threatening of the chief priests and elders (Cf. Acts 4:24-31). The wicked opposition to Christ had been foretold by David’s Psalm, and this emboldens the early church to stand courageous even in the face of the threatenings of those same rulers. A sort of second Pentecost takes place at the offering of this prayer.

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