King James Version
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.1
begins abruptly with a picture of violent confusion. The heathen or idolatrous nations
surrounding Israel are raging or in tumult. They imagine or deliberate on something that
cannot be accomplished. All their purposes against God's government are certain to fail.2
2 The attitude displayed by the kings of the
earth is that of determined resistance against the king of Israel. From the
Hebrew word mashiach we get the word Messiah. It signifies literally,
an anointed one.2
3 The rebels against God are represented as speaking out,
expressing their desire to break the restraints imposed by Jehovah's authority.2
4 In contrast to the tumultuous picture of the nations, Jehovah is
pictured sitting calmly, serenely, in the heavens, laughing at the
vain attempts of the rebels. The inspired writer expresses the
characteristics and attitudes of Deity in the language of human
beings, so that men may understand. The idea suggested in
laugh is further expressed by the words derision, wrath,
displeasure - all of which indicate the divine contempt for rebellion.2
5 God's seeming indifference will not last forever.
God will eventually declare His purpose.2
6 God has set or firmly placed His king upon the holy
hill of Zion in the city of Jerusalem.2
7 Jesus, the Anointed One, God's spokesman, speaks
in turn, interpreting God's great declaration of His Sonship. He is no usurper; He holds
the office as Messiah by His Father's decree. The decree implies (1) that Jesus is to be
acknowledged as the Son of God, and (2) that His reign is to be universal. Jesus'
resurrection from the dead uniquely proclaimed Him to be the Son of God.2
8 The relation between Jehovah and the Messiah is such
that any request of the Son would be granted. The utter futility of any attempt of the
rebels to overthrow the government of the Anointed One is emphasised. As heir, the Son
inherits all things, and is thus able to share them with us as heirs together with Him.2
9 The rod of iron is symbolic of the sceptre of
rulership. The Messiah's enemies will be completely subdued.2
10 Two ways lie before the rebels: either to
continue rebellion, which will produce destruction, or to submit to the divine will,
which will mean eternal happiness. The leaders are advised to recognise their duty to
Jehovah and his Messiah, and to lend their influence to promoting it.2
11 The words fear and trembling suggest
humble reverence mingled with awe in the realisation of the awful consequences of
rebellion against the purposes of God. The word rejoice implies that there is
joy in the worship of God.2
12 The psalmist advises those who rebel against
the Messiah to recognise him as King and to submit to His reign. In the light of
infinite love, God's wrath must eventually blaze forth against sin and consume those
who refuse to accept the Messiah. But God's heart of love yearns for the salvation of
Israel, and He has no pleasure in the destruction of sinners. With the words blessed
are all they the psalmist closes with a beatitude pronounced on all who trust in
Jehovah's King. Blessed are they who recognise their need for a saviour and put their
trust in the Messiah.2
References and notes
1. King James Authorized Version
2. Seventh-day Adventist Bible
Commentary Vol. 3 pgs. 633-635
3. The Messianic Psalms - www.lwbc.co.uk/messianic_psalms.htm
Walking Thru the Bible: Psalms - http://fly.hiwaay.net/~wgann/walk_ot/psalms.htm