The number and authorship of this Psalm are stated (Ac 4:25;
13:33). Though the warlike
events of David's reign may have suggested its imagery, the scenes
depicted and the subjects presented can only find a fulfilment in the
history and character of Jesus Christ, to which, as above cited and in
5:5, the New Testament
writers most distinctly testify. In a most animated and highly poetical
style, the writer, in "four stanzas of three verses each," sets forth
the inveterate and furious, though futile, hostility of men to God and
His anointed, God's determination to carry out His purpose, that
purpose as stated more fully by His Son, the establishment of the
Mediatorial kingdom, and the imminent danger of all who resist, as well
as the blessing of all who welcome this mighty and triumphant king.
1. Why do the heathen,
&c.—Beholding, in prophetic vision, the peoples and nations,
as if in a tumultuous assembly, raging with a fury like the raging of
the sea, designing to resist God's government, the writer breaks forth
into an exclamation in which are mingled surprise at their folly, and
indignation at their rebellion.
heathen—nations generally, not as
opposed to Jews.
the people—or, literally, "peoples,"
or races of men.
2. The kings and rulers lead on their
set themselves—take a stand.
take counsel—literally, "sit
together," denoting their deliberation.
Greek, "Christ" (Joh 1:41).
Anointing, as an emblem of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, was conferred
on prophets (Isa 6:1);
30:30); and kings (1Sa 10:1; 16:13; 1Ki 1:39). Hence this title well suited Him who
holds all these offices, and was generally used by the Jews before His
coming, to denote Him (Da 9:26).
While the prophet has in view men's opposition generally, he here
depicts it in its culminating aspect as seen in the events of Christ's
great trial. Pilate and Herod, and the rulers of the Jews (Mt 27:1; Lu
23:1-25), with the furious
mob, are vividly portrayed.
3. The rebellious purposes of men are more
distinctly announced by this representation of their avowal in words,
as well as actions.
bands … and … cords—denote
the restraints of government.
4. By a figure whose boldness is only
allowable to an inspired writer, God's conduct and language in view of
this opposition are now related.
He that sitteth in the
heavens—enthroned in quiet dignities (compare Ps 29:10; Isa
shall laugh—in supreme contempt; their
vain rage excites His derision. He is still the Lord, literally,
"Sovereign," though they rebel.
5. Then shall he speak—His righteous
indignation as well as contempt is roused. For God to speak is for Him
to act, for what He resolves He will do (Ge 1:3; Ps 33:9).
vex them—agitate or terrify them
6. The purpose here declared, in its
execution, involves their overthrow.
Yet—literally, "and," in an
I have set—anointed, or firmly placed,
with allusion in the Hebrew to "casting an image in a mould."
The sense is not materially varied in either case.
my king—appointed by Me and for Me
upon my holy hill of Zion—Zion,
selected by David as the abode of the ark and the seat of God's visible
residence (1Ki 8:1); as
also David, the head of the Church and nation, and type of Christ, was
called holy, and the Church itself came to be thus named (Ps 9:11; 51:18; 99:2; Isa 8:18; 18:7, &c.).
7. The king thus constituted declares the
fundamental law of His kingdom, in the avowal of His Sonship, a
relation involving His universal dominion.
this day have I begotten thee—as 2Sa 7:14, "he shall be My son," is a solemn
recognition of this relation. The interpretation of this passage to
describe the inauguration of Christ as Mediatorial King, by no means
impugns the Eternal Sonship of His divine nature. In Ac 13:33, Paul's quotation does not imply an
application of this passage to the resurrection; for "raised up" in
13:32 is used as in Ac 2:30;
3:22, &c., to denote
bringing Him into being as a man; and not that of resurrection, which
it has only when, as in Ac 2:34,
allusion is made to His death (Ro 1:4). That passage says He was declared as
to His divine nature to be the Son of God, by the resurrection, and
only teaches that that event manifested a truth already existing. A
similar recognition of His Sonship is introduced in Heb 5:5, by these ends, and by others in Mt 3:17;
8. The hopes of the rebels are thus
overthrown, and not only so; the kingdom they opposed is destined to be
coextensive with the earth.
heathen—or, "nations" (Ps 2:1).
and the uttermost parts of the
9. His enemies shall be subject to His
terrible power (Job 4:9; 2Th 2:8), as His people to His grace (Ps 110:2,
rod of iron—denotes severity (Re 2:27).
a potter's vessel—when shivered cannot
be mended, which will describe utter destruction.
10-12. kings … judges—For rulers
generally (Ps 148:11),
who have been leaders in rebellion, should be examples of penitent
submission, and with fear for His terrible judgments, mingled with
trust in His mercy, acknowledge—
12. Kiss the Son—the authority of the
perish from the way—that is, suddenly
kindled but a little—or, "in a little
put their trust in him—or take refuge
in Him (Ps
5:11). Men still cherish
opposition to Christ in their hearts and evince it in their lives.
Their ruin, without such trust, is inevitable (Heb 10:29), while their happiness in His favor is