psalm 2… the king reigns

I am attempting to give a précis of the psalm rather than a full exposition. You can judge how successful I’ve been.I find being short difficult.

Psalm 2

1 Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
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 burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord holds them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “As for me, I have set my King
on Zion, my holy hill.”
7 I will tell of the decree:
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the LORD with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 2

Psalms 1 and 2 are a gateway to the Psalms. Psalm 1 describes two people groups; the righteous who delight in God’s rule and the wicked who oppose it. The righteous on the day of judgement will remain firm like a tree planted beside water while the wicked, like chaff, will perish. How this is divide is enacted in history is the subject of Psalm 2. ‘The private world of the first psalm opens out into the public world of the second’ (Wilcock).

Psalm 2 envisages the universal rule of God and his Davidic king. It calls for all men to serve the Lord and give a kiss of allegiance to his Son (vv11,12). In Israel, God ruled through his adopted son, the Davidic King (2 Sam 7:14). It was a rule anticipated to extend over all nations.

The psalm although holding promise for each successive OT Davidic king (it was possibly cited at royal enthronements) is not realised in any; even the best was not a truly obedient son. The psalm describes a world stage and a universal kingdom that none came even close to achieving (none had the moral worth for such conferred honour).

The psalm, along with others, is both poetry and prophecy (Acts 2:29-31). It depicts a loyal Davidic king, a faithful royal son, whom the Lord delights in and so abundantly blesses – this royal king is a tree planted by the streams of water who prospers in all he does (Cf. 2 Sam 7:14).

Much to the astonishment of the poetic voice (the anointed king? v7) the rule of God and his anointed king is opposed; it is a foolish and futile gesture (vv1-3). In fact, God has always been opposed in a sinful world; here, however, this opposition is expressed in a climactic way against the Lord and his anointed. The cross is the primary fulfilment of this prophecy (though it has other fulfilments). There the nations, including and especially Israel (Acts 4:22-29; Ps 43), reject Messiah and his divinely appointed reign. Their rebellion is wilful and planned. However, the Lord – enthroned in heaven emphasising his complete ascendancy – laughs in derision. Human defiance is innately suicidal. They do not know who they are opposing. God’s will is settled, almost as a reaction to human defiance, Messiah shall reign from Mt Zion (v6). In the NT, the rejected and crucified Christ rises from the dead and is enthroned in the heavenly Zion (Roms 1:4; Acts 13:33; Hebs 1:1-5; Hebs 12:22-24 Cf. Ps 1:5). God will ensure his final victory over all his enemies and establish his universal kingdom (Phil 2:10.11; Ps 72; Rev 11:15). All opposition to his anointed King will be ruthlessly crushed; God’s warrior king will triumph (vv 9,12; Rev 12:5, 19:5). In the meantime the offer of fealty is extended: serve the Lord and kiss the son. It is only in this that security lies. It is the gospel invitation of grace to submit to the Son and it is universal in scope. ‘There is no refuge from him, only in him’ (Kidner).

In the psalm the Son is the royal Son rather than the divine Son; that the royal Son is also the divine son is revelation is for elsewhere (Cf. Ps 45, 110).

Psalms 1,2 are bookended by a divine blessing bestowed on the righteous.

Blessed are all who take refuge in him’

As Christians, we are ‘in Messiah’, ‘in the anointed’. We are Messiah’s people and we are God’s sons and he is our Father. As our Lord is rejected so too are his people. We serve a God who is to be feared and and have kissed the King who has triumphed and so we are protected and safe – he is our refuge and in him we we are blessed by the Lord; we receive in him a kingdom. Whatever the apparent state of affairs in the world the real picture is that God’s messianic son reigns and will in time overthrow all his enemies and establish his everlasting kingdom.


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