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Psalm 2 - do homage to the Son

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

Psalm 2 – do homage to the Son

 

Psalm 2:

1     Why do the nations rage, And the people plot 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 bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us."

4     He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.

5     Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:

6     "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion."

7     "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ' You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

8     Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

9     You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.' "

10   Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges 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, When His wrath is kindled but a little.

     Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.   (NKJV)

 

 

There are some who interpret Psalm 2’s reference to a begotten son (verse 7) as applying to someone other than King Messiah such as King Solomon or the nation of Israel. This ignores the Scriptural truth that God’s promise of someone ruling over the nations and possessing the ends of the earth (verses 8 & 9) always refers to King Messiah (hence Psalm 2 is also not referring to King David either). This truth is also shown in other messianic scriptures such as Isaiah 9:6-7 and Daniel 7:13-14.

 

However, these interpretations are easily seen as deliberate attempts to remove messianic meaning from Psalm 2 in order to avoid any possible application of this psalm to Jesus as King Messiah. Many Jewish believers do not go so far to avoid the obvious, and it is generally agreed by both Jewish and Christian believers that Psalm 2 looks forward to the time of King Messiah’s end-time rule when He will rule the entire world with a rod of iron. Some Jewish sources that declare it to be messianic are the Babylonian Talmud, the Midrash on Psalms; Maimonides, Kimchi, etc.

 

Verse 7 is generally understood to be a coronation psalm where a king is anointed and adoption language is used. Jews say any reference to ‘Son’ is figurative. But is this really the case?

 

The decree referred to in Psalm 2:7 is referring to God’s promise to David in 2 Samuel 7:12-14:

 

2 Samuel 7:

12   "When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you,

      who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom.

13   "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

14   "I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity,

      I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men,   (NASB)

 

God promises David in many places in Scripture that one of his descendants will sit upon the

throne forever, but it is only here that God states “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to

Me”. Just as Isaiah 9:6-7 and Daniel 7:13-14 do, Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7:12-14 draws attention

to the question of how can King Messiah just be a merely human descendant of David if He is

ordained by God to sit on the throne forever.

 

 

This is why although Psalm 2:7 is believed by many to just be the coronation of a king, it still does not do away with the answer to the question of how can David’s descendant rule forever. The answer which stands forever just as King Messiah will rule on the throne of David forever, is this: King Messiah is much more than a man and is the son of God in a literal way as well – such as actually entering into the bloodline of David and then having the right to one day rule forever on the throne of David.

 

This fact is emphasized once more when we realize that 2 Samuel 7:12-14 looks far past Solomon and toward King Messiah, as seen in Zechariah:

 

Zechariah 6:

11   "Take silver and gold, make an ornate crown and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.

12   "Then say to him, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, a man whose name is Branch,

      for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD.

13   "Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne.

      Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices."'   (NASB)

 

 

The one who ultimately builds the house of God is the Branch, another name for the prophesied King Messiah. This King Messiah is the one who will rule forever as both King and High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek as God tells us in Psalm 110; He is the one whom God says “I will be a father to him”.

 

So 2 Samuel 7:12-14, Zechariah 6:11-13, Psalm 110, Isaiah 9:6-7, Daniel 7:13-14, etc. all refer to the same person who is no mere man, but is the Son of Man and Father of Eternity who will rule upon the throne of David forevermore as King and High Priest.

 

 

 

Son or Purity?

 

There is some disagreement as to whether verse 12 should be translated “Kiss the son” or “Do homage to the son”, instead of “Do homage in purity”. Those who do not believe Jesus is the Messiah state that it should be “Do homage in purity” and accuse Christians of intentionally translating it with ‘son’ instead of ‘purity’ to promote Jesus as the Messiah and Son of God. One of their arguments is that the word ‘bar’ is ‘son’ in Aramaic and not Hebrew, and is misplaced here, so instead they use ‘var’ and translate it as ‘purity’.

 

 

There are three things we should consider:

 

 

1) As just discussed previously, Psalm 2 is undeniably a messianic psalm which has the weight of eternity upon it with King Messiah ruling forever as also supported by other messianic scriptures. Verse 12 is not required to boost this case. Debating whether verse 12 should be ‘purity’ or ‘son’ does not change this truth, but can only be used to detract from it. It is used by those who do not believe it is referring to Jesus or is messianic to cloud and mislead/misdirect the issue. It is clearly messianic.

 

 

2) The subject matter is based on God and His anointed. When we review this psalm very carefully and note its structure and what it is saying, we will see the context reveals what is truly being said and it makes the case that verse 12 should say ‘son’.

 

The psalm is given again below, but is divided into its four sections in the colors red, blue, orange, and purple:

 

Psalm 2:

1     Why do the nations rage, And the people plot 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 bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us."

4     He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; The Lord shall hold them in derision.

5     Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, And distress them in His deep displeasure:

6     "Yet I have set My King On My holy hill of Zion."

7     "I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, ' You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.

8     Ask of Me, and I will give You The nations for Your inheritance, And the ends of the earth for Your possession.

9     You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.' "

10   Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges 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, When His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.    (NKJV)

 

 

The sections explained:

 

Section 1 in red:

Verses 1-3 tell us what the people/enemies of God are thinking, doing and saying. They are

talking about fighting against God and His anointed as they use the words “their” bonds and

“their” cords.

 

  Section 2 in blue:

   Verses 4-6 tell us God’s reaction to the people as He states He has set His anointed to rule from Zion. This is

   essentially God’s declaration that it does not matter what the nations feel about God, but they must deal with

   His anointed one.

 

Section 3 in orange:

Verses 7-9 tell us what God says about His anointed one.  God says the anointed one is His son and holds

ultimate power over the nations of the earth. 

 

Section 4 in purple:

 

Verses 10-12 tell us the conclusion of the matter and what the peoples of the earth must do.

In verse 11 they are told to serve God with fear and trembling.

Those who believe it should be ‘purity’ say God is again being addressed in verse 12 and not His son.

 

However, the context of the entire psalm clearly outlines the following three points:

 

a) Two people are being addressed by the nations: God and His anointed.

 

b) God declares all the nations must be subject to the rule of God’s anointed who is the

     one that inherits the nations and can break them like iron to pottery.

 

c) Because of the authority God gives to His anointed, God warns the nations to "be wise". 

 

The context indicates that the nations should be warned/instructed to behave well towards both God and His anointed. So where verse 11 refers to how the nations should address God, verse 12 refers to how the nations should address the anointed – the one to whom specific authority over the nations has been given as God’s agent. It makes perfect sense and actually behooves the nations to treat the anointed with extra care – to put their trust in Him and kiss or do homage to Him before He is angered, because God’s anointed – King Messiah, controls the fate of the nations. It would be very strange indeed if the nations are not also instructed to please the anointed one, who is given authority over these nations to shatter them as pottery if need be.  Verse 12 states that the nations must not arouse the righteous anger of King Messiah, the anointed one. This is made evident because verses 6-9 exalt King Messiah by describing and complimenting His majesty as the one who will rule with an iron rod, and sets the stage for why verse 12 states the nations must bow to King Messiah. 

 

 

3) It is not true that ‘bar’ is ‘son’ only in Aramaic. There are Jewish translations of ‘bar’ as ‘son’ for Psalm 2. The rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra translates it as ‘son’, linking it to the anointed one referred to in verse 2. Rabbi David Qimchi acknowledges it could be translated as ‘son’. The renowned and learned Rabbi Isaac Leeser, regarded as the father of modern Judaism in America and whose Tanakh translation was the standard English translation used in America from the mid 1800s to early 1900s until the JPS (Jewish Publication Society) 1917 translation, translated verse 12 as “Do homage to the son”.

 

Therefore, the accusations that Christians have translated verse 12 to say ‘son’ are false. We also see why debating over verse 12 by those who do not believe in Jesus is truly just a smokescreen to divert attention away from the fact that the psalm is referring to King Messiah who will inherit the nations and rule upon the throne of David forever. And, as described in point #2 above, we see exactly why it would be very strange if the nations were not instructed to also address the anointed one in verse 12, because the entire psalm refers to God and His anointed, and it is the anointed one who will bend the wills and knees of His unwilling subjects, the nations. It would be strange IF it is left out, but that is the point – the anointed one, who is the son in verse 7, is not left out of verse 12 at all.

 

 

The context and meaning of Psalm 2 indicates it is King Messiah who is the ‘son’ being referred to in verse 12 and so it is those who are not believers in Jesus who are tampering with Psalm 2.

 

  

 

Please read next article in Prophesied Messiah series: His return: Zechariah 12:10 - look to me, the one who they pierced

 

 

Link to the Prophesied Messiah articles outline

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