Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

Our Common Prayerbook 3


Psalm 2 [after jump], according to John Goldingay, would also be at home in one of the prophets (Psalms, Vol. 1: Psalms 1-41 (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms)
). But it’s now part of the double-psalm introduction to the Psalms. If Psalm 1 ends with the wicked’s path perishing, Psalm 2 [see bracket] ends with the nations perishing with regard to the path. Psalm 1 begins with blessing, Psalm 2 ends with blessing.
God’s people will be blessed; God’s king will rule. The wicked will perish; the wicked will not rule; God’s king will. 
Such a promise sweeps up the promise to both Abraham in Gen 12 and David in 2 Sam 7. But the psalm’s parameters are so great and wide one has to take it as idealism or as eschatological hope.
The pagan nations want to conquer and control Israel’s God and Israel’s people but, in spite of their wishes, God rules and he sees after Israel and its king.
A potent question is asked in vv. 1-3: Why? It’s a statement of confidence. That is, they are wasting their time because YHWH looks after Israel and its king. The entire world is implicated in these verses. They are all after YHWH and Israel and Israel’s king.
God in this psalm is watching and laughing at the hybris of the nations. Goldingay says this is not a description of distance but of involvement. His observation of the hybris leads to God’s wrath. God says the king, the king God has installed, is on the throne. Their hybris is opposition to God. My king is on my hill!


2:1 Why do the nations rebel?

Why are the countries devising plots that will fail?

2:2 The kings of the earth form a united front;

the rulers collaborate

against the Lord and his anointed king.

2:3 They say, “Let’s tear off the shackles they’ve put on us!

Let’s free ourselves from their ropes!”


2:4 The one enthroned in heaven laughs in disgust;

the Lord taunts them.

2:5 Then he angrily speaks to them

and terrifies them in his rage, saying,

2:6 “I myself have installed my king

on Zion, my holy hill.”

2:7 The king says, “I will announce the Lord’s decree. He said to me:


‘You are my son! This very day I have become your father!

2:8 Ask me,

and I will give you the nations as your inheritance,

the ends of the earth as your personal property.

2:9 You will break them with an iron scepter;

you will smash them like a potter’s jar!'”

2:10 So now, you kings, do what is wise;

you rulers of the earth, submit to correction!


2:11 Serve the Lord in fear!

Repent in terror!

2:12 Give sincere homage!

Otherwise he will be angry,

and you will die because of your behavior [path],

when his anger quickly ignites.

How blessed are all who take shelter in him!

Comments read comments(4)
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J.L. Schafer

posted March 31, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Studying the Psalms was always difficult for me because I felt I could never really get inside the author’s mind to understand the original intent. The breakthrough came when I realized that Psalms were not really meant to be studied (although studying them is fine); they were meant to be prayed. As a Christian, I cannot pray this one (Psalm 2) without clearly identifying the son as Jesus Christ and looking forward to his glorious return. This is a prayer of Jesus himself. As I pray this one, I recognize that it is the Spirit of Christ living in me who is praying to his Father. When I began to pray the Psalms in am unabashedly Christ-centered fashion, the text of this one and every other one began to come alive.

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W. Vida

posted March 31, 2010 at 2:09 pm

I love the picture this Psalm paints of God laughing at those who rage against Him. So often we get worked up about the forces of evil but God has everything under his control.

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posted March 31, 2010 at 10:21 pm

isn’t it hubris?

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Ann F-R

posted March 31, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Scot, does John Goldingay reference any of Gerald Wilson’s work regarding the shape of the Psalter? I still find that helpful when I’m reading and praying through Psalms.

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