Tom Lowe

Psalm 2


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.




Psalm 1 emphasizes God’s Law while Psalm 2 focuses on prophesy. The first psalm presents the perfect man, the happy man. The people in Psalm 1 delight in the law, but the people in Psalm 2 defy the law. Psalm 1 begins with a beatitude and Psalm 2 ends with a beatitude. Psalm 1 is never quoted in the New Testament, while Psalm 2 is quoted or alluded to at least eighteen times, more than any other psalm. (See Matt. 3.17; 7.23; 17.5; Mark 1.11; 9.7; Luke 3.22; 9.35; John 1.49; Acts 2.25-26, 13.33; Phil. 2.12; Heb. 1.2, 5; 5.5; Rev. 2.26-27; 11.18; 12.5; 19.15). It is a Messianic psalm, along with 8, 16, 22, 23, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, 102, 110, and 118. The test of a Messianic psalm is that it is quoted in the New Testament as referring to Jesus (Luke 24.27, 44). But this is also a royal psalm, referring to the coronation of a king and the rebellion of some vassal nations that hoped to gain their freedom. Other royal psalms are 18, 20, 21, 45 (a royal wedding), 72, 89, 101, 110, and 144. According to Acts 4.25, David wrote this psalm, so it may have grown out of the events described in 2 Samuel 5.15-25, 8.1-14, and 10.1-19.

Israel was ruled directly by the Lord through His prophets and judges until the nation asked for a king (1 Sam. 8). The Lord knew this would happen—“And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her” (Ge. 17:6, 16)—and made arrangements for it (Deut. 17:12-20). Saul was not appointed to establish a dynasty, because the king had to come from Judah (Ge. 49:10), and Saul was from Benjamin. David was God’s choice to establish the dynasty that would eventually bring the Messiah into the World (2 Sam. 7). However both Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 7 go far beyond David and his successors, for both the covenant and the psalm speak about a universal kingdom and a throne established forever. This can be fulfilled only in Jesus Christ, the Son of David—“The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matt. 1:1).





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.


David didn’t expect a reply when he asked this question, because there is really no reply. It was an expression of astonishment: “When you consider all that the Lord has done for the nations, how can they rebel against Him!” God has provided for their basic needs,—“And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:15-17)—guided them, kept them alive, and sent a Savior to bring forgiveness and eternal life—“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent : Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead” (Acts 17:24-31). “And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Dan 4:32). Yet, from the tower of Babel (Gen. 11) to the crucifixion of Christ (Acts 6:21-31) to the battle of Armageddon—“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war” (Rev. 19:11)—the Bible records humanities foolish and futile rebellions against the will of the Creator. The kings and minor rulers form a conspiracy to break the bonds the Lord has established for their own good. The picture is that of a stubborn and raging animal, trying to break the cords that bind the yoke to its body—“I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds” (Jer. 5:5). But the attempt is futile (vain) because the only true freedom comes from submitting to God and doing His will. Freedom without authority is anarchy, and anarchy destroys.

Why do the heathen (Gentiles) rage, and the people (Jews) imagine a vain thing? The word vain as it is used here means “empty.” It means this which has so enraged the Gentiles, and has brought mankind together in a great mass movement, will never be fulfilled, will never be accomplished. It is an empty, futile thing that has brought mankind together.

 “The kings of the earth set themselves” are the political rulers, “and the rulers take council together” are the religious rulers. Not only do you have the masses of mankind in this protest movement, but the establishment has joined in with it. Here are the rulers, both religious and political, joining together.

Well, what is it they are protesting? Whom are they against? They are “Against the Lord, and against His anointed.” Here the word “anointed” means “Messiah”—that is what it is in Hebrew. When the word is brought over in the Greek New Testament it is Christos, and in English it is “Christ.” In the Old Testament kings were anointed (1 Sam. 10.1; 2 Ki. 11.12), as were prophets and priests (Ex 28.41). Jesus said that the world hated Him and would also hate those who followed Him (Jn. 7.7, 15, 18-19, 24-25; Matt. 24.9; Lk. 21.17). Here is a great world-wide movement that is against God and against Christ. The nations’ rebellion isn’t against “God” in some abstract way; they defy the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The one thing the nations can agree on is “We will not have this man rule over us” (Luke 19.14). The phrase “set themselves” means “get ready for war.” The consequence of this defiance against the Lord and His Christ are described in Romans 1.18, and it isn’t a pretty picture.

Now when did this movement begin? Scripture has the answer. Over in the fourth chapter of the Book of Acts, when the first persecution broke out against the Church, we’re told that the apostles Peter and John, after they had been threatened, returned to the church to give their report: “And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, Lord, thou art God . . .” (Acts 4.24).

We need to pause here for just a moment, because this is one of the things the Church is not sure about today: “Lord, thou art God.” Many people are not sure He is God. They wonder, but the early Church had no doubt about it—they were sure Jesus is God!

“ . . . Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? (Acts 2.24-25). As you can see they were quoting Psalm 2. “The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ” (Acts 4.26). Now this is the Holy Spirit’s interpretation: “For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together” (Acts 4.27). We are told here by the Holy Spirit that this movement began back when Pilate joined forces with Herod and the religious rulers in order to put Jesus to death. This is a movement against God and against Christ.

Today some people will tell you that things are getting better, while others say they are getting worse. I believe that in some respects both are correct. Today the good is growing. Did you know that there is more Bible teaching going out than any period in the history of the world? But I want to tell you, brother, evil is growing. There is an opposition against God and Christ today that is unbelievable. Are you aware that you and I have seen in our lifetime (those of you who are as old as I am) a nation appear, whose basic philosophy, basic political resource, is atheism? There has been nothing like that in the past. No nation of the ancient pagan world was atheistic. Not one. Somebody says, “I thought they were.” No, they were the opposite. They were polytheistic. They worshipped many gods. None was atheistic. You see, they lived to close to the new beginning that emerged from the Flood. Noah knew a man who knew Adam. When you are that close to it, you do not deny God. In Noah’s day the world was filled with violence, but there wasn’t an atheist in the crowd. When God gave the Ten Commandments, He didn’t give any of them against atheism. He gave two against polytheism: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Ex. 20.3-4). He gave these two commandments against polytheism, and none against atheism. Why? There were no atheists.

Now when you get to the time of David, you meet atheists, and there were a great many atheists by that time. David labels them, though. He says, “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God . . .” (Ps. 14.1). The word fool in the Hebrew is “insane.” The insane, the nutty individual, is the one who is the atheist. Of course, he may be a Ph.D. in a university. The Bible says he is insane. It is insane for a man to say there is no God.

There is, I believe, as much opposition to Jesus in America as there is in those countries that are holding on to the communist philosophy. I believe that with all my heart. Somebody says, “Wait a minute. I hear a lot of people talk about Jesus, and how wonderful Jesus is.” Have you ever stopped to think that the Jesus of liberalism, the Jesus the world thinks of, actually never lived? The Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus of liberalism are two different individuals. And the Jesus of liberalism never lived at all.

May I say to you, my friend, the Jesus the world believes in today doesn’t even exist. He never lived. The Jesus I know, and I hope you know Him too, is the Jesus of the Bible, and that is the One against whom there is opposition in the world today. There is a tremendous build up, a mighty crescendo of opposition against God and against Christ in this day in which we live.

Now how does it manifest itself? Exactly as He said it would. Notice again the third verse of our psalm and hear what they are saying: “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.” What are some of the “bands” God has put on the human family? Marriage is one. God created marriage for the benefit and welfare of mankind. Today they not only want to get rid of it; they are getting rid of it. I was shocked two or three years back when I heard on a TV news show that now more people are living together who are not married than there are couples who are married. Somebody may ask, “Why does a young couple have to get married if they love each other? Why can’t they just start living together?” God gave marriage, and God intends for it to be followed. But they say, “Let’s break their bands asunder.”

Also, “Let’s cast away their cords from us.” The Ten Commandments are cords. When somebody accuses me of saying that we don’t need the Ten Commandments, they are wrong. We are not saved by keeping them, but I’ll say this: God gave them, and He gave them to protect mankind. They are thrown out the door today, and right now we are experiencing lawlessness in the country because of the fact that crime is not being punished. There has been a terrible loss of lives that would not have occurred had laws been enforced. You see, we are living in a day when the prevailing philosophy is “Let us break their bands asunder, let’s cast away their cords from us. We want to be free and do as we please.” God says we can’t make it that way. It won’t work. We’ve got old evil natures that need to be restrained. But mankind is moving toward getting rid of all restraints today.

It is disturbing to look at the world in which we are living. In the political world there is confusion. In the moral world there is corruption. In the spiritual sphere there is compromise and indifference. And in the social sphere there is comfort. This affluent society never had it so easy, and their goal is to make it even easier. We are living in that kind of a day. It is disturbing, and I’ll be honest with you, I do worry about it a little.


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.


The abrupt change of scene is dramatic as we are now in the courts of heaven. We will hear the Divine reaction to the report of the tumult that is underway on earth.

“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.” What kind of laughter is this? I don’t think it is the laughter of humor—He is not being funny. Don’t get me wrong—there is humor in the Bible. The devil has certainly hit a home run by making people think Christians are a bunch of “stuffed-shirts” and church is boring.

Well, if this is not the laughter of humor, what is it? Let’s see this through God’s eyes—little man down here is parading up and down, shaking his puny fist in heaven’s face and saying, “Come on down and fight me! I am against you.” God looks down at the puny little creature! It’s an utterly preposterous scene. It is just too ridiculous for words! He looks down and laughs. “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” It is utterly ridiculous, my friend. When little men oppose God, they won’t be around for very long. Little man has a brief role to play here on earth, and then his part is over. How ridiculous and preposterous for him to oppose God!

“He that sitteth” upon His royal throne, as a judge in his high court and as the King of the whole world, who without stirring from His place, can with one look or word destroy all his enemies. “He that sitteth in the heavens,” is mentioned here as an evidence that He has a clear view and certain knowledge of all things that are done below, and of His sovereign and irresistible power.

“Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”  This is the judgment that is coming upon this earth as God speaks and acts in burning anger in reaction to man’s rebelliousness and pride. God is neither worried nor afraid as puny man rages against Him. After all, the greatest rulers here on earth are like grass to be cut down, and the strongest nations are only drops in the bucket (Isa 40:6-8, 12-17). Today God is not only bringing salvation to individuals, He is also speaking to the nations in His grace and calling them to trust his Son, but the day will come when God will speak to them in His wrath and send terrible judgment to this world (Rev. 6-19). If people will not accept God’s judgment of sin at the cross, and trust Christ, they will have to accept God’s judgment of themselves and their sins.

What effect will man’s opposition have upon God’s program? God is going forward with accomplishing His purpose. What little man does down here won’t deter Him, detour Him, or defer Him at all. God didn’t see something on Fox news this morning that He didn’t already know about. There is nothing that has ever surprised Him at all. He is moving forward according to His purpose and plan. He has, I believe, a twofold purpose for this world. I think He has a heavenly purpose, and I think He has an earthly purpose. Right now He is working on His heavenly purpose. The writer of Hebrews expresses His purpose this way: “For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in BRINGING MANY SONS UNTO GLORY, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings” (Heb. 2.10). God today is calling out a people to His name. That is His current purpose. However God has a second purpose and it is stated in verse six: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” It was God who gave David his throne on Zion, and it was God who gave David victory after victory as he defeated the enemies of Israel. But this is only a picture of an even greater coronation: God declares that there is only one legitimate King, and that is His Son who is now seated on the throne of Glory—“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19). “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe , according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all” (Eph. 1:19-23). Jesus Christ is both King and Priest after the order of Melchizedek—“So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee. As he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec” (Heb. 5:5-6). “For this Melchisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him” (Heb. 7.1). Today there is no king in Israel—“For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king . . .” (Hos. 3.4), but there is a King enthroned in the heavenly Zion—“ But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (Heb. 12:22-24). If we fail to see Jesus Christ in this Psalm, we miss its message completely: His death (vv. 1-3, Acts 4:23-28), resurrection (v. 7, Acts 13:33), ascension and enthronement in glory (v. 6), and His return and righteous rule on earth (vv. 8-9, Rev. 2:9, 27; 12:5).

God is going forward today unhesitantly, undeviatingly, and uncompromisingly with his program to establish the throne on which Jesus Christ will set on this earth. I have heard some people say, “If the Lord delay His coming.” Where in the world did that idea come from? He is not delaying anything. He is going to come on schedule—His schedule, not mine, because I don’t know when He is coming. He is running on schedule and nothing will stop Him, nothing can cause Him to change His plan.

“Upon my holy hill of Zion” refers to a hill on the north side of Jerusalem—“Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King” (Ps. 48.2)—where there was a strong fort which David called the city of David after he had taken it from the Canaanites (2 Sam. 7, 9), and he made it the headquarters of his kingdom, and chose it for the abode of the ark and the seat of God’s visible residence. But even more often, “Zion” is used for the city of Jerusalem (Ps. 48:12), and the temple of Jerusalem (Ps. 137:3; Isa. 18:7; Jer. 51.10), which was built upon the hill of Morah, which was either a part of mount Zion, or another hill adjoining to it; and for the church of the Jews (Ps. 65:1); and for the Christian church (Heb. 12:22). And from all this recognition it is plain why Zion is called here—God’s holy hill.

Men may have to wait a long time for the enthronement of Christ over the world, at least it will seem long from the viewpoint of men, but it is already a fact in God’s purpose. In the realm of the real there is no other king but Jesus.


7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.


I will declare the decree.

We have here another change in the speaker. The change of the persons speaking gives a dramatic interest to the whole psalm. There can be no doubt that the word “I” here refers to the Messiah.

The word “declare,” as it is used here, means that He would now make a statement that would explain of the reason why Yahweh had determined to establish him as King on his holy hill of Zion (v. 6). There is great beauty in thus introducing the Messiah himself as making this declaration, presenting it now in the form of a solemn covenant or pledge. The decision of Yahweh (v. 6) to establish Him as King on His holy hill is not seen to be arbitrary, but to be in fulfillment of a solemn promise made long before.

The word “decree” means something decreed, prescribed, or appointed; it is equivalent to a law, statute, or ordinance. Here it refers not to a law which he has to obey, but to an ordinance or statute concerning his reign, to the solemn purpose of Yahweh in regard to the kingdom which the Messiah was to set up, and to the constitution of his kingdom. This, as the explanation shows, implied two things:

a)    That Christ was to be regarded and acknowledged as His Son, or to have that rank and dignity.

b)    That the pagan and the uttermost parts of the earth were to be given Him for a possession, or that his reign was to extend over all the world (v. 2:8).

These are the words of Jehovah's Anointed and King, the Lord Jesus Christ, as He exercises His kingly office, according to the decree and commandment of His Father, who ordained it should be so before the world was created. The doctrine He preached was not his own, but his Father's; he did not speak on His own, but he taught and imparted to men those things that the Father commanded him to say and speak—“For I have not spoken on My own, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a command as to what I should say and what I should speak” (John 12:49).  


The Lord hath said unto me, thou art my Son.

Christ is God’s Son, but He has a derivation and connection to His Father that no other creature could ever attain. He was not created in the manner of angels and men; nor was He, like the saints, adopted; nor was He created to fill an office, such as civil magistrate; nor was conceived on account of His incarnation or resurrection; nor was it because of the great love of God for Him; but in Hebrews 1:5; He is the true, proper, natural, and eternal Son of God, and He is acknowledged as such by Jehovah the Father—“For to which of the angels did He ever say, You are My Son; today I have become Your Father, or again, I will be His Father, and He will be My Son?”

He (Christ) does not indicate when it was that Yahweh had said this, but it should be apparent, that the purpose of the decree, which is to place Him as King in Zion, was to be carried out before He became incarnate on earth. It is implied, therefore, that it was in some previous state, and that he had come forth in virtue of the pledge that he would be recognized as the Son of God. The passage cannot be understood as referring to Christ without admitting that He existed previous to the incarnation, because everything that follows is clearly the result of the exalted rank which God had determined to give him as His Son, or as the result of the promise made to Him.

This day have I begotten thee.

That which is begotten is not His nature or His office, but the person of Christ; and it is not His divine nature, which is shared with the Father and Spirit; therefore if his divine nature was begotten, theirs must be also. As for his human nature, it is never said to be begotten, but always said to be made, and it doesn’t refer to His office as Mediator, in which he is not a Son, but a servant; besides, he was a Son previous to his being Prophet, Priest, and King; and his office is not the foundation of his Sonship, but his Sonship is the foundation of his office. So, those are the denials, where the Father would not declare, “This day have I begotten thee. It may be applied, however, to any time and case in which Christ is declared to be the Son of God, such as at His incarnation, His baptism, and His transfiguration upon the mount, and his resurrection from the dead, which is the business of Acts 13:33God has fulfilled this to us their children by raising up Jesus, as it is written in the second Psalm: You are My Son; today I have become Your Father.” Also, he was declared to be the Son of God with power—“and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). And there is probably no place in Scripture where it would be more appropriate for God to proclaim “This day have I begotten thee” than at His ascension into heaven, where he was made Lord and Christ, and his divine Sonship clearly appeared. Moreover, that seems to be the time and case specifically referred to here, if it be compared with Hebrews 1:3“who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

On what day was Christ begotten? It was This day,” and that was either in the day when eternity began, or it was in the fullness of time in which God brought his first begotten Son into the world, and afterwards He mightily declared him to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead—“Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:3, 4). Therefore, he is called the first begotten of the dead—“And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence” (Colossians 1:18).


8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

“Ask of me”

There are two opinions regarding who is speaking, either God the Father is introduced again as the speaker, or God the Son is simply continuing His account of what his Father said to Him. The latter is probably the case, and it doesn’t suggest any superiority of one, or inferiority of the other. It only expresses the Father's great respect and affection for His Son; and it shows the remarkable relationship the Son had with his Father, He could ask Him for anything, and He would give it to Him; and it shows the perfect harmony, agreement, and unity between them. While Christ was on earth, and especially as He approached His meeting with the Cross, He asked many things of his Father, which were granted; He asked for all the elect to be his bride, and His heart's desire was given Him, and nothing He asked for was withheld from him. He asked that they receive the blessings of grace, spiritual life here, and eternal life hereafter; and He received everything He asked for—and here it is promised Him, though many centuries would pass before He asked the Father for these things.

“And I shall give thee the Heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

"The Heathen", and "the uttermost parts of the earth" refers to God's elect among the Gentiles. Many Gentiles live in the distant parts of the world; they are Christ's other sheep, and the Father has given them to Him, as if it was not enough that He would be King of Zion, and rule over His chosen ones among the Jews, the LORD commits the Gentiles into his hands also. Back in 1 Kings 49:6, the Father promised to give Him that for which we should be eternally grateful: “And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” The saints are given to Him for His inheritance and possession, and to be enjoyed by Him. And to Him they are a peculiar treasure, His jewels, and the apple of His eye.

The kingdom of Christ embraces the whole world, all worlds, and all things visible and invisible—“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17). The Church is only that part of his kingdom on earth which has publicly submitted to his authority, and has obtained pardon and reconciliation through Him. The rest are under His dominion, though in a state of revolt.

Of course, it is not a literal earthly kingship of Jesus Christ over worldly nations that is indicated here. Christ emphatically repudiated that kind of kingship during his earthly ministry; and those who expect him to be that kind of king are simply grossly mistaken. Christ's universal reign on earth is achieved in the truth that all over the world throughout the ages there are devout and faithful souls who love and serve him, who have become members of his "kingdom that cannot be shaken" and who alone shall stand redeemed in that day when God shall settle accounts with the wicked and cast evil out of His universe.


9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

“Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron.”

 This is not to be applied to His inheritance and possession among the Gentiles, since they are the chosen ones given to Him by the Father; He delights in them, takes care of them, protects them, and preserves them. He will break the stubborn and rebellious among the Heathen, who will not receive Him as Savior and Lord to reign over them; who treat Him with contempt, use His name in vain, reject His rule, disobey His Gospel, and despise His commands. They will receive His special attention as He deals severely with them, exerting His power and breaking them into pieces. The Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, render “shall break”, as "shall feed" or "shall rule." The Apostle John said the same thing in Revelation 2:27, but his rebuke was meant for the church at Thyatira for tolerating the fornication of Jezebel—“And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. Those who will not have Him as Savior and Lord, will come under the severity of his government over them, of the strictness of his justice, without the least display of mercy.  He "shall break them:" “It’s a terrible thing to fall into the hands of an angry God!”

“Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.”

It is very easy to break pottery with a bar of iron; and, when it is done, the pieces can never be put together again. This verse is a metaphor to signify the easy and irreparable destruction of the wicked—“Its collapse will be like the shattering of a potter's jar, crushed to pieces, so that not even a fragment of pottery will be found among its shattered remains—no fragment large enough to take fire from a hearth or scoop water from a cistern" (Isaiah 30:14). The idea implied here is that they (those who will not have Christ) would be crumbled into dust, and scattered about with the wind; which, so far as it relates to the Jews, was fulfilled in their destruction by the Romans in A.D. 70, and will have its accomplishment in the antichristian nations at the latter day—“The victor and the one who keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations—and He will shepherd them with an iron scepter; He will shatter them like pottery—just as I have received [this] from My Father” (Revelation 2:26, 27).

This is the judgment upon the lost, the manifestation of Christ's consuming anger on the great Day of Judgment. The breaking and the dashing to pieces is a picture of eternal damnation, (See Rev. 2:27; Rev. 12:5; Rev. 19:15). In the closing verses of this psalm, the mercy of God turns to thoughts of peace rather than to anger, and His warning, coaxing cry goes out into the world and to those who will listen and come to Him.

Some say that this verse "cannot describe the gentle rule of Christ.” But, never forget that there is a severe, as well as a mild side to God’s dealings with his human creatures. The Apostle Paul mentions both the "severity" and the "goodness" of God in Romans 11:22—“Therefore, consider God's kindness and severity: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness toward you—if you remain in His kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off.Christ, "the Prince of Peace," "came to send a sword upon the earth" (Matthew 10:34). In His role as the appointed Judge of men, he takes vengeance on the wicked, while he rewards the righteous—“His winnowing shovel is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and gather the wheat into His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with a fire that never goes out." (Luke 3:17; also see Matthew 25:46). John, in writing about the Apocalypse, declared that "out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations. And "ye shall rule them with a rod of iron" (Revelation 19:15; Also see Revelation 2:27 and Revelation 12:5). So, with respect to this clause—Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel—it should be noted that there is a similar threat made by the Lord of hosts against Jerusalem in the Book of Jeremiah—“and say to them, This is what the LORD Almighty says: I will smash this nation and this city just as this potter's jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. (Jeremiah 19:11),“and that under the new covenant the same threat is found in the Revelation 2:27: “He will rule them with an iron scepter; he will dash them to pieces like pottery—just as I have received authority from my Father.” Surely, both covenants are alike in denouncing the extreme of God's wrath on impenitent sinners, such as those spoken of here.


10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.


Be wise now, therefore, O ye kings


This is an appeal addressed to the rulers and princes whom the psalmist saw engaged in opposition (which he describes in verses 1-3) to the purpose of Yahweh, and it is offered as “good” advice for all rulers and princes—to act with wisdom, by not attempting to resist the plans of God, but to submit to Him, and secure a closeness and bond with Him. The psalmist warns them to be cautious, in view of what must certainly fall upon the enemies of the Messiah; to cease their vain attempts to oppose His reign, and, by humbly submitting to him, in order to ensure His friendship, and to escape the doom that must come upon his enemies. The wise thing for them to do, then, was not to engage in an attempt in which they must certainly be crushed, but to secure at once the friendship of one appointed by God to reign over the earth.

In the ideal state, the kings, rulers and judges of mankind would be the spiritual leaders of the people, fearing God and showing by their example that allegiance and service which all men owe to their Creator. However, as this Psalm indicates, it is precisely this class of men who all too often have led the rebellion against God and His Christ. It is the conceit and egotism of men which have frequently led them to behave foolishly; for example, when Herod Agrippa 1 arranged to have himself proclaimed "a god" at Caesarea Philippi, as mentioned in Acts 12. There are many more examples of such human perversity even in our own times. Kaiser Wilhelm of World War 1 times allowed it to be printed in the Royal Bulletin that, "Today (Sunday) the `Most High' went to church, paying his respect to the `Highest.' Also, generations of Japanese rulers have accepted divine honors for themselves.


Be instructed

Rather, be ye reformed—cast away all your idolatrous sayings; and receive the Gospel as the law, or the basis of the law, of the land. They are instructed as if they had a duty to perform for Yahweh and his Anointed One; which is, the duty of submitting to this arrangement of His, and lending their influence to promote it. The Greek word used here, and rendered “be instructed,” means to chastise, chasten, correct; and here it means, be admonished, exhorted, or warned.


Ye judges of the earth

These are the rulers, those who administer justice. This was formerly done by kings themselves, and it is still supposed to be done that way in monarchical governments, where the judges act in the name of the king. In Republics, justice is supposed to be administered by the people through those whom they have elected to the office of judge or magistrate. But, as the word is used here, it is equivalent to rulers, and the instruction is for those who occupy posts and offices of honor not to oppose the purposes of Yahweh, but rather, to use their influence to promote His plans and policies.

Kings and judges stand upon the same level with common persons before God and it is as necessary for them to be religious as it is for any others. Those that give law and judgment to others must receive law from Christ, and they would be wise to receive His instruction gladly. What is said to them is said to everyone, and is required of every one of us, only it is directed to kings and judges because of the influence which their example will have upon those who are under their authority. But because men of rank and power were opposed to the setting up of Christ's kingdom, we are given Psalm 2:2—The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying.”


11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.


Serve the Lord with fear


If you will not serve him (i.e. honor and obey him) out of love, do it out of fear, because "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Psalms 111:10). “Fear” as used here means reverence and a deep appreciation. It is not the type of fear that would come upon the man who finds an intruder in his home, we all know what that would feel like; but the psalmist is speaking of “godly” fear—Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28). “Godly fear” has been described as that which has God for its author and object, and which springs from his grace, and is increased by discoveries of his goodness; and which is consistent with faith, and spiritual joy. Unlike other religions of our day, we don’t have to worry about the God we serve waiting for us to make a mistake so he can punish us. But how can we be sure? It is because He says in His Word: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). And next He said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17). God is for us! And Jesus is for us! On the other hand, there is a price to be paid by those who refuse to serve and obey Him.


Do I fear God? Yes, I do! I am afraid to take His name in vain. When I hear someone use that horrible obscenity “God . . .”, I want to cry out—You Fool! Don’t you fear God?  Yes I love Him, but I am afraid to disrespect Him.


We must serve Him by NOT opposing His program, but in promoting His purpose of establishing a kingdom under the Messiah, with the deep apprehension that if we do not do it, He will arise and crush us in His wrath.



And rejoice


Do not be content to just fear the Lord, but go on from fear to love, and then to joy. Good men "rejoice in God alway" (Philippians 4:4). The type of rejoicing commanded here is possible only for the redeemed in Christ. All our joy must be found in God and our thoughts of God must be delightful thoughts. It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in Him always at all times, in all conditions even when we suffer for Him, or are afflicted by Him. We must not think the worst of Him when we meet with hardships in his service. There is enough in God to furnish us with joy in the worst circumstance on earth. It is the character and nature of sincere Christians to rejoice in Christ Jesus. The more comfort we take in our religion the more closely we shall cling to it: the more we rejoice in Christ the more willing we shall be to serve and suffer for him, and the less danger we shall be in of being drawn away from Him. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).



With trembling


Our rejoicing must be “with trembling,” or, with reverence, since no service is acceptable to God unless it is carried out "with reverence and godly fear" (Hebrews 12:28)—With reverence and awe, feeling that He has almighty power, and that the consequences of being found opposed to Him must be overwhelming and awful. Since the theme of the psalm is the duty of kings and rulers, they are commanded here to welcome the purposes of God, and to bring their influence—derived from the station which they occupy—to bear in promoting the Lord’s reign of truth upon the earth—a duty binding upon kings and princes as well as on other men. “With trembling” describes the feelings with which this is to be done; they are mingled feelings, derived from the mercy of God on the one hand, and from His wrath on the other; from the hope which his promises and purpose inspires, and from the apprehension derived from his warnings and threatenings. It is a strange mixture of contrary passions, but such sentiments are common with God’s servants, whose task it is to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Though we must use our utmost efforts in working out our salvation, we must still depend upon the grace of God, because all our working depends upon His working in us. For an example of “fear of the Lord, rejoicing, and trembling,” we have those good women who went from Christ’s sepulcher with fear and great joy. We should be similarly affected when coming to Him and His ordinances.




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.


Kiss the Son.

Kiss the Son of God, the One spoken of in verse 7; Christ, who is God's elect, chosen to be the Redeemer and Saviour of his people, and who is pure and free from sin, both original and actual. A kiss is a token of love among friends and relatives, expressed at meeting and parting; but here it is the love and affection that is to be expressed to Christ, who is a most exquisite object of love, and He is to be loved above all creatures and things; or, it sometimes signifies, homage and subjection (See 1 Samuel 10:1). When nations were ruled by monarchs it was the custom for subjects to kiss their kings: therefore, it may also denote here the subjection of the kings and judges and others to Christ. A kiss has been used as a sign of adoration and worship (See Job 31:26), and it may project the worship which is due to Him from all ranks of creatures, angels and men—“And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God's angels worship him" (Hebrews 1:6).  Indeed, we are told to honor the Son in the same way and to the same extent that we honor the Father—“Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent him” (John 5:22, 23), which shows His greatness and dignity, and that He is truly God.

“Kiss the Son” primarily has in mind the kiss of submission, where a dignitary receives the humble kiss of an inferior. It also hints at the affection God wants in our relationship to Him. God wants us to recognize our proper place before Him, but to also rejoice in Him and be affectionate in our relationship. "Kissing was the token of subjugation and friendship."

If the kings and judges of the earth are commanded to humble themselves before the LORD's Anointed, recognizing His total superiority, then what about the rest of us? Speaking to the kings and judges therefore includes all of humanity

Lest he be angry.

Although He is called the Lamb of God, He has wrath in Him, and when the great day of His wrath comes in any form on earth, there is no standing before Him; and when he shall appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah how much worse will it be for those who oppose Him, and when He shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire, kings and mighty men will call for the rocks to fall upon them, and hide them from Him.

The slightest stroke of the iron rod of Christ‘s justice is sufficient to break in pieces a whole rebel world. Every sinner, not yet reconciled to God through Christ, should receive this as a most solemn warning.

And ye perish from the way.

The Syriac version renders it "from his way,” or the Son's way; and the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions interprets it "from the righteous way"; and the Arabic version "from the way of righteousness"; meaning “that way of righteousness, salvation and eternal life by Jesus Christ.” It is the “narrow way” which is being missed by multitudes of persons every day, they are eternally lost and undone. Some render it "because of the way"; that is, because of their sinful manner of life; for the way of the ungodly shall perish itself, and therefore they that pursue it shall perish also. There is yet another way to render it, that is "in the way"; and then the gist of it is, lest they perish in the midst of their course of sin, in their own evil way, which they have chosen and delighted in, or, to use the words of Christ, "die in their sins" (John 8:21).  This is understood to mean everlasting destruction; the word which is rendered "from the way" may be translated "suddenly", or "immediately", or "straightway", indicating the swift and sudden destruction those persons who provoke the Son to wrath and anger; which is confirmed in the next clause.

When his wrath is kindled but a little.

This may mean either “to a small degree”, or “just for a little while”; because just the least degree and the slightest duration of His wrath are intolerable, since no one can stand to live in everlasting fire, or abide the devouring flames? Especially when it is kindled "suddenly", and comes with the sudden destruction of His wrath.

Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

The blessed do not trust in horses and chariots (today; tanks and planes), in riches and honors, in their own wisdom, strength, and righteousness; but their trust is in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and who is truly God—If He was not God, there would be no reason to trust in Him. Happy and content, and safe are those who take Him for themselves to be their strong tower and place of refuge; who look to him and believe in him for pardon, peace, righteousness, and their supply and source of grace and eternal life. They are safe and secure in Him, they shall not want for any good thing that they need; and they have abundant peace, joy, and comfort here, and shall have more grace whenever they want it, and in the hereafter eternal glory and happiness.

And so the call comes to us today, as it came to the men in David’s day. All who have authority on earth must recognize their need to serve God with godly fear and awe, and even in their times of relaxation remember to tremble, for they will one day have to give account to His Son. Thus they should pay homage to the Son, and submit themselves to Him, for if there is rebellion in their hearts He will be ‘angry’, and that ‘anger’ will spill over into judgment. In contrast, all those who believe on Him, and put their trust in Him, will be truly blessed.