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Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,
Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.
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.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

2:1 heathen rage. “Heathen” is the same as “nations,” and “rage” connotes “assemble tumultuously.” The picture is one of a great convocation of leaders from many nations, gathered together to plan a united rebellion against God.

2:1 vain thing. Compare Romans 1:21, “became vain in their imaginations.”

2:2 the rulers. Although the specific wording applies to political leaders, the principle can be applied to leaders in education or business or any other influential body in society.

2:2 take counsel together. There have been many precursive fulfillments of this prophecy from Nimrod’s first council meeting against God (Genesis 11:4) to the Sanhedrin’s plot with Romans against Christ (Acts 4:25-28) to the modern United Nations counseling together to seek a humanistic world government. The ultimate fulfillment will be at the end of the age (Revelation 16:14; 20:8).

2:2 against his anointed. “Anointed” is Messiah, the Hebrew equivalent of “Christ” in Greek. The rebellion is against the Lord and His Christ, the Creator and Savior.

2:3 their cords from us. This is the first of four stanzas in the psalm. The first three verses give the viewpoint of David, the second of the Father, the third of the Son, the fourth of the Holy Spirit.

2:6 set. The word used for “set” actually means either “offer” or “pour out.” Thus in this concluding assertion in the three-verse stanza coming from the Father’s perspective, He declares that He has used the rejection of His Christ by the kings and rulers as the very means by which the Father would offer Christ up as a sacrifice for sin in preparation for His anointing as King.

2:7 my Son. In the third three-verse stanza, the Son speaks, noting that He is, indeed, the very Son of God!

2:7 declare the decree. The Father gave the decree, the Son declared it (note John 1:18).

2:7 I begotten thee. There are several senses in which Christ is the only begotten Son of God, but the emphasis here is on His resurrection from the dead, as evident from the quotation of this verse in Acts 13:33. He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). He was also called the “firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18) and the “first begotten of the dead” (Revelation 1:5). Note also Hebrews 5:5.

2:8 thine inheritance. The Son is declared to be the “heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2), and His followers are “joint-heirs” with Him (Romans 8:16, 17).

2:9 rod of iron. This promise is also cited in the New Testament as applying specifically to Christ (Revelation 19:15). Christ extended it also to those of His followers who, faithful in enduring persecutions as He did, will be given “power over the nations,” and will be given authority to “rule them with a rod of iron” (Revelation 2:26-27).

2:12 Kiss the Son. In this final exhortation of the Holy Spirit, concluding the fourth and final three-verse stanza of the psalm, Christ is again acknowledged as the unique Son of God. In Psalm 2:7, the Hebrew word is ben; here it is bar. These two Hebrew words are used to denote sonship. Some modern translations inexplicably change this command to read: “Kiss his feet.”

2:12 Blessed are all they. This is a beautiful evangelical promise. Psalm 1:1 promises blessing to those who do not follow the counsel of the ungodly; Psalm 2:12 promises blessing to those who do trust Christ.

Psalm 3 (title) A Psalm of David. Of the 150 psalms, all but thirty-four have some sort of title affixed to them, and these titles seem to be essentially as old as the psalms themselves. Presumably they should be accepted as part of the inspired text. David’s name is attached to seventy-three of the psalms, but he also must have written at least a few of the anonymous psalms. Psalm 2, for example, does not have David’s name in the text, but Peter ascribed it to him in quoting from it (Acts 4:25).

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