The first two Psalms serve as a preface of the entire book and were even considered by some ancient scribes to be a single psalm. However Paul refers to this psalm in Acts 13:33 as the second psalm. The first two psalms are related however. Whereas the first Psalm brought out a contrast between the happy man and the sinner, the second Psalm, which is also a prefatory Psalm of David, sets the tumultuous rebellion of the ungodly against sure exaltation of the Son of God, the Messiah. The ungodly who are driven away as chaff in Psalm 1 are here in Psalm 2 smashed into pieces (v. 9). What Psalm 2 reveals, that Psalm 1 only implies, is the person of the Messiah. While Christ is well characterized in the description of the happy man of Psalm 1, His name is not overtly stated; however, in Psalm 2, His persona is clearly revealed. Few deny the display of the Messiah in Psalm 2. There is overwhelming evidence that the ancient Jewish sages have long considered this Psalm as pointing to the Messiah of Israel. In the 11th century the Rabbi Rashi wrote: “Our teachers interpreted the subject of this Psalm with reference to King Messiah, but according to its plain meaning it will be right to expound it of David himself…” While it is important to understand its immediate and historical setting, the Messianic implication of Psalm 2 are hard to deny for even the very name “Mashiach” (Hebrew for Messiah and translated as “Anointed”) appears in verse 2 of the Psalm. In addition, the second Psalm is often quoted in the New Testament to provide Scriptural confirmation of Jesus’ Messianic office and expected glorious and royal return. Jesus, whose “sonship” was confirmed by the Father at His baptism, was first clearly revealed as the Son, here in Psalm 2. The first century church understood the crucifixion of Christ by the nations and rulers of the world in light of the raging of the nations described in verse 1. John in his Revelation describes Christ as the one “who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron,” not unlike the description of His rule in Psalm 2:9.
The Messianic hope that Psalm 2 raises is that the anointed king Messiah will rule by God’s appointment; that although this dark world would foolishly seek to drive God out of existence, that in the end He will subdue all nations under His feet. In light of this, the only wise response on the part of humanity is that of repentance and worship.
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.
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