Psalm 2 - the Nations Rage Against God

INTRODUCTION: In preparation for my own paraphrase of Psalm 2, I used four Bible versions which I have included at the end of this material, I read through some commentary notes from my Online Bible software, and examined a number of the words using my Hebrew lexicon through reference by the Strong's numbers. I believe that the exercise of developing a personal paraphrase promotes a thorough examination of the text, but for the most authoritative and reliable reference, I recommend use of an accepted translation.


Psalm 2:1-6 [in composite paraphrase]

Why do nations and individuals vainly rage against God continually throughout time, setting up their own authority, and counseling among themselves? Political and religious leaders make plans against Jehovah and against his Messiah, saying Let us break their control over us, and completely disregard any influence from the scriptures. He that sits in heaven will laugh. The Lord will have them in derision, ridicule, and mocking. He will speak to them in the time of His wrath, and confound and greatly distress them in His extreme displeasure. God says, yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.

COMMENTS: Any spiritually minded man can ponder the question, which is posed at the beginning of Psalm two, as a reaction to being very puzzled by the behavior of those who are of this world. Even though rebellion against the all powerful one who is the very creator of all who live, is absolutely absurd, our sin nature would leave us all in this state except for the gift of God. Having a high station in life, politically, corporately, or religiously, does not bring one to the point of recognition and submission to the only real authority over life, but rather usually the opposite. Only the love of God, offered by God to us, "while we were yet sinners" can destroy the bond of sin and death, and place us under the light and easy "yoke of freedom" in serving the true and living God. The puny and foolish rebellion, by "the great men of the earth" against the God of heaven, is cause for the one with incomparable power to laugh. His judgment is coming with certainty, and for those who remain in their sin by rejecting the gift of salvation, the end will most definitely come. Despite any observable conditions, there will be no altering or withholding of the decree of eternal God, as he has set the mark in time when His King is established on His Holy Hill.


Psalm 2:7-9 [in composite paraphrase]

I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, you are my Son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, And the farthest reaches of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

COMMENTS: And yet in contrast to the rebellious affront against one who deserves only honor and praise, the King himself comes, meek and humble, to tell of the decree. Acceptance by faith of the one who embodies this message, is the only way to receive the gift of salvation from the curse of sin and death. This quote, "Jehovah said unto me, you are my Son; This day have I begotten you." tells us of the incarnation. The next quote, "Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, And the farthest reaches of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." tells us that the Messiah will have a treasured inheritance to the ends of the earth; from every tribe, tongue, and nation. He will bring judgement to his enemies, and that judgement will be thorough and final.


Psalm 2:10-12 [in composite paraphrase]

Now therefore be wise, you kings: be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Give honor to the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish as you go your own way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.

COMMENTS: Therefore, because of these unchangeable truths, while it is still today, the advice for everyone is to be wise and follow the instruction of the Word. This is the call to all that think they are the mighty, to recognize the highest strength and authority is beyond our imagination and understanding. And if great men are so directed, certainly the least of all men should become servant of the true and living God. Another spiritual paradox is the fear of an awesome God, while we tremble in joy at our service. The eternal God is not bound by time as he directed the writer in the past to record this command to honor the Son, lest his anger be kindled in his soon coming, and we perish in our own way. We should rather acknowledge him in all our ways, so that he might direct our paths. What a comfort to know the timeless truth that all who place trust in him for refuge are blessed.


--- Reflections in prayer ---

Thank you Jehovah for showing me the continual and common state of rebellion within all men, and therefore within myself, and the depth of vanity it carries. Forgive me for ignoring your Word, and for making gods of my own, which remain before me, while I place you, my Creator and Savior, behind my back. This rebellion of mine is so ridiculous, that it would cause you to laugh, but you still set your plan for me, and you established your King and my Savior! My salvation is great, since your holiness will not tolerate sin, which must be punished, and the time of your wrath will bring utter and complete derision and mocking for the unchanged rebel.

Thank you LORD for making my existence in history on this side of your finished work, and soon coming, and for opening my heart to be prepared for rejoicing at that time. The Father has spoken to the Son, and you have shared this, through your word, with me as part of your inheritance. All of the earth will be in total submission to you, and I will not fear the rod of iron since you have spared me from it.

LORD, keep this revealed wisdom in the forefront of my thinking, and cause me to act on any opportunities you provide for me to share this message with others for your glory. Guide the steps of my life in the pathway of fear and respect of you, my God, and may my heart kiss the Son. Thank you again LORD, for reminding me that your wrath will quickly be kindled for the end of the age, and I am truly blessed because your grace has brought me to make you my secure refuge from that holy wrath. Hallelujah!

Published 4Jun2004, first issued 5Jul2000

©2004 MPNHome.net


Reference text from four Bible versions

Psalm 2:1-12 ASV (American Standard Version 1901)

1 ¶ Why do the nations rage, And the peoples meditate a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Jehovah, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bonds asunder, And cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision. 5 Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, And vex them in his sore displeasure: 6 Yet I have set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion.

7 ¶ I will tell of the decree: Jehovah said unto me, Thou art my Sson; This day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I will give thee the nations 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 ¶ Now therefore be wise, O ye kings: Be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish in the way, For his wrath will soon be kindled. Blessed are all they that take refuge in him.


Psalm 2:1-12 AV (King James Version, Cambridge edition)

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 2:1-12 JPS (Jewish Publication Society)

1 ¶ Why are the nations in an uproar? And why do the peoples mutter in vain? 2 The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed: 3 'Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.' 4 He that sitteth in heaven laugheth, the Lord hath them in derision. 5 Then will He speak unto them in His wrath, and affright them in His sore displeasure: 6 'Truly it is I that have established My king upon Zion, My holy mountain.'

7 ¶ I will tell of the decree: the LORD said unto me: 'Thou art My son, this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give the nations for thine inheritance, and the ends 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 ¶ Now therefore, O ye kings, be wise; be admonished, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling.

12 Do homage in purity, lest He be angry, and ye perish in the way, when suddenly His wrath is kindled. Happy are all they that take refuge in Him.


Psalm 2:1-12 LIT (green's Literal Translation)

1 ¶ Why have the nations raged and the peoples are meditating on vanity? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves; yea, the rulers have plotted together against Jehovah and His anointed, saying, 3 We will break their bands in two, and throw off their cords from us. 4 He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; Jehovah shall mock at them. 5 Then He will speak to them in His anger, and He will terrify them in His wrath; 6 Yea, I have set My king on My holy mount on Zion.

7 ¶ I will declare concerning the statute of Jehovah: He said to Me, You are My Son. Today I have begotten You. 8 Ask of Me, and I will give the nations as Your inheritance; and the uttermost parts of the earth as Your possession. 9 You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.

10 ¶ Now, then, be wise, O kings; be taught, O judges of the earth: 11 Serve Jehovah with fear; yea, rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Oh the blessings of all those who flee to Him for refuge!