Psalm 2

Why do the nations throng, * and the peoples number their troops?
    Why do kings of the earth take their stand, * and the princes make common cause
        against Yahweh * and against his anointed?
    “Let us snap their bonds, * and throw off their yoke.”
        The Enthroned laughs down from heaven; * the Lord makes fun of them.
        He drives away their lieutenants in his anger, * and in his fury terrifies them.
           But I have been anointed his king * on Zion his holy mountain.
               Let me recite the decree of Yahweh; * he said to me:
           “You are my son; * this day I have given you birth.
        Ask me for wealth and I will give it; * the nations will be yours, * your domain
                    the ends of the earth.
        You will break them with a iron rod, * shatter them like a pot of clay.”
    And now, kings, watch out; * take warning, you rulers of the earth.
        Serve Yahweh with reverence, * and live in trembling, mortal men!
    lest he grow angry and your assembly perish, * for his anger flares up quickly.
Happy are all * who trust in him.

2:0 Note that in the order of Psalms, this is the second, but its title lists it as the first, according to the Gloss, quoting Peter in Acts (4:25), although this is not asserted there. Yet this might be understood from what is said there "You spoke through the mouth of your servant David," as if Peter said, "You said in that Psalm which you composed through the mouth of David," as is said in the present title: "A Psalm of David", that is a Psalm composed by David. It is also a Psalm about David, because it is about the spiritual David which is Christ. For the meaning of the word "David" is "strong-handed", and rightly so, because he killed Goliath by Goliath's own sword (1 Sam 17). Likewise, Christ, with his hands nailed to the cross, which the devil had prepared as a sword against him, did battle with him not with hands holding arms, but fixed to the cross, not sitting on a horse, but hanging on a cross. -Luke 10:21 When a strong man, fully armed, guards his castle etc. -Job 9:19 If it is a contest of strength, he is the strong one!

The name "David" is also interpreted as "good looking", and Christ is the one the angels desire to look at (1 Pet 1:12). In him the eye finds all that it desires, namely grace and beauty (Sirach 40:22). Beauty is mentioned in Psalm 45:2 more beautiful than the sons of men. Grace is mentioned in Esther end: You are wonderful, Lord, and your face is full of graces (not there or in Bible - echo of Cant 2:14).

Some commentators are of the opinion that Psalms 1 and 2 are a single Psalm. Thus Gamaliel said that the first Psalm begins with "Blessed is the man" and ends with "Blessed are those who trust in him." But then the number of Psalms would be incomplete, so they add another Psalm, which begins with I was little in the house of my father. Jerome seems to agree with this opinion ina small book he wrote on criticisms of Origen. Other Jewish commentators who number the Psalms by their opening letters say that this is the second because it begins with a "beth" (in fact it is a "lamed"). Cassiodorus agrees with these.

As has been said, this Psalm is about Christ, and aims particularly to show his royal power. But, because there are some who do not understand Christ and fight him and his members, the Psalm is divided into three parts: (1) The first rebukes those who are in error about Christ. (2) The second shows the truth about Christ, introducing him as the speaker: "But I am appointed king." This is the correct order, because ignorance has to be removed before the truth is brought in. -Jer 1:10 I appoint you over nations and over kingdoms, to pluck up and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant. (3) Thirdly, the Psalmist admonishes them to be converted to Christ and submit to him: "And now, kings, understand."

The first part is subdivided into three: (1) First he rebukes, so as to establish the guilt of those who are in error about Christ. (2) Secondly, having established their guilt, he warns the good not to go along with them: "Let us break their bonds." (3) Thirdly he warns the erring to repent, and the good to beware of them: "He who dwells in heaven."

(1) Error about Christ was prevalent among the minor people of both the Jews and the Gentiles, and these are rebuked first. (2) Then he rebukes the senior people: "The kings of the earth stood up." And he (1) first rebukes the minor people among the Gentiles, (2) then those among the Jews: "and the people."

1. Why have the Gentiles raged,
Why do the nations throng,

2: Why have the Gentiles raged? Supply "against Christ". Note that, according to Cassiodorus, this is a figure of speech which the Greeks call erotema, which is a question. It has three uses: The first is when we are ignorant of something, as Ps 119:84 How many are the days of your servant? The second is when we want to affirm the opposite. -Jer 14:22 Can any idols of the nations bring rain? The third is to rebuke, as in the present instance. Note that "raging" (fremor) is sometimes used in an extended sense to mean emotional anxiety. -John 10:38 Jesus, again greatly disturbed (fremens), came to the tomb. Properly speaking, however, raging is the anxiety of cruelty, producing sound by the grinding of teeth. Cassiodorus says that it properly belongs to wild beasts. -Prov 19:12 like the growling (fremitus) of a lion, so is the anger of a king. Raging (fremere) is changed into shattering (frendere), when the gnashing of teeth is so strong that they break. When it is moderate, it is called "grinding" (stridor). -Acts 7:54 They ground their teeth at him.

and the people devised vain things?
and the peoples number their troops?

2: And the people, that is, the Jews, devised stupid things? -that is, against Christ, (1) thinking that he was not the one promised to them. -Jer 8:7 Even the stork in the heavens knows its times; and the turtledove, swallow, and crane observe the time of their coming; but my people do not know the ordinance of the Lord. -Isaiah 1:3 The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand. (2) But it was more stupid, after knowing him, to try to kill him and send him to the underworld. -John 11:53 From that day they planned to kill him, sending him to the underworld with the rest of the dead. Speaking in his person, Psalm 88:4 I am counted among those who go down to the Pit, like those forsaken among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave. (3) But it was most stupid for them to try to extinguish his memory. -Jer 11:19 Let us destroy the tree with its fruit [Vul Let us put wood in his bread], let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered! "Let us destroy" applies to the first; "let us cut him off" to the second, and "that his name no longer be remembered" to the third. That was very stupid and erroneous. -Wis 2:21 Thus they reasoned, but they were led astray, for their wickedness blinded them. -Gen 1:2 The earth was a formless void.

2. The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord and against his Christ.
Why do kings of the earth take their stand, and the princes make common cause against Yahweh and against his anointed?

2:1.1.2 The kings are understood as the senior people. Understand the repetion of the word "why": "Why did the kings stand up?" And this refers to the Gentiles. It is said that the plural "kings" is taken for a single king, Herod Agrippa. -Luke 23:11 Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Or it can be taken in the plural sense: First, Herod of Ascalon, son of Antipater, stood against Christ by killing the children (Mat 2:16). Secondly, Herod Antipas stood against Christ and his forerunner, John the Baptist, whom he beheaded (Mat 14). Thirdly Herod Agrippa stood against Christ, mocking him and treating him with contempt, as has been said, and by beheading James, the brother of John, and by imprisoning Peter (Acts 10). There is the verse:

Ascalonita necat pueros, Antipa IoannemThe Ascalonite killed children, Antipas John,
Agrippa Iacobum, claudens in carcere Petrum.Agrippa James, imprisoning Peter.

Note the triad of what the persecutors did: Their mouth raged, their heart devised, and to act the kings stood. There is also the triad of persecutors: the Gentiles and the people, who are minor, and the kings, who are major, while lesser ones are princes. There is also a triad of those affected: God the Father: against the Lord, God the Son: and against his Christ, and his members: Let us break their bonds. Note also that "standing" can refer to (1) those who want to fight, as is also said in Job 1:6 Satan stood among the sons of God, wanting to kill Job, (2) those who comfort, as in Acts 12:7 The angel of the Lord stood etc., (3) those who minister, as in Dan 7:10 Thousand thousands served him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him, (4) those who reign, as in Psalm 45:10 The queen stood at your right wearing gold of Ophir.

And princes met together, that is, the princes of the Jews, who are the priests, Pharisees and Scribes. Notice that there a union of ways and a union of goals. A union of ways can be of the evil, as in this case, or of the good. As for the evil, we have Dan 14:25, The Babylonians gathered against the king, demanding the death of Daniel. As for the good, we have Acts 4:32 The whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul. A union of goals can be that of the elect or that of the damned. As for the elect, we have Psalm 133:1 How good and pleasant it is for brothers to live together as one. As for the damned, we have Isaiah 24:22 They will be gathered together like prisoners in a pit. And this is against the Lord, that is, the Father, and against his Christ, the Son. Whatever is against one of them is against the other. John 5:23 Anyone who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. The reason for this is given in John 10:30 I and the Father are one. The Gentiles truly stood against the Lord because they combatted his power in Christ. The Jews truly stood against Christ because they would not believe that he was the Christ, that is, the anointed of God, when in fact he was. Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord was upon me, because he anointed me.

3. Let us break their bonds asunder:
"Let us snap their bonds,

2:1.2.1 This is the second section of the first part of the Psalm. Having rebuked the evil, here the good are warned, according to one reading, and that in two ways. (1) They are warned first not to give into the sweet talk of the evil, (2) secondly not to give way to their threats: "Let us throw off". So he says to the evil, "But we good and faithful people, let us break their bonds, that is the flattery of the Gentiles and peoples and of the kings and princes against Christ. -Isaiah 52:2 Loose the bonds from your neck, O captive daughter Zion. Good people, break alliances for wickedness. Not only let us break away from their company, but also, if we can, let us destroy their association. -Hosea 13:12 Ephraim's iniquity is bound up. These are the wolves of Samson, which he tied together by their tails (Jud 15:3).

and let us cast away their yoke from us.
and throw off their yoke from us."

2:1.2.2 And let us cast away, far away, from us their yoke, their threats and dominion, lest we should rise with them against Christ. That is the evil yoke the Paul spoke of in 2 Cor 6:14 Do no yoke yourselves in a mismatch with unbelievers. The Gloss says means companionsip with the evil. -Isaiah 10:27 His yoke will be destroyed from your neck.

This verse has been given another interpretation, as expressing the cause and reason why the evil people should be rebuked, because they said, Let us break their bonds, that is, the commands of The Lord and of Christ, because these are salutary bonds holding them back from evil, pulling them towards the good and fastening them in the good. -Sirach 6:31 The bonds of wisdom are a safety attachment (Vulgate). These are the bonds by which John was held in prison, as he was bound by justice in dark surroundings. And let us cast away from us their yoke, that is, of admonitions and advice. This is the yoke referred to in Mat 11:29 My yoke is sweet, and in Lamentations 3:27 It is good to have borne the yoke since one's youth. For it is very difficult to get used to this yoke in old age. An old man who never walked could hardly learn to walk well, but would soon go back to crawling. -Jer 2:20 Long ago you broke your yoke and burst your bonds, and you said, "I will not serve!

4. He that dwelleth in heaven shall laugh at them:
The Enthroned laughs down from heaven;

2: This is the third section of the first part of the Psalm, which is a warning to repent. First it warns of evil in the present time, secondly in the future: "Then he shall speak to them." There is the threat of two evils in the present: harsh words from the mouth, and hints made by gestures: "The Lord shall deride them." So, having said, "They raged, devised plans, stood together against Christ," he now says "He who dwells in heaven", which literally is the material empyrean heaven. -Isaiah 66:1 The heaven is my seat and my footstool. God is said especially to be in heaven, although he is everywhere, because there his works are most glorious, and they are constantly seen by those who live there. -Mat 18:10 Their angels always see the face of my Father, who is in heaven. So Richard of St. Victor said, "Although the Lord is everywhere, he is especially said to be in that place where all its inhabitants constantly see him, so that whoever desires to see him can merit to ascend to that place where he can be seen."

"Heaven" can also be understood as the souls of the just. As Rabbanus says (ch. 9), heaven (caelum) is taken to be a hidden vase (vas celatum). But every just person is said to be like a vessel of hammered gold studded with all kinds of precious stones (Sirach 50:9). Heaven is also said to be the "home of the sun". But Christ is the "sun of justice". -Mal 3:20 But for you who fear my name, there will arise the sun of justice. An he lives in the house of the just as in his own house. -John 1:14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. -John 14:23 We will come and make a dwelling in him. The soul of the just is called heaven because of its disposition. For in it the sun is reason and intelligence, which the evil is eclipsed by sin. The moon is sensuality which, unless it is enlightened by the sun of intelligence, becomes dark. Sirach 27:11 talks about this sun and moon: The holy man stays with wisdom, the sun of intelligence and reason, but the stupid man changes like the moon of sensuality. Present also are the stars arranged each in its own place. These are the virtues infused by God. And these are the stars spoken of in Rev 1:20, where seven stars are said to be at the right of the one sitting on the throne. Thus, of the just soul it is said in Cant 6:10 Who is this that looks forth like the dawn, fair as the moon, in sense and life bright as the sun, in intellect and reason terrible as an army with the banners of each and every virtue harmoniously arrayed? Thus also Rev 12:1 speaks of a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.

In this soul, which is like heaven, God lives by grace at the present time, and in the future by glory. Note that in the soul of an imperfect just man God lives as if in the first heaven. -1 Cor 13:12 Now we see in a mirror, dimly. But in the soul of one who is perfect through contemplation he lives as if in the second heaven. -Job 42:5 Now my eye sees you. In the holy angels and the souls glorified by his vision he lives as if in the third heaven. -1 John 3:2 When he appears, we shall see him as he is.

Here He who dwells in heaven will laugh at them. He will do so by word when he anounces the the preaching of the truth would be taken away from them by Himself and his ministers. -Acts 13:46 It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken first to you. Since you reject it etc.

and the Lord shall deride them.
the Lord makes fun of them.

2: Note that deriding is an action: By protruding our mouth and flattening our nose we show that we despise something. So by action the Lord derided the pride of his persecutors when he took their power away and dispersed them as captives throughout the world. -Psalm 59:12 Scatter them by your power (Vulg). The same is in Prov 3:26 I also will laugh at your calamity when the word of life is taken from you; I will mock when panic strikes you, when what you feared happens, for the Jews were most afraid of being scattered by the Romans. -John 11:48 lest the Romans come and take our land and people.

5. Then shall he speak to them in his anger,
Then he drives away their lieutenants in his anger,

2: Here he threatens them with misery in the future. Two kinds of misery are mentioned: first, return to a body that can suffer; secondly, the affliction of the soul with its resurrected body: "and in his rage". So he says, "Then he shall speak to them" (1) by that sound of the trumpet which means "Let the dead arise". -1 Thes 4:16 The Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel's call and with the sound of God's trumpet, will descend from heaven etc. (2) He shall speak to them in his anger, rebuking them after their return to their bodies. -Mat 25:31 I was hungry and you did not feed me etc. (3) And he will speak to them by delivering his sentence on them. -Mat 25:41 God, you cursed ones etc. The first speech was bitter, the second more bitter, the third most bitter. Yet God's anger does not mean that he himself is stirred and shaken up, but that the effect of his anger is being carried out in another.

Since Cassiodorus says that "then" refers to the time of the last judgment, we can ask how is this possible, since in ordinary speech, when we say "Something happened then", it refers to a time previously mentioned. But in this Psalm there was no mention of the day of judgment. So why should the word "then" be introduced so abruptly? Reply: When we have something in mind which is of great concern to us, if we happen to mention it, our strong feeling makes us speak about it as if we had already been talking about it. That is why, in John 20:15, Mary, who was looking anxiously and fervently for the Lord, said, as if in the middle of a conversation, If you took him away, tell me where etc. The word "him" is used, and the Gloss observes that she does not say whom she means, because the force of love makes one think no one could be ignorant of the person that the lover always has in mind. So holy David was always thinking of the day of judgement with fear and desire, and he thought everyone else must be of the same mind. -Psalm 71:16 I will praise your righteousness, yours alone. Therefore he burst out and said, "Then he shall speak".

and trouble them in his rage.
and in his fury terrifies them.

2: This he does, afflicting them in body and soul, darkening the soul by its disturbance. -Rom 1:21 Their stupid heart was darkened, becoming completely blind because of the anxiety of pain. -Isaiah 6:10 Blind the heart of this people, torturing it with remorse of conscience. -Wis 5:2-3 Seeing this, they shall be shaken with dreadful fear… rueful and groaning through anguish of spirit. As for the body, we have Amos 4:2-3 They shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you, that is your bodies in boiling pots, with fishhooks. Through breaches in the wall you shall leave, each one straight ahead; and you shall be flung out into Harmon, by each breach, that of body and that of soul. -Psalm 21:9 You will make them like a fiery furnace, that they may burn interiorly… and fire will consume them, which they will feel exteriorly. -Isaiah 65:13-14 My servants shall eat, but you shall be hungry, as for bodily misery… My servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame; my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall cry out for pain of heart, and shall wail for anguish of spirit. And in the end, 66:24 their worm will never die and their fire will not go out in the body. This is the worm that David feared when he said (Psalm 6:1; 38:1) Lord do not rebuke me in your fury. -Isaiah 30:27 His fury is burning and it is hard to bear.

Another interpretation can be given to the whole section from He who lives in heaven, so that it entirely applies to the future. And four penalties are treated in order. He who lives in heaven shall laugh at them at the general resurrection, when they find themselves empty of every good, and full of guilt. He will deride them, by showing their sins to their own consciences and to others. He will speak in promulgating his sentence, and trouble them in his rage, by executing the sentence. These four penalties correspond to the four sins of the evil. -Amos 1:3 for four crimes, that is, of heart, mouth, deed, and habit, I will not revoke the punishment etc.

6. But I am appointed king by him over Sion his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.
But I have been anointed his king upon Zion his holy mountain. Let me recite, El, the decree of Yahweh;

2:2.1.1 But I am appointed king. This is the second part of the Psalm, which presupposes the truth of the royal dignity of Christ. But because two things are required for royal dignity: power and the right use of power, so that power may not become useless or dangerous, (1) first he talks about Christ's royal power, (2) then about its right use: "You will rule them". And because this world contains two peoples: the circumcized and uncircumcized, he (2) first shows that the king has power over the circumcized, (2) secondly over the uncircumcized: "The Lord said to me", so that what was said elsewhere may be fulfilled in him (Psalm 47:7): The Lord is king over all the earth. In the first section four points are touched: (1) that he received kingship, (2) from whom he received it: "from him", (3) over whom or where he received it: "over Zion", (4) for what purpose: "preaching his commandment".

So he says, "They persecuted me, although I was not unable to defend myself," because I am appointed king. -Rev 19:16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, "King of kings and Lord of lord." etc. -Dan 7:14 His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not pass away, and his kingship is one that shall never be destroyed. This is to be read with its full weight, meaning that "I am free from sin, and therefore worthy to reign." -Isaiah 53:9 and 1 Peter 2:22 He committed no sin, nor was deceit found in his mouth. "I am appointed king" not by myself, but by God, that is, my Father, who laughs at the evil and troubles them in his rage. -Jer 23:5 The days are coming, and I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

Note that in Christ there were five things necessary for a king, so that he could rightly and correctly claim kinship: (1) That he was constituted by a superior, not forcing his way in of his own accord; so here he says he was constituted by God. 1 Kings 1 tells how David appointed his son Solomon as king. -Heb 5:4 No one takes, that is, should take, this honor on himself etc. (2) He should have clemency, so that he will be a king, not a tyrant. -Prov 20:28 Loyalty and faithfulness preserve the king, and his throne is upheld by righteousness. -1 Kings 20:31 The kings of Israel are clement. (3) Justice or (4) courage is also required. -Sirach 7:6 Do not seek to become a judge, if you are unable to root out injustice. -Deut 1:16-17 Judge rightly between one person and another, whether citizen or resident alien. You must not be partial in judging: hear out the small and the great alike; you shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God's. But of Christ it was said in Isaiah 11:3 He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor. (5) Wisdom is also necessary. That is why Solomon asked God for wisdom before accepting kingship (1 Kings 3). But of Christ the Apostle says in 1 Cor 1:24 We preach Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

Over Zion his holy mountain. By Zion, which is the upper part of the city of Jerusalem, the capital of Judaea, is understood the Church of the Jews, that small early Church which Christ and the Apostles gathered. It is rightly called a mountain, because of the firmness of faith of its members. -Psalm 124:1 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion etc.- and also because they were so elevated in virtue. -Isaiah 2:2 The mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains. - and also because they were the first to receive the rays of faith and transmit them to others. -Psalm 76:4 You are bright, majestic from the everlasting mountains (Vul), that is the holy Apostles and the first members of the Church.

Preaching his commandment. This is the purpose for which he was made king, that is, to teach and preach. -Ez 3:17 Son of man, I have made you a sentinel for the house of Israel. -Ez 34:23 I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them with knowledge and doctrine. That is what Christ did. -Mat 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee… proclaiming the good news of the kingdom. If he was put in office for this, his vicars should be put in office for the same purpose. Gregory said (Letter 24): "If a pastor does not know how to preach, he has usurped the office of priesthood." -Mat 24:45 and Luke 12:42 Who do you think is the faithful and wise servant whom the Lord has set over his family? etc. They are not put in office to multiply horses and family dependents. -Deut 17:16 He must not acquire many horses for himself, or return the people to Egypt in order to acquire more horses. Therefore Prov 6:1 says My child, if you have given your pledge to your neighbor… hurry and plead etc.

He must preach the commandment, and not his own discoveries and achievements. The commandment is that of charity, as Christ preached. -John 13:34 I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. This is said to be one commandment, because on it depends everything else in Scripture. -Mat 22:40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.

7. The Lord hath said to me:
he said to me:

2: The Psalmist now comes to Christ's royal power over the uncircumcized. Here two points are made: (1) the promise of firm hold of the Gentiles, and (2) secondly the spread of his hold and rule over them: "and the utmost parts". The first point contains four subpoints: (1) first the promise of the Father, (2) secondly the reason or justice of the promise: "You are my son", (3) thirdly the way of getting what was promised: "Ask of me", (4) fourthly the determination of the promise: "And I will give you".

So the reading goes thus: "As the Father has given me power over the circumcized, so also the Lord, that is, the Father, said to me, that is, promised me: 'I will give you the Gentiles, and I owe this to you, because you are my Son, not an adopted but a natural son, in so far as you are God, because I begot you today, that is from eternity, which is the true day. -Micah 5:1 His origin is from of old, from the days of eternity. -Prov 8:25 Before the hills I was brought forth, and this by a natural generation. This is not lacking in God, who gives generation to others. -Isaiah 66:9 Shall I, who give generation to all, alone be stirile? -says the Lord God (Vul).

He is also my Son by grace, because I begot you, that is, I caused you to be conceived as man from the Virgin, and that today, which is this time of grace. -Luke 2:6 The days were complete for her to give birth, and she gave birth to her firstborn. -Mat 1:16 Jacob begot Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whomo was born Jesus etc. But for that to be, ask of me, that is, my Son, ask this of me. It should be noted that the Son seems to have been given power over the Gentiles by reason of his request, but his power over the Jews was by reason of promise, and justice required that it be given to him. -Deut 18:18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their own people; I will put my words in the mouth of the prophet. -Jer 23:5 I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king. But no promise was made to the Gentiles, nor were the merits of their ancestors ever recalled, as were those of the Jews. Because they were saved by pure mercy, it is rightly said to be in answer to a request. -Rom 15:8 For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy.

So he says, The Lord said to me. Note that God's speech is of many kinds: (1) To dispose -Psalm 106:23 He said he would destroy them, that is he disposed for their destruction. -Ez 20:8 Then I thought I would pour out my wrath upon them, that is, I disposed. (2) Sometimes God's speech is not just disposing but also a promise. -Num 23:19 God is not a human being, that he should lie, or a mortal, that he should change his mind. Has he promised, and will he not do it? Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (3) God's speech is not only a promise, but also action. -Gen 1:3 God said, 'Let there be light', and there was light. Thus we say that for God to speak is to act. -Psalm 148:5 He spoke, and they were made. (4) Still more than for God's saying to be his doing, is for God's saying to be his generating. -Job 33:14 God speaks once, and a second time does not repeat it (Vul), that is, he generates a Son, whose generation he never repeats.

Thou art my son, this day have I begotten thee.
"You are my son; this day I have given you birth.

2: Note that the word "son" is said in several secondary senses: (1) By reason of age, as when old men call younger men their sons. -Tob 7:6 Raguel said to Tobit Blessings on you, my son. (2) By discipleship, as those converted by preachers are called their sons. -1 Cor 4:15 In Christ Jesus, through the Gospel, I became your father. -Gal 4:19 My little children, with whom I am again in labor. (3) Sometimes by opinion, as Christ was thought to be the son of Joseph. -Luke 3:23 the son of Joseph, as was thought. (4) Sometimes by adoption. -Rom 8:15-16 You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption… that we are children of God.

Someone is properly a son, according to the law, if he is fathered on behalf of a deceased husband by his brother. -Deut 25:5 The brother-in-law shall take her as wife and impregnate her, and the firstborn shall bear the name of his dead brother. But someone is more properly a son by participating in his own nature, as Isaac is said to be the son of Abraham., or else by complete identity of substance, as in the present case, and this is an ineffable begetting. -Isaiah 53:8 Who can tell of his generation? (Vul). Note that in the phrase This day I have begotten you, "today" indicates the present, while "I have begotten" indicates perfect action. As for the first, Christ is called the "rising sun" (Zach 6:16); as for the second, it is said in Psalm 110:3 Before the dawn I have begotten you (Vul). -Sirach 24:3 From the mouth of the Most High I came forth, the firstborn before all creation (Vul). Therefore this refers to him.

8. Ask of me,
Ask wealth of me

2: This is what he did. He asked in his discourse before his suffering. -John 17:9 I ask for them. And again 17:20 I do not ask for them alone, but for all who through their word will believe in me. He also prayed by deed, by enduring the passion itself and shedding his blood (See Luke 14). One should always pray; it is said "Someone never stops praying who never stops doing good." But no one can do anything better than to sacrifice himself for us. Thus we hear in Heb 12:24 His blood speaks better than that of Abel. -Gen 4:10 The blood of your brother calls to me from the ground. The blood of Abel calls for vengeance, but the blood of Christ asks for mercy. And after his passion, by displaying his wounds, he is always living to intercede for us. -1 John 2:1 If anyone has sinned, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus the just. Therefore Bernard says, "Sinner, you have a sure way to the Lord. Before the Son you have his Mother, before the Father you have the Son. His Mother showed her son her breast and nipples. The Son showed his Father his side and wounds. There can be no rejection where there are so many signs of charity.

and I will give thee the Gentiles for thy inheritance, and I will give it; the nations will be your possession,

2: This is the inheritance referred to in Psalm 16:6 I have a goodly heritage. -Isaiah 49:8 In a time of favor I have answered you, on a day of salvation I have helped you; I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to establish the land, to apportion the desolate heritages.

and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.
and your domain the ends of the earth.

2: This is the spreading of Christ's power, which has been fulfilled. For the Apostles of Christ subjected the whole earth to him by their preaching, according to Psalm 19:4 Their voice has gone out to the whole earth. But later, because of Nicholas the heretic and Muhammad, the people of the East were subverted and returned to unbelief, and the prophecy was fulfilled (Psalm 72:8), He will have dominion from sea to sea, from the River to the ends of the earth. -Heb 1:2 He has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things.

The good are called the heritage of God or Christ because he jealously watches over them. -Joel 2:18 The Lord was jealous for his land. Zech 1:14 I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. Likewise he holds and conserves them in being. -Acts 17:28 In whom we live, move and have our being. He also grazes and rests there. -Rev 3:20 I will eat with him, and he with me. -Cant 1:6 Show me where you graze and lie down at noon. -1 Cor 3:9 You are God's farm. He cultivates it by plowing with the plow of preaching. -Isaiah 2:4 They will turn their swords into plows and their spears into harvest tools- and by fortifying them with temporal blessings and a consciousness of their own usefulness. -Luke 13:8 Let me dig around it and apply fertilizer- and by sowing the seeds of grace and deeper understanding of his teaching. -Jer 31:27 I will sow it with the seed of men and the seed of beasts. -Luk 8:11 The seed is the word of God- and by purging and hoeing them with the how of tribulation. -Isaiah 7:25 All the mountains will be hoed, and there will be no more fear of briars and thorns (Vul). -Isaiah 28:24 He will plow and hoe his land (Vul).

9. Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron,
You will break them with a rod of iron,

2:2.2 This section speaks of how Christ's power is used. The use of power can be sinful in two ways: either because it is remiss and inactive, as in those spoken of in Isaiah 3:4 I will make young men their princes; the fickle shall govern them- or it can be tyrannical and harmful, as in those spoken of in Wisdom 6:4 As servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, or keep the law, or walk according to the purpose of God. So here it is shown that Christ's power is not inactive, because he rules and subdues, nor is it harmful, which could happen in two ways: were he to harm the good or to favor the wicked. Such was the case with the king described in Daniel 13:53 How you have grown evil with age! Now have your past sins come to term: passing unjust sentences, condemning the innocent and freeing the guilty. But both sins are denied of Christ, because he has an iron power to give strong support to the good, as is said in the first part of the verse, and by which to crush the evil more easily, which is mentioned in the second part: "like a potter's vessel".

2:2.2.1 So he says, "He said to me," that is, the Father promising, "and you shall rule them," that is, the Gentiles and Jews, leading them from sin to virtue, from one level of virtue to the next, and finally to glory. He will do that "with an iron rod" which is strong, supportive and inflexibly just. -Rev 19:15 He will rule them with an iron rod. -Rev 19:1 I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'salvation, glory and power to our God, because his judgments are just and true. They are just in themselves. -Psalm 19:9 The judgements of the Lord are faithful and just altogether. An objection may be raised from Joel 2:13 He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing, as if to say his justice is flexible. I reply that it is flexible in so far as he punishes less than what the sinner deserves, but it is inflexible in that it leaves nothing unpunished. -Jer 23:5 He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.

This is the rod spoken of in Psalm 110:2 The Lord sends out from Zion your mighty scepter (Vul). For the power of Christ was sent out from Zion to the Gentiles. Justice is called a "rod" first by reason of the name (virga) because it makes use of and supports by power (viribus) -Prov 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people- and because of its straightness -Psalm 45:6 Your royal scepter (rod) is a scepter of equity. Thus Anselm calls justice "straitness" or rectitude- furthermore, because it is a royal attribute with which kings should be endowed. -Ez 19:11 Its strongest stem became a ruler's scepter- also because it is a pastoral instrument. -Zech 11:7 I took two staffs; one I named Favor, the other I named Unity, and I tended the sheep. For what is a prelate's power of binding if it is not a rope? What is his power of loosening and showing someone innocent or penitent, if it is not propriety? These two are the two-sided justice of prelates and pastors. -Mat 16:19 Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.

and shalt break them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
shatter them like a potter's jar."

2:2.2.2 This speaks of the use of power in facing the wicked, who are called moulded vases for receiving refuse, not silver or golden vases for holding the liquid of grace and the balm of devotion. -2 Tim 2:20 There are utensils not only of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for special use, some for ordinary. God's justice shatters these vases through their sin, when he permits them to fall from one sin to another, according to Rev 22:11 Let the filthy become filthier. But if they allowed themselves to be shattered by repentance, the Lord would repair them, so that they could become vessels of honor, as signified in Jer 18:4 He reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. -2 Tim 2:21 All who cleanse themselves of the things I have mentioned will become special utensils, dedicated and useful to the owner of the house, ready for every good work. But if not, the Lord will at last shatter them with unending punishment in hell, according to Isaiah 30:13 Its crash comes suddenly, in an instant. And its shattering will be complete, so that there will remain no fragments so as to carry coals from a fire or a little water from a ditch.

10. And now, O ye kings, understand:
And now, kings, be prudent;

2:3. This is the third part of the Psalm. Having refuted error and exposed the truth, the Psalmist now begins to warn the erring. To do so, he first gives a simple warning. Then he brings forward efficacious persuasion and arguments the make them agree: "Embrace discipline". His simple warning is first that they should understand the truth that has been made evident, secondly to respect the truth they recognize and be motivated by it: "Serve the Lord with fear".

Again, understanding the truth can be either understanding what is less obvious by one's own investigation, or understanding what is more obvious by the help of another. The latter he does afterwards: "Receive instruction".

2: So he says, "So great is the King, and such is Christ, that you kings are to rule peoples under his authority." -Prov 8:15 By me kings rule and lawgivers establish justice. -Rom 13:1 All power is from God. [This applies to] each and every one of you who have been given reason for the purpose of ruling yourselves. Seneca said, "If you want a great kingdom, rule yourself," that is, your tongue, mouth and hand. Understand. -Wis 6:2 Give ear, you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. For intelligence is necessary for you, as Solomon showed after his enthronement by asking the Lord for and intelligent and docile heart (1 Kings 3). But it is hard to find someone in authority who acts intelligently, because his understanding is disturbed by attending to many affairs and he gets puffed up by love of honors. -Psalm 49:13 When a man was in a state of honor he had no understanding (Vul). Individual kings themselves do not understand, according to Psalm 14:2 The Lord looks down from heaven on humankind to see if there are any who are wise, who seek after God.

Note that there are three things that make for a good king: (1) When he bravely does battle with his adversaries. (2) When he prudently chooses and separates not only good things from the bad, but also better things from the good. (3) When he orders everything so as to serve its proper purpose. The first offers myrrh which preserves things from rotting. The second offers wisdom which makes refined choices. The third offers incense, with the sweet smell of a proper intention. These are the three kings talked about in Matthew 2.

All kings should understand three things: (1) the benefits of God, (2) their own sins, (3) future punishments and eternal joys. -Deut 32:29 Would that they had insight into God's benefits and realized their own sins, they would understand their future, that is, the recompense awaiting the evil and the good. They should do so now -Sirach 9:10 There is no work or thought or knowledge of lawyers or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

receive instruction, you that judge the earth.
take warning, you rulers of the earth.

2: Desire to be instructed by another, if you have the mental capacity, and be led out of grosser error. For to be instructed means to be set aside from immaturity. There are two kinds of immaturity: that of the mind and that of the body. Immaturity of the mind is removed by education. Immaturity of the body by discipline and punishemnt of the body. -Sirach 7:22 Do you have children? Instruct them with teaching, and make them obedient from their youth by correction and discipline. -Nahum 3:14 Draw water for the siege, drawing teaching from the well of Sacred Scripture, strengthen your forts; trample the clay, tread the mortar, take hold of the brick mold, by trampling on your own body and dominating it by penance. In this way discipline takes place.

So "Receive instruction, you that rule the earth." You are to rule a triple earth: (1) There is the underworld. -Job 10:21 Before I go, never to return, to the land of gloom and deep darkness. -Ez 31:16 All the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that were well watered, were consoled in the world below. (2) There is the middle earth, referred to in Psalm 74:12 He brought about salvation in the midst of the earth. And there is the upper earth, referred to in Psalm 27:13 I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. The lower earth is to receive the judgment of condemnation, so that you should shrink from it absolutely. The middle earth should be judged with distinction, choosing what is good in it and rejecting what is evil. The upper earth should be given a judgment of approbation, so that you desire with all your heart to be there. So when kings understand and judge in this way, their kingdom is well ruled and it is ordered to a good end. -Wisdom 6:21 Honor wisdom, so that you may reign forever. The Gloss says, "A republic is well ruled when philosophers rule and kings are philosophers." Seneca says, "You can rule many if you can rule yourself."

11. Serve ye the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling.
Serve Yahweh with reverence, and live in trembling,

2:3.1.2 Here the Psalmist warns kings to act and to respect the God. This is called latria, which has two forms: in external work, and this is active latria, or internally in the mind, and this is contemplative latria: "And rejoice unto him". So he says, "I have warned you to understand and learn, but now I warn you to serve the Lord, and not the devil." -1 Kings 18:21 If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him. And serve the Lord, not many lords. -Mat 6:24 No one can serve two masters. -1 Sam 7:3 Direct your heart to the Lord, and serve him only. For that is just, honest and useful: It is just, because he made us -Psalm 100:3 He made us; we did not make ourselves (Vul)- and he redeemed us. -1 Cor 6:20 You have been bought at a great price. -1 Pet 1:18 not by corruptible gold or silver. It is also honest. -Sirach 23:38 There is great glory in following the Lord (Vul), because to serve him is to reign. It is also useful, because it merits eternal life. -John 12:26 Where I am, there my servant will be.

Serve him with fear. This is a warning not to withdraw from his service. -1 Cor 10:10 Whoever thinks he stands let him take care not to fall. Let him serve with a filial and chaste fear -that referred to in Psalm 19:9 The fear of the Lord is pure, enduring forever- and a respectful fear, such as a servant owes his master. -Malachi 1:6 If I am the master, where is the respect due.

And rejoice unto him, with a jubilant heart, and that with trembling. -Phil 2:12 Work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For trembling is a motion resulting from opposite motions: that is of fear which depresses, and hope which lifts up. For hope that lifts up makes one rejoice and look upwards. -Rom 12:12 Rejoicing in hope. But fear makes the soul bounce back to itself, so that it does not go out of bounds by presumption. Therefore it is said in Psalm 86:11 Give me an undivided heart to fear your name. Note that the Psalmist tells those who serve to fear, but he tells those who contemplate to tremble, which is more. That is only right, because the more God is known, the more he is feared. -Psalm 63:7-8 Man's heart has gone high, but God is exalted (Vul), by appearing more fearful.

Note five uses of fear: (1) Fear, like a good gateman, expels sin. -Sirach 1:27 The fear of God expels sin (Vul). (2) Having expelled sin, it chases away the flies of evil thoughts. -Sirach 10:1 Dead flies spoil the smell of ointment. It is the fan and whip with which Abraham drove away the birds (Gen 15:11). (3) It stablilizes one in grace. Gregory said (Moralia, Book 6, Ch. 27), "The weight of fear is the anchor of the soul." -Sirach 34:16 Those who fear the Lord will not be afraid. (4) It perfects obedience. -Sirach 15:1 Whoever fears the Lord will do this. -Sirach 7:18 Whoever fears the Lord neglects nothing (Vul). (5) As a fortunate ballast, it represses the wind of elation which could come from doing these good things.

12. Embrace discipline,
mortal men!

2:3.2 This is the second part of the exhortation. After a simple admonition here follows a reasoned persuasion. First comes the persuasion, then the efficacious reason which should make one accept the persuasion immediately: "lest at any time".

2:3.2.1 So he says, "Do no only serve and rejoice, but also embrace, by bravely enduring, discipline. Discipline is of two kinds: that of learning, which comes from teaching, and that of experience, which comes from patience in enduring blows and by punishing one's own body through penance. On both of these we hear Psalm 18:35 Your discipline corrected me to the end, for the second aspect, and your discipline will teach me (Vul), for the first aspect. Thus discipline rules and orders the apprehensive, intellective and motive powers. Therefore it is said in Heb 12:11 Discipline always seems painful rather than pleasant at the time, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

lest at any time the Lord be angry,
lest he grow angry

2:3.2.2 Here is given the cause and reason for accepting the persuasion, and it is double: to avoid disadvantage, and secondly to gain advantage: "When his wrath shall be kindled". Avoiding disadvantage is also double, because the disadvantage can be relative, or it can be absolute: "And you perish".

2: It is a relative or respective disadvantage to be the object of God's anger. So he says, "I have warned you to accept discipline, and you should accede to this warning, lest at any time the Lord be angry, that is, lest he do to you what an angry person would do. For above he said, "Then he will speak to them in his anger." David did not say "at any time" as if he were in doubt, but to show the freedom of his will.

and you perish from the just way.
and your assembly perish,

2: Here we can note a double absolute disadvantage. The one pertains to punishment, as in Psalm 1 "The way of the wicked will perish"; the other pertains to sin, which is referred to when he says that you are departing "from the just way". This was referred to above (Psalm 1): "The Lord knows the way of the just, but the way of the wicked will perish."

13. When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time,
for his anger flares up quickly.

2:3.2.2 Here is the second reason for acceding to the persuasion, and that is to gain an advantage. And here three points are made: the promise of the advantage: "Blessed are all"; the time of giving it: "when his wrath shall be kindled"; and the manner of giving it: "in a short time". So he says, "Embrace discipline. And if fear of disadvantage does not move you, at least let the desire for advantage move you, for those who trust in him are blessed." -1 Kings 10:8 Happy are those your servants who stand before you always. -Jer 17:7 Happy is the man who trusts in the Lord. But cursed is one who trusts in man, and this when his wrath shall be enkindled, that is when he shows the effect of blazing anger on the day of judgment (Isaiah 64). Now, however, his anger is not blazing, but is somehow tempered. -Job 35:15 Now his anger does not punish, and he does not greatly heed transgression. But on the last day it will be different. -Isaiah 30:27 His anger is blazing and difficult to bear (Vul). Note that the anger of God is ignited when we sin; it burns when we die in sin, and it blazes when we resume our bodies. And that will be in a short time. For the whole of time, which passes, is short. -Isaiah 16:5 He is swift to do what is right.

In a short time can also mean that the Lord will not judge people individually, one after the other, and one sin or good action after another, but in a single moment all will be decided, and a good or evil recompense will be made according to everyone's merits. For, although we can think of only one thing at a time, Christ, even as a man, can think of everything at once. -1 Cor 15:22 in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye.

blessed are all they that trust in him.
Happy are all who trust in him.

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