Psalms 2:9 MEANING

Psalm 2:9
(9) Thou shalt break.--The LXX. translated, "thou shalt pasture them," understanding by the rod (Heb., shevet), as in Leviticus 27:32, a shepherd's crook. (Comp. Ezekiel 20:37; Micah 7:14.) Elsewhere the rod is a sceptre (Psalm 125:3); in Proverbs 22:15 it is a rod of correction. The use to be made of it--to dash the nations in pieces, as one breaks a potter's vessel--points to the latter of these significations here.

"Then shalt thou bring full low

With iron sceptre bruised, and them disperse

Like to a potter's vessel shivered so." (Milton's trans.)

Psalm 2:10 begins the fourth section of the poem. Subject princes are warned to be wise in time, and, as a religious duty as well as a political necessity, to submit to Jehovah.

Rejoice with trembling.--Literally, quake, referring to the motion of the body produced by strong emotion, and therefore used both of joy and terror. Our version follows the LXX.; most of the old versions paraphrase the word: Chaldean, "pray"; Syriac," cleave to him"; Arabic, "praise him." It is historically interesting to remember that the words of this verse--et nunc reges intelligite--formed the legend of the medal struck in England after the execution of Charles I.

Verse 9. - Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron. It is said that these words, and those of the next clause, "cannot describe the mild rule of Christ" (Rosenmuller, Do Wette, Hupfeld, etc.). But the objectors forget that there is a severe, as well as a mild, side to the dealings of God with his human creatures. St. Paul notes in the same verse both the "severity" and the "goodness" of God (Romans 11:22). Christ, though "the Prince of Peace," "came to send a sword upon the earth" (Matthew 10:34). As the appointed Judge of men, he takes vengeance on the wicked, while he rewards the righteous (Luke 3:17; Matthew 25:46). Nay, St. John, in the Apocalypse, declares 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; comp. 2:27; 12:5). So, with respect to the other clause of the verse - Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel - it is to be noted that there is a similar threat made by the Lord of hosts against Jerusalem in the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 19:11), and that under the new covenant the same is threatened in the Revelation (Revelation 2:27). In truth, both covenants are alike in denouncing the extreme of God's wrath on impenitent sinners, such as those here spoken of.

2:7-9 The kingdom of the Messiah is founded upon an eternal decree of God the Father. This our Lord Jesus often referred to, as what he governed himself by. God hath said unto him, Thou art my Son, and it becomes each of us to say to him, Thou art my Lord, my Sovereign'. The Son, in asking the heathen for his inheritance, desires their happiness in him; so that he pleads for them, ever lives to do so, and is able to save to the uttermost, and he shall have multitudes of willing, loyal subjects, among them. Christians are the possession of the Lord Jesus; they are to him for a name and a praise. God the Father gives them to him, when, by his Spirit and grace, he works upon them to submit to the Lord Jesus.Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron,.... Not his inheritance and possession among the Gentiles, the chosen ones given him by the Father; these he delights in, takes care of, protects, and preserves: but the stubborn and rebellious ones among the Heathen, and in each of the parts of the world, who will not have him to reign over them; who treat his person with contempt, reject his government, disobey his Gospel, and despise his commands; towards these Christ will use severity, and will exert his power and break them in pieces. The Vulgate Latin, Septuagint, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, render it, "shall feed" or "rule them"; and so it is cited in Revelation 2:27; and applied to Christ, the Word of God, and King of kings; and must be understood, as it is in those places, of the severity of his government over them, of the strictness of his justice, without the least display of mercy; and then the sense is the same with those versions which render it, "shall break them:" as the word used is interpreted by the Targum, and the Jewish commentators on the place; and which is confirmed by what follows:

thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel; which is very easily done with a bar of iron; and, when it is done, the pieces can never be put together again: so that by the metaphor is signified the easy and irreparable ruin of the wicked; see Isaiah 30:14. The word signifies that they should be so crumbled into dust, that they should be scattered about as with the wind; which, so far as it relates to the Jews, was fulfilled in their destruction by the Romans, and will have its accomplishment in the antichristian nations at the latter day; see Revelation 2:26.

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