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Psalm chapter 2

What does Psalm chapter 2 mean?

Psalm 2 is credited to David by the New Testament (Acts 4:25). The apostles applied this idea to the persecution of Jesus by Israel's religious leaders (Acts 4:27–28). This song expresses amazement that cultures and governments of earth would try to ignore God. The consequences of that will be dire. Instead, it is better to honor God and serve Him.

The opening lines of this psalm form a rhetorical question. The point is not to seek an answer, but to make a point. There seems no good reason why anyone, even kings and rulers, would try to defy God. The motivation of rebelling against God is selfishness and pride. This also comes with anger and hatred (1 Peter 4:3–4; John 15:18–19) (Psalm 2:1–3).

The fury of earthly people is not intimidating to God. In fact, His response to those who attempt to defy Him is laughter. The symbolism of God "laughing" implies His complete power and sovereignty. When a nation "rages," and God "laughs" in response, it suggests how outmatched sinful people are. Despite the angst of those who disobey, God will establish His rule, through Christ, just as He has promised (Psalm 2:4–6).

Part of this "royal psalm" includes references to the eventual rule of earth by the Messiah. This will not come to complete fulfillment until Jesus Christ returns and reigns for a thousand years (Revelation 19:11; 20:4). The imagery of this passage again emphasizes the absolute domination God will express against His enemies (Psalm 2:7–9).

David ends this psalm pleading with kings and rulers to make the wiser choice. In this context, "fear" refers to respect and submission, not to abject terror. To "rejoice with trembling" carries a similar idea: a reference to emotion and sincerity. In ancient culture, polite forms of a kiss were the equivalent of a modern hug or handshake. To "kiss the Son" implies giving due honor and respect to the Anointed One (John 6:28–29). Those who do so can be saved, while those who refuse will face the wrath of God (John 3:36). Those who rely on God will be called "blessed" (Psalm 2:10–12).
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