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Psalm 2:2 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
2 The kings of the earth take their stand,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against Jehovah and against his anointed one, saying,
The kings of the earth. This verse is designed to give a more specific form to the general statement in ver. 1. In the first verse the psalmist sees a general commotion among the nations as engaged in some plan that he sees must be a vain one; here he describes more particularly the cause of the excitement, and gives a nearer view of what is occurring. He now sees kings and rulers engaged in a specific and definite plot against Jehovah and against his Anointed. The word kings here is a general term, which would be applicable to all rulers,—as the kingly government was the only one then known, and the nations were under the control of absolute monarchs. However, sufficient fulfillment would be found if any rulers were engaged in doing what is described here.
Take their stand. The expression would perhaps better convey the sense of the original. It is the idea of taking a stand or of setting themselves in array, which is denoted by the expression;—they combine; they resolve; they are fixed in their purpose. Comp. Exod. 2:4; 19:17; 34:5. The attitude here is that of firm or determined resistance.
And the rulers. A slight addition to the word kings. The sense is, that there was a general combination among all classes of rulers to accomplish what is specified here. It was not confined to any one class.
Take counsel together. Consult together. Comp. Ps. 31:13, “While they took counsel together against me.” The word here used—יָסַד, yasad—means properly to found, to lay the foundation of, to establish; then, to be founded (Niph.); to support one’s self; to lean upon—as, for example, to lean upon the elbow. Thus used, it is employed concerning persons reclining or leaning upon a couch or cushion, especially as deliberating together, as the Orientals do in the divan or council. Comp. Notes on Ps. 83:3. The idea here is that of persons assembled to deliberate on an important matter.
Against Jehovah. The meaning is that they were engaged in deliberating against Jehovah regarding the matter here referred to—to wit, his purpose to place the “Anointed One,” his King (Psalm 2:6), on the hill of Zion. It is not meant that they were in other respects arrayed against him, though it is true, in fact, that opposition to God in one respect may imply that there is an aversion to him in all respects, and that the same spirit which would lead men to oppose him in any one of his purposes would, if carried out, lead them to oppose him in all things.
And against his Anointed—מְשִׁיחוֹ—his Messiah: hence our word Messiah, or Christ. The word means Anointed, and the allusion is to the custom of anointing kings and priests with holy oil when setting them apart to office or consecrating them to their work. Comp. Notes on Matt. 1:1; Dan. 9:26. The word Messiah, or Anointed, is therefore of so general a character in its signification that its mere use would not determine to whom it was to be applied—whether to a king, to a priest, or to the Messiah properly so-called. The reference is to be determined by something in the connection. All that the word here necessarily implies is, that there was some one whom Jehovah regarded as his Anointed one, whether king or priest, against whom the rulers of the earth had arrayed themselves. The subsequent part of the psalm (Psalm 2:6-7) enables us to ascertain that the reference here is to one who was a King and that he sustained to Jehovah the relation of a Son. The New Testament and the considerations suggested in the introduction to the psalm (§ 4), enable us to understand that the reference is to the Messiah, properly so-called—Jesus of Nazareth. This is expressly declared (Acts 4:25–27) to have had its fulfillment in the purposes of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, in rejecting the Savior and putting him to death. No one can doubt that all that is here stated in the psalm had a complete fulfillment in their combining to reject him and to put him to death, and we are, therefore, to regard the psalm as particularly referring to this transaction. Their conduct was, however, an illustration of the common feelings of rulers and people concerning him, and it was proper to represent the nations in general as in commotion regarding him.
By Albert Barnes and Edward D. Andrews