Psalm 2

Psalm 2

1. Why do the nations conspire,[1] and the peoples collude[2] in vain?

2. The kings of the earth marshal themselves,[3] and rulers take counsel together against[4] Yhwh and against his anointed.[5]

3. “Let us tear their[6] bonds to shreds, and let us cast their cords far from us.”

4. He who sits enthroned in the heavens laughs, the[7] Lord[8] mocks[9] them.

5. Then he shall[10] speak to them in his anger, and in his fury he will terrify them.

6. “I have anointed[11] my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”[12]

7. Let me[13] proclaim the statute[14] of Yhwh. He said to me, “You are my son, it is I who has begotten you this day.

8. “Ask of me, and I will give the nations to you as an inheritance,[15] and the ends of the earth as a possession.”[16]

9. You shall break them with a staff of iron; as a potter’s vessel[17] you shall smash them.[18]

10. Now then, O kings, be wise; be warned,[19] O judges of the earth.

11. Serve Yhwh in fear;[20] kiss his feet with trembling.[21]

12. Lest he become angry and you lose the way,[22] for his wrath kindles quickly. Happy are all who seek refuge in him![23]

[1] Ps 55:15 and 64:3 have nominal forms of רגש in parallel with סוד.

[2] Literally, “whisper,” but the sense of plotting is clear from the object and the parallels elsewhere in the Psalms.

[3] The sense of marshaling forces is supported by the context of the verse.

[4] The remainder of this verse seems to be an explanatory gloss.

[5] The Greek attests to סֶלָה at the end of this verse.

[6] This and the following pronominal suffices are an archaized 3rd masculine plural form (מו-).

[7] The Greek and Syriac include a conjunction at the beginning of this clause.

[8] Several Hebrew manuscripts have the Tetragrammaton here.

[9] I read this as an iterative. He continually mocks the impotence of those who plot against him.

[10] The adverb marks the imperfects in this verse as futures.

[11] Two possible roots could underlie this verb: סכך or נסך. The former means “to weave” and the latter “to pour out.” The former would be a niphal, and would indicate the king was formed somehow on the mountain. Few scholars prefer this reading. The latter root is more likely. The verb is vocalized as a qal in MT, but may be a niphal, which would indicate consecration or anointing. Several commentators prefer a passive reading of the verb, following the Greek, making the speaker the king rather than God.

[12] Literally, “the mountain of my holiness.”

[13] The verb is morphologically cohortative.

[14] The Syriac adds a first person singular pronominal suffix.

[15] Literally, “I will give the nations as your inheritance.”

[16] Literally, “as your inheritance,” but the possessive sense has already been used as the object of the verb. It would sound redundant to apply it to the second accusative when the gapped verb already has it.

[17] Some Greek manuscripts and the Syriac have the plural “vessels.”

[18] A good example of inverse parallelism, or chiasmus. The verb leads in the first cola, but terminates the second. The objects are then framed by the verbal action.

[19] One Hebrew manuscript and G add “all the” before “judges of the earth.”

[20] One Hebrew manuscript reads, “in joy.”

[21] This translation moves וגילו to the end of the first phrase of v. 12, combining it with בר. Without this reconstruction the translation “rejoice in trembling” makes little sense, as does the following “kiss the son,” with the Aramaism בר.

[22] This provides a nice parallel to the contrast at the end of the last chapter.

[23] This provides a nice inclusio to the first verse of the previous chapter.


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