Psalm 2 is a coronation psalm used and recited at the royal coronation of the Davidic kings of Judah. The coronation of a new king in the line of David would have taken place in the courtyard of the Temple (2 Chron. 23:8-13). The coronation would have included the crowning of the king, the presentation of a copy of the Mosaic Covenant to the new king (Deut. 17:18-20) and the public proclamation of his kingship followed by the king being anointed with oil (2 Kings 11:12). At this time four different people to represent the four separate parts of this Psalm would recite Psalm 2.
- 2:1-3 – The arrogant nations and their rulers in rebellion against God.
- 2:4-6 – God mocks these rebels and rebukes them from his throne in heaven.
- 2:7-9 – The newly anointed king speaks to recognize his position was established by God and his rule comes with purpose, promises and responsibilities.
- 2:10-12 – David advises the Gentile kings by personally warning the nations and tells them to consider carefully the severity of this reality.
The term “anointed” refers to a human man being anointed by God to fulfill God’s rule on earth. This “anointed” is foundational for the concept of the Messiah and Jesus’ ministry. The use of the word “today” indicates that this Psalm or proclamation was announced on the day of the man’s coronation as king. The phrase “I have begotten you” speaks of a legal adoption, but it also carries with it a new beginning, even a new birth, as a man is placed in position by Deity to serve as the Deity’s representative on earth.
Do notice that the Anointed One’s (the new king) responsibility was to ask God to grant him his rightful concessions. The position of king came with certain responsibilities along with established provisions and a determined jurisdiction. In this Psalm we see the anointed king being told to ask that these to be given to him in his reign. This reign is characterized as being as strong as iron over the rebellious nations who are portrayed as being as fragile as a clay pot when they face the Lord’s anointed king.
It is clear from the Old Testament that no king of Judah fully manifested this kind of authority, yet each king was anointed with this as the goal. It was even a promise from God himself. The coming of Jesus and his ministry picked up on this idea. But, in the end the arrogant nations and rebellious people crucified the Anointed One.
Yet, this Psalm 2 is one of the most frequently quoted Psalms by the early church in the New Testament because they understood there was yet a future day when this anointed man, Jesus, would return and fulfill his role as the anointed king and dash the rebellious nations to pieces like pottery and rule the earth for the Kingdom of God. The writer of this Psalm warns the Gentile nations and people to honor this king before his wrath flares up. This day of wrath is still in the future, but we know it is coming.
(Zion was originally a reference to the Jerusalem David took from the Jebusites located on the southeastern hill of today’s Jerusalem (called the City of David.) Eventually, Zion referred to all of Jerusalem. The Crusaders mis-identified the hill on the southwest side of Jerusalem as Mount Zion so the name stands there today.)