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Psalms 2:1-3

Context
Psalm 2 1 

2:1 Why 2  do the nations rebel? 3 

Why 4  are the countries 5  devising 6  plots that will fail? 7 

2:2 The kings of the earth 8  form a united front; 9 

the rulers collaborate 10 

against the Lord and his anointed king. 11 

2:3 They say, 12  “Let’s tear off the shackles they’ve put on us! 13 

Let’s free ourselves from 14  their ropes!”

1 sn Psalm 2. In this royal psalm the author asserts the special status of the divinely chosen Davidic king and warns the nations and their rulers to submit to the authority of God and his chosen vice-regent.

2 tn The question is rhetorical. Rather than seeking information, the psalmist expresses his outrage that the nations would have the audacity to rebel against God and his chosen king.

3 tn The Hebrew verb רָגַשׁ (ragash) occurs only here. In Dan 6:6, 11, 15 the Aramaic cognate verb describes several officials acting as a group. A Hebrew nominal derivative is used in Ps 55:14 of a crowd of people in the temple.

4 tn The interrogative לָמָּה (lamah, “why?”) is understood by ellipsis in the second line.

5 tn Or “peoples” (so many English versions).

6 tn The Hebrew imperfect form describes the rebellion as underway. The verb הָגָה (hagah), which means “to recite quietly, meditate,” here has the metonymic nuance “devise, plan, plot” (see Ps 38:12; Prov 24:2).

7 tn Heb “devising emptiness.” The noun רִיק (riq, “emptiness”) may characterize their behavior as “worthless, morally bankrupt” but more likely refers to the outcome of their plots (i.e., failure). As the rest of the psalm emphasizes, their rebellion will fail.

8 sn The expression kings of the earth refers somewhat hyperbolically to the kings who had been conquered by and were subject to the Davidic king.

9 tn Or “take their stand.” The Hebrew imperfect verbal form describes their action as underway.

10 tn Or “conspire together.” The verbal form is a Niphal from יָסַד (yasad). BDB 413-14 s.v. יָסַד defines the verb as “establish, found,” but HALOT 417 s.v. II יסד proposes a homonym meaning “get together, conspire” (an alternate form of סוּד, sud).

11 tn Heb “and against his anointed one.” The Davidic king is the referent (see vv. 6-7).

12 tn The words “they say” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The quotation represents the words of the rebellious kings.

13 tn Heb “their (i.e., the Lord’s and the king’s) shackles.” The kings compare the rule of the Lord and his vice-regent to being imprisoned.

14 tn Heb “throw off from us.”



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