Psalm 2 – “Coronating A King”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
God pledges to support his king in Jerusalem.

II. Photo
God speaks to the King: “You are my son, I have fathered you on this day.” (v. 7b)

III. Select Verses
1-3: Why do nations assemble, and peoples plot vain things; kings of the earth take their stand, and regents intrigue together against the LORD and against His anointed?  “Let us break the cords of their yoke, shake off their ropes from us!”
6-9: “But I have installed My king on Zion, My holy mountain!” Let me tell of the decree: the LORD said to me, “You are My son, I have fathered you this day. Ask it of Me, and I will make the nations your domain; your estate, the limits of the earth. You can smash them with an iron mace, shatter them like potter’s ware.”
10-12: So now, O kings, be prudent; accept discipline, you rulers of the earth! Serve the LORD in awe; tremble with fright, pay homage in good faith, lest He be angered, and your way be doomed in the mere flash of His anger. Happy are all who take refuge in Him.

IV. Outline
1-2. Rhetorical question about Israel’s enemies
3. Motivational wish
4-6. God establishes the king in Zion
7-9. God supports his king
10-12a. Exhortation to foreign kings
12b. Beatitude for those who take refuge in God

V. Comment
Psalm 2, which does not conform to any specific literary genre, focuses on anointing the king. Craigie writes: “In general terms, the psalm is a royal psalm and must be interpreted in association with the Hebrew monarchy. More specifically, Psalm 2 is a coronation psalm; such a classification depends primarily upon the content of the psalm, rather than any characteristic form which distinguishes it from other royal psalms. A coronation involved the setting of a crown upon the new king’s head, the formal presentation of a document to the new king, and his proclamation and anointing (cf 2 Kgs 11:12)… The identification of the psalm with the coronation of a Davidic king is clarified by the parallels between this psalm and the promises given to David in the oracle of Nathan (2 Sam 7:8–16).” (64)

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Craigie, Peter C. “Psalms 1-50” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 19 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1983).
Gerstenberger, Erhard S. “Psalms Part 1 with an Introduction to Cultic Poetry” Forms of Old Testament Literature (Michigan: Eerdmans, 1988).
Photo taken from