Psalm 2 may be divided into two parts. In verses 1-6 the psalmist assumes the viewpoint of an observer, and speaks in the third person of the things which he has witnessed. The heathen raged, the people imagined a vain thing, the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together, against Jehovah and His anointed, determined to overthrow them. But the Lord laughed in derision, and said to them in His wrath, “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Certainly it is a vain thing, a thing to be held in scorn, that some think to overthrow the king anointed by Jehovah! Therefore in verses 7-12 the psalmist confidently assumes the viewpoint of the Lord’s anointed, and, speaking now in the first person, declares that the kings of the earth ought to submit themselves to him.
We may say, almost without doubt, that David is the psalmist, and that he speaks about himself as king at Jerusalem. He was Jehovah’s anointed. Against his iron rule over them the kings of the earth rebelled. And at that futile rebellion of the kings and rulers of the Philistines, Edomites, Moabites, Amonites, and many others whom David defeated, the Lord laughed. The royal psalmist’s confidence in his own power therefore arises from the knowledge that “he that sitteth in the heavens” rules through him over all. “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.”
When the king speaks of the Lord’s begetting him, he does not speak of his own conception and birth. He speaks of the moment of his ascension to the throne in Zion. The Holy Spirit tells us, in Acts 13:33, that this is what verse 7 means. And the psalm itself makes clear that the king is now recalling that moment when God set him on the holy hill of Zion: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”
The psalm is a celebration of the glory and power of the king at Jerusalem.
But the psalm is more than that. David was a type, and Acts 13:33 shows very clearly that David is not the only one spoken of in the psalm: “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” The psalm is a celebration of the glory and power of our Lord Jesus Christ, the anointed
of the Lord. He is the King who is set upon the holy hill of Zion. He is the King of whom God said, “Ask of me. . He is the King against Whom the kings of the earth rebel. He is the reason for Jehovah’s scornful laughter: He lays upon the unwilling necks of Jehovah’s enemies a mighty yoke. He binds them with cords of steel, He rules with a rod of iron, and, in the end, He dashes them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. He is Lord.
He is Lord because He, more than David, is the Son begotten by Jehovah. His begetting took place, not just through the ascension of a throne, but when God raised Him from the dead and set Him at his own right hand in heavenly places. Because He through the resurrection and ascension sits at God’s right hand every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. He is King of kings and Lord of lords.
But we ought not to disassociate the resurrection and ascension of our Lord from His incarnation. This also is indicated by the word “begotten.”
The beginning of His ascension to the throne of Zion is the incarnation. Does the world know such shame? He cannot become King of kings until He defeats the enemies of His Father and His brethren, and He cannot defeat them until He suffers the bitter humiliation of birth. He must take upon Him the form of a servant and be made in the likeness of men. He must humble Himself to death.
The beginning of His ascension to the throne of Zion is the incarnation. Does the world know such glory? He is begotten a king. The wise men asked, by the power of the Spirit, “Where is he that is born king of the Jews?” They sought no prince, no man mighty on earth. They sought a baby and a King. He becomes a servant but He loses no royal power. He is not yet the victorious king, but He is king nevertheless, king begotten by the mighty power of Jehovah, king ordained to have in possession the uttermost parts of the earth. While the world raises all its terrible might in rebellion, its king rules from a cattle stall worshipped by a few strangers from a far country. Truly “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh.”
While the world rages, let the church rejoice. He is set upon the holy hill of Zion, in the midst of a people whom He rules, not with a rod of iron, but with a shepherd’s staff and love. He is your King, brothers and sisters in Christ, but upon you He has placed an easy yoke and a light burden. “Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.”