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Commentary on Psalms - Volume 1
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Psalm 2:4-6

4. He who dwelleth in heaven will laugh at them; the Lord 2626     The word in our Hebrew Bibles is Elohai; but is considerable number of MSS, it is Jehovah. “The Jews in latter ages had a superstitious dread of pronouncing the word Jehovah, and frequently inserted Adonai and Elohim instead of it in their manuscripts of the Scriptures. But the more ancient MSS. Have Jehovah frequently where the more modern have Adonai and Elohim. Sixty MSS, of Dr. Kennicott’s collation and twenty-five of De Rossi’s have Jehovah here.” — Street, 2:4. will have them in derision. 5. Then will he speak to them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6. I have anointed my King upon my holy hill of Sion.

 

After David has told us of the tumult and commotions, the counsels and pride, the preparation and resources the strength and efforts of his enemies, in opposition to all these he places the power of God alone, which he concludes would be brought to bear against them, from their attempting to frustrate his decree. And, as a little before, by terming them kings of the earth, he expressed their feeble and perishable condition; so now, by the lofty title of He that dwelleth in heaven, he extols the power of God, as if he had said, that power remains intact and unimpaired, whatever men may attempt against it. Let them exalt themselves as they may, they shall never be able to reach to heaven; yea, while they think to confound heaven and earth together, they resemble so many grasshoppers, and the Lord, meanwhile, undisturbed beholds from on high their infatuated evolutions. And David ascribes laughter to God on two accounts; first, to teach us that he does not stand in need of great armies to repress the rebellion of wicked men, as if this were an arduous and difficult matter, but, on the contrary, could do this as often as he pleases with the most perfect ease. In the second place, he would have us to understand that when God permits the reign of his Son to be troubled, he does not cease from interfering because he is employed elsewhere, or unable to afford assistance, or because he is neglectful of the honor of his Son; but he purposely delays the inflictions of his wrath to the proper time, namely, until he has exposed their infatuated rage to general derision. Let us, therefore, assure ourselves that if God does not immediately stretch forth his hand against the ungodly, it is now his time of laughter; and although, in the meantime, we ought to weep, yet let us assuage the bitterness of our grief, yea, and wipe away our tears, with this reflection, that God does not connive at the wickedness of his enemies, as if from indolence or feebleness, but because for the time he would confront their insolence with quiet contempt. By the adverb then, he points to the fit time for exercising judgment, as if he had said, after the Lord shall have for a time apparently taken no notice of the malpractices of those who oppose the rule of his Son, he will suddenly change his course, and show that he retards nothing with greater abhorrence than such presumption.

Moreover, he ascribes speech to God, not for the purpose of instructing his enemies, but only to convict them of their madness; indeed, by the term speak, he means nothing else than a manifestation of God’s wrath, which the ungodly do not perceive until they feel it. The enemies of David thought it would be the easiest thing in the world for them to destroy one who, coming from a mean shepherd’s cot, had, in their view, 2727     Il avoit a Leur avis. — Fr. presumptuously assumed the sovereign power. The prophecy and anointing of Samuel were, in their estimation, mere ridiculous pretences. But when God had at length overthrown them, and settled David on the throne, he, by this act, spoke not so much with his tongue as with his hand, to manifest himself the founder of David’s kingdom. The Psalmist hereon then, refers to speaking by actions, by which the Lord, without uttering a single word, makes manifest his purpose. In like manner, whenever he defends the kingdom of his Son against the ungodly, by the tokens and inflictions of his wrath, although he does not speak a single word, yet in effect he speaks enough to make himself understood. 2828     Encore qu’il ne dise un seul, si est ce qu’en effect il parle assez pour se faire entendre. — Fr. David afterwards, speaking in the name of God, shows more clearly how his enemies were guilty of wickedly fighting against God himself in the hatred which they bore towards him whom God had made king. The sum is this: Wicked men may now conduct themselves as wickedly as they please, but they shall at length feel what it is to make war against heaven. The pronoun I is also emphatical, by which God signifies that he is so far exalted above the men of this world, that the whole mass of them could not possibly obscure his glory in the least degree. As often, then, as the power of man appears formidable to us, let us remember how much it is transcended by the power of God. In these words there is set before us the unchangeable and eternal purpose of God effectually to defend, even to the end, the kingdom of his Son, of which he is the founder; and this may well support our faith amidst the troublous storms of the world. Whatever plots, therefore, men may form against it, let this one consideration be sufficient to satisfy us, that they cannot render ineffectual the anointing of God. Mention is here made of mount Sion in express terms, not because David was first anointed thereon but because at length, in God’s own time, the truth of the prophecy was manifested and actually established by the solemn rite of his consecration. And although David in these words had a regard to the promise of God, and recalled the attention of himself and others to it, yet, at the same time, he meant to signify that his own reign is holy and inseparably connected with the temple of God. But this applies more appropriately to the kingdom of Christ, which we know to be both spiritual and joined to the priesthood, and this is the principal part of the worship of God.


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