Psalm Saturday: Psalm 2

This week was my first week of school for the semester, so I’ve been very busy and unable to post as much as I would like. I’m working on creating a usable schedule; once I’ve worked out my time management, the posts should become more frequent. But you aren’t here about my scheduling troubles are you? Today we look at Psalm 2. 

Psalm 2: God’s Promise to His Anointed

Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”
7 I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
with trembling 12 kiss his feet,[a]
or he will be angry, and you will perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Happy are all who take refuge in him.
Why do the nations conspire,
and the peoples plot in vain?
2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and his anointed, saying,
3 “Let us burst their bonds asunder,
and cast their cords from us.”
4 He who sits in the heavens laughs;
the Lord has them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his wrath,
and terrify them in his fury, saying,
6 “I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill.”
7 I will tell of the decree of the Lord:
He said to me, “You are my son,
today I have begotten you.
8 Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
10 Now therefore, O kings, be wise;
be warned, O rulers of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
with trembling 12 kiss his feet,
lest he be angry, and you perish in the way;
for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

As we saw in Psalm 1, the two versions are nearly identical—in this case very—and most of these posts will likely be short and rather boring. There are a few differences, but not many. Let me start by saying that in the RSV shown on the right, verse 6 is split in two. “…’on Zion, my holy hill'” is on another line. For comparison purposes, I have verse 6 on one line. I wonder if this splitting is just a printing choice or an actual translation issue?

In the NRSV shown on the left, “lest” hast been replaced with “or” to eliminate this minor archaism. Personally, I like “lest” better, but I read Shakespeare and Margery Kempe for entertainment and constitute a rather odd minority, so you can ignore me. It pains me to admit it, but most people probably don’t come across a word like “lest” in daily reading. They may not know what it means, or if they do, find it stilted and odd-sounding. +1 to the NRSV for  readability.

Finally, the NRSV again uses “happy” over “blessed.” I don’t understand why this is, but this may be the one thing I don’t like about the NRSV. While it’s clear enough what “happy” means, I think—especially in today’s language—that “blessed” carries a clearer meaning. “Happy,” could simply mean we feel well or are content, while “blessed” implies we are graced with something. In my mind, “blessed” includes God in happiness and attributes that happiness to him. I know I’m simply splitting hairs, but I would be interested to know more about this distinction.

Jesus-CrucifiedAnd look, we have our first Messianic prophecy! “He said to me, ‘You are my son; / today I have begotten you.'” These allusions are some of my favorite parts of the Old Testament. Christ’s love is even here—though “the nations conspire, / and the peoples plot,” their plans are nothing to a Sovereign God. Christ will break and shatter even Death’s power, and God will “put [his] enemies under [his] feet” (Ps. 110), because “nothing will be impossible with God” (Lk. 1:37). Though he had the right to destroy us for disobedience, in his amazing love God chose to save us and “[bring] us into the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Col. 1:13) as adopted children. Aren’t we blessed?

I know, that last bit was tongue-in-cheek. How is the series so far? Are you enjoying it? Would any Hebrew experts out there be able to shed light on these word choice issues? I hope you’re having a great Saturday. Remember, call your Mom! Ad Jesum per Mariam! Do comment. I so love comments.

In His Sacred Heart,

Erica

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