Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Psalm 2 and Proverbs 1:8-14

Yesterday, I started doing posts on the psalms:
Psalm 1 and Proverbs 1:1-7

Today, Psalm 2
1. Psalm 2 is a royal psalm, a psalm that was addressed to the king of Judah. Some think it might even have been an "enthronement psalm," a psalm read at the enthronement of a king. The royal psalms then were often taken in a "fuller sense" later as messianic psalms, psalms whose content anticipated Jesus as the Christ.

2. 2:1-3 gives the situation surrounding Judah. Judah seems to be threatened by other kings, other peoples. They are setting themselves against Judah. Perhaps Judah has prevailed against them and they are wanting to revolt, to "burst their bonds asunder" (2:3).

In 2:4-6, YHWH laughs. He is the one who has set his king on Mt. Zion (a clear indication that Judah is in view, unless this psalm specifically related to Solomon). By the end of the psalm (2:10-11), those opposing kings will be warned not to oppose YHWH or his king. They will perish quickly if they oppose YHWH.

This is the context in which 2:7-8 appear. YHWH says to the king, "You are my Son; today I have given you birth." This is the enthronement of the king, the "birth" of the son of God. Yes, the king in the Ancient Near Eastern context could be considered a son of God (cf. 2 Sam. 7:14). God says not to oppose his anointed king. Otherwise, God will dash them to pieces.

3. Taken in a fuller sense, a sensus plenior, the earliest Christians connected this verse to Jesus' resurrection and exaltation to God's right hand (Acts 4:25-26, 13:33; Hebrews 1:5; 5:5). When Jesus sat at God's right hand, it was his enthronement as king of the world.

Proverbs 1:8-14
So the proverbs begin. These proverbs are directed to, "my son," who is first told to heed the instruction of his father and mother.

The first instruction is not to join the violent, sinners who ambush the innocent. He has in mind individuals who kill and steal. They call a young man to join a gang that shares with each other what they steal. Sounds like what happens in many inner cities.

As a side note, Sheol and "the Pit" are mentioned as places that swallow the dead. These are not places of punishment in Hebrew thought but ways of referring to where the dead go when they die. Perhaps for some they were just figures, metaphors of a sort. No doubt other Jews thought of Sheol as a literal place where the shadows of the dead go, just as in Homer.

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