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The Book of Psalms: Chapter 110

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God Appoints the King both King and Priest

1A psalm of David.

The LORD says to you, my lord:* “Take your throne at my right hand, while I make your enemies your footstool.” g Mt 22, 44; Acts 2, 34–35; 1 Cor 15, 25; Heb 1, 13; 8, 1; 10, 12–13; 1 Pt 3, 22 . * 2The scepter of your sovereign might the LORD will extend from Zion. The LORD says: “Rule over your enemies! 3Yours is princely power from the day of your birth. In holy splendor before the daystar,* like the dew I begot you.” h Pss 2, 7; 89, 27; Is 49, 1 . * 4The LORD has sworn and will not waver: “Like Melchizedek* you are a priest forever.” i Pss 89, 35; 132, 11; Gn 14, 18; Heb 5, 6; 7, 21 . 5At your right hand is the Lord, who crushes kings on the day of wrath, j Ps 2, 9; Rv 2, 27; 12, 5; 19, 15 . 6Who, robed in splendor, judges nations, crushes heads across the wide earth, 7Who drinks from the brook by the wayside* and thus holds high his head. k Ps 3, 4 .

Notes:

g: Mt 22, 44; Acts 2, 34–35; 1 Cor 15, 25; Heb 1, 13; 8, 1; 10, 12–13; 1 Pt 3, 22 .

h: Pss 2, 7; 89, 27; Is 49, 1 .

i: Pss 89, 35; 132, 11; Gn 14, 18; Heb 5, 6; 7, 21 .

j: Ps 2, 9; Rv 2, 27; 12, 5; 19, 15 .

k: Ps 3, 4 .

Text Commentary view alone

Ps 110 :

A royal psalm in which a court singer recites three oracles in which God assures the king that his enemies are conquered (1–2), makes the king “son” in traditional adoption language (3), gives priestly status to the king and promises to be with him in future military ventures (4–7).

110, 1 :

The Lord says to you, my lord: literally, “The Lord says to my lord,” a polite form of address of an inferior to a superior. Cf 1 Sm 25, 25; 2 Sm 1, 10 . The court singer refers to the king. Jesus in the synoptic gospels (Mt 22, 41–46 and parallels) takes the psalmist to be David and hence “my lord” refers to the messiah, who must be someone greater than David. Your footstool: in ancient times victorious kings put their feet on the prostrate bodies of their enemies.

110, 3 :

Before the daystar: possibly an expression for before the world began (PRv 8, 22 ). Like the dew I begot you: an adoption formula as in Pss 2, 7; 89, 27–28 .

110, 4 :

Like Melchizedek: Melchizedek was the ancient king of Salem (Jerusalem) who blessed Abraham (Gn 14, 18–20 ); like other kings of the time he performed priestly functions. Heb 7 sees in Melchizedek a type of Christ.

110, 7 :

Who drinks from the brook by the wayside: the meaning is uncertain. Some see an allusion to a rite of royal consecration at the Gihon spring (cf 1 Kgs 1, 33 . 38). Others find here an image of the divine warrior (or king) pursuing enemies so relentlessly that he does not stop long enough to eat and drink.

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