Why rage the heathen? and vain things why do the people mind?
Kings of the earth do set themselves, and princes are combined, to plot against the Lord, and his Anointed, saying thus,
Let us asunder break their bands, and cast their cords from us.
He that in heaven sits shall laugh; the Lord shall scorn them all.
Then shall he speak to them in wrath, in rage he vex them shall.
Yet, notwithstanding, I have him to be my King appointed; And over Zion, my holy hill, I have him King anointed.
The sure decree I will declare: The Lord hath said to me, Thou art mine only Son; this day I have begotten thee.
Ask of me, and for heritage the heathen I'll make thine; And, for possession, I to thee will give earth's utmost line.
Thou shalt, as with a weighty rod of iron, break them all; And, as a potter's sherd, thou shalt them dash in pieces small.
Now therefore, kings, be wise; be taught, ye judges of the earth:
Serve God in fear, and see that ye join trembling with your mirth.
Kiss ye the Son, lest in his ire ye perish from the way, If once his wrath begin to burn: blessed all that on him stay.
Scottish Metrical Version
David finding great opposition in his coming to the Kingdom, both at home by the House of Saul, and they that sided with them, and also abroad by confederacy of neighbour-Princes and People. He shows them both their folly and danger in so doing; for that as a Prophet he does assure them that God has designed him to rule both over Jews and Gentiles, as a figure of Christ’s doing the like in his spiritual Kingdom all the world over, and therefore exhorts them to desist, and submit to the will of the Lord; and not to their utter undoing put from them the grace that is offered them in Christ, (whose type only he was, and of whose Kingdom he prophesies) which would make them blessed for ever.
Vs 1 Why rage the heathen? and vain things why do the people mind?
How senselessly do the Gentile and Heathen nations amongst us and about us, yea and so many that are of Israel too, so violently oppose my Government, and refuse their subjection to me? which nevertheless shall be effected notwithstanding all their rage and resistance, for that herein I am to be a type of Christ the Son of God, his universal Sovereignty over Jews and Gentiles, which by the wicked of both sorts shall in like manner be opposed, but in vain, for his spiritual Kingdom, his Church, shall prosper in spite of all the world, as shall my temporal.
Vs 2 Kings of the earth do set themselves, and princes are combined, to plot against the Lord, and his Anointed, saying thus,
Yea mighty Princes and great States-men by their worldly power and wisdom, both within Israel, and without in many neighbour-nations, set themselves with all their might against me, but in so doing they fight against God, and against me, not for mine own sake (who never sought the Kingdom) but because the Lord had anointed and designed me to it, in a figure to portray out Christ and his Kingdom by me, who likewise shall be so opposed.
Vs 3 Let us asunder break their bands, and cast their cords from us.
They say in effect both Princes and People, we will not be subject to David, nor under his Government, but in so saying, they also in effect say, they will not be subject to God, nor have his Son Christ to rule over them, neither him nor me.
Vs 4 He that in heaven sits shall laugh; the Lord shall scorn them all.
And therefore (though they set light by me, and think themselves able enough by their worldly power and policy to crush me, yet) he that reigns in Heaven, in whom I trust, being engaged in my quarrel, contemns their pride, and laughs at their foolishness, for that he both can and will subjugate them to me, and in me to himself.
Vs 5 Then shall he speak to them in wrath, in rage he vex them shall.
And if they will needs provoke him to anger, and put him to use his power, refusing to submit to his Scepter and mine, they shall then find him a potent and wrathful enemy in his own and my behalf, and such an one as will easily subdue and destroy them, and revenge himself to the full upon their rebellious stubbornness against him and me.
Vs 6 Yet, notwithstanding, I have him to be my King appointed; And over Zion, my holy hill, I have him King anointed.
For as a prophet in the Name of the Lord I pronounce it. That notwithstanding what man can do, the Lord shall certainly set me over Israel, and establish my throne in Jerusalem where his holy Temple shall be built, as the chosen type of Christ, who shall rule by the scepter of his holiness in and over his Church, whereof Sion is a type, notwithstanding all the enemies both of Him and me.
Vs 7 The sure decree I will declare: The Lord hath said to me, Thou art mine only Son; this day I have begotten thee.
And further, that men may know they strive against the stream in opposing me, I will tell them truly what the Lord has revealed to me concerning my self by the spirit of prophesy; that is, That he hath decreed me to be the figure of Christ. And in a figure hath said thus to me. Thou art and shalt be my son, that is, in the place and stead of mine only Son, the heir of all things, resembling the power that he shall have over his enemies, and the Government in his Church which I shall give him, then when I have as it were begotten him a new, and powerfully declared him to be so, by raising him from the dead, and exalted him at my right hand in glory, as I have and shall do thee out of thy low and troublous state, by anointing thee King, and setting thee in the throne of Israel.
Vs 8 Ask of me, and for heritage the heathen I'll make thine; And, for possession, I to thee will give earth's utmost line.
And as I will do by him, so will I do by thee, by his intercession the heathen Gentiles shall come under his subjection, yea the most remote and furthest parts of all the world as well as Judea, shall he possess and inherit by my gift, for to be his people. And so at thy prayer and intreaty shalt thou prevail over, and be possessor of all them that rise up against thee both Jews and Gentiles, far and near, to be thine and under thee.
Vs 9 Thou shalt, as with a weighty rod of iron, break them all; And, as a potter's sherd, thou shalt them dash in pieces small.
Notwithstanding all their resistance and rebellion, yet shalt thou be set over them, and they miserably destroyed by thy power that will not come under the scepter, as shall all be that make resistance to my Son Christ, whose wrathful vengeance will fall heavy upon such mortals as refuse salvation from him, and subjection to him.
Vs 10 Now therefore, kings, be wise; be taught, ye judges of the earth:
Now therefore, seeing I have told you the truth. Take warning and be advised even ye that are Kings and Potentates here on earth, yet, to do your homage and render obedience and subjection in me, to the Lord, that rules in Heaven. Neither do you that are the Judges and Sages of the world think your selves too wise to take Laws from God, though here you give Laws to men.
Vs 11 Serve God in fear, and see that ye join trembling with your mirth.
As high as you are, think not scorn to stoop to serve the Lord with fear of his displeasure, and take heed your prosperity make you not forget your selves and God, but use it soberly, and rejoice in it moderately, fearing to offend him that raised you up, and can cast you down.
Vs 12 Kiss ye the Son, lest in his ire ye perish from the way, If once his wrath begin to burn: blessed all that on him stay.
Take heed of rejecting Christ in rejecting me, who is Son and Heir of all things, but yield obedience and do your homage unto him in believing what I have said, and framing your course accordingly, least you turn that grace and favour which he hath offered you, by being willing to accept you for his people, into heavy displeasure, and so forsaking the only way of happiness which God hath chalked you out in him, you perish and that everlastingly, when as by refusing subjection to his gracious Government, you have once shut the door of mercy upon your selves, and kindled his anger against you, the least spark whereof will be of dreadful consequence to the rebellious. Therefore if you would be happy and blessed, as I know all desire to be, then be assured of this; That they, and they only are, and shall be so, that in humility and faith embrace the mercy that is offered them in him, receiving him for their Saviour, and yielding themselves his thankful and obedient servants and subjects, whose type and prophet only I am.