Sunday, January 4, 2015

Psalms 1&2; The Eschatological "Book-end", LXX Studies

Psalms 1

1 Happy is the man who didn’t go in the counsel of the ungodly
and didn’t stand in the way of sinners
and didn’t sit on the seat of pernicious people (harmful or destructive).
2 but rather, his will is in the law of the Lord, 
and he will meditate day and night in his law.
3 He will be like the tree which has been planted along side the springs of waters,
which will give its fruit in its due time,
and will not shed its leaves;
and all things, as much as he does, he will prosper.
4 Not so are the ungodly, not so!
But rather, they are like the dust which the wind has driven away from the face of the earth.
5 For this reason, the ungodly will not rise up in judgement
nor will the sinners in the counsel of the righteous,
6 because the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
and the way of the ungodly will perish.


Psalms 2

1 Why did the nations become insolent
and why did the people meditate over vain things?
2 The kings of the earth stood by
and the leaders gathered together at the same place
against the Lord and against his Anointed One.

διάψαλμα (musical interlude)

3 “Let us break their bonds
and let us cast away their yoke from us.”
4 The One who dwells in heaven will laugh at them, 
and the Lord will sneer at them.
5 Then He will speak to them in his anger, 
and he will trouble them in his wrath.
6 But I have been appointed king by him, 
on Zion, his holy mountain, 
7 proclaiming the commandment of the Lord.
The Lord said to me, “You are my son.  Today, I have become your Father.
8 Ask from me and I will give you the nations as an inheritance, 
and the ends of the earth as your possessions.
9 You will shepherd them with an iron scepter, 
you will crush them as a potter’s vessel.”
10 And now, O kings, gain insight!
Be instructed, all you who judge the earth!
11 Serve the Lord as a slave with fear, 
and rejoice in him with trembling.
12 Seize instruction, lest the Lord becomes angry, 
and you will perish from the righteous way
when his wrath becomes quickly inflamed.
Happy are all who put their trust in him.

Most scholars see these two Psalms as the front “book end” of the Psalms.  This is mostly due to the fact that Psalms 1 starts with a beatitude and Psalms 2 ends with a beatitude similar to what we find in Matthew 5. 

Psalms 1 serves as an instructional Psalm while Psalms 2 is a Royal Psalm as it deals with the King of Israel (David).  We will hit the highlights, but I really want to focus on the eschatology of these Psalms that, perhaps, really show they go together and “book end” the front of the Psalms.

As I stated before, the first line of Psalms 1 and the last line of Psalms 2 are beatitudes.  Both line begin with the Greek word Μακάριος which means “blessed” or “happy”.

The first part of the 1st Psalm shows why a man is happy while following the way of the Lord, but the 2nd part describes what happens to the “ungodly”.

In 1:4, the Hebrew text doesn’t have ἀπὸ προσώπου τῆς γῆς (from the face of the earth).  This either represents a reading from a Hebrew text that no longer exist, or it was an interpretive add that makes the passage eschatological (See footnote 10 on pg 59 of “The Book of Psalms” NICOT, deClaisse-Walford, Jacobson, Tanner).  Not only will the ungodly be blown by the wind, they will also be wiped from the face of the earth!

There are other ways that show how the NT writers could have seen this Psalm as eschatological.

In 1:5, the Greek verb ἀνίστημι is used.  Generally, this means to “rise up”, but it also can mean “to resurrect” as it does in many cases in the NT.  The idea of “not resurrecting in judgement” possibly means that the ungodly will not have their day in court in order to defend themselves for their actions.

That this passage could really be eschatological, shouldn’t be a surprise.  In Matthew 12:41, Jesus alludes to this very verse.

Matt. 12:41 Ἄνδρες Νινευῖται ἀναστήσονται ἐν τῇ κρίσει μετὰ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτήν, ὅτι μετενόησαν εἰς τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰωνᾶ, καὶ ἰδοὺ πλεῖον Ἰωνᾶ ὧδε.

Matt. 12:41 The Ninevite men will rise up/resurrect in judgement with this generation and they will condemn it, because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, there is one greater than Jonah here.

In this case, the Ninevite men will be able to defend themselves in court, but the current generation of Israel (the Scribes and the Pharisees) will not.  From the language, you can see how the New Testament writers could have seen this Psalm.

So, does the New Testament see this judgement happening at the resurrection?  I would say “yes”!

Although Psalm 2 is a royal Psalm about David, it was seen as an eschatological Psalm about the coming Christ.

In 2:2, “the Anointed One” is the Χριστός (Christ).  

In 2:7, we have Υἱός μου εἶ σύ, ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε (You are my son.  Today, I have become your Father).  This verse is alluded to in Romans 1:4 and cited in Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5.

In 2:8, δώσω σοι ἔθνη τὴν κληρονομίαν σου (I will give you the nations as an inheritance).  Most of the time in the NT, ἔθνη means “gentiles”.  If you look at Daniel 7:14, we have:

Dan. 7:14 καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ ἐξουσία, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη τῆς γῆς κατὰ γένη καὶ πᾶσα δόξα αὐτῷ λατρεύουσα· καὶ ἡ ἐξουσία αὐτοῦ ἐξουσία αἰώνιος, ἥτις οὐ μὴ ἀρθῇ, καὶ ἡ βασιλεία αὐτοῦ, ἥτις οὐ μὴ φθαρῇ.

Dan 7:14 And I will give authority to him, and all of the nations (gentiles) of the earth according to race, and all glory were worshipping him.  And his authority is eternal, which will never be taken away, and his kingdom, will never be destroyed (or “corrupted”). (LXX)

You can see how the NT writers would have seen this as scripture related to the coming Christ.

2:9 is quoted and alluded to in Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15.  An iron scepter (ῥάβδῳ σιδηρᾷ) for King David, but an iron rod for the Shepherd Jesus.

Get a grip, O kings of the earth.  The real King is coming.  Seize the Lord’s instructions, lest you suffer his wrath when he comes.

Happy are all who put their trust in him.

1 comment:

  1. Nice One God Jesus Bless You,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Thanks