In this Psalm 2 commentary, we’ll explore the rebellion of the nations against God and how we can trust in His reign.

NOTE: Psalm 2 is a song about the rebellion of the nations and their futile attempts to throw off God’s rule. But it’s also a song of hope because it points us to the one who will rule the world with justice and righteousness.

Psalm 2 Commentary – Introduction

Psalm 2 was probably composed during the coronation of a new king in ancient Israel. It is a hymn of victory and caution. It affirms God’s omnipotence over all people and warns anyone who defies his authority of the repercussions.

The psalm depicts the world’s nations as being opposed to the Lord’s appointed monarch, who is destined to reign with justice and righteousness and is full of symbolism and imagery.

It serves as a warning against resistance and disobedience while simultaneously serving as a reminder of God’s strength and his dedication to those who put their trust in him.

Psalm 2 Commentary – The Messiah’s Triumph and Kingdom

Psalm 2 full text (NKJV)

1 Why do the nations rage,
And the people plot a vain thing?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
And the rulers take counsel together,
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us break Their bonds in pieces
And cast away Their cords from us.”

He who sits in the heavens shall laugh;
The Lord shall hold them in derision.
Then He shall speak to them in His wrath,
And distress them in His deep displeasure:
“Yet I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”

“I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.’ ”

10 Now, therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

Psalm 2 (NKJV)

Historical Context of Psalm 2 (Background)

Psalm 2’s historical setting is unknown, however, it is thought to have been written during a time of political unrest and perhaps in response to an insurrection or rebellion against the monarch.

The psalm also expresses the view that God is supreme over all countries and monarchs, as well as the belief in the divine appointment of kings. Its composition’s precise date and circumstances are unknown.

What is the Literary Structure of Psalm 2?

Psalm 2’s literary form can be compared to a regal hymn, featuring a conversation between God and human kings and a statement of God’s dominion over all peoples. 

It has four sections, each of which has a different focus:

  • The nations’ uprising is described in the opening stanza, along with God’s reaction to the same.
  • The Messiah, who will rule over the nations with a rod of iron, is most likely being referred to when the second stanza discusses God installing a ruler.
  • The kingdoms of the earth are cautioned in the third stanza to serve the Lord and to use wisdom.
  • A proclamation of the Lord’s dominion over the nations and the safety of his chosen people marks the end of the fourth verse.

Themes in the Psalm

As one of the Royal Psalms, Psalm 2 lays solid emphasis on the function and rule of the king. In Psalm 2, some of the major themes include:

  • Reign of the Anointed King: The psalm describes the coronation of a king who has received God’s anointing and will administer justice to all the people.
  • The rebellion of the nations: the nation’s rebellion against the monarch is described in the psalm, which is shown to be opposed by the other nations and their leaders.
  • The Fury of God: The psalm emphasizes God’s strength and authority over the nations by describing his wrath towards people who rebel against the king and his dominion.
  • God’s Blessing: The psalm ends by highlighting the blessing that accrues to those who obediently obey the monarch and take refuge in him.
  • The Divine Purpose: The psalm affirms the notion that God’s plan for the nations and his ultimate rule over everything include the king’s reign.

For purposes of this Psalm 2 commentary, note that all of these themes are intertwined, perfectly, to paint a picture of the monarch and his reign, as well as the reaction of the nations and God’s part in it all.

Key Verses in Psalm 2

The key verses in Psalm 2 are.

  • Verses 1-3, which describe the rulers and nations of the world conspiring against the Lord and his anointed one (likely referring to the king of Israel), and 
  • Verses 4-6, describe the Lord’s response and the declaration that he has anointed his king and will ultimately triumph over his enemies.

These verses place a strong emphasis on the idea of God’s omnipotence and the futility or nothingness of rebellion against Him.


Psalm 2 is about kings and rulers, hence a royal psalm that presents the theme of God’s rule and the coming of a messianic king. The psalm is divided into two parts, each of which deals with a different aspect of God’s rule. 

  • The first section focuses on how the people and kings of the earth rejected and rebelled against God’s dominion.
  • The second section is concerned with God’s reaction to this rebellion and his plan to establish His kingship through a predetermined figure known as the “Anointed One” or the “Son.”

The key theme in Psalm 2 is undoubtedly the “sovereignty of God and the establishment of His rule through a coming messianic king”.

The believer has to note that Psalm 2 highlights the following:

The foolishness of rebelling against God’s rule, and emphasizes the inevitability of his ultimate victory.

It also serves as a reminder of God’s power, wisdom, and control over the affairs of men and nations.

The interpretation of Psalm 2, especially in the light of New Testament references to Jesus as the messianic king, is that it foretold the coming of Christ as the ruler of the world and the establishment of his rule over all nations and peoples, as well as throwing light on His second coming

The psalm emphasizes the importance of recognizing and submitting to God’s rule and warns against the dangers of rebelling against him.

Relevance to the Christian

The relevance of Psalm 2 for Christians in the present dispensation is found in the solid message of God’s sovereignty over all people and nations and His divine plan to establish His Messiah as king. 

The psalm speaks to the triumph of God’s rule over the rebellion and opposition of earthly powers, and this message offers encouragement and hopes to believers who face similar challenges in their own lives. 

Psalm 2 also serves as a reminder that God is in control and will ultimately triumph over evil. This is an encouragement to all believers to trust in His plan and resist the temptation to align with the ways of the world, which is all vanity.

Conclusion to Psalm 2

It is clear from the foregoing that Psalm 2 central message, which is  God’s reign and rules over all nations and peoples is as solid and unchallenged as it is stated, for those who rebel against Him will ultimately face judgment. 

Note also, that despite the opposition of the nations, God’s anointed one, who represents His people, will be victorious and establish God’s kingdom, here on earth. 

Psalm 2 is a reminder for all people, specifically Christians, to trust in God’s sovereignty, live in obedience to His will, and acknowledge his ultimate rule, knowing that He will ultimately triumph over all opposition, whether we like it or not. 

FAQs on Psalm 2 Commentary (psalm 2 questions and answers)

What is the meaning behind Psalm 2?

The purpose of Psalm 2 is to discuss the futility of the nations’ resistance against God’s rule. It exhorts the reader to put their faith in God and look to him for protection rather than to the authorities of this world.

The Anointed One, who would rule with justice and establish peace on earth, is also described as being crowned by the Lord in the psalm. The psalm ends with an appeal to serve the Lord and to be intelligent, recognizing his supreme power and reign over all peoples.

What are the discussion questions in Psalm 2 commentary?

Possible discussion questions may include:

– What does it mean for the nations to “take counsel” against the Lord and his Anointed, according to the psalmist?
– What kind of reaction does God have to the rebellion of the nations, according to the psalmist?
– What does verse 2’s reference to the “Anointed One” mean?
– How does the psalm depict the Lord’s enduring throne and triumph over his foes?
– What does “kiss the son” mean?
– What does the psalm teach us about trust in God’s rule and sovereignty?
– How does the psalm reflect the struggle between good and evil in the world?
– How is the reader encouraged to react to the disobedience of the nations in the psalm?

Use Psalm 2 to say a prayer

Our Heavenly Father, we come to You today in fervent prayer, asking for Your total guidance and protection. As we reflect on the words of Psalm 2, we are again reminded of Your sovereignty and power over all nations, people, and rulers.

We acknowledge and accept that You have installed Your one and only chosen king on Your holy hill and that Your Anointed One will rule forever with justice and righteousness. Father, help us to submit to Your rule and to live lives that are pleasing to You.

As we are before your throne of grace, we ask for Your wisdom and holy guidance. As we navigate the challenges of this world and its many troubles, we need Your strength and courage so that we will be able to stand up for what is pure, right, and just. May we always seek Your ways, and may our hearts be steadfast in trusting in You.

We ask for Your blessings on our families, workplaces, and communities, and for Your protection, guarding, and guidance from the schemes of the wicked one. Help us to meditate on Your word day and night, and to follow Your ways with joy, peace, and focus on you. 

In Jesus’ name, we pray, Amen.