Psalm two is not a happy song. The Book opens with the satisfaction of the life that avoids impishness, take pleasure in the Law. These features are not incidental – the satisfied or happy is a person who never walks in ungodly council, never takes a stands like a committed sinner, never treats people with scorn. Psalm 1 also paints the ideal person as a fruitful tree who God knows – knows all about. It ends with the threat that the unsatisfied person, that rotten scorner, perishes. Psalm 2 can be expected to be (i) more of the same, which it is not, or (ii) the other extreme, a description of the features of dissatisfaction, or (iii) a combination of the two. He does something else. He shines the spot not on the undividual but the community. He wants to sing about the two together and what they cannot do without with some precision. They cannot put distance between themselves and those in charge, and this has been Israel’s problem from day one. No-one can put distance between oneself and God’s Son-King and not perish.
Lost in translation is the clarity about nations, kingdoms, rulers and the so-called “heathen”. The heathen are the nations – a nation is a goy in Hebrew, and the KJV translation of the plural (goyim) with the word heathen has resulted in the concept that Israel alone is a nation that has God’s approval (and a special one at that) while all the (other) nations are cursed. Christians even use the term heathen to define lost humanity or unchurched people.
The “nations” (goim) is somewhat imprecise and is not synonymous with the PEOPLE(S) if we recall that there were two kingdoms in later Palestine. The jurisdictions or communities in ancient Canaan were understood to be nations – goyim. Israel was destined to be known as a great goy (Deu. 4:6, 7, 8), different from all the others. Yahweh also disperses Israel among the nations (goyim) where she serves idols – the very opposite of what the covenant aimed for. God called Israel to be a holy nation – a goy qadosh, (Exo. 19:6)
The use of heathen has become a smokescreen, a derogatory term, conveniently used to cover up the fact that the nations are goyim, and Israel is a goy, a nation that split into two kingdoms (mamlakah), a term related to the leadership of a king (melek). Nation and kingdoms can be synonymous.
Now therefore let not Hezekiah deceive you, nor persuade you on this manner, neither yet believe him: for no god of any nation or kingdom was able to deliver his people out of mine hand, and out of the hand of my fathers: how much less shall your God deliver you out of mine hand?2 Chr. 32:15
So Psalm 2 turns the spotlight from the individual to the community and leadershp to say you are ridiculous and going nowhere without God’s son. The king, the holy one, set on the hill, like the city cannot be hidden. The message of the second Psalm played out in more than the behaviour of kings and rulers in the 3½ years of Yeshua’s life. The (i) rage is not just behaviour or and event, neither are (ii) the consultation (conspiracy to do murder), (iii) the setting up of the king in Zion, (iv) God’s speaking to us or (v) the begetting of the Son. The first 3 are the facts of life, and the last 2 are eternal – they reside in the glory. The resurrection of the Holy One rings loudly.
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Ps. 2:10
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Ps. 2:11
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Ps. 2:12