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This phrase has perplexed me a little bit. It's a psalm that was quoted by both Jesus (Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42) and Peter (Acts 2:34).

Psalm 110:1 ESV The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”

What does the statement "The LORD says to my Lord" mean? Why is one "The LORD" and the other "My Lord"? Please explain the meaning of this passage in its original context.

In addition to this, I would like to hear about the context of this passage being quoted in the New Testament (Matt 22:44, Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34). Do these NT quotations change the meaning it would have had for its original hearers? How so?

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migrated from christianity.stackexchange.com Jun 30 '14 at 14:02

This question came from our site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more.

I've edited the question to focus it on the Psalm being asked about. Here on BH.SE we ask about the meaning of specific texts in their original context, language, etc. I've retained the NT portion of the question, but made it secondary to understanding the Psalm itself on its own grounds (i.e. when it was originally written, before the NT was written). Keep in mind that here on BH.SE we welcome all perspectives that take the text seriously, not just Christian ones. –  Dan Jun 30 '14 at 14:55

4 Answers 4

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This is a messianic vision, and David is primarily concerned here with Christ and his place with God, and his Priesthood Authority.

I see the first part of your question as having two elements. Element 1, "The Lord says to My Lord" is a conversation between God The Father (Elohim) and Christ The Son (Jesus Christ). Element 2, it was necessary to distinguish a conversation between two who could both be described as God, or Lord. The reason one is "The Lord" and the other "My Lord" is because though God The Father is creator of all, David knew that there would be a more direct relationship with The Christ as a personal savior and redeemer of his house, and Israel as a whole. Hence Christ being David's Lord, or "My Lord."

As for the NT portion of your question, I can point to Matthew 22:41-46, as a clearer reference that this meaning as I explained was understood NT times, Jesus Christ was the Lord of Psalm 110, of David, and of the House of Israel, and "The Lord" was God The Father.

41 ¶While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,

42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.

43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,

44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?

46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

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I would like to also contribute a bit more thought to this passage. In the original Hebrew Psalm 110 reads like this:

Yĕhovah nĕ'um Adonay (transliterated)

The Yēhovah here is usually shown to be distinct by capitalization like this: LORD. And Adonay is rendered in lowercase as: Lord.

The Septuagint is translated from the Hebrew to the Greek like this:

ὁ - κύριος - τῷ - κυρίῳ - μου The - LORD - to - Lord - of me

I think by adding this it generates more insight into the passage as it is originally stated.

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We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange! Be sure to take our site tour to learn more about us. We're a little different from other sites. This doesn't show its work, which is a requirement on this site. Don't just tell us what you know, tell us how you know it. Please connect the dots for us, especially since the original text didn't contain upper and lowercase letters. –  Dan Jul 7 '14 at 8:56

In the original Hebrew we find the LORD (yud-hey-vahv-hey) says to my Lord (Adonee). The second lord, being in the singular, is referring to a human king or nobleman. In historical context it becomes clear that this psalm, written by David, was meant to be sung by the kohenim during temple liturgy. The kohenim would sing "The LORD says to my lord (king solomon, David, etc) etc"

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All the Godhead dwells in Jesus, Jesus is the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I believe it was God which is spirit talking to the Man nature of Christ. Jesus prayed to his self. The man nature of him praying to the divine nature. The Godhead is Jesus, fully man and fully God.

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