In Psalm 2:6 NIV we find:

"I have installed my king
   on Zion, my holy mountain.”

Does the text refer to King David or somebody else?

3 Answers 3


Jewish authorities are split on this. As mentioned in his verse-by-verse lecture on this Psalm, my late rabbi, Rabbi Gedaliah Anemer, zt'l, offered both the view that: (1) this Psalm is about David himself, according to Rashi and the Redak, and the wicked nations are the Phillistines; and (2) this Psalm is a prophetic discussion where the king described is the Messiah and the wicked people are the nations of Gog and Magog who will end our current era with a war against Israel. Rabbi Anemer explains that since history repeats itself, there is no reason not to accept both points of view. Rabbi Anemer's detailed line-by-line analysis discusses how both views can be read into each verse. (Note, the rabbi's lecture is loaded with Hebrew terms that may be difficult for listeners who have not learned from the Hebrew text. Use the second link for a Hebrew and English version.]

The discussion of verse 6 begins at about 24 minutes into the lecture. That verse, Rabbi Anemer says, is saying that when the foreign nations opposed the King of Zion, whether it be David or the Messiah, they were fighting God directly. This would not be true of the case of Saul because God did not appooint him to be king.

  • Great answer. +1. I was a little surprised by your statement that God did not appoint Saul to be king though... Was that a typo? I thought God appointed Saul to be king at the (foolish) request of the Israelites? If memory serves, he was anointed with oil, the Spirit came upon him, he had prophet and priest supporting him, etc.
    – Jas 3.1
    Dec 23, 2014 at 0:43
  • @jas3.1 listen to the lecture for explanation re Saul. Dec 23, 2014 at 1:54
  • @Bruce James - so it refers to David and to the Messiah (the son of David); not a reference to Solomon and the other Davidic kings of Judah. Dec 23, 2014 at 8:15
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    @Jas3.1 At about the 24th to 25th minute of the lecture, Rabbi Anemer points out how "Zion" is associated with King David, and also makes the point that when Saul was appointed king, it was not God's idea that a king be pointed at all -- he gave the Nation of Israel an option to have a king if they wanted. But since they decided to have a king, God did not fulfill Jacob/Israel's prophecy that the king would descend from Judah, but "for whatever reason" he gave them Saul, a Benjamite. Therefore, when the nations attack Zion, they are really attacking God. Dec 23, 2014 at 13:52
  • 1
    @BenchNoviaBensing yes. You can read it that David is either writing about himself and his own troubles, or he is writing about the Messiah -- not his sons. Dec 23, 2014 at 13:52

Mark S. Smith says, in 'Taking Inspiration', published in Psalms and Practice, page 262, that Psalm 2 may be viewed as a psalm of instruction [for the king of Judah]. Gerald H. Wilson goes further in 'Songs for the City' (ibid, page 236) and says that in Psalm 2, God is described as defining the proper role for the righteous ruler.

Extrapolating from these viewpoints, the king referred to in verse 6 is each king in turn from the time Psalm 2 was first recited. It is likely that this was a coronation psalm and that priest was instructing the new king, who is thereby installed on Mount Zion.


To whom does the Psalmist refer to in Psalm 2:6 as “the installed King of Zion”?

In context I see a contention between the rulers of earth and the "anointed". While one might make a case that "anointed" could refer to a king who was anointed. It may be that this is referring to the Messiah.

Psalm 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,

Psalm 2:7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.

Luke makes reference to verse seven as applying to Jesus.

Acts 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.

I see a messianic context for verse six and would see it as prophetic and forward looking towards a restored kingdom more than a present one.


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