“Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.”” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭2:1-3‬ ‭

The immediate rebuttal is that there were no nations before the Tower of Babel but yet

“When the Most High gave to the nations their inheritance, when he divided mankind, he fixed the borders of the peoples according to the number of the sons of God.” ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭32:8‬ ‭

This verse in Deuteronomy is undoubtedly a reference to the Tower of Babel. And here people are not being referred to as a single people but as nations, even before they were divided and given territorial geographic areas to inhabit.

Was it not at the Tower of Babel that the people rebelled against God saying in essence

Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.

Was it not here that the people wanted to break away from God and His anointed?

“Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭11:4‬ ‭

I would add that the Tower of Babel could have included the Lord and His anointed because

“Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another’s speech.”” ‭‭Genesis‬ ‭11:7‬ ‭

There is a plural, requiring minimum two. So at least against two the nations were planning to rebel against. And make a name for themselves.

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    This could be referring to the Philistines. 1. This is a psalm that David writes after he has become the king. 2. When he was anointed king the Philistines gathered to battle David. biblegateway.com/passage/…
    – Yeddu
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 9:39
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    You understand why this isn’t about David @Yeddu right? I understand how it could share overlapping portions with David’s life, prophecy tend to make these immediate partial fulfillment’s. It’s about the nations, plural, not about a nation Philistia. And it’s the people of the earth, implying all the people of the earth, not just a limited number in a very small geographic area. God also requests His anointed ask for the ends of the earth. Commented May 14, 2021 at 10:55
  • David fought many nations before and after he became king. I related Psalm 2 and 2 Samuel 5 as they are tightly coupled to him becoming king. There are a couple of instances where kings teamed together to fight him. David defeated many nations and captured most of Cannan that G-d promised Abraham. This my way of reading this.
    – Yeddu
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 11:05
  • And in part you’d be right and I wouldn’t disagree with you. It’s just those smaller details that don’t align with David that make the difference @yeddu Commented May 14, 2021 at 11:17
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    V4-5 -- David subdued all surrounding nations, V6 -- I have installed is a past tense event that has happened, V7-8 -- G-d promises that he has adopted David as his son and his kingdom will rule over these nations (Promise of the kingdom forever maybe?), V8-9 -- David asks shall I Go? G-d said yes he won(broken pots), V10-11 -- Kings that warred humbled and became tributaries of Judah, V12 -- be pure lest G-d will destroy you. All who obey G-d and take refuge in him will be blessed. Please see this link if you have time thetorah.com/article/psalm-2-is-the-messiah-the-son-of-god
    – Yeddu
    Commented May 14, 2021 at 12:03

1 Answer 1


Granted, in both passages the Bible speaks about a group of rebellious people, against God’s plans.

In both cases the people involved try to get the God’s rules off their backs. In fact the people described in Genesis were not disposed to fulfill the command of God to spread (פוץ) themselves on the surface of the earth (11:4), only to come to nothing. In fact, God later, dispersed (פוץ) them, according His will (11:8).

Similarly, also the intent of the group described on Psa 2 was invalidated by the arm of Yahweh. In fact, the final result of the rebellious group – described in the verse 9 – is very grim: “Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (JPS).

Nevertheless, the two passages at issue do not seem to be linked in other ways.

(1) Psa 2:2 refers to the “Anointed” as a target of the nations hatred. In Gen 11 story there was no “Anointed” to be the butt of the rebellious group described there.

(2) The same Psalm’s verse speaks about the “kings of the earth” and “the rulers”, but according the Bible history the first rulers really existed in a subsequent epoch (see please, Gen 10:8-10 that describes events subsequent the events described in Gen 11:1-9; in fact Gen 10:10 refers to the period when the languages are yet spoken, ergo in a period subsequent the Tower of Babel story).

On the other hand, according the Bible hermeneutics (not only Genesis’) this passage of Psalms was a prophetic message about the Messiah.

Read this fact in Act 4:25-27 (ESV): “Who, by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, ‘who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’— for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel […]”

There the apostles established a parallel between the “kings of the earth” (ארץ מלכי) with “Herod”, “Pontius Pilate”, etc., that joined their forces “against His (God’s) Anointed” (Psa 2:2). So, the latter (the Anointed) was Jesus of Nazareth (“the holy child” of God).

Instead to feel affection to the Son of God (the Hebrew text has “Kiss the son” [Psa 2:12]) they co-operated to sweep away his presence and mention.

This messianic prophecy pointed that some people – in Jesus time – that exercised power (representatives of some nations) would have opposed to any God’s limitations to their selfishly and wicked desires and purposes, represented by the ‘bonds’ and the ‘ropes’ we read in Psa 2:3.

The earthly adversaries of the Messiah, Herod, Pilate, and the Jewish religious leaders were not able to nullify the divine mission that Jesus came to perform on our planet. Their failure was well prophesied. In fact, speaking about their purpose, the psalmist used the term ריק, ‘an empty thing’. The Hebrew verbal root indicates that their lacking-content plans would have rendered vain, useless, their efforts to obstruct the progress of the ‘fire’ of the Gospel (Luk 12:49). Since the mission of Christ was God ordered, was inevitable that that mission did must fulfill itself, just as Yahweh God spake (through the psalmist).

A lesson for us. Let us avoid to imitate those rebels of old, knowing that all commands God give us are – once and for all – for our profit (Isa 48:17-18). Then again, one of the purposes because Jesus came on the earth was to save us, from the grasps of sin and death. So, is only right – for our part – to appreciate this God’s provision for our sake. We can do this ‘kissing’ His Son (Psa 2:12), namely, accepting the redeeming value of Jesus’ sacrifice, and giving to God a demonstration of this our belief following the steps of the Master.

Very interestingly, the Septuagint, on Psa 2:3, translated a little different the second term of the couple of Hebrew terms on Psa 2:3, מוסר [‘bonds’], and עבת [‘ropes’]. In fact LXX used the Greek word ζυγον ‘yoke’ instead of the term ‘ropes’ (MT’s). This fact remind us the word of Lord Jesus, when said: “Take my yoke [ζυγον] upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:29-30, ESV)

So, instead to shake off His yoke from our shoulders, is profitable for us accept it, following His own pattern, doing so we may find rest for our souls!

I hope these information will be useful to you.

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