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Psalm 2:6-7 (KJV)

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

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

What was the nature of this begetting, and what specifically happened when this son was begotten on "this day"?

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    Hey, I answered the 'one spirit' question on C-SE, but the C mod deemed my factual statements were sarcasm and deleted it! Very sensitive lately.
    – Steve
    Commented Feb 27, 2023 at 7:34

5 Answers 5

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+50

What happened on this day when this son was begotten?

How does God beget? He brings about one (a son) who will be His representative, who will serve Him faithfully and honourably. As noted below, the OT is a shadow in so many ways of what and who is yet to come.

God’s anointed is the reigning king; ultimately and prophetically, the Messiah Jesus Christ.

Psalm 2 has two levels of meaning. One is that it is an exaltation of the Davidic kings who reigned in Jerusalem. Psalm 2 was included in the Psalms that were recited (or sung) at the coronation of Judah’s king. For example, God called Solomon a “son” in 2 Sam. 7:14. God chose David from among his brothers and worked behind the scenes to give him the position of king. He then made a covenant that the Messiah would reign upon David’s throne, and the Messiah is called “the son of David.” In typical hyperbolic fashion, the Davidic king is exalted and grandiose things are said about him, such as that he could rule to the ends of the earth.

On another level, however, we see that the Davidic king is only a shadow of the real subject of the Psalm, the Messiah. The New Testament shows us that the primary and intended subject of the psalm was the Messiah

24And when they heard this, they raised their voices to God with one mind and said, “Lord, it is You who MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA, AND EVERYTHING THAT IS IN THEM, 25who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said,

‘WHY WERE THE NATIONS INSOLENT, AND THE PEOPLES PLOTTING IN VAIN? 26‘THE KINGS OF THE EARTH TOOK THEIR STAND, AND THE RULERS WERE GATHERED TOGETHER AGAINST THE LORD AND AGAINST HIS CHRIST.’ Acts 4:24-26 (caps NASB)

God has fulfilled this promise to those of us who are the descendants by raising Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE FATHERED YOU Acts 13:33 (Heb1:5, 5:5)

Furthermore, only the Messiah will actually fulfill the text of the psalm and reign over the whole earth and all the nations. No other king of Israel did anything close to that. James Mays writes:

It is the only text in the Old Testament that speaks of God’s king, Messiah, and son in one place, the titles so important for the presentation of Jesus in the Gospels” (Psalms Interpretation, John Knox Press, 1994).

Mays also points out that Psalm 2 is a psalm that deals with the question of power: “Where does power to control the powers at work in world history ultimately reside?” In Psalm 2 we see that ultimate power resides with Yahweh, and He then delegates that power to the Messiah.

God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. Acts 10:38

Psalm 2 is one of the great sections of Scripture that points out how magnanimous God is and how great His Messiah is. God elevated His Messiah, Jesus Christ, to be His king, reigning on the earth; and Jesus Christ lived a sinless life in obedience to God and deserves his elevated position as God’s king, along with all the authority and adoration we give him.

Taken from REV commentary (with minor edits for brevity/additions) https://www.revisedenglishversion.com/Psalms/chapter2/2

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    Thank you for your rational and well supported (by scripture) answer. +1 Commented Oct 21, 2022 at 1:28
  • Unclear on your citation of acts v24, Are you saying the Messiah is the LORD here who created everything? Seems so from your paragraph before the citation. Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 17:37
  • V24 God is introducing His Christ in the next verses through David. David is God's anointed precursor/shadow to the intended heir/descendant to follow - Jesus.
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 4:30
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“Today” is considered by some scholars and commentators to be a reference to what is called “the eternal generation of the Son.”

The assertion behind this opinion is that “Today I have begotten you,” does not reflect upon Jesus’ humanity but upon his eternal existence. Origen (184–253), believed that “today” refers to

"that timeless ever-present, eternal day which Christ inhabits;"

He argues that since time has no boundaries with God, it is thus always “today.” Origen was correct in his assertion of the eternal nature of the Son. However, he completely missed the point the Hebrew writer is making in verse five. This is not at all how the word “today” is used in the context of “begotten.” While Jesus is indeed the eternal self-existing One, without beginning and without end, this is not the point being made by the Hebrew writer. The context of verse five is not to establish the eternal existence of Jesus, but to declare through the psalmist, the enthronement of Zion's King. The writer is not talking about Jesus' timeless, eternal existence, he is defining a specific point in linear time. Verse five is not presenting Jesus as God in eternity, but as man in time, in his mediatorial role.

A.W. Pink in his Exposition of Hebrews pp. 50-51 properly regards “today” as a fixed point in linear time, but then he completely misapplies the point of time by pointing to the virgin birth as the “today” in which Jesus was called begotten. He then appeals to Luke 2:11 which reads

“Unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior which is Christ the Lord.”

As in all cases, if we want to know the revealed meaning of “today” in this context, it behooves us to avoid speculation and allow scripture to interpret its own use of language.

In Acts 13:31-38, Paul addressed the Jewish officials in the synagogue of Antioch of Pisidia. Here, Paul demonstrated that Jesus is the divinely appointed King who is David's heir to the throne. Paul confirmed the fact that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead fulfilled the words of Psalms 2:7, “Today I have begotten you.” So, “today,” according to Paul's inspired interpretation, refers not to Jesus' eternal sonship as Origen suggested, nor to his incarnation as suggested by Pink. Paul explains that “today” refers to Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Notice what Paul says,

“God has fulfilled this...IN THAT (This stresses the mode of fulfillment) he RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD"

Not in that Jesus inhabits that “ever-present, eternal day,” and not in that Jesus was “born this day in the city of David,” but

“IN THAT HE RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD as it also says in the second Psalm ‘Today, I have begotten you.’”

Since Paul confirms the resurrection as the “today” referred to by the psalmist, this renders mute all other arguments, interpretations, explanations, and speculations. Scripture has spoken.

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    Scripture has spoken. The first few paragraphs were completely unbiblical, scripture mentions nothing about the bulk of your answer.
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 9:13
  • Of course the arguments of the first three paragraphs are unbiblical. This is the point. These are the opinions of other writers with which scripture disagrees.
    – oldhermit
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 10:31
  • Thanks, if you edit to make that clearer I can withdraw my vote.
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 10:38
  • Of course. I should have done that to begin with. Thank you.
    – oldhermit
    Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 10:40
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    This answer and some comments are full of amazing stories. But remember there is only 1 Truth of the Scriptures perfectly understood in the mind of God. Commented Oct 19, 2022 at 9:12
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What happened on this day when this "son" was begotten?

God chose David to be king.

Psalm 2:7 was initially applied to David as Acts 4:24:26 shows. God selected David to be king. God did the same with David's son Solomon.2 Samuel 7:12-14.

Acts 4:24-26 ASV

And they, when they heard it, lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, O Lord, thou that didst make the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the Holy Spirit, by the mouth of our father David thy servant, didst say, Why did the Gentiles rage, And the peoples imagine vain things? The kings of the earth set themselves in array, And the rulers were gathered together, Against the Lord, and against his Anointed:

2 Samuel 7:12-14 ASV

When thy days are fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, that shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: if he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men;

In Hebrews 1:5, because some Jews hated Christians or the sect called "the Way", Acts 9:2, Paul had to refute those haters arguments against Jewish Christians who knew the law of Moses and the Jewish leaders' arguments. Even though the law was received by the disposition of angels, Acts 7:53, In Hebrews 1:4-6, Paul showed that Jesus is superior to angels:

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    the passage shows how capitalization plays a role in interpretation. The translator chose to capitalize Thou, implying that readers are supposed to see "Son" as Jesus. But the capitalization was an editorial choice... no capital letters in biblical hebrew. Commented Oct 18, 2022 at 11:43
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Only a specifically Christian exegesis insists that the "son" in Ps. 2 refers to Jesus. Since this site welcomes Jewish views as well as Christian ones, we should consider that the original writer of this Psalm was a man of ancient Judah, no doubt writing from a Jewish viewpoint. In that sense @Alex Balilo is correct in saying that the Psalm was understood to refer to God selecting David to be king. However, since this psalm is not attributed to Daivd we should not presume that either David and Solomon are the only candidates as for the person meant by "thou art my son." The Working Preacher web site points out:

For the king in Zion (i.e., Jerusalem) to claim to be Yahweh’s son was completely conventional within its time. In fact, it is likely that every king in Jerusalem made the same claim. Because God says “today I have begotten you,” (verse 7) many interpreters suppose that this psalm originated as a ritual of royal installation, perhaps even a yearly ritual of re-installation for the king in Jerusalem.

Thus, "this day I have begotten you" may have originally been a formula repeated for every king of Judah at his installation, or even as a yearly reiteration of God's covenant with the Davidic kings. In that sense, "this day" refers to the day on which the King of Judah was enthroned, whether the king in question be David or any of his royal descendants.

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  • God the Son? Can you further elaborate? Concepts not found in scripture must be defined within the answer. Thank you for your answer. Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 17:41
  • I'll change it to 'Jesus' since that is the terminology of the OP Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 3:15
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Others have focused on "begotten"; I will focus on "day."

It is quite interesting to note that there is a distinct possibility that this "day" is of the same duration as the "day" God addresses in Genesis 2:17--the one in which Adam died for eating the prohibited fruit (Adam lived to be 930 years old).

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. (Psalm 90:4, KJV)

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8, KJV)

To God, a "day" can mean 1000 years.

Looking next at the timeline of events, we see that David lives at about the very beginning of the 1000-year period preceding Christ's birth. Coincidence?

Most people would say that David was just a few years too early. But let's look carefully at the dates, based on the Biblical record.

Our biggest help is the 490-week prophecy of Daniel, representing 490 years per the Ezekiel 4:6 and Numbers 14:34 day-for-year time formulae, that dates Jesus' ministry and crucifixion.

24 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. 25 Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. 26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. 27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate. (Daniel 9:24-27, KJV)

"Seventy weeks" = 490 days. Taking those as years, we have the following times:

7 weeks = 49 days = 49 years
62 weeks = 434 days = 434 years
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
69 weeks = 483 days = 483 years

Followed by:

1 week = 7 days/years

The prophecy says that the Messiah will be "cut off" (a reference to death) in the midst of that final week, known to have been in AD 30/31. The start of that week would be Jesus' ministry, which begins at his baptism, in AD 27. (The week would end in AD 34 at the stoning of Stephen, which was the final act sealing the rejection of Israel as God's chosen people, and the Gospel went out to the Gentiles.)

From there we can work backward to the prophecy's beginning point.

AD 27 - 483 years = 456 BC -1 year (because there was no zero year between BC/AD) = 457 BC

That was the proclamation to restore and rebuild Jerusalem--and we find it in Ezra 7:7-28, and several other passages. The proclamation itself appears to be given more than once, and is completed 49 years after it is begun. The work was stopped due to hassling for about three years, and the Jews are on record as telling us that the total time it took to build the temple was 46 years. So this "seven weeks" that are considered separately from the first 69 weeks specifically denote this temple-building period.

Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? (John 2:20, KJV)

As this decree came in the seventh year of the king (see Ezra 7:7, below), and as the king had just come to power following the 70 years' captivity in Babylon, we can then trace back to the last king of Judah, and count the years for each king--OR take a shortcut and follow, instead, the prophecy of Ezekiel 4:4-6 which gives us 390 years from the iniquity of Israel (Jeroboam son of Nebat's sin in diverting the people away from worship in Solomon's temple to worship idols in the high places) until the destruction of the temple, which occurred in about the 18th or 19th year of the captivity on the third siege of Jerusalem.

And there went up some of the children of Israel, and of the priests, and the Levites, and the singers, and the porters, and the Nethinims, unto Jerusalem, in the seventh year of Artaxerxes the king. (Ezra 7:7, KJV)

Apparently, this "Artaxerxes" was an interesting figure who had come to the throne as king Darius, and having conquered many internal enemies rose to the title of Ahasuerus, after which, having expanded his kingdom into regions beyond, became "Artaxerxes," a title fit for an emperor. (But this history goes beyond the scope of this answer which is more focused on the time involved.)

Between David and Jeroboam there are only the 40 years of Solomon's reign.

And the time that Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel was forty years. (1 Kings 11:42, KJV)

So, we can do the full math this way:

-- From David -- 40 years for Solomon 390 years until temple destruction 70 years of captivity -18 years until temple destruction within 70-year period 7 years until decree to restore Jerusalem and its Temple 483 years until AD 27

  • 1 year to account for no zero year
  • 30 years of Jesus' age at his baptism (to reach his birth year)

941 years total between David's death and Jesus' birth.

(If my math is off by a year or two, forgive me--and yet it would hardly be sufficient to alter the conclusion.)

The end result is that roughly the last sixty years of David's life would have been within the same millennium in which Jesus was born.

Conclusion

It was on that millennial "day" in which Jesus was begotten. God sees a thousand years as a "day" and, as it should, this text reads like a birth announcement for the Messiah, who was born within that period of time.

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  • +1 for effort and interest of the day/1000 principle.
    – Steve
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 4:28
  • Interesting explanation of time relative to the eternal 1 God. My question though is this: If "To God, a "day" can mean 1000 years" shouldn't 7 weeks = 49 days = 49,000 years? I find many more agreeable interpretations of the verses used to assert 1 day = 1000 years. I believe those verses better explain the eternal nature of God...not to be taken literally. You are more the linguistics expert....both verses are translated to "are as" or "is as".... why the word "as"? Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 14:10
  • There are two principal texts for each time formula, so they come out about equal there. For one day = one year we have Num. 14:34 and Ezek. 4:6; for one day = 1000 years we have Ps. 90:4 and 2 Pet. 3:8. In Hebrew, the word "yowm" can mean day, year, or time. It is most often translated as "day," but in Hebrew, context is crucial, and there are at least a couple verses that I might differ with the translators on. With earth's history being about 6,000 years, any application of a time formula that would wildly exceed that is likely in error. Again, context is important--use what fits.
    – Biblasia
    Commented Oct 26, 2022 at 15:32
  • Three independent lines of evidence show that Solomon began to reign in the year beginning Tishri 971. Andrew Steinmann believes he had a co-regency with David and David most likely died sometime in 969 BC. The Darius, Ahasuerus (Xerxes) and Artaxerxes of the time were three different kings, as the Bible indicates, a fact which played a crucial part in the decipherment of the cuneiform of the Behistun Inscription, and has led on to the knowledge of many ancient cuneiform languages. Phlegon's Olympiades says the three hours of darkness were in the 4th year of the 202nd Olympiad Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 11:55
  • 202nd Olympiad which places it between July AD 32 and June AD 33 ("Daniel's Seventy Weeks" by Derek Walker, page 186). Jesus was born late 2 BC, poss early 1 BC - see the free article "When did Herod the Great reign?" by Andrew Steinmann or the book "From Abraham to Paul - a biblical chronology" (Steinmann). Commented Nov 6, 2022 at 21:37

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