Psalm 2:12
Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) Kiss the Son.—This familiar translation must be surrendered. It has against it the weight of all the ancient versions except the Syriac. Thus the Chaldaic has, “receive instruction “; LXX., followed by Vulg., “lay hold of discipline.” Symmachus and Jerome render “pay pure adoration.”Aquila has “kiss with discernment.” Bar, in the sense of “son,” is common in Chaldee, and is familiar to us from the Aramaic patronymics of the New Testament: e.g., Bar-Jonas, Bar-nabas, &c. The only place where it occurs in Heb., is Proverbs 31:2, where it is repeated three times; but the Book of Proverbs has a great deal of Aramaic colouring. Our psalmist uses ben for “son” in Psalm 2:7, and it is unlikely that he would change to so unusual a term, unless nashshekû-bar were a proverbial saying, and of this there is no proof Surely, too, the article or a suffix would have been employed. “Kiss son” seems altogether too abrupt and bald even for Hebrew poetry. The change of subject also in the co-ordinate clause, “lest he (i.e., Jehovah, as the context shows) be angry,” is very awkward. As to the translation of the verb, the remark of Delitzsch, that it means “to kiss, and nothing else,” is wide of the mark, since it must in any case be taken figuratively, with sense of doing homage, as in Genesis 41:40 (margin), or worshipping (1Kings 19:18; Hosea 13:2). The most consistent rendering is, therefore, proffer pure homage (to Jehovah), lest he be angry. It may be added that the current of Rabbinical authority is against our Authorised version. Thus R. Solomon: “Arm yourselves with discipline;” (so, with a slight variation, one of the latest commentators, E. Reuss: “Arm yourselves with loyalty”;) another Rabbi: “Kiss the covenant”; another, “Adore the corn.” Among the best of modern scholars, Hupfeld renders “yield sincerely”; Ewald, “receive wholesome warning”; Hitzig, “submit to duty”; Gratz (by emendation), “give good heed to the warning.”

From the way.—The LXX. and Vulg. amplify and explain “from the righteous way.” It is the way in following which, whether for individuals or nations, alone there is peace and happiness. (See Note Psalm 119:1.)

When his wrath.—Better, for his wrath is soon kindled, or easily kindled.

Put their trust.—Better, find their refuge.

Notice in the close of the psalm the settled and memorable belief that good must ultimately triumph over evil. The rebels against God’s kingdom must be conquered in the noblest way, by being drawn into it.

Psalm 2:12. Kiss the Son — The Son of God, in token of your subjection and adoration; of which this was a sign among the eastern nations; lest ye perish from the way — Be taken out of the way by death or destruction. Or, perish out of the way by losing the right way, by taking wrong and evil courses, the end of which will be your certain and utter ruin. Or, in the way, that is, your wicked way or course; in the midst of your plots and rebellions against him: and so you will die in your sins, John 8:24, which would be a sad aggravation of their death, and therefore is here fitly proposed as a powerful argument to dissuade them from such dangerous and destructive courses. When his wrath is kindled but a little — The least degree of his anger is very terrible, much more the heat and extreme of it, caused by such a desperate provocation as this is. But the Hebrew, אפו יבער כמעשׂ, jibgnar chimgnat appo, may be rendered, For his wrath will be kindled shortly, or suddenly. His patience will not last always, but will shortly be turned into fury; and, therefore, take heed that you neither deny nor delay to be subject to him; but speedily comply with his offers before it be too late. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him — Who put themselves under his protection, believing in him, and expecting safety and happiness from him. This cannot, with any colour, be applied to David, who always dissuaded all men from putting their trust in princes, or any child of man, or any thing besides or below God. And therefore it would ill have become him to invite others to put their trust in himself, and that person is pronounced accursed that trusteth in man, Jeremiah 17:5. But Christ is everywhere set forth as an object of trust, not only in the New Testament, but also in the Old, as Isaiah 28:16. And therefore they are most truly and fitly said to be blessed that put their trust in him. Under which sentence the contrary is implied: that they are most accursed and miserable creatures that provoke and oppose him. Mark this well, reader!

In the day of wrath, when the wrath of Christ is kindled against others, they, and only they, will be blessed, who, by trusting in him, have made him their refuge and patron. 2:10-12 Whatever we rejoice in, in this world, it must always be with trembling, because of the uncertainty of all things in it. To welcome Jesus Christ, and to submit to him, is our wisdom and interest. Let him be very dear and precious; love him above all, love him in sincerity, love him much, as she did, to whom much was forgiven, and, in token of it, kissed his feet, Lu 7:38. And with a kiss of loyalty take this yoke upon you, and give up yourselves to be governed by his laws, disposed of by his providence, and entirely devoted to his cause. Unbelief is a sin against the remedy. It will be utter destruction to yourselves; lest ye perish in the way of your sins, and from the way of your vain hopes; lest your way perish, lest you prove to have missed the way of happiness. Christ is the way; take heed lest ye be cut off from Him as your way to God. They thought themselves in the way; but neglecting Christ, they perish from it. Blessed will those be in the day of wrath, who, by trusting in Christ, have made him their Refuge.Kiss the Son - Him whom God hath declared to be his Son Psalm 2:7, and whom, as such, he has resolved to set as King on his holy hill Psalm 2:6. The word "kiss" here is used in accordance with Oriental usages, for it was in this way that respect was indicated for one of superior rank. This was the ancient mode of doing homage or allegiance to a king, 1 Samuel 10:1. It was also the mode of rendering homage to an idol, 1 Kings 19:18; Hosea 13:2; Job 31:27. The mode of rendering homage to a king by a kiss was sometimes to kiss his hand, or his dress, or his feet, as among the Persians. DeWette. The practice of kissing the hand of a monarch is not uncommon in European courts as a token of allegiance. The meaning here is that they should express their allegiance to the Son of God, or recognize him as the authorized King, with suitable expressions of submission and allegiance; that they should receive him as King, and submit to his reign. Applied to others, it means that they should embrace him as their Saviour.

Lest he be angry - If you do not acknowledge his claims, and receive him as the Messiah.

And ye perish from the way - The word from in this place is supplied by the translators. It is literally, "And ye perish the way." See the notes at Psalm 1:6. The meaning here seems to be either "lest ye are lost in respect to the way," that is, the way to happiness and salvation; or "lest ye fail to find the way" to life; or "lest ye perish by the way," to wit, before you reach your destination, and accomplish the object you have in view. The design seems to be to represent them as pursuing a certain journey or path - as life is often represented (compare Psalm 1:1) - and as being cut down before they reached the end of their journey.

When his wrath is kindled - When his wrath burns. Applying to anger or wrath a term which is common now, as when we speak of one whose anger is heated, or who is hot with wrath.

But a little - Prof. Alexander renders this, "For his wrath will soon burn." This, it seems to me, is in accordance with the original; the word "little" probably referring to time, and not to the intensity of his anger. This accords better also with the connection, for the design is not to state that there will be degrees in the manifestation of his anger, but that his anger would not long be delayed. In due time he would execute judgment on his enemies; and whenever his anger began to burn, his enemies must perish.

Blessed are all they that put their trust in him - Kings, princes, people; - all, of every age and every land; the poor, the rich, the bond, the free; white, black, copper-colored, or mixed; all in sickness or health, in prosperity or adversity, in life or in death; all, of every condition, and in all conceivable circumstances - are blessed who put their trust in him. All need him as a Saviour; all will find him to be a Saviour adapted to their wants. All who do this are happy (compare the notes at Psalm 1:1); all are safe in time and in eternity. This great truth is stated everywhere in the Bible; and to induce the children of men - weak, and guilty, and helpless - to put their trust in the Son of God, is the great design of all the communications which God has made to mankind.

12. Kiss the Son—the authority of the Son.

perish from the way—that is, suddenly and hopelessly.

kindled but a little—or, "in a little time."

put their trust in him—or take refuge in Him (Ps 5:11). Men still cherish opposition to Christ in their hearts and evince it in their lives. Their ruin, without such trust, is inevitable (Heb 10:29), while their happiness in His favor is equally sure.

Kiss, in token of your subjection and adoration; whereof this was a sign among the Eastern nations, as is manifest both from Scripture, as 1 Samuel 10:1 1 Kings 19:18 Hosea 13:2, and from heathen authors. Submit to his person and government.

The Son, to wit, the Son of God, as appears from Psalm 2:7, called here the Son, by way of eminency, and in a singular manner; which agrees much better to Christ than to David, who is never particularly called by this name.

And ye perish from the way, i.e. be taken out of the way by death or destruction; or, perish out of the way, i.e. by losing the right way, by taking wrong and evil courses, the end of which will be your certain and utter ruin; or, for the way, i.e. for your evil way or manner of living, for your perverse and foolish course of opposing my Son instead of submitting to him. Or, in (which particle is oft. understood) the way, i.e. in your wicked way or course, in the midst of your plots and rebellions against him; and so you will die in your sins, as it is expressed, John 8:24, which is a sad aggravation of their death, and therefore here fitly proposed as a powerful argument to dissuade them from such dangerous and destructive courses.

But a little, i.e. the least degree, of his anger is very terrible, much more the heat and height of it, caused by such a desperate provocation as this is. Or, for his wrath will be kindled shortly, or suddenly, or within a very little time, as this word is used, Psalm 81:14 Song of Solomon 3:4 Isaiah 26:20. His patience will not last always, but will shortly be turned into fury; and therefore take heed that you neither deny nor delay subjection to him, but speedily comply with his offers and commands before it be too late.

They that put their trust in him; who put themselves under his power and protection, believing in him, and expecting safety and happiness from him; which cannot with any colour be applied to David, who always dissuades all men from putting their trust in princes, or in any men or thing besides or below God, Psalm 20:7 44:6 62:6-8 118:8 146:3, and every where; and therefore it would very ill have become him to invite others to put their trust in him. And he is pronounced cursed that trusteth in man, Jeremiah 17:5. But Christ is every where propounded as an object of trust, not only in the New Testament, but also in the Old, as Isaiah 28:16; and therefore they are most truly and fitly said to be

blessed that put their trust in him. Under which sentence the contrary is implied, that they are most cursed and miserable creatures that provoke and oppose him; and so cursed and miserable that David dreaded the very thoughts and mention of it, and therefore expresseth it by the contrary and blessed condition of his friends and subjects. And such-like significations of the miseries of sinners by the blessedness of others opposed to them we have Matthew 23:39 Revelation 14:13. Kiss the Son,.... The Son of God, spoken of in Psalm 2:7; the word used is so rendered in Proverbs 31:2; and comes from another which signifies to "choose", and to "purify", or "to be pure"; hence some render it "the elect" or "chosen One", or "the pure One" (k); and both agree with Christ, who is God's elect, chosen to be the Redeemer and Saviour of his people, and who is pure free from sin, original and actual. And whereas a kiss is a token of love among friends and relations, at meeting and parting, Genesis 33:11; it may here design the love and affection that is to be expressed to Christ, who is a most lovely object, and to be loved above all creatures and things; or, as it sometimes signifies, homage and subjection, 1 Samuel 10:1, and it is the custom of the Indians to this day for subjects to kiss their kings: it may here also denote the subjection of the kings and judges and others to Christ, who is Lord of all; or else, as it has been used in token of adoration and worship, Job 31:26; it may design the worship which is due to him from all ranks of creatures, angels and men, Hebrews 1:6; and the honour which is to be given to him, as to the Father, John 5:22; which shows the greatness and dignity of his person, and that he is the true God and eternal life: in the Talmud (l) this is interpreted of the law, where it is said,

"there is no but the law, according to Psalm 2:12;''

which agrees with the Septuagint version;

lest he be angry; though he is a Lamb, he has wrath in him, and when the great day of his wrath comes in any form on earth, there is no standing before him; and how much less when he shall appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and shall be revealed from heaven in flaming fire; then kings and freemen will call to the rocks to fall upon them, and hide them from him;

and ye perish from the way; the Syriac version renders it "from his way", the Son's way; and the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions "from the righteous way"; and the Arabic version "from the way of righteousness"; or "as to the way", as others (m), the good way; all to one sense; meaning that way of righteousness, salvation and eternal life by Jesus Christ, which being missed by persons, they are eternally lost and undone: some render it "because of the way" (n); that is, because of their sinful course of life; for the way of the ungodly shall perish itself, and therefore they that pursue it shall perish also: others render it "in the way" (o); and then the sense is, lest they perish in the midst of their course of sin, in their own evil way, they have chosen and delighted in, or, to use the words of Christ, "die in their sins", John 8:21, and everlastingly perish; for this perishing is to be understood not of corporeal death, in which sense righteous men perish, but of everlasting destruction: or the word which is rendered "from the way" may be translated "suddenly" (p), "immediately", or "straightway", and our English word "directly" is almost the same; and so may design the swift and sudden destruction of such persons who provoke the Son to wrath and anger; which sense is confirmed by what follows;

when his wrath is kindled but a little; either to a small degree, or but for a little while; for the least degree and duration of it are intolerable, and who then can dwell in everlasting burnings, or abide the devouring flames? or when it is kindled "suddenly" (q), in a moment, as Jarchi interprets it; and so sudden wrath brings sudden destruction;

blessed are all they that put their trust in him; not in horses and chariots, in riches and honours, in their own wisdom, strength, and righteousness; but in the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and who is truly and properly God; or otherwise faith and trust would not be required to be put in him: and happy are those who betake themselves to him as to their strong hold and place of defence; who look to him and believe in him for pardon, peace, righteousness, every supply of grace and eternal life; these are safe and secure in him, nor shall they want any good thing needful for them; and they have much peace, joy, and comfort here, and shall have more grace as they want it, and hereafter eternal glory and happiness.

(k) Aquila; "purum", Cocceius; so Kimchi & Ben Melech. (l) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 92. 1.((m) "quoad viam", Cocceius, Gussetius. (n) "Propter viam", Vatablus, Muis. (o) "In via", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth, Gejerus. (p) "Subito", Noldius, p. 230. No. 1052. (q) Sept. "subito", Noldius, p. 433. No. 1371.

{h} Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye {i} perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.

(h) In a sign of homage.

(i) When the wicked will say, Peace and rest, then will destruction suddenly come, 1Th 5:3.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. Kiss the Son] According to this rendering the exhortation to serve Jehovah is followed by an exhortation to pay homage to His representative. For the kiss of homage cp. 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Kings 19:18; Job 31:27; Hosea 13:2. But this rendering must certainly be abandoned, (1) Not to mention some minor difficulties, it assumes that the Psalmist has used the Aramaic word bar for son (cp. Bar-jona, Bar-Jesus) instead of the usual Hebrew word ben. The only example of its use in the Hebrew of the O.T. (it is of course found in the Aramaic of Ezra and Daniel) is in Proverbs 31:2, a passage which contains other marked Aramaisms. No satisfactory reason has been suggested for its introduction here. We should not expect a poet to borrow a foreign word for son either for ‘emphasis’ or for ‘euphony.’

(2) None of the ancient Versions, with the exception of the Syriac, give this sense to the words. They represent two views as to the meaning, (a) The LXX, and of course the Versions dependent on it, render, Lay hold of instruction: and similarly the Targum, Receive instruction, (b) Symmachus and Jerome render, Worship purely; and to the same effect, but with his usual bald literalism, Aquila gives, Kiss choicely.

The Syriac gives the meaning Kiss the son: but its rendering is merely a transcription of the Hebrew words. The reading of the Ambrosian MS., which agrees with the rendering of the LXX, is a correction by a later hand to the reading of the Hexaplar Syriac.

Jerome was acquainted with the translation Worship the son, but rejected it as doubtful. The passage in his treatise against Ruffinus (i. 19) deserves quotation. He had been charged with inconsistency for translating Worship purely (adorate pure) in his Psalter, though he had given Worship the son (adorate filium) in his Commentary. After discussing the possible meanings of the words he concludes thus: “Why am I to blame, if I have given different translations of an ambiguous word? and while in my short commentary where there is opportunity for discussion I had said Worship the Son, in the text itself, to avoid all appearance of forced interpretation, and to leave no opening for Jewish cavils, I have said, Worship purely, or choicely; as Aquila also and Symmachus have translated it.”

It is however easier to shew that the rendering Kiss the Son is untenable, than to decide what rendering should be adopted. Bar (beside other senses inapplicable here) may mean choice, or, pure. Hence some commentators have adopted the renderings Worship the chosen one; or, Worship in purity (cp. Psalm 18:20; Psalm 18:24; Psalm 24:3-5). But the substantial agreement of the LXX and Targum points to the existence of a widely-spread early tradition as to the sense, and on the whole it seems best to follow their general direction and render, Embrace instruction, or perhaps, obedience. No rendering is free from difficulty, and it may be doubted whether the text is sound. But an exaggerated importance has frequently been attached to the words. The uncertainty as to their meaning does not affect the general drift of the Psalm, or its Messianic interpretation.

lest he be angry] The subject of the verb is Jehovah Himself. The verb is applied to God in all the thirteen passages where it occurs.

perish from the way] Rather, as R.V., perish in the way: find that your expedition leads only to ruin. Cp. Psalm 1:6. P.B.V. adds right from the LXX (ἐξ ὁδοῦ δικαίας).

when his wrath is kindled but a little] Better, For quickly (or easily) may his anger blaze forth. Kindled fails to give the idea of the Divine wrath blazing up to consume all adversaries. Cp. Psalm 83:14 f.; Isaiah 30:27.

Blessed are all they that put their trust in him] Rather, Happy are all they that take refuge in him: lit. seek asylum or shelter: cp. Jdg 9:15; Ruth 2:12 (R.V.); Psalm 7:1; Psalm 57:1. Here primarily, those are congratulated who place themselves under His protectorate by accepting the suzerainty of His king; but as in the preceding verse, the deeper spiritual sense must not be excluded. Cp. Psalm 34:8. Nahum 1:7 combines the thought with that of Psalm 1:6 a.Verse 12. - Kiss the Son. It is certainly remarkable that we have here a different word for "Son" from that employed in ver. 7, and ordinarily in the Hebrew Bible. Still, there is other evidence that the word here used, bar, existed in the Hebrew no less than in the Aramaic, viz. Proverbs 31:2, where it is repeated thrice. It was probably an archaic and poetic word, like our "sire" for "father," rarely used, but, when used, intended to mark some special dignity. Hengstenberg suggests that the writer's motive in prefering bar to ben in this place was to avoid the cacophony which would have arisen from the juxtaposition of ben and pen (פן); and this is quite possible, but as a secondary rather than as the main reason. By "kiss the Son" we must understand "pay him homage," salute him as King in the customary way (see 1 Samuel 10:1). Lest he be angry. The omission of a customary token of respect is an insult which naturally augers the object of it (Esther 3:5). And ye perish from the way; or, as to the way." To anger the Son is to bring destruction on our "way," or course in life. When his wrath is kindled but a little; rather, for soon his wrath may be kindled (see the Revised Version). Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. The writer ends with words of blessing, to relieve the general severity of the psalm (comp. Psalm 3:8; Psalm 5:12; Psalm 28:9; Psalm 41:13, etc.). (On the blessedness of trusting in God, see Psalm 34:8; Psalm 40:4; Psalm 84:12, etc.)



Psalm 2:5 is like a peal of thunder (cf. Isaiah 10:33); בּחרונו, Psalm 2:5, like the lightning's destructive flash. And as the first strophe closed with the words of the rebels, so this second closes with Jahve's own words. With ואני begins an adverbial clause like Genesis 15:2; Genesis 18:13; Psalm 50:17. The suppressed principal clause (cf. Isaiah 3:14; Ew. 341, c) is easily supplied: ye are revolting, whilst notwithstanding I.... With ואני He opposes His irresistible will to their vain undertaking. It has been shown by Bttcher, that we must not translate "I have anointed" (Targ., Symm.). נסך, Arab. nsk, certainly means to pour out, but not to pour upon, and the meaning of pouring wide and firm (of casting metal, libation, anointing) then, as in הצּיג, הצּיק, goes over into the meaning of setting firmly in any place (fundere into fundare, constituere, as lxx, Syr., Jer., and Luther translate), so that consequently נסיך the word for prince cannot be compared with משׁיח, but with נציב.

(Note: Even the Jalkut on the Psalms, 620, wavers in the explanation of נסכתי between אמשׁחתיה I have anointed him, (after Daniel 10:3), אתיכתיה (I have cast him (after Exodus 32:4 and freq.), and גדלתיו I have made him great (after Micah 5:4). Aquila, by rendering it καὶ ἐδιασάμην (from διάζεσθαι equals ὑφαίνειν), adds a fourth possible rendering. A fifth is נסך to purify, consecrate (Hitz.), which does not exist, for the Arabic nasaka obtains this meaning from the primary signification of cleansing by flooding with water (e.g., washing away the briny elements of a field). Also in Proverbs 8:23 נסּכתּי means I am cast equals placed.)

The Targum rightly inserts וּמניתיהּ (et praefeci eum) after רבּיתי (unxi), for the place of the anointing is not על־ציּון. History makes no mention of a king of Israel being anointed on Zion. Zion is mentioned as the royal seat of the Anointed One; there he is installed, that He may reign there, and rule from thence, Psalm 110:2. It is the hill of the city of David (2 Samuel 5:7, 2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Kings 8:1) including Moriah, that is intended. That hill of holiness, i.e., holy hill, which is the resting-place of the divine presence and therefore excels all the heights of the earth, is assigned to Him as the seat of His throne.

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