This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 2: 1-12. The Psalm begins by asking the question לָמָּה רָגְשׁוּ גוֹיִם וּלְאֻמִּים יֶהְגוּ-רִיק: 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? (NASB) The author goes on to say that the kings and rulers of the earth take counsel and stand against the Lord God and his Mashiach (מְשִׁיחוֹ, anointed one, 2:2). The Hebrew phrase נְנַתְּקָה אֶת-מוֹסְרוֹתֵימוֹ means “to tear their fetters” or “to burst their bonds” is a Hebraic metaphor for rebellion against the Lord and his Messiah. The casting away of their cords (2:3) is suggestive these kings and rulers want nothing to do with God and the One He establishes. The Scriptures then tell us that the Lord God Almighty scoffs at the nations and He will speak to the nations saying וַאֲנִי נָסַכְתִּי מַלְכִּי עַל-צִיּוֹן הַר-קָדְשִׁי “But as for Me, I have installed My King Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” The Lord then says אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חֹק יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ: “I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.” This son that the Lord has begotten, He will give dominion and power over them (2:8-9) and the kings and judges of the earth are warned to worship the Lord with reverence showing respect and to rejoice with the fear of the Lord in trembling. The nations of the earth are then warned to נַשְּׁקוּ-בַר פֶּן-יֶאֱנַף | וְתֹאבְדוּ דֶרֶךְ כִּי-יִבְעַר כִּמְעַט אַפּוֹ אַשְׁרֵי כָּל-חוֹסֵי בוֹ: “Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (2:12). The Scriptures literally say נַשְּׁקוּ-בַר “kiss the son” where “to kiss” the Son is an act of submission (1 Samuel 10:1) and the word “Son” is not the usual Hebrew word used but an Aramaic word for Son (בַר, bar). It is also interesting to discover while studying the Apostolic Writings, Tehillim / Psalms 2 is used quite frequently and the understanding of these Scriptures in the minds of the apostles is that these Scriptures are very messianic in nature. This week we will look at the various uses of Tehillim / Psalms 2 throughout the NT and discuss how these Scriptures have come to be used as a proof text documenting Yeshua the Messiah the only begotten Son of God in the writings of the Tanach. (Tehillim / Psalms 2:1-2 → Acts 4:25-26, Tehillim / Psalms 2:7 → Acts 13:3, Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5, and Tehillim / Psalms 2:8-9 → Revelation 2:26-27, 12:5, and 19:15.)
עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek
ספר תהלים פרק ב
סםר טוביה פרק ב
ז אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חֹק יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ: ח שְׁאַל מִמֶּנִּי וְאֶתְּנָה גוֹיִם נַחֲלָתֶךָ וַאֲחֻזָּתְךָ אַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ: ט תְּרֹעֵם בְּשֵׁבֶט בַּרְזֶל כִּכְלִי יוֹצֵר תְּנַפְּצֵם: י וְעַתָּה מְלָכִים הַשְֹכִּילוּ הִוָּסְרוּ שֹׁפְטֵי אָרֶץ: יא עִבְדוּ אֶת-יְהֹוָה בְּיִרְאָה וְגִילוּ בִּרְעָדָה: יב נַשְּׁקוּ-בַר פֶּן-יֶאֱנַף | וְתֹאבְדוּ דֶרֶךְ כִּי-יִבְעַר כִּמְעַט אַפּוֹ אַשְׁרֵי כָּל-חוֹסֵי בוֹ
Tehillim / Psalms 2
ה הידן בכן ימליל להון בתוקפיה וברוגזיה יבהל אינון יבהלינון׃ ו ואני ואנא רביית״רביתי מלכי ומניתיה על ציון מקדשי קדשי׃ ז אשתעי קימא דיהוה אמר לי חביב כבר לאבא את לי אנת זכאה כאילו יומא דין בריתך׃ ח בעי מיני ואיתן נכסי עממיא אחסנתך ואחודתך שלטוני סייפי ארעא׃ ט תתברינון היך בחוטרא דפרזלא היך מאן דפחר תתרעינון׃ י וכדין וכען מלכיא אשכילו קבילו מרדותא נגידי נגודי ארעא׃ יא פלחו קדם יהוה בדחלא וצלו ברתיתא׃ יב קבילו אולפנא דילמא ירגז ותהובדון אורחא מטול דייחור כזעיר רוגזיה תוקפיה טוביה טב לכל דסברין במימריה׃
Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 2
2:5 τοτε λαλησει προς αυτους εν οργη αυτου και εν τω θυμω αυτου ταραξει αυτους 2:6 εγω δε κατεσταθην βασιλευς υπ’ αυτου επι σιων ορος το αγιον αυτου 2:7 διαγγελλων το προσταγμα κυριου κυριος ειπεν προς με υιος μου ει συ εγω σημερον γεγεννηκα σε 2:8 αιτησαι παρ’ εμου και δωσω σοι εθνη την κληρονομιαν σου και την κατασχεσιν σου τα περατα της γης 2:9 ποιμανεις αυτους εν ραβδω σιδηρα ως σκευος κεραμεως συντριψεις αυτους 2:10 και νυν βασιλεις συνετε παιδευθητε παντες οι κρινοντες την γην 2:11 δουλευσατε τω κυριω εν φοβω και αγαλλιασθε αυτω εν τρομω 2:12 δραξασθε παιδειας μηποτε οργισθη κυριος και απολεισθε εξ οδου δικαιας οταν εκκαυθη εν ταχει ο θυμος αυτου μακαριοι παντες οι πεποιθοτες επ’ αυτω (LXX)
Tehillim / Psalms Chapter 2
The first occurrence of Tehillim / Psalms 2 in the Apostolic Writings is taken from Tehillim / Psalms 2:1-2 and used by Peter and John while speaking to the Jewish leadership in Acts 4:25-26.
4:18 And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 4:19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 4:20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.’ 4:21 When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; 4:22 for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed. 4:23 When they had been released, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 4:24 And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, ‘O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 4:25 who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David Your servant, said, ‘Why did the Gentiles rage, And the peoples devise futile things? 4:26 ‘The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the Lord and against His Christ.’ 4:27 ‘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, 4:28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur. (NASB)
The disciples after having been warned not to teach or speak of Yeshua in Acts 4:25-26 use Tehillim / Psalms 2 to recognize that the nations and their leaders rage against God and against Yeshua, and that the things the rulers devise against God is futile, the Lord will prevail. The Lord’s prevailing is in the resurrection and the glory of the holy servant Yeshua the Messiah.
The next reference from Tehillim / Psalms 2 is taken from Tehillim / Psalms 2:7 and used by the Apostles in Acts 13:3, Hebrews 1:5 and 5:5.
13:33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today have begotten You.’ (NASB)
1:5 For to which of the angels did He ever say, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’? And again, ‘I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me’?
5:5 So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You’; (NASB)
According to the Scripture references found in the Apostolic Writings, Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13:33 say that God has fulfilled His promise to their children by raising Yeshua up, again here we find the resurrection as the proof of who Yeshua is, the Messiah, the chosen one of God and His life was laid down on our behalf. The scripture from Tehillim / Psalms 2:7 is used as a proof text of who Yeshua is, the Son of the living God. In the book of Hebrews, the author writes which of the Angels did God say Today you are My son (Hebrews 1:5). The glorification of the Son rests upon the fact that Yeshua is the son of the Father in Heaven. The King glorifies His only Son and the Scriptures indicate that it is in the son-ship of Christ the Messiah that authority has been given.
As noted above, the Apostles reference to Tehillim / Psalms 2:7 is interesting, but it is particularly interesting to examine the differences that we find in translation between the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts shown below.
ספר תהלים פרק ב פסוק ז
ז אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חֹק יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ
סםר טוביה פרק ב פסוק ז
ז אשתעי קימא דיהוה אמר לי חביב כבר לאבא את לי אנת זכאה כאילו יומא דין בריתך׃
2:7 διαγγελλων το προσταγμα κυριου κυριος ειπεν προς με υιος μου ει συ εγω σημερον γεγεννηκα σε
The Hebrew text literally says “I declare the statute of the Lord, He said unto Me, you I today have begotten You.” (ז אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חֹק יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ). The Aramaic translation (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan) translates as “I tell of the covenant of the Lord, He said to me, beloved one, I will be like a Father to you, innocent as if this day I created you .” (ז אשתעי קימא דיהוה אמר לי חביב כבר לאבא את לי אנת זכאה כאילו יומא דין בריתך׃). The Greek translation from the LXX says “Declaring the order of the Lord, the Lord said to me, my son you are, I today engendered you.” (διαγγελλων το προσταγμα κυριου κυριος ειπεν προς με υιος μου ει συ εγω σημερον γεγεννηκα σε)
The Hebrew text in Tehillim / Psalms 2:7 begins saying אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חֹק the first word אֲסַפְּרָה interestingly is derived from the root word ספר meaning “to count, number, or tell.” The Scripture is saying that he is “numbering or counting” the statute of the Lord. The numbering or counting of the statutes / ordinances of the Lord is synonymous with keeping track of and doing the commandments. Here the author is keeping track of what God is doing. The Lord is establishing His King upon Zion, His holy mountain (Tehillim / Psalms 2:6), and in doing so He has begotten a Son for this purpose (Tehillim / Psalms 2:7) with a connection to the Messiah in Tehillim / Psalms 2:2. It is interesting in the Aramaic translation, the declaration (numbering) of the statutes is translated as אשתעי קימא “proclaiming the covenant” of the Lord. The proclamation of the covenant of God is deeply rooted within the concept of numbering or counting taking for example from Parashat Emor (Vayikra / Leviticus 23:13-21). The numbering (counting) of days and parts of the offerings is a very important part of the system of Korbanot (Sacrifices) in the Torah. In Vayikra / Leviticus 23:12-21 Moshe instructs the priests to be careful to measure the grain offering and to count the days following the Shabbat in order to bring a new grain offering before the Lord (טו וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת מִיּוֹם הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת-עֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה: טז עַד מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת הַשְּׁבִיעִת תִּסְפְּרוּ חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם מִנְחָה חֲדָשָׁה לַיהוָֹה, 23:15 ‘You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. 23:16 ‘You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the Lord. (NASB))
פרשת אמר ספר ויקרא פרק כג פסוק יג-כא
Vayikra / Leviticus 23:13-21
יז מִמּוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם תָּבִיאוּ | לֶחֶם תְּנוּפָה שְׁתַּיִם שְׁנֵי עֶשְֹרֹנִים סֹלֶת תִּהְיֶינָה חָמֵץ תֵּאָפֶינָה בִּכּוּרִים לַיהוָֹה: יח וְהִקְרַבְתֶּם עַל-הַלֶּחֶם שִׁבְעַת כְּבָשִֹים תְּמִימִם בְּנֵי שָׁנָה וּפַר בֶּן-בָּקָר אֶחָד וְאֵילִם שְׁנָיִם יִהְיוּ עֹלָה לַיהֹוָה וּמִנְחָתָם וְנִסְכֵּיהֶם אִשֵּׁה רֵיחַ-נִיחֹחַ לַיהוָֹה: יט וַעֲשִֹיתֶם שְֹעִיר-עִזִּים אֶחָד לְחַטָּאת וּשְׁנֵי כְבָשִֹים בְּנֵי שָׁנָה לְזֶבַח שְׁלָמִים: כ וְהֵנִיף הַכֹּהֵן | אֹתָם עַל לֶחֶם הַבִּכֻּרִים תְּנוּפָה לִפְנֵי יְהֹוָה עַל-שְׁנֵי כְּבָשִֹים קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיוּ לַיהוָֹה לַכֹּהֵן: כא וּקְרָאתֶם בְּעֶצֶם | הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה מִקְרָא-קֹדֶשׁ יִהְיֶה לָכֶם כָּל-מְלֶאכֶת עֲבֹדָה לֹא תַעֲשֹוּ חֻקַּת עוֹלָם בְּכָל-מוֹשְׁבֹתֵיכֶם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם:
23:17 ‘You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the Lord. 23:18 ‘Along with the bread you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the Lord. 23:19 ‘You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 23:20 ‘The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the Lord; they are to be holy to the Lord for the priest. 23:21 ‘On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations. (NASB)
The rabbis who translated Targum Pseudo-Jonathan into Aramaic took the meaning of the phrase אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חֹק to be rooted in covenant language and therefore translated the text to say “tell of the covenant” of the Lord. Throughout the Scriptures, in the Torah, we learn that relationships, those specifically with the Lord, are established in the covenantal form. A covenant that is made with the Lord is permanent, firm, and unmovable. This is the meaning we derive from the Aramaic text, the word קימא that is taken from the Hebrew word קום meaning “to raise, or stand up,” קימא therefore has the meaning “existence, duration, permanence,” the covenant of God is permanent and unmoving. This draws to memory the declaration of the Lord in Parashat Bekhukotai (Vayikra / Leviticus 26:9-12) the Scriptures say וַהֲקִימֹתִי אֶת-בְּרִיתִי אִתְּכֶם “I will establish my covenant with you” and the word for establishing is the same word יקום / קימא in the establishment or raising up of the covenant indicating the permanence of the covenant that God is making with us.
פרשת בחקתי ספר ויקרא פרק כו פסוק ט-יב
Vayikra / Leviticus 26:9-12
The Aramaic translation goes on to say “He said to me, beloved one, I will be like a Father to you, innocent as if this day I created you .” (אשתעי קימא דיהוה אמר לי חביב כבר לאבא את לי אנת זכאה כאילו יומא דין בריתך׃). There is an obvious difficulty with this translation from the Hebrew text, if this is a reference to the eternal Son of God (Yeshua the Messiah), the living Word of God (John 1:1-14), then His being “created” poses a problem, the Word (Memra, מֵימְרָא) of the Lord is eternal and does not pass away. But as with any translation, we need to return to the Masoretic text (Hebrew) in order to sort out these difficulties. It is also important to keep in mind that the Targum translation is considered a later translation and scholars believe the translation came even as late as the 8th Century CE. It is also interesting that Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo ben Isaac, 1040-1105 CE), author of influential Biblical and Talmudic commentaries does not mention Targum Pseudo Jonathan. Therefore, this translation, being a late translation, it may be possible that the translator of the Aramaic was aware of the use of this Scripture in the Apostolic Writings and translated the “Son” as having been “created” knowing the difficulty it would present for those who believed that Yeshua is eternal as the Word of the Living God become flesh (John 1:1-14).
Now, let’s consider a much earlier translation, the Septuagint (LXX) the oldest known Greek translation of the Tanach (OT) dated to the 3rd century BCE, said to have been translated by 72 Hebrew scholars or rabbis. The Greek translation of the LXX predates Yeshua and Christianity and therefore provides an earlier more reliable translation of the Masoretic text than that of the Targumim. I say more reliable since a anti-Christian (anti-Yeshua) sentiment would be absent from the minds of the translators. The Greek translation from the LXX says “Declaring the order of the Lord, the Lord said to me, my son you are, I today engendered you.” (διαγγελλων το προσταγμα κυριου κυριος ειπεν προς με υιος μου ει συ εγω σημερον γεγεννηκα σε). Here, we find the LXX us of the word γεγεννηκα from the Greek stem γεννώ meaning “to engender, beget, give rise to, offspring.” The LXX translation of the Masoretic text appears to be correct in the sense of the use of the Hebrew word יְלִדְתִּיךָ meaning “to give birth, beget, give rise to.” The LXX confirms that very early it is believed that God can beget a son, and this verse (Tehillim / Psalms 2:7) in its use by the Apostles in the Scriptures suggests they are understood to be Messianic in nature.
The next set of Scriptures that utilize Tehillim / Psalms 2 are Tehillim / Psalms 2:8-9 in Revelation 2:26-27, 12:5, and 19:15.
2:26 ‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; 2:27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; (NASB)
12:5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. (NASB)
19:15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. (NASB)
These Scriptures utilize Tehillim / Psalms 2:8-9 as a reference to the “rod of iron” and the authority our Father in Heaven has given Yeshua. In each reference here found in Revelation is with respect to the ruling of nations over kings and peoples throughout the earth. The Scripture found in Tehillim / Psalms 2:8-9 along with the references in Revelation, utilize messianic source material from Parashat Vayechi (Bereshit / Genesis 47:28-50:26) the final chapters of the book of Genesis. The opening verses in the Parashah from the Torah tell us that Jacob (Israel) lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years and the total years of his life were 147 years. Before Jacob died he asked Joseph saying ל וְשָׁכַבְתִּי עִם-אֲבֹתַי וּנְשָֹאתַנִי מִמִּצְרַיִם וּקְבַרְתַּנִי בִּקְבֻרָתָם וַיֹּאמַר אָנֹכִי אֶעְשֶֹה כִדְבָרֶךָ: לא וַיֹּאמֶר הִשָּׁבְעָה לִי וַיִּשָּׁבַע לוֹ וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ יִשְֹרָאֵל עַל-רֹאשׁ הַמִּטָּה: 47:30 but when I lie down with my fathers, you shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burial place.’ And he said, ‘I will do as you have said.’ Joseph takes his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim and has Jacob bless them (48:1-2). Jacob tells Joseph that these two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim) will be his (48:5) and declares that Joseph’s descendants after him shall be called after their names (48:6). Jacob recounts the death of his wife Rachael (48:7-9). Jacob blesses Joseph’s children placing Ephraim (second born) before Manasseh (first born) saying the younger will be greater than the older (48:10-20) וְגַם-הוּא יִגְדָּל וְאוּלָם אָחִיו הַקָּטֹן יִגְדַּל מִמֶּנּוּ וְזַרְעוֹ יִהְיֶה מְלֹא-הַגּוֹיִם. Jacob then proceeds to make statements against his sons on account of what they had done while in the land of Canaan (49:1-26). In the midst of Jacob’s blessing over his sons he provides us with a Messianic expectation in his statements to Judah saying לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (NASB) Jacob dies and Joseph and his brothers bury him in the land of Canaan (49:29-50:14). Joseph’s brothers seek forgiveness and ask that he have mercy on them for their transgressions. Joseph assures them that they need not fear. The final verses of sefer Bereshit (ספר בראשית) tell of the death of Joseph, he lived 110 years and then he died, was embalmed and placed in an Egyptian coffin (50:15-26).
פרשת ויחי ספר בראשית פרק מט פסוק ח-יב
ח יְהוּדָה אַתָּה יוֹדוּךָ אַחֶיךָ יָדְךָ בְּעֹרֶף אֹיְבֶיךָ יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְךָ בְּנֵי אָבִיךָ: ט גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה מִטֶּרֶף בְּנִי עָלִיתָ כָּרַע רָבַץ כְּאַרְיֵה וּכְלָבִיא מִי יְקִימֶנּוּ: י לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים: יא אֹסְרִי לַגֶּפֶן עִירֹה [עִירוֹ] וְלַשּׂרֵקָה בְּנִי אֲתֹנוֹ כִּבֵּס בַּיַּיִן לְבֻשׁוֹ וּבְדַם-עֲנָבִים סוּתֹה [סוּתוֹ] : יב חַכְלִילִי עֵינַיִם מִיָּיִן וּלְבֶן-שִׁנַּיִם מֵחָלָב:
In the blessing that Jacob made over Judah, he says לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (NASB) According to the text, the scepter / staff (שֵׁבֶט) will not depart from Judah (מִיהוּדָה) or from between his feet (מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו) until Shiloh comes (עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה) and to him will be the obedience of the people (וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים). Based on this context, the ruling scepter (staff) will not leave until this person named “Shiloh” comes. Shiloh (שִׁילֹה) is understood as a reference to the Messiah, where the word Shiloh signifies the way in which he will come, “the peaceful one.” (Easton’s Dictionary)
In order to gain some insight on the meaning of the “rod of iron” from Tehillim / Psalms 2:8-9 and the interpretation of this verse in Bereshit / Genesis 49:10, we begin by looking at various translations in an attempt to find connections in the Tanach that may help us to understand the early interpretation on the messianic nature of this verse. The Latin Vulgate translates verse 49:10 as (non auferetur sceptrum de Iuda et dux de femoribus eius donec veniat qui mittendus est et ipse erit expectatio gentium) “he who is to be sent and he shall be the expectation of the nations.” The Latin translators understood this verse to refer to “one who is to be sent” indicating Shiloh is a particular reference to a very important person. The Greek translation of this verse found in the Septuagint (LXX) (οὐκ ἐκλείψει ἄρχων ἐξ Ιουδα καὶ ἡγούμενος ἐκ τῶν μηρῶν αὐτοῦ ἕως ἂν ἔλθῃ τὰ ἀποκείμενα αὐτῷ καὶ αὐτὸς προσδοκία ἐθνῶν) translates as “until that which is his shall come to Shiloh.” The NASB has this verse translated as “till Shiloh comes” interpreting Shiloh to be a proper name. There also maybe one connection in the Tanach, a parallel to the one who comes according to the prophet Isaiah 9:5-6 ה כִּי-יֶלֶד יֻלַּד-לָנוּ בֵּן נִתַּן-לָנוּ וַתְּהִי הַמִּשְֹרָה עַל-שִׁכְמוֹ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ פֶּלֶא יוֹעֵץ אֵל גִּבּוֹר אֲבִי-עַד שַֹר-שָׁלוֹם: ו לְםַרְבֵּה [לְמַרְבֵּה] הַמִּשְֹרָה וּלְשָׁלוֹם אֵין-קֵץ עַל-כִּסֵּא דָוִד וְעַל-מַמְלַכְתּוֹ לְהָכִין אֹתָהּ וּלְסַעֲדָהּ בְּמִשְׁפָּט וּבִצְדָקָה מֵעַתָּה וְעַד-עוֹלָם קִנְאַת יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת תַּעֲשֶֹה-זֹּאת: 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this. (NASB) With the help of the various translations and other verses found within the Tanach, our understanding of “the peaceful one” (Shiloh, שִׁילֹה) is this an early reference in the Scriptures to refer to “Sar Shalom” (שַֹר-שָׁלוֹם) the “prince of peace,” the one who comes and will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father?
In the Scriptures, Shiloh was a place of rest, a city of Ephraim (אפרים) “on the north side of Bethel” which is a distance of about 10 miles (Shoftim / Judges 21:19, וַיֹּאמְרוּ הִנֵּה חַג-יְהֹוָה בְּשִׁלוֹ מִיָּמִים | יָמִימָה אֲשֶׁר מִצְּפוֹנָה לְבֵית-אֵל מִזְרְחָה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לִמְסִלָּה הָעֹלָה מִבֵּית-אֵל שְׁכֶמָה וּמִנֶּגֶב לִלְבוֹנָה). In this place of Shiloh the tabernacle was set up after the conquest of the Promised Land according to Joshua 18:1-10. Was this place of rest an peace named Shiloh and was the Ark of the Covenant placed there because of the Torah reference to Shiloh in Sefer Bereshit? The Tabernacle remained in Shiloh until the Ark of the Covenant fell into the hands of the Philistines. This location (Shiloh) was also referred to by the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:12-14, 26:4-9) approximately 500 years after the destruction of that place. Looking at a few translations (English, Latin, and Greek) on Bereshit / Genesis 49:10 there does appear to be some differences in opinion on the meaning of the Hebrew text (English: “until Shiloh comes,” Latin: “he who is to be sent,” and Greek: “until that which is his shall come to Shiloh”). Needless to say though, the text clearly states that this scepter will not part from Judah until the coming of Shiloh.
To gain further insight into the interpretation and meaning of Bereshit / Genesis 49:10, let’s look at the Aramaic translation of this verse from the Targumim Onkelos, Pseudo-Jonathan, Neofiti, FTP GN, and FTV GN.
פרשת ויחי תרגום אונקלוס ספר בראשית פרק מט פסוק ח-יב
ח יְהוּדָה אַתְּ אוֹדֵיתָא וְלָא בְּהֵיתְתָא בָּךְ יוֹדוּן אֲחָךְ יְדָךְ תִּתְקֵיף עַל בַּעֲלֵי דְבָבָךְ יִתְבַּדְרוּן סַנְאָךְ יְהוֹן מְחַזְרִין קְדַל קֳדָמָךְ וִיהוֹן מְקַדְמִין לְמִשְׁאַל בִּשְׁלָמָךְ בְּנֵי אֲבוּךְ: ט שִׁלְטוֹן יְהֵי בְּשֵׁירוּיָא וּבְסוֹפָא יִתְרַבָּא מַלְכָּא מִדְבֵית יְהוּדָה אֲרֵי מִדִּין קְטָלָא בְּרִי נַפְשָׁךְ סַלִּיקְתָּא יָנוּחַ יִשְׁרֵי בִּתְקוֹף כְּאַרְיָא וּכְלֵיתָא וְלֵית מַלְכָּא דִתְזַעְזְעִינֵיהּ: י לָא יַעְדֵי עָבֵיד שׁוּלְטָן מִדְבֵית יְהוּדָה וְסַפְרָא מִבְּנֵי בְנוֹהִי עַד עַלְמָא עַד דְּיֵיתֵי מְשִׁיחָא דְדִילֵיהּ הִיא מַלְכוּתָא וְלֵיהּ יִשְׁתַּמְעֻן עַמְמַיָּא: יא יַסְחַר יִשְֹרָאֵל לְקַרְתֵּיהּ עַמָּא יִבְנוּן הֵיכְלֵיהּ יְהוֹן צַדִּיקַיָּא סְחוֹר סְחוֹר לֵיהּ וְעָבְדֵי אוֹרַיְתָא בְּאוּלְפַן עִמֵּיהּ יְהֵי אַרְגְּוָון טַב לְבוּשׁוֹהִי כְּסוּתֵיהּ מֵילָא מֵילָא צְבַע זְהוֹרִי וְצִבְעוֹנִין: יב יְסַמְקוּן טוּרוֹהִי בְּכַרְמוֹהִי יְטוּפוּן נַעֲוֹהִי בַּחֲמַר יְחַוְורָן בִּקְעִתֵיהּ בְּעִבּוּר וּבְעֶדְרֵי עָנָא:
The text of Bereshit / Genesis 49:10 translated into Aramaic reveals that this verse is understood as messianic from ancient times. The Targum Onkelos states עַלְמָא עַד דְּיֵיתֵי מְשִׁיחָא meaning “until the Messiah comes.” So the translators of the Hebrew text to Aramaic believed Shiloh to be a name of the Messiah. Below is a list comparing Bereshit / Genesis 49:10 from the Masoretic text shown along side of the Aramaic translations from the Targum Onkelos, Pseudo Jonathan, Neofiti, FTP Genesis, and FTV Genesis.
פרשת ויחי ספר בראשית פרק מט פסוק ח-יב
י לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים:
תרגום אונקלוס ספר בראשית פרק מט פסוק י
לָא יְעִידֵי עָבֵיד שֻולטָן מִדְבֵית יְהֻודָה וְסָפְרָא מִבְנֵיבְנוֹהִי עַד עָלְמָא עַד דְיֵיתֵי מְשִיחָא דְדִילֵיה״דיליה ״ הִיא מַלכֻותָא וְלֵיה יִשתַמעֻון עַמְמַיָא׃
פסבדו יונתן ספר בראשית פרק מט פסוק י
לא פסקין מלכין ושליטין מדבית יהודה וספרין מאלפי אורייתא מזרעיה עד זמן די ייתי מלכא משיחא זעיר בנוי ובדיליה יתימסון עממייא
תרגום ניופתי ספר בראשית פרק מט פסוק י
לא פסקין מלכין מין דבית יהודה ואף לא ספרין ״ולא סברין מלפין ״ מלפי אוריה מבני בנוי עדזמן דייתי מלכא משיחא דדידיה היא מלכותא וליה ישתעבדון כל מלכוותא״אומי׳״׃
פרק מט פסוק י FTP Genesis
לא יפסקון מלכין ושלטנין מדבית יהודה ולא ספרין ומלפי אורייא מבני בנוי עדזמן דייתי מלכא דמשיחא דעתיד למיקום מדבית יהודה
פרק מט פסוק י FTV Genesis
לא פסקין מלכין מדבית יהוד׳ אוף לא סברין מלפי אורייתה מן בני בנוי עדזמן דייתי מלכא משיחא דדידיה היא מלכותא וליה עתידין ישתעבדון כל מלכוותה דארעא
Comparing these various Aramaic translations (shown above), it is interesting to note that Targum Pseudo-Jonathan says “until the time when the King Messiah will come, the youngest of his sons, and because of him nations shall melt away” (לא פסקין מלכין ושליטין מדבית יהודה וספרין מאלפי אורייתא מזרעיה עד זמן די ייתי מלכא משיחא זעיר בנוי ובדיליה יתימסון עממייא). In each of these Aramaic translations, the one who is coming (Shiloh, שִׁילֹה) is the “king Messiah” (מלכא דמשיחא). Each of these translations say essentially the same thing עַד דְיֵיתֵי מְשִיחָא (Onkelos, “until Messiah comes”), עד זמן די ייתי מלכא משיחא (Pseudo-Jonathan, “until the time the King Messiah comes”), עדזמן דייתי מלכא משיחא (Neofiti, “until the King Messiah comes”), עדזמן דייתי מלכא דמשיחא (FTP Genesis, “until the King Messiah comes”), and עדזמן דייתי מלכא דמשיחא (FTV Genesis, “until the King Messiah comes”). As a result of the Aramaic translations, there is much to be said in the Rabbinic literature, such as in Midrash Rabbah on Bereshit (Genesis) on the messianic nature of this verse centered on the scepter (staff) that will not depart from Judah. The rabbinic literature states that this verse alludes to the Messiah Son of David (see Midrash Rabbah on Genesis 97, 98 parashah 8, and 99 parashah 8). The main interpretation that we can take from the Midrashic literature is that these verses are in fact messianic in nature!
While searching the Targumim for the Aramaic translations of this verse (Bereshit / Genesis 49:10) the FTP and FTV Genesis provides us with additional ancient texts that confirm the other Targum translations. While attempting to find information on these Targumim (FTP and FTV GN) I come across a book titled “Tehiyyat Ha-Metim: The Resurrection of the Dead in the Palestinian Targums of the Pentateuch and Parallel Traditions in Classical Rabbinic Literature” by Harry Sysling. Harry Sysling looks at the rabbinic concept of the “Tehiyyat Ha-Metim,” meaning “the revivification of the dead” referring to the future reunion of the body and soul (the Resurrection). In the Rabbinic literature it is taught when the human body dies, its soul leaves the body. On page 31 of Harry Sysling’s book he describes the FTP and FTV as being “Fragment-Targums” (FT); these Targum fragments are regarded as critical glosses (adding an explanatory note) to the Targum Onkelos. Scholars are not certain whether these Targumim were part of a complete Targum or were only used as select passages for liturgy during the festivals. The FT Targumim was transmitted to us in several MSS which show considerable differences when compared, essentially these were translations with commentary. The edition of MSS P (FTP) was published by M. Ginsburg in 1899, and contained supplements from MSS V (FTV). Little can be said on the dating of the FT Targumim, scholars have concluded that the Aramaic does not belong to the Middle Aramaic and has affinities with older texts written in standard literary Aramaic. Scholars have concluded that the FTP and FTV are fairly reliable witnesses to Jewish Palestinian Aramaic of the late period of Aramaic between 200-700 CE. This date is consistent with the compilation of the Targum Onkelos where Onkelos is the author who is attributed to having made the Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch in the 2nd century CE.
According to Ginsburg’s Masoretic text, there is a Qere and Ketiv noted on the word “Shiloh” (י לֹא-יָסוּר שֵׁבֶט מִיהוּדָה וּמְחֹקֵק מִבֵּין רַגְלָיו עַד כִּי-יָבֹא שִׁילֹה וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים ) this note is indicated by the word “Shiloh” shown in bold above. The note in the marginal Masorah gives the Qere (what is to be read) saying that what is written is שִׁילֹה and what is to be read is שִׁילוֹ. It appears that the Masorah is providing a “plene” (full) spelling of the word as opposed to the defective spelling. Noted earlier, the NASB translates this as “until Shiloh comes,” the translators understood Shiloh to be a noun whereas the NIV and RSV say “until he comes to whom it belongs.” It appears that the NIV and RSV take the reading from the Masorah שִׁילוֹ, and / or from the LXX that reads ἕως ἂν ἔλθῃ τὰ ἀποκείμενα αὐτῷ saying “until that which is reserved comes to him.” This suggests that the translators of both the English and Greek translations read the Qere from the Masorah שִׁילוֹ to be שׁ + לוֹ where the letter “shin” (ש) most of the time acts as a conjunction, however in this construction ש acts as a pronoun “used to indicate a specific person or thing” meaning “that is to him” or “that what belongs to him.” The important point here is that our attention is drawn to the word “Shiloh” in both the Masoretic text and the Targumim to be referring to one who will come that is associated with ruling with a scepter and to him will be the obedience of the peoples. This sounds a lot of what is being described in Tehillim / Psalms 2.
The Messianic expectation of this verse indicates that the one who is coming will be from the tribe of Judah. He will be a ruler and king over Israel. He will gather the peoples (note that in each case, both Hebrew and Aramaic that peoples is written in the plural form עַמִּים). The gathering of the peoples (עַמִּים) draws a parallel with the covenant blessing God gave to Abraham in Parashat Lech Lecha (Bereshit / Genesis 12:3) ג וַאֲבָרְכָה מְבָרֲכֶיךָ וּמְקַלֶּלְךָ אָאֹר וְנִבְרְכוּ בְךָ כֹּל מִשְׁפְּחֹת הָאֲדָמָה that “in your seed all the families, nations, and peoples of the earth will be blessed.” (Note also that after the Akedah God explicitly says “in your seed” all the families will be blessed.) This Shiloh that comes will command the obedience of the people meaning that he will draw their willing allegiance. Who else could this possibly be than the Messiah Yeshua Himself? The words Jacob makes about Judah singles out Judah stating the blessing that will come upon all peoples will be given through the tribe of Judah that is descended from Abraham. The individual that comes from the tribe of Judah will rule and be victorious to gather the allegiance of the peoples of the world.
As we study this verse Bereshit / Genesis 49:10, this one who will come reminds us of the very first prophecy in Bereshit / Genesis 3:15 that states טו וְאֵיבָה | אָשִׁית בֵּינְךָ וּבֵין הָאִשָּׁה וּבֵין זַרְעֲךָ וּבֵין זַרְעָהּ הוּא יְשׁוּפְךָ רֹאשׁ וְאַתָּה תְּשׁוּפֶנּוּ עָקֵב through the “seed of the woman” would come one who would slay the serpent (the deceiver). He (the Messiah) will crush your head (רֹאשׁ) and that the serpent will crush his heal (עָקֵב). Eve (Chavah) probably thought that her first born son would do this thing but it turned out her son Cain was a murderer. The slaying of righteous Abel required that the promised “seed” would descend through another child and we read that a third son was born whose name was Seth. The Scriptures state in Bereshit / Genesis 4:26 וּלְשֵׁת גַּם-הוּא יֻלַּד-בֵּן וַיִּקְרָא אֶת-שְׁמוֹ אֱנוֹשׁ אָז הוּחַל לִקְרֹא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָֹה that it is the descendants of Seth (שֵׁת) who began to call upon the name of the Lord (לִקְרֹא בְּשֵׁם יְהוָֹה). Bereshit 4:26 indicates for us that these sons of Seth had faith in God who would deliver mankind by the promise seed God had declared to Adam and Chavah. From this point on the world became increasingly evil and the Scriptures say that God saw the men of the earth and that their hearts were constant to do evil every day according to Bereshit / Genesis 6:1-6 (וַיַּרְא יְהֹוָה כִּי רַבָּה רָעַת הָאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וְכָל-יֵצֶר מַחְשְׁבֹת לִבּוֹ רַק רַע כָּל-הַיּוֹם). God also saw that Noach was the only Tzaddik (Righteous man) remaining on the earth (Bereshit / Genesis 6:6-9). After the great flood, God chose Shem through who the line of the Messiah would come where Noach prophesied saying וַיֹּאמֶר בָּרוּךְ יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵי שֵׁם וִיהִי כְנַעַן עֶבֶד לָמוֹ that the blessing would come through Shem and not through Canaan or Japheth. Note also that “Shem” (שֵׁם) means “name” and so there is a self revelation that is taking place, it is in “the name” that God continues His promise and His blessing and ultimately in the name of Yeshua whereby we are saved (Acts 4:12). Abraham was descended from Shem by the 10th generation from Noach. Abraham was the first to offer up his only begotten son (his own promised seed) as a sacrifice on Mount Moriah in the exact location of the future Temple in Jerusalem. In Jewish tradition this test is known as the Akedah עקדה meaning “binding.” The Akedah was a representation of our Father’s sacrifice of the Son of God for the sins of humanity. After the offering of Isaac, God promised Abraham that in your seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed because you have obeyed my voice (Bereshit / Genesis 22:18, יח וְהִתְבָּרֲכוּ בְזַרְעֲךָ כֹּל גּוֹיֵי הָאָרֶץ עֵקֶב אֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְתָּ בְּקֹלִי). Throughout the lives of the patriarchs in Sefer Bereshit (Genesis) God promises and reiterates the covenant (Abraham: Bereshit / Genesis 12:1-3, 13:14-18, 15:4-5, 17:1-8, 18:18, and 22:18, Isaac: Bereshit / Genesis 26:3-4 and 26:23-24, and Jacob: Bereshit / Genesis 28:10-14 and 35:9-12). The coming of the seed of Abraham was reaffirmed by God no less than 10 times in the Torah. As a result, it came to be known that the Redeemer would come from the “God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהֵי יִצְחָק וֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב) as God declares to Moshe and Moshe writes/states in Shemot / Exodus 3:6 and 3:15. Yeshua Himself stated that “Salvation is from the Jews” according to John 4:22 to the woman at the well. It is here at the end of the life of Jacob, the end of the Patriarchal line that we learn again of the coming Redeemer. Before Jacob died he called his sons together in order to bless them as we read in Bereshit / Genesis 49:1-28. Jacob foretold that from the tribe of Judah would come the Messiah. The scepter will not depart from Judah nor shall the staff from between his feet until Shiloh comes and to him be the obedience of the peoples (49:10).
What we learn from this study on Tehillim / Psalms 2:8-9 and Bereshit / Genesis 49:10 along with the various translations into English, Latin, Greek, and Aramaic, the meaning of the word “Shiloh” has been debated among scholars and translators throughout time. According to the Hebrew translation, the word “Shiloh” comes from the word “she-lo” (Marginal Masorah) meaning “that is his” or “that belongs to him.” This scepter refers to “kingly authority” and that kingly authority would be given in the tribe of Judah until the Messiah appears at which time he will reign as the supreme leader of all peoples. This interpretation is the basis for the Aramaic translations having all written (translated) the Hebrew text as מלכא משיחא “the king messiah.” As a result of this, “Shiloh” refers to the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth where we get the image of the coming Messiah. If the word “Shiloh” is to be correctly understood as a proper name, then this just may be the very first occurrence of a name given to the Messiah in the Scriptures, the one in whom peace and rest comes and in the naming of the place “Shiloh” where the Ark of the Covenant rested for a time all of which is directing our attention to Yeshua the Messiah, our atonement will be found and is today in Yeshua the Messiah! Despite the various translations of the Hebrew text and disagreement on the meaning of the word “Shiloh” it cannot be argued that Jacob’s blessing gives us the prophetic authority that the tribe of Judah would be through whom the Messiah would appear. This is the basis for the hope of Mashiach ben David (משיח בן-דוד) “Messiah Son of David,” its origin begins starting with Bereshit / Genesis 49:10.
According to Moshe in Sefer Bereshit (Book of Genesis) the Promised Seed was to be born of a woman (Bereshit / Genesis 3:15) and was to dwell in the “tents of Shem” (Bereshit / Genesis 9:26, כז יַפְתְּ אֱלֹהִים לְיֶפֶת וְיִשְׁכֹּן בְּאָהֳלֵי-שֵׁם וִיהִי כְנַעַן עֶבֶד לָמוֹ); to dwell in the “tents of the Name” in the Name of the Lord God Almighty. Jacob’s prophecy states ח יְהוּדָה אַתָּה יוֹדוּךָ אַחֶיךָ יָדְךָ בְּעֹרֶף אֹיְבֶיךָ יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְךָ בְּנֵי אָבִיךָ: ט גּוּר אַרְיֵה יְהוּדָה מִטֶּרֶף בְּנִי עָלִיתָ כָּרַע רָבַץ כְּאַרְיֵה וּכְלָבִיא מִי יְקִימֶנּוּ: 49:8 ‘Judah, your brothers shall praise you; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s sons shall bow down to you. 49:9 ‘Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He couches, he lies down as a lion, And as a lion, who dares rouse him up? (NASB) The tribe of Judah (Yehuda) will be known as גּוּר אַרְיֵה a “Young Lion” who will be praised and made victorious and to rule over the others (the other tribes) and Scripture says “who will rouse him up” meaning who would dare come against him. From the tribe of Judah would come the Messiah, the anointed King of Israel and whose authority would obtain the loyalty and obedience of all the peoples of the World (49:10). Remember, one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord! (Romans 14:11, Philippians 2:9-11, Isaiah 45:23) As a result, the prophets declare and foretell the greatness of this “Young Lion” that comes from the tribe of Judah, He is none other than Yeshua the Messiah, the Son of God. Therefore, the author of Tehillim / Psalms 2 was writing of God’s Messiah, the One whom God has begotten, and who will rule with an iron scepter who will be given power and authority forever and ever, Amen! The apostles understood Tehillim / Psalms 2 to be very messianic in nature and used these Scriptures to support their belief of Who Yeshua is. He is the One in whom every knee will bow and every tongue will confess, that He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the God Almighty. Praise this Holy Name forever and ever. Amen! Let’s pray.
The Midrash on Tehillim / Psalms 2 has 17 parts. This week we will be looking at Part 9 from the Midrash. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 2 Part 9.
Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 2, Part 9
- The Midrash begins with the verse being discussed, Tehillim / Psalms 2:7 “I will declare of the decree of the Lord, He said unto me, you are my son.”
- The Children of Israel are said to be declared the sons of God (Shemot / Exodus 4:22).
- This decree is declared in the prophets, references to Isaiah 42:1 and 52:13
- The decree is declared in the writings, references to Tehillim / Psalms 110:1
- The parable shifts to the vision of Daniel (Daniel 7:13-14)
- The Messiah occupies himself with the study of the Torah
- When a Master wants to give pleasure in his slave he says “today have I begotten you.”
- A comment on suffering is made with respect to being begotten of God.
- The Messiah is said to be created in the day of redemption
- The question of creation is made, are we to understand that begotten means literally to create?
- The story of Absolom (1 Kings 1:5-6) and Adonijah is given to end the Midrash.
We begin looking at Midrash Tehillim 2, Part 9, this midrash is very Messianic in nature and so it is interesting to look at the how the rabbis understood Tehillim / Psalms 2. The דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “the beginning word” and פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” of the Midrash is from Tehillim / Psalms 2:7 which states ז אֲסַפְּרָה אֶל חֹק יְהוָה אָמַר אֵלַי בְּנִי אַתָּה אֲנִי הַיּוֹם יְלִדְתִּיךָ: 2:7 ‘I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. (NASB) The משל (mashal) “the parable” is that of the Children of Israel. The Children of Israel are said to be the sons of God according to the decree of the Torah, the Neviim (Prophets), and Ketuvim (Writings) citing the Scripture from Shemot / Exodus כב וְאָמַרְתָּ אֶל-פַּרְעֹה כֹּה אָמַר יְהֹוָה בְּנִי בְכֹרִי יִשְֹרָאֵל: 4:22 ‘Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn. (NASB)
מדרש תהלים פרק ב סימן ט
Midrash Tehillim, Chapter 2, Part 9
The sons of God, the Children of Israel are said to be exalted and lifted up, they will prosper (Isaiah 52:13, יג הִנֵּה יַשְֹכִּיל עַבְדִּי יָרוּם וְנִשָּׂא וְגָבַהּ מְאֹד) that this will occur to the servant in whom is God’s delight (Isaiah 42:1, א הֵן עַבְדִּי אֶתְמָךְ-בּוֹ בְּחִירִי רָצְתָה נַפְשִׁי נָתַתִּי רוּחִי עָלָיו מִשְׁפָּט לַגּוֹיִם יוֹצִיא). The נמשל (Nimshal) “Comparison / expansion of parable” references Tehillim / Psalms 110:1 ב מַטֵּה עֻזְּךָ יִשְׁלַח יְהֹוָה מִצִּיּוֹן רְדֵה בְּקֶרֶב אֹיְבֶיךָ: 110:1 The Lord says to my Lord: ‘Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.’ (NASB) This is used as an introduction to the vision of Daniel 7:13-14, יג חָזֵה הֲוֵית בְּחֶזְוֵי לֵילְיָא וַאֲרוּ עִם-עֲנָנֵי שְׁמַיָּא כְּבַר אֱנָשׁ אָתֵה הֲוָא וְעַד-עַתִּיק יוֹמַיָּא מְטָה וּקְדָמוֹהִי הַקְרְבוּהִי: יד וְלֵהּ יְהִיב שָׁלְטָן וִיקָר וּמַלְכוּ וְכֹל עַמְמַיָּא אֻמַיָּא וְלִשָּׁנַיָּא לֵהּ יִפְלְחוּן שָׁלְטָנֵהּ שָׁלְטָן עָלַם דִּי-לָא יֶעְדֵּה וּמַלְכוּתֵהּ דִּי-לָא תִתְחַבַּל: 7:13 ‘I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 7:14 ‘And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed. (NASB) The vision of Daniel is very Messianic and speaks of the “One like the Son of Man” who will have dominion and power over all of the earth. The Midrash makes a reference to Tehillim 2:8 that says “2:8 ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.” This is interesting because the Midrash directs us to Daniel’s vision and the One who the Lord God establishes upon His Holy Mountain, the Messiah.
Studying the Midrash is interesting because it appears that the author of the Midrash is struggling with the obvious nature of Tehillim / Psalms 2, it is very Messianic, speaks of a future king and an eternal kingdom that God establishes. The Scripture states that God declares a statute, that He has begotten a Son. The Midrash says “Another word on ‘My Son’” (דבר אחר בני אתה) the Midrash continues saying דבר אחר בני אתה. אין אומר בן לי, אלא בני אתה, כעבד שרבו עושה לו קורת רוח, ואומר מחבב את לי כבני. [אני היום ילדתיך]. כ “Another word on You are My son, God does not say I have a son but You are a son to Me, as when a master wishing to give pleasure in his slave, says to him, You are as dear to me as a son. This day I have begotten you (Tehillim / Psalms 2:7-8).” It is interesting how the Midrash places a spin on the words of Scripture stating that God does not say that He has a Son but that he calls the Messiah a Son. The rabbis are trying to say that God has not begotten a son, this obviously is a polemic against the teachings of the Gospels in the Apostolic Writings. To say that God “does not have a Son” but calls men “His sons” discounts the words of the Apostle John in John 3:16 and of Jesus being the Son of God. When thinking upon this topic of God having a Son, the Scripture from Mishley / Proverbs 30:1-6 comes to mind.
ספר משלי פרק ל פסוק א-ו
Mishley / Proverbs 30:1-6
As we read here, according to Mishley / Proverbs 30 these are the words of “Agur Ben Yakeh.’’ We know very little of Agur, for example what tribe he was from, or when did he live? Mishley / Proverbs 30:1-3 Agur writes that he is more stupid than any man saying: “Surely I am more stupid than any man, and I do not have the understanding of a man. Neither have I learned wisdom, nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy Ones.” Agur laments that he is not wise in spiritual matters and uses examples of the “holy ones” or “holy things” (ג וְלֹא-לָמַדְתִּי חָכְמָה וְדַעַת קְדֹשִׁים אֵדָע, Neither have I learned wisdom, Nor do I have the knowledge of the Holy One.) Agur knows that his understanding is not sufficient such as concerning the קְדֹשִׁים “kiddoshim.” On his own, he can’t get sufficient insight into these holy things, nor truly comprehend them. Agur appears to give a deep sense of his own limitations in these spiritual matters. He knows in his natural state that he is incapable of understanding, let alone apprehending the things of the Spirit of God. To make his point even clearer, Agur includes five questions which illustrate the limitations of man’s understanding, and to show that it is absurd for man to think that he can explain God’s works or presume that he understands the holy, infinite, all-knowing and all-powerful Creator. He asks the question “Who has ascended into heaven and descended? Who has gathered the wind in His fists? Who has wrapped the waters in His garment? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name or His Son’s name? Surely you know!” (Mishley / Proverbs 30:4).
In the statement “What is His name, or His Son’s name?” he asks the question of who understands the unpronounceable Name of God (יהוה) and what man outside of divine revelation knows the name of God’s Son? The question suggests to mean that the God of Israel has a Son. Is the Son the Nation of Israel? (Shemot / Exodus 4:22) or is there something more to this Son of God? The questions asked suggest that this Son is eternal who had a part in the creation, who God alone is able to reveal.
It is interesting while reading the proverb that there appears to be a parallel between Tehillim / Psalms 2:12 and Mishley / Proverbs 30:5. Let’s look at the verses:
סםר טוביה פרק ב פסוק יב
יב נַשְּׁקוּ-בַר פֶּן-יֶאֱנַף | וְתֹאבְדוּ דֶרֶךְ כִּי-יִבְעַר כִּמְעַט אַפּוֹ אַשְׁרֵי כָּל-חוֹסֵי בוֹ
2:12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (NASB)
ספר משלי פרק ל פסוק ה
ה כָּל-אִמְרַת אֱלוֹהַּ צְרוּפָה מָגֵן הוּא לַחֹסִים בּוֹ:
30:5 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. (NASB)
Note the parallels to the one who takes refuge in Him and the kissing (doing homage) the Son. When Agur was writing this proverb was he thinking of Sefer Tehillim / Psalms 2? Looking at the Midrash on Proverbs, Chapter 30, Part 2 (מדרש משלי פרק ל סימן ב) says that the one who goes up is Elijah and the one who comes down is Moshe and that the son referenced here is Israel which is consistent with the Midrash on Tehillim / Psalms 2. There is an obvious difficulty in the rabbinic understanding of the “Son of God,” this is most likely the result of Christian influences and the late recording of the rabbinic commentary in the age of the tannaim (group of Jewish sages/teachers who were active between 70 to 200 CE).
According to the Scriptures the Son of God has now been revealed by His incarnation, His glorious life, His amazing death and His resurrection. The answer to the questions that Agur puts forth, “Who has ascended into heaven and descended?” This is Yeshua who descended as the living Word of God (John 1:1-14) and ascended back to the Father in Heaven (Acts 1-2). Yeshua is in heaven and seated at God’s right hand sharing His glory. From that exalted place He descended to earth and took our nature upon Himself, this is the way in which God set and established His king upon the mountain of Zion (Tehillim / Psalms 2:5-6). It is the Messiah’s life and ministry that provides our atonement in blood in fulfillment of the Torah requirement for our sins. Who else besides Messiah Yeshua, the One whom God has established, could claim: according to John 3:11-13 “Truly truly I say to you, we speak that which we know, and bear witness of that which we have seen; and you do not receive our witness. If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things? And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man.” Who else would be so intimately acquainted with both heaven and earth? Who else has access to both heaven and earth? The Son of God descended from heaven and ascended into heaven and is also Lord of the winds and the waves and has established all the heavens and the earth. It is interesting in the context of Mishley / Proverbs 30, that the Name of God and the Name of His Son are the object of these questions. The context does unanalyzed in the rabbinic commentary.
Agur asks the question “Who has gathered the wind in His fists and who has wrapped the waters in His garment?” While Yeshua and his disciples were out on a boat on the Kinneret (the Sea of Galilee), a storm suddenly broke over the lake. Within moments their small boat was rapidly filling with water as the waves crashed over its side. In the midst of this raging storm, Yeshua was fast asleep! But when He was awakened, the young rabbi rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Immediately the wind subsided, and the waters became calm. Yeshua’s disciples, asked the question “who is this man that the wind and the waves obey him?” By the Word of God (the Scriptures) they knew that the God of Israel alone is the One who controls the storms. Remembering the account of Jonah, it was the Lord who hurled a great wind on the sea, so that there was a great storm, and the ship on which the disobedient prophet Jonah took passage was about to break up. Once the rebellious prophet was thrown into the sea, the Lord immediately stopped its raging. The disciples also were familiar with the Psalm where King David prayed: “Lord, You still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the tumult of the peoples.” (Tehillim / Psalms 65:7) As they saw the winds and sea obeying Yeshua, they got a glimpse of who He is, the Son of God (Tehillim / Psalms 2:7) and they had answered the mystery of the Name of the Son (Mishley / Proverbs 30:4), His Name is Yeshua!
Who has established all the ends of the earth? The Apostle John declared that all things came into being by Yeshua, and apart from Him, nothing came into being that has come into being. The Apostle Paul said that by Yeshua all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible (Colossians 1) The apostolic understanding of Tehillim / Psalms 2 is that in this Messiah that God has established, His Son, in Him all things have been created (by Him and for Him). He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. The Word of God is clear, it is Yeshua of Nazareth who has established all the ends of the earth. In these Scriptures, and in this Psalm God has revealed Himself, His plan, His ways, and His glory. Glory and eternal life are for those who place their trust and faith in God’s only begotten Son, Yeshua the Messiah. Will you be obedient today and believe and be saved? Let’s Pray!