Against his anointed - משיחיה על al Meshichiah, "Against his Messiah." - Chaldee. But as this signifies the anointed person, it may refer first to David, as it does secondly to Christ.
The kings of the earth - This verse is designed to give a more specific form to the general statement in Psalm 2:1. In the first verse the psalmist sees a general commotion among the nations as engaged in some plan that he sees must be a vain one; here he describes more particularly the cause of the excitement, and gives a nearer view of what is occurring. He now sees kings and rulers engaged in a specific and definite plot against Yahweh and against His Anointed. The word “kings” here is a general term, which would be applicable to all rulers - as the kingly government was the only one then known, and the nations were under the control of absolute monarchs. A sufficient fulfillment would be found, however, if any rulers were engaged in doing what is here described.
Set themselves - Or, take their stand. The latter expression would perhaps better convey the sense of the original. It is the idea of taking a stand, or of setting themselves in array, which is denoted by the expression; - they combine; they resolve; they are fixed in their purpose. Compare Exodus 2:4; Exodus 19:17; Exodus 34:5. The attitude here is that of firm or determined resistance.
And the rulers - A slight addition to the word kings. The sense is, that there was a general combination among all classes of rulers to accomplish what is here specified. It was not confined to any one class.
Take counsel together - Consult together. Compare Psalm 31:13, “While they took counsel together against me.” The word used here, יחד yachad means properly to found, to lay the foundation of, to establish; then, to be founded (Niphal); to support oneself; to lean upon - as, for example, to lean upon the elbow. Thus used, it is employed with reference to persons reclining or leaning upon a couch or cushion, especially as deliberating together, as the Orientals do in the divan or council. Compare the notes at Psalm 83:3. The idea here is that of persons assembled to deliberate on an important matter.
Against the Lord - Against Jehovah - the small capitals of “Lord” in our common version indicating that the original word is Yahweh. The meaning is, that they were engaged in deliberating against Yahweh in respect to the matter here referred to - to wit, his purpose to place the “Anointed One,” his King (Psalm 2:6), on the hill of Zion. It is not meant that they were in other respects arrayed against him, though it is true in fact that opposition to God in one respect may imply that there is an aversion to him in all respects, and that the same spirit which would lead men to oppose him in any one of his purposes would, if carried out, lead them to oppose him in all things.
And against his Anointed - - משׁיחו meshı̂ychô - his Messiah: hence, our word Messiah, or Christ. The word means “Anointed,” and the allusion is to the custom of anointing kings and priests with holy oil when setting them apart to office, or consecrating them to their work. Compare Matthew 1:1, note; Daniel 9:26, note. The word Messiah, or Anointed, is therefore of so general a character in its signification that its mere use would not determine to whom it was to be applied - whether to a king, to a priest, or to the Messiah properly so called. The reference is to be determined by something in the connection. All that the word here necessarily implies is, that there was some one whom Yahweh regarded as his Anointed one, whether king or priest, against whom the rulers of the earth had arrayed themselves. The subsequent part of the psalm Psalm 2:6-7 enables us to ascertain that the reference here is to one who was a King, and that he sustained to Yahweh the relation of a Son. The New Testament, and the considerations suggested in the introduction to the psalm (Section 4), enable us to understand that the reference is to the Messiah properly so called - Jesus of Nazareth. This is expressly declared Acts 4:25-27 to have had its fulfillment in the purposes of Herod, Pontius Pilate, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, in rejecting the Saviour and putting him to death. No one can doubt that all that is here stated in the psalm had a complete fulfillment in their combining to reject him and to put him to death; and we are, therefore, to regard the psalm as particularly referring to this transaction. Their conduct was, however, an illustration of the common feelings of rulers and people concerning him, and it was proper to represent the nations in general as in commotion in regard to him.
The priests gave directions for securing the sepulcher. A great stone had been placed before the opening. Across this stone they placed cords, securing the ends to the solid rock, and sealing them with the Roman seal. The stone could not be moved without breaking the seal. A guard of one hundred soldiers was then stationed around the sepulcher to prevent it from being tampered with. The priests did all they could to keep Christ's body where it had been laid. He was sealed as securely in His tomb as if He were to remain there through all time. DA 778.1
So weak men counseled and planned. Little did these murderers realize the uselessness of their efforts. But by their action God was glorified. The very efforts made to prevent Christ's resurrection are the most convincing arguments in its proof. The greater the number of soldiers placed around the tomb, the stronger would be the testimony that He had risen. Hundreds of years before the death of Christ, the Holy Spirit had declared through the psalmist, “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed.... He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.” Psalm 2:1-4. Roman guards and Roman arms were powerless to confine the Lord of life within the tomb. The hour of His release was near. DA 778.2Read in context »