Psalm 2:4
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
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(4) He that sitteth.—Here the psalm, with a sublimity truly Hebrew, turns from the wild confusion on earth to the spectacle of God looking down with mingled scorn and wrath on the fruitless attempts of the heathen against His chosen people.

Laugh.—We speak of the “irony of events “; the Hebrew ascribes irony to God, who controls events.

Psalm 2:4. He that sitteth in the heavens — As the judge upon his tribunal, weighing the actions of men, and as the king of the whole earth upon his royal throne; who, without moving from his place, can with one word or look destroy all his enemies. His sitting (or dwelling, as Dr. Waterland renders ושׁב, josheb, here) in the heavens is opposed to their being and reigning on the earth, (Psalm 2:2,) and is mentioned here, as in other places of Scripture, as an evidence both of God’s clear and certain knowledge of all things that are done below, and of his sovereign and irresistible power. Shall laugh — Shall despise them and all their crafty devices. “This is spoken of God,” says Dr. Dodd, “after the manner of men, to denote his utter contempt of the opposition of his enemies; the perfect ease with which he was able to disappoint all their measures, and crush them for their impiety and folly; together with his absolute security, that his counsels should stand and his measures be finally accomplished; as men laugh at, and hold in utter contempt, those whose malice and power they know to be utterly vain and impotent. The introducing God as thus laughing at, and deriding his enemies, is in the true spirit of poetry, and with the utmost propriety and dignity. The whole description is grand: Jehovah is he who is seated in the heavens, far beyond the effects of their rage and malice: from thence he sees their secret counsels, confederate armies, and united obstinate endeavours to oppose what he had solemnly decreed.”

2:1-6 We are here told who would appear as adversaries to Christ. As this world is the kingdom of Satan, unconverted men, of every rank, party, and character, are stirred up by him to oppose the cause of God. But the rulers of the earth generally have been most active. The truths and precepts of Christianity are against ambitious projects and worldly lusts. We are told what they aim at in this opposition. They would break asunder the bands of conscience, and the cords of God's commandments; they will not receive, but cast them away as far as they can. These enemies can show no good cause for opposing so just and holy a government, which, if received by all, would bring a heaven upon earth. They can hope for no success in so opposing so powerful a kingdom. The Lord Jesus has all power both in heaven and in earth, and is Head over all things to the church, notwithstanding the restless endeavours of his enemies. Christ's throne is set up in his church, that is, in the hearts of all believers.He that sitteth in the heavens - God, represented as having his home, his seat, his throne in heaven, and thence administering the affairs of the world. This verse commences the second strophe or stanza of the psalm; and this strophe Psalm 2:4-6 corresponds with the first Psalm 2:1-3 in its structure. The former describes the feelings and purposes of those who would cast off the government of God; this describes the feelings and purposes of God in the same order, for in each case the psalmist describes what is done, and then what is said: the nations rage tumultuously Psalm 2:1-2, and then say Psalm 2:3, "Let us break their bands." God sits calmly in the heavens, smiling on their vain attempts Psalm 2:4, and then solemnly declares Psalm 2:5-6 that, in spite of all their opposition, he "has set his King upon his holy hill of Zion." There is much sublimity in this description. While men rage and are tumultuous in opposing his plans, he sits calm and undisturbed in his own heaven. Compare the notes at the similar place in Isaiah 18:4.

Shall laugh - Will smile at their vain attempts; will not be disturbed or agitated by their efforts; will go calmly on in the execution of his purposes. Compare as above Isaiah 18:4. See also Proverbs 1:26; Psalm 37:13; Psalm 59:8. This is, of course, to be regarded as spoken after the manner of men, and it means that God will go steadily forward in the accomplishment of his purposes. There is included also the idea that he will look with contempt on their vain and futile efforts.

The Lord shall have them in derision - The same idea is expressed here in a varied form, as is the custom in parallelism in Hebrew poetry. The Hebrew word לעג lâ‛ag, means properly to stammer; then to speak in a barbarous or foreign tongue; then to mock or deride, by imitating the stammering voice of anyone. Gesenius, Lexicon Here it is spoken of God, and, of course, is not to be understood literally, anymore than when eyes, and hands, and feet are spoken of as pertaining to him. The meaning is, that there is a result in the case, in the Divine Mind, as if he mocked or derided the vain attempts of men; that is, he goes calmly forward in the execution of his own purposes, and he looks upon and regards their efforts as vain, as we do the efforts of others when we mock or deride them. The truth taught in this verse is, that God will carry forward his own plans in spite of all the attempts of men to thwart them. This general truth may lie stated in two forms:

(1) He sits undisturbed and unmoved in heaven while men rage against him, and while they combine to cast off his authority.

(2) He carries forward his own plans in spite of them. This he does:

(a) directly, accomplishing his schemes without regard to their attempts; and

(b) by making their purposes tributary to his own, so making them the instruments in carrying out his own plans. Compare Acts 4:28.

4. By a figure whose boldness is only allowable to an inspired writer, God's conduct and language in view of this opposition are now related.

He that sitteth in the heavens—enthroned in quiet dignities (compare Ps 29:10; Isa 40:22).

shall laugh—in supreme contempt; their vain rage excites His derision. He is still the Lord, literally, "Sovereign," though they rebel.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.

Let us now turn our eyes from the wicked council-chamber and raging tumult of man; to the secret place of the majesty of the Most High. What doth God say? What will the King do unto the men who reject his only-begotten Son, the Heir of all things?

Mark the quiet dignity of the Omnipotent One, and the contempt which he pours upon the princes and their raging people, He has not taken the trouble to rise up and do battle with them - he despises them, he knows how absurd, how irrational, how futile are their attempts against him - he therefore laughs at them.

He that sitteth, as the Judge upon his tribunal, and as the King of the whole world upon his royal throne; who, without stirring from his place, can with one look or word destroy all his enemies.

In the heavens: this is opposed to their being and reigning upon earth, Psalm 2:2, and is mentioned here, as it is in other places of Scripture, as an evidence both of God’s clear and certain knowledge of all things that are done below, as is noted, Psalm 11:4, and of his sovereign and irresistible power, as is hence gathered, Psalm 115:3. See the preface to the Lord’s prayer.

Shall laugh, i.e. shall both despise and deride them, and all their crafty devices, which he shall manifest to the world to be ridiculous and contemptible follies. Compare 2 Kings 19:21 Psalm 37:13.

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh,.... At the rage and tumult of the Heathen; at the vain imaginations of the people; at the opposition of the kings of the earth; at the mad counsel of the rulers, against him and his Messiah; and at their proposal to one another to throw off the yoke and government of them both. This is a periphrasis of God, "who dwells in the heavens", and sits there enthroned; though he is not included and comprehended in them, but is everywhere; and his being there is mentioned in opposition to the kings of the earth, and the people in it; and to show the vast distance there is between them, and how they are as nothing to him, Isaiah 40:1, Job 4:18; and how vain and fruitless their attempts must be against him and his Messiah: and his sitting there still and quiet, serene and undisturbed, is opposed to the running to and fro, and the tumultuous and riotous assembling of the Heathen. Laughing is ascribed unto him, according to the language of men, as the Jewish writers speak (d), by an anthropopathy; in the same sense as he is said to repent and grieve, Genesis 6:6; and expresses his security from all their attempts, Job 5:22; and the contempt he has them in, and the certain punishment of them, and the aggravation of it; who will not only then laugh at them himself, but expose them to the laughter and scorn of others, Proverbs 1:26;

the Lord shall have them in derision; which is a repetition of the same thing in other words; and is made partly to show the certainty of their disappointment and ruin, and partly to explain who is meant by him that sits in the heavens. The Targum calls him, "the Word of the Lord"; and Alshech interprets it of the Shechinah.

(d) Kimchi, Aben Ezra, & R. Sol. Ben Melech in loc.

He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the LORD shall have them in derision.
4. He that sitteth in the heavens] Enthroned in majesty (Psalm 123:1), but withal watching and controlling the course of events upon the earth (Psalm 11:4; Psalm 103:19; Psalm 113:4 ff.; Revelation 5:13; Revelation 6:16).

shall laugh … shall have them in derision] Or, laugheth … mocketh at them. Cp. Psalm 37:13; Psalm 59:8; Proverbs 1:26. The O.T. uses human language of God without fear of lowering Him to a human level.

the Lord] This is the reading of 1611, restored by Dr Scrivener. Most editions, and R.V., have the Lord, in accordance with the Massoretic Text, which reads Adonai, not Jehovah. The variation is perhaps significant. God is spoken of as the sovereign ruler of the world, rather than as the covenant God of Israel.

4–6. The poet-seer draws aside the veil, and bids us look from earth to heaven. There the supreme Ruler of the world sits enthroned in majesty. With sovereign contempt He surveys these petty plottings, and when the moment comes confounds them with a word.

Verse 4. - He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh. God "laughs" at the vain and futile efforts of man to escape from the control of his laws and throw off his dominion (comp. Psalm 37:13; Psalm 59:8). It is impossible that these efforts should succeed. Men must obey God willingly, or else unwillingly. The Lord (Adonay in the ordinary Hebrew text, but a large number of manuscripts have Jehovah) shall have them in derision. "Laughter" and "derision" are, of course, anthropo-morphisms. It is meant that God views with contempt and scorn man's weak attempts at rebellion. Psalm 2:4Above the scene of this wild tumult of battle and imperious arrogance the psalmist in this six line strophe beholds Jahve, and in spirit hears His voice of thunder against the rebels. In contrast to earthly rulers and events Jahve is called יושׁב בּשּׁמים: He is enthroned above them in unapproachable majesty and ever-abiding glory; He is called אדני as He who controls whatever takes place below with absolute power according to the plan His wisdom has devised, which brooks no hindrance in execution. The futt. describe not what He will do, but what He does continually (cf. Isaiah 18:4.). למו also belongs, according to Psalm 59:9; Psalm 37:13, to ישׂחק (שׂחק which is more usual in the post-pentateuchal language equals צחק). He laughs at the defiant ones, for between them and Him there is an infinite distance; He derides them by allowing the boundless stupidity of the infinitely little one to come to a climax and then He thrusts him down to the earth undeceived. This climax, the extreme limit of the divine forbearance, is determined by the אז, as in Deuteronomy 29:19, cf. שׁם Psalm 14:5; Psalm 36:13, which is a "then" referring to the future and pointing towards the crisis which then supervenes. Then He begins at once to utter the actual language of His wrath to his foes and confounds them in the heat of His anger, disconcerts them utterly, both outwardly and in spirit. בּהל, Arab. bhl, cogn. בּלהּ, means originally to let loose, let go, then in Hebrew sometimes, externally, to overthrow, sometimes, of the mind, to confound and disconcert.
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