Psalm 2:1
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?

King James Bible
Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?

Darby Bible Translation
Why are the nations in tumultuous agitation, and [why] do the peoples meditate a vain thing?

World English Bible
Why do the nations rage, and the peoples plot a vain thing?

Young's Literal Translation
Why have nations tumultuously assembled? And do peoples meditate vanity?

Psalm 2:1 Parallel
Commentary
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Why do the heathen rage - It has been supposed that David composed this Psalm after he had taken Jerusalem from the Jebusites, and made it the head of the kingdom; 2 Samuel 5:7-9. The Philistines, hearing this, encamped in the valley of Rephaim, nigh to Jerusalem, and Josephus, Antiq. lib. 7: c. 4, says that all Syria, Phoenicia, and the other circumjacent warlike people, united their armies to those of the Philistines, in order to destroy David before he had strengthened himself in the kingdom. David, having consulted the Lord, 2 Samuel 5:17-19, gave them battle, and totally overthrew the whole of his enemies. In the first place, therefore, we may suppose that this Psalm was written to celebrate the taking of Jerusalem, and the overthrow of all the kings and chiefs of the neighboring nations. In the second place we find from the use made of this Psalm by the apostles, Acts 4:27, that David typified Jesus Christ; and that the Psalm celebrates the victories of the Gospel over the Philistine Jews, and all the confederate power of the heathen governors of the Roman empire.

The heathen, גוים goyim, the nations; those who are commonly called the Gentiles.

Rage, רגשו rageshu, the gnashing of teeth, and tumultuously rushing together, of those indignant and cruel people, are well expressed by the sound as well as the meaning of the original word. A vain thing. Vain indeed to prevent the spread of the Gospel in the world. To prevent Jesus Christ, the King of kings, and Lord of lords, from having the empire of his own earth. So vain were their endeavors that every effort only tended to open and enlarge the way for the all-conquering sway of the scepter of righteousness.

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Psalm 18:42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.

Psalm 46:6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

Psalm 83:4-8 They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance...

Isaiah 8:9 Associate yourselves, O you people, and you shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all you of far countries: gird yourselves...

Luke 18:32 For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:

Acts 4:25 Who by the mouth of your servant David have said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?

rage. or, tumultuously assemble

Luke 22:1,2,5,22,23 Now the feast of unleavened bread drew near, which is called the Passover...

Acts 16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

Acts 17:5,6 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took to them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company...

Acts 19:28-32 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians...

people

Matthew 21:38 But when the farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him...

John 11:49,50 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said to them, You know nothing at all...

Acts 5:33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.

Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings...

imagine. Heb. meditate

Library
Opposition to Messiah in Vain
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision. T he extent and efficacy [effects] of the depravity of mankind cannot be fully estimated by the conduct of heathens destitute of divine revelation. We may say of the Gospel, in one sense, what the Apostle says of the Law, It entered that sin might abound (Romans 5:20) . It afforded occasion for displaying the alienation of the heart of man from the blessed God, in the strongest light. The sensuality, oppression and
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

An Earnest Invitation
"Attend sermons, but prayers most, Praying's the end of preaching." And that too is in the text, for what lip can give the kiss of sincerity to the Son of God, save the lip of prayer. We drive onward, then, towards the practical conclusion May God the Holy Spirit assist us. Now it has sometimes been disputed among most earnest and zealous ministers, which is the most likely means of bringing souls to Christ; whether it is the thunder of the threatening, or the still small whisper of the promise.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 5: 1859

The Man Christ Jesus
"Consider how great this man was" in the combination of his offices. He was duly appointed both priest and king: king of righteousness and peace, and at the same time priest of the Most High God. It may be said of him that he sat as a priest upon his throne. He exercised the double office to the great blessedness of those who were with him; for his one act towards Abraham would seem to be typical of his whole life; he blessed him in the name of the Most High God. "Consider how great this man was"
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 31: 1885

The Government of the Church.
"No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."--1 Cor. xii. 3. The last work of the Holy Spirit in the Church has reference to government. The Church is a divine institution. It is the body of Christ, even tho manifesting itself in a most defective way; for as the man whose speech is affected by a stroke of paralysis is the same friendly person as before, in spite of the defect, so is the Church, whose speech is impaired, still the same holy body of Christ. The visible and invisible
Abraham Kuyper—The Work of the Holy Spirit

Cross References
Acts 4:25
You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: "'Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

Acts 4:26
The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the Lord and against his anointed one.'

Revelation 11:18
The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small-- and for destroying those who destroy the earth."

2 Kings 18:35
Who of all the gods of these countries has been able to save his land from me? How then can the LORD deliver Jerusalem from my hand?"

Psalm 21:11
Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.

Psalm 33:10
The LORD foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples.

Psalm 46:6
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

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