- For the music leader: A psalm of David.1
God is weaponized
- 1 This is what the LORD told the lord king:2
“Sit at my right side3
While I force your enemies to surrender.”
- 2 The LORD will stretch your kingdom beyond Jerusalem.4
He’ll say, “You’re now the ruler of your enemies.”
- 3 When it’s time to go to battle,5
Your people will volunteer to fight beside you.
Born a holy child at the dawn of the morning star,
You came with the morning dew.”
- 4 The LORD made this solemn promise,
Which he will not break:
“You will be a priest forever,
Like the king-priest Melchizedek.”6
- 5 The Lord God is your weapon.7
He will decimate kings when they make him mad.
- 6 He’s judge and executioner in his international court.
He’ll litter the world with corpses
As he crushes skulls everywhere.
- 7 Then he’ll drink from the spring8 along the way,
Regain his strength, and rise.
The subtitle wasn’t part of the original psalm. And the possible byline “of David,” isn’t necessarily a byline. The vague phrase could mean the song was written by David, about David, or was inspired by David. Almost half of the psalms are attributed to David in this way, 73 of 150. Ancient Jewish history tells of David playing a lyre and writing songs. For one, he wrote a song of mourning at the battlefield death of King Saul and his sons: “How have the mighty fallen!” (2 Samuel 1:19-27 New American Standard Bible). An ancient Jewish scroll from about the time of Jesus, discovered among the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, reports that David wrote 3,600 songs.
More literally, “The LORD said to my lord.” Scholars call Psalm 110 a coronation psalm, which may have been sung by the Prophet Nathan at David’s coronation. Jesus later used the opening words of this psalm to make a point (Mark 12:35–37 and Luke 20:41–44). Jesus asked: “Why do the scribes, experts in the Jewish law, say that the Messiah is going to be a descendant of David? David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said,
‘The LORD God told the lord king,
Sit here at my right side
While I turn your enemies
Into a footstool so you can kick back and relax.’
David himself actually calls this Messiah ‘lord.’ So how could the Messiah be his son if the Messiah is his master?” (Mark 12:35–37)
The right side was considered the place of highest honor, as in “my right hand man.” Many Christian scholars say this is a psalm about Jesus. Others say it’s about God or a prophet on behalf of God talking to an honored king.
Literally “Zion,” a nickname for Jerusalem, as a term of endearment.
This verse is incomprehensible. That’s why every Bible translation offers wildly different guesses about what to make of it. Just about every word can be interpreted in different ways. And the context clues don’t help much here.
This translation presumes that the original Hebrew text malki-tzedek is a person’s name. If that presumption is correct, the writer probably referred to the story in Genesis 14:18 of Abraham giving an offering to Melchizekek, “a priest of God Most High” and the king of Salem, which many scholars say is an early name of Jerusalem. If the Hebrew term is two nouns, the phrase means “legit king” or “rightful king.”
Literally, “your right hand.”
Some scholars speculate this is a reference to Gihon Spring outside the walled city of Jerusalem. This is where the prophet Nathan hurriedly anointed Solomon king of Israel. Dying, King David gave the order when he found out his oldest son, Adonijah, was celebrating that he would soon be king. Kings don’t like it when we throw a party about them dying. Solomon executed Adonijah. Earlier, David’s army captured Jerusalem by climbing up the tunnel above Gihon Spring to sneak inside the walled city and open the gates.