Psalm 110

In Matt. 22:44 Jesus challenged the Pharisees to identify who King David was referring to in the reference to ‘my Lord’ in Psalms 110.

“‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.”‘

In Psalms 110 it literally reads “Jehovah says to my Adonai…”

But the New American Bible adds ‘you’ and a comma.

The Lord (Jehovah) said to you, my Lord (Adonai)…

This is clearly an interpretive decision as ‘you’ is not in any of the manuscripts. No other translation goes so far as to add a word that is not in the originals. By adding ‘you’ the NAB (not to be confused with the NASB) puts the words of the Psalm into the mouths of court singers and makes ‘Adoni’ a personal reference to king David rather than to the Messiah.

Was the Psalm written for court singers to extol the power and virtues of King David? Jesus interpretation of the Psalm clearly rules that out. Jesus put the words of the Psalm in the mouth of David and then asks who is the person that David calls ‘Lord’? The implication being that the Messiah is not a reincarnation of King David but is greater and sits at the right hand of God.

Psalm 110 contains some similarities to Psalm 2. Both contain references to the world wide rule of the Messiah. A kingdom that was never fulfilled in David.

He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. Psalm 110:6

“I have installed my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession. You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him. Psalm 2:6-12

The boundaries of Israel are clearly spelled out in Num 34. Even the expanded boundaries mentioned in Genesis 15:18 and Deut. 11:24 do not extend past the Nile or Euphrates. Only the Messiah will rule the nations and judge them as was foretold by Jacob.

The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. Genesis 49:10

It is interesting also that Psalm 110 contains the only other reference to Melchizedek in the OT.

The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” Psalm 110:4

It is hard to understand how David would receive this kind of praise as he was never allowed to build the temple because of the blood on his hands. But that is more speculative.

And I am not sure what this means.

He will drink from a brook beside the way; therefore he will lift up his head. Psalm110:7

What is clear is that David spoke of one who would judge the nations who he referred to as both Adonai and a Priest in the order of Melchizedek. And that is something to take to heart.

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