Chapter 2

1Why have nations gathered and [why do] kingdoms think vain things?   אלָמָּה רָֽגְשׁ֣וּ גוֹיִ֑ם וּ֜לְאֻמִּ֗ים יֶהְגּוּ־רִֽיק:
Why have nations gathered: Our Sages (Ber. 7b) expounded the passage as referring to the King Messiah, but according to its apparent meaning, it is proper to interpret it as referring to David himself, as the matter is stated (II Sam. 5:17): “And the Philistines heard that they had anointed David as king over Israel, and all the Philistines went up to seek, etc.,” and they fell into his hands. Concerning them, he says, “Why have nations gathered,” and they all gathered.  
and kingdoms think: vain things in their heart.  
and kingdoms: Heb. ולאמים. Menachem interprets לאמים, אמות, and גוים as all closely related.  
2Kings of a land stand up, and nobles take counsel together against the Lord and against His anointed?   ביִֽתְיַצְּב֨וּ | מַלְכֵי־אֶ֗רֶץ וְרֽוֹזְנִ֥ים נֽוֹסְדוּ־יָ֑חַד עַל־יְ֜הֹוָה וְעַל־מְשִׁיחֽוֹ:
Kings of a land stand up and nobles take counsel, etc.: Heb. רוזנים, senors (seigneurs) in Old French, lords.  
take counsel: Heb. נוסדו, an expression of counsel (סוד), furt konsilez in Old French (furent conseilles), they hold counsel (see below 55:15). And what is the counsel?…  
3"Let us break their bands and cast off their cords from us."   גנְֽנַתְּקָה אֶת־מֽוֹסְרוֹתֵ֑ימוֹ וְנַשְׁלִ֖יכָה מִמֶּ֣נּוּ עֲבֹתֵֽימוֹ:
Let us break their bands: Deronproms lor koyongles in Old French (as in Jer. 27:2). These are the bands with which the yoke is tied.  
their cords: Heb. עבתימו, lor kordes (leur cordes) in Old French.  
4He Who dwells in Heaven laughs; the Lord mocks them.   דיוֹשֵׁ֣ב בַּשָּׁמַ֣יִם יִשְׂחָ֑ק אֲ֜דֹנָ֗י יִלְעַג־לָֽמוֹ:
laughs… mocks… speaks: They are meant as the present tense.  
5Then He speaks to them in His wrath; and He frightens them with His sore displeasure.   האָ֚ז יְדַבֵּ֣ר אֵלֵ֣ימוֹ בְאַפּ֑וֹ וּבַ֖חֲרוֹנ֥וֹ יְבַֽהֲלֵֽמוֹ:
Then He speaks to them: Heb. אלימו, like אליהם. And what is the speech?…  
6"But I have enthroned My king on Zion, My holy mount."   ווַֽאֲנִֽי נָסַ֣כְתִּי מַלְכִּ֑י עַל־צִ֜יּ֗וֹן הַר־קָדְשִֽׁי:
But I have enthroned My king: Why have you gathered together? I have appointed this one for Me to govern and to reign on Zion, My holy mount.  
7I will tell of the decree; The Lord said to me, "You are My son; this day have I begotten you.   זאֲסַפְּרָ֗ה אֶ֫ל חֹ֥ק יְהֹוָ֗ה אָמַ֣ר אֵ֖לַי בְּנִ֣י אַ֑תָּה אֲ֜נִ֗י הַיּ֥וֹם יְלִדְתִּֽיךָ:
I will tell of the decree: Said David, “This is an established decree, and [one] that I have received to tell this and to make known.”  
The Lord said to me: through Nathan, Gad, and Samuel.  
You are My son: The head over Israel, who are called “My firstborn son.” And they will endure through you, as is stated concerning Abner (II Sam. 3:18): “for God said, etc., ‘By the hand of My bondsman David shall I deliver… Israel.’” And for their sake, you are before Me as a son because they are all dependent upon you.  
this day have I: for I have enthroned you over them.  
begotten you: to be called My son and to be beloved to Me as a son for their sake, as it is stated (II Sam. 7:14) concerning Solomon: “I will be to him a father, and he shall be to Me a son.” We find further concerning David (Ps. 89:27) “He shall call Me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’”  
8Request of Me, and I will make nations your inheritance, and the ends of the earth your possession.   חשְׁאַ֚ל מִמֶּ֗נִּי וְאֶתְּנָ֣ה ג֖וֹיִם נַֽחֲלָתֶ֑ךָ וַֽ֜אֲחֻזָּֽתְךָ֗ אַפְסֵי־אָֽרֶץ:
Request of Me: Pray to Me whenever you come to battle your enemies.  
9You shall break them with an iron rod; like a potter's vessel you shall shatter them."   טתְּרֹעֵֽם בְּשֵׁ֣בֶט בַּרְזֶ֑ל כִּכְלִ֖י יוֹצֵ֣ר תְּנַפְּצֵֽם:
You shall break them: Heb. תרעם [like] תרוצצם.  
with an iron rod: That is the sword.  
you shall shatter them: Heb. תנפצם, you shall break them, and that is the expression of נפוץ throughout the Scriptures, a potsherd that is bro ken into fine pieces.  
10And now, [you] kings, be wise; be admonished, [you] judges of the earth.   יוְעַתָּה מְלָכִ֣ים הַשְׂכִּ֑ילוּ הִ֜וָּֽסְר֗וּ שֹׁ֣פְטֵי אָֽרֶץ:
And now, [you] kings, be wise: The Jewish prophets are merciful people. They reprove the heathens to turn away from their evil, for the Holy One, blessed be He, extends His hand to the wicked and to the righteous.  
11Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with quaking.   יאעִבְד֣וּ אֶת־יְהֹוָ֣ה בְּיִרְאָ֑ה וְ֜גִ֗ילוּ בִּרְעָדָֽה:
and rejoice with quaking: When the quaking, about which it is written (Isa. 33:14): “Trembling seized the flatterers,” comes, you will rejoice and be happy if you have served the Lord.  
12Arm yourselves with purity lest He become angry and you perish in the way, for in a moment His wrath will be kindled; the praises of all who take refuge in Him.   יבנַשְּׁקוּ־בַ֡ר פֶּן־יֶאֱנַ֚ף | וְתֹ֬אבְדוּ דֶ֗רֶךְ כִּֽי־יִבְעַ֣ר כִּמְעַ֣ט אַפּ֑וֹ אַ֜שְׁרֵ֗י כָּל־ח֥וֹסֵי בֽוֹ:
Arm yourselves with purity: Arm yourselves with purity of the heart. Some explain נשקו as garnimont in Old French, equipping. (This is from the verb, garnir. Garnimont means to provide, as in Gen. 41: 40). Menachem (p. 179) interprets it as an expression of desire, as (in Gen. 3:16): “Your longing (תשוקתך) shall be for your husband.”  
lest He become angry: Heb. יאנף, lest He become angry.  
and you perish in the way: Like the matter that is stated (above 1:6): “but the way of the wicked shall perish.”  
for in a moment His wrath will be kindled: For in a short moment His wrath will suddenly be kindled against them, and at that time, the praises of all those who take refuge in Him will be discerned, the praises of all who take refuge in Him.