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Psalm 110[a]

A psalm of David.

110 Here is the Lord’s proclamation[b] to my lord:[c]
“Sit down at my right hand[d] until I make your enemies your footstool.”[e]

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  1. Psalm 110:1 sn Psalm 110. In this royal psalm the psalmist announces God’s oracle to the Davidic king. The first part of the oracle appears in v. 1, the second in v. 4. In vv. 2-3 the psalmist addresses the king, while in vv. 5-7 he appears to address God.
  2. Psalm 110:1 tn The word נְאֻם (neʾum) is used frequently in the OT of a formal divine announcement through a prophet.
  3. Psalm 110:1 sn My lord. In the psalm’s original context the speaker is an unidentified prophetic voice in the royal court, likely addressing David, the head of the dynasty. In the course of time the psalm is applied to each successive king in the dynasty, and is likely understood as such by David (see 2 Sam 7:11-14, 19). Since the Psalm as a whole is attributed to David, it is appropriate to speak of any of its parts as coming from him, whether he composed them, reported them, or commissioned them. Ultimately these words come to apply to the ideal Davidic king, specifically Jesus Christ, the Son of David. Thus, in the irony of the incarnation, the lord who receives the promise is the Lord who made the promise. This creates some complexity in typographic convention, as NET chooses to use lower case here in the Psalm (“my lord”) due to its original context, even though we now know it to be ultimately fulfilled by our Lord. The Greek translation introduces more difficulty because it uses κύριος (kurios, “lord”) for both the Lord’s name, יהוה (YHWH, probably pronounced “Yahweh”) and the title אֲדוֹנַי (ʾadonay, “Lord”) (the word here is not the title, but simply “lord” [אָדוֺן, ʾadon] with the suffix “my”). This complexity and irony are the grounds for the riddle posed by Jesus in the gospels (Matt 22:43-45; Mark 12:36-37; Luke 20:42-44), which the Pharisees could not solve because they were not expecting the Davidic lord to be the Lord. Peter incorporates the answer “that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ” into his sermon at Pentecost (Acts 2:34-35).
  4. Psalm 110:1 sn To sit at the “right hand” of the king was an honor (see 1 Kgs 2:19). The Lord’s invitation to the Davidic king to sit down at his right hand reflects the king’s position as the Lord’s vice-regent. In Ugaritic myth (CTA 4 v. 108-10) the artisan god Kothar-wa-Khasis is described as sitting at the right hand of the storm god Baal. See G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 61-62.
  5. Psalm 110:1 sn When the Lord made his covenant with David, he promised to subdue the king’s enemies (see 2 Sam 7:9-11; Ps 89:22-23).