New American Bible (Revised Edition)
God Appoints the King both King and Priest
1 A psalm of David.
The Lord says to my lord:[b]
“Sit at my right hand,
while I make your enemies your footstool.”(A)
2 The scepter of your might:
the Lord extends your strong scepter from Zion.
Have dominion over your enemies!
3 Yours is princely power from the day of your birth.
In holy splendor before the daystar,
like dew I begot you.(B)
4 The Lord has sworn and will not waver:
“You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek.”[c](C)
5 At your right hand is the Lord,
who crushes kings on the day of his wrath,(D)
6 Who judges nations, heaps up corpses,
crushes heads across the wide earth,
7 [d]Who drinks from the brook by the wayside
and thus holds high his head.(E)
- Psalm 110 A royal Psalm in which a court singer recites three oracles in which God assures the king that his enemies are conquered (Ps 110:1–2), makes the king “son” in traditional adoption language (Ps 110:3), gives priestly status to the king and promises to be with him in future military ventures (Ps 110:4–7).
- 110:1 The Lord says to my lord: a polite form of address of an inferior to a superior, cf. 1 Sm 25:25; 2 Sm 1:10. The court singer refers to the king. Jesus in the synoptic gospels (Mt 22:41–46 and parallels) takes the psalmist to be David and hence “my lord” refers to the messiah, who must be someone greater than David. Your footstool: in ancient times victorious kings put their feet on the prostrate bodies of their enemies.
- 110:4 Melchizedek: Melchizedek was the ancient king of Salem (Jerusalem) who blessed Abraham (Gn 14:18–20); like other kings of the time he performed priestly functions. Hb 7 sees in Melchizedek a type of Christ.
- 110:7 Who drinks from the brook by the wayside: the meaning is uncertain. Some see an allusion to a rite of royal consecration at the Gihon spring (cf. 1 Kgs 1:33, 38). Others find here an image of the divine warrior (or king) pursuing enemies so relentlessly that he does not stop long enough to eat and drink.