The words “hidden treasure” brings up thoughts of books we have read or videos we have watched as children about pirates and their treasure maps, treasure islands, treasure chests and much more. The word “treasure” means: “wealth (such as money, jewels, or precious metals) stored up or hoarded buried treasure – wealth of any kind or in any form – riches – a store of money in reserve – something of great worth or value – a person esteemed as rare or precious – a collection of precious things.” (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/treasure)
Well, today and in future Posts, we are about to discover some hidden treasure (far more valuable than gold or jewels) as we consider Psalm 110, one of the most quoted psalms (if not THE most quoted psalm) in the New Testament.
Wilcock says, “To the modern reader, Psalm 110 is full of puzzles. To the early church, it was full of treasures; a dozen books of the NT quote from it or allude to it, some more than once.” (# 5)
Before we consider these “treasures” though, we will do as Wilcock suggests. That is, “to approach the puzzles [by turning] a blind eye, temporarily, to the treasures – to try and see what the psalm meant when it was written, as if we were unaware what the NT would say about it, and how immensely influential it was to become.” (# 5)
A key point though, is that although considered a Royal Psalm (or Coronation Psalm), it is generally considered that “before the Christian era Jews already viewed it as Messianic” i.e., prophetic concerning the Messiah to come (NIV Study Bible). When we consider later the way it is interpreted in the NT (especially by Jesus) we will see that this validates this fact.
So, the psalm begins:
Of David. A psalm.
1 The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.”
2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
“Rule in the midst of your enemies!”
It is important to note who is designated to be the author of this psalm, and that is David. It seems it was generally believed by both Jews and later Christians that David was the author and we will see this later when we consider Jesus’ conversation with the religious leaders of his day.
Broyles says: “Psalm 110 is a royal psalm composed originally for the pre-exilic Davidic kings… it refers to Yahweh’s installation of the king on Zion and to his promise of military dominion over enemies… like Psalm 2, it includes prophetic oracles… Although the psalm employs militaristic and triumphalistic language, we should note that this is to be an expression of divine, just judgement: the Lord… will judge the nations.” (# 4)
Right at the beginning though comes, what in English, seems a bit confusing and that is the words in verse 1: The Lord says to my lord… Who is talking to who?
Wilcock explains: “In Hebrew the two words are quite different, and denote on one hand the psalmist’s God, Yahweh, and on the other his Master, or Sovereign. The second Lord, together with all that the psalm says about [him in the rest of the psalm] … must be a great monarch; and with his capital on Mount Zion, he must be a king of Israel… Verse 1 depicts a king who rules not in his own right but as viceroy to the true king, who is God. [i.e., the one who sits on the throne of the Lord – see 1 Chronicles 29:23, 28:5]”
He continues: “The second word [v. 2] to the king has to do particularly with the place he has given for his capital city.” i.e., Jerusalem also known as Zion or the City of David. Note: 2 Sam. 5:6, 7, 9 which says: David marched to Jerusalem… He captured the fortress of Zion… and called it the City of David.” (# 5)
It seems verse 3 is difficult to translate but the NIV puts it:
3 Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.
The basic message being that this great king attracts volunteers so dedicated and committed to him that they are willing to go anywhere he commands and serve him – even to the battle field.
May God instill in us, his followers, such a dedication and commitment to Him, so that, like Peter when spoken to by Jesus, we will say, because you say so, I will… (Luke 5:5)