The Holy See
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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 110


1 A psalm of David. 2 The LORD says to you, my lord: "Take your throne at my righthand, while I make your enemies your footstool."


The scepter of your sovereign might the LORD will extend from Zion. The LORD says: "Rule over your enemies!


3 Yours is princely power from the day of your birth. In holy splendor before the daystar, like the dew I begot you."


4 The LORD has sworn and will not waver: "Like Melchizedek you are a priest forever."


At your right hand is the Lord, who crushes kings on the day of wrath,


Who, robed in splendor, judges nations, crushes heads across the wide earth,


5 Who drinks from the brook by the wayside and thus holds high the head.



1 [Psalm 110] A royal psalm in which a court singer recites three oracles in which God assures the king that his enemies are conquered ( Psalm 110:1-2), makes the king "son" in traditional adoption language ( Psalm 110:3), gives priestly status to the king and promises to be with him in future military ventures ( Psalm 110:4-7).

2 [1] The LORD says to you, my lord: literally, "The LORD says to my lord," a polite form of address of an inferior to a superior. Cf 1 Sam 25:25; 2 Sam 1:10. The court singer refers to the king. Jesus in the synoptic gospels ( Matthew 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.

3 [3] Like the dew I begot you: an adoption formula as in Psalm 2:7; 89:27-28. Before the daystar: possibly an expression for before the world began ( Proverb 8:22).

4 [4] Like Melchizedek: Melchizedek was the ancient king of Salem (Jerusalem) who blessed Abraham ( Genesis 14:18-20); like other kings of the time he performed priestly functions. Hebrews 7 sees in Melchizedek a type of Christ.

5 [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 Kings 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.

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