God Appoints the King both King and Priest
1A psalm of David.
The LORD says to my lord:*
“Sit at my right hand,
while I make your enemies your footstool.”*a
2The scepter of your might:
the LORD extends your strong scepter from Zion.
Have dominion over your enemies!
3Yours is princely power from the day of your birth.
In holy splendor before the daystar,
like dew I begot you.b
4The LORD has sworn and will not waver:
“You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek.”*c
5At your right hand is the Lord,
who crushes kings on the day of his wrath,d
6Who judges nations, heaps up corpses,
crushes heads across the wide earth,
7*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. Heb 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.
a. [110:1] Mt 22:44; Acts 2:34–35; 1 Cor 15:25; Heb 1:13; 8:1; 10:12–13; 1 Pt 3:22.
b. [110:3] Ps 2:7; 89:27; Is 49:1.
c. [110:4] Ps 89:35; 132:11; Gn 14:18; Heb 5:6; 7:21.
d. [110:5] Ps 2:9; Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15.