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The Messiah Pages
The Son of God

THE HEBREW SCRIPTURES

I will declare the decree: The LORD has said to Me, "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel."

Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son*, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. (Psalm 2:7-12)

THE RABBINIC WRITINGS

Our rabbis have taught that this concerns the Messiah-King... (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhaki)

If it [Psalm 2] be interpreted of the Messiah, the matter is clear. (Aben Ezra)

Our Rabbis taught, The Holy One, blessed be He, will say to the Messiah, the son of David (May he reveal himself speedily in our days!), "Ask of me anything, and I will give it to thee", as it is said, I will tell of the decree etc. this day have I begotten thee, ask of me and I will give the nations for thy inheritance. (Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 52a)

THE NEW TESTAMENT

When He had been baptised, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matthew 3:16-17)

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!" (Matthew 17:1-5)

Paul, a bondservant of Jesus the Messiah, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus the Messiah our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. (Romans 1:1-4)

 

Technical note on the translation "kiss the Son"

Some scholars dispute the translation “kiss the Son”. They claim that this in an unwarranted rendering of the Hebrew phrase nashqu bar, translated by Christians in order to apply the passage to Jesus. The Tanakh – The Holy Scriptures: The new JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text, translates nashqu bar as “pay homage in good faith” but acknowledges in a footnote that the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain. Why, then is “kiss the Son” (a reference to the “Son of God” mentioned in verse 7) a more preferable reading?

When a Jewish boy reaches the age of 13 he become bar mitzvah, a son of the commandment. However, ben is the usual Hebrew word for “son”, whereas bar is Aramaic. Nevertheless, there are several places in the Hebrew Scriptures which have bar for “son”, where any other reading would not make sense. Most are in Ezra and Daniel, for example:

Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of [bar] Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. So Zerubbabel the son of [bar] Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of [bar] Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them. (Ezra 5:1,2)

So the elders of the Jews built, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of [bar] Iddo. And they built and finished it , according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the command of Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia. (Ezra 6:14)

However, Ezra also uses the Hebrew ben, just as Psalm 2:

cf.: And whatever they need--young bulls, rams, and lambs for the burnt offerings of the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, and oil, according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem--let it be given them day by day without fail, that they may offer sacrifices of sweet aroma to the God of heaven, and pray for the life of the king and his sons [benim]. (Ezra 6:9,10)

Whatever is commanded by the God of heaven, let it diligently be done for the house of the God of heaven. For why should there be wrath against the realm of the king and his sons [benim]? (Ezra 7:23)

It might be argued that the Ezra and Daniel references, being exilic and post-exilic, might employ the Aramaic bar. But the word is used twice in Proverbs, a much earlier work:

My son [bar], pay attention to my wisdom; lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge. (Proverbs 7:1,2)

The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. What, my son [bar]? and what, the son [bar] of my womb? and what, the son [bar] of my vows? (31:1,2)

Proverbs is definitely pre-exilic, as is Psalm 2. As Ezra and Solomon both employ ben and bar, so may David in Psalm 2. “Kiss the Son” is the best rendering of nashqu bar in Psalm 2. Aramaisms were in use in Israel long before the exile and, because the psalm is poetry, to use ben in verse 12 would make the verse very clumsy. Nashqu bar preserves the poetic beauty of the psalm.

Because Psalm 2 is a poem, the translation “kiss the Son” retains the parallel structure (essential to Hebrew poetry), which would be broken by any other translation:

“The LORD and his Messiah…” (verse 2)

“The LORD has said … you are my Son.” (verse 7)

“Serve the LORD…(verse 11) Kiss the Son.” (verse 12)

The context makes sense of the rendering “kiss the Son”. In the first three verses of the psalm the nations and their kings, as well as the rulers of Israel plot against the Lord and his Messiah, whom God refers to as “my Son” (verse 7). In verse 10 God commands the rulers to be wise, to accept his discipline, to cease rebelling and to serve the Lord. Not only that, he commands them to “kiss the Son”, the Messiah they have previously rejected.  

By reading the psalm in this way, it not only makes more sense of the passage but also makes God’s way of salvation plain to us all, Jew and gentile alike.


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