David spoke of Jesus sitting at the right hand of God (Psalms 110:1)

Psalm 110:1,"The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right side, until I make thine enemies thy footstool."

I heard once a Christian scholar plead that this passage can only have reference to Jesus, who was the combination of divinity and humanity; for of whom else could David have spoken as "my Lord" sitting at the right hand of the Almighty?

Refutation.—To this I made the following reply: — We attribute to David the composition of the 137th Psalm, commencing, "On the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept," a Psalm obviously treating of the Babylonian captivity, which took place about four centuries after the death of David. An allusion to so distant a period could only have been made by holy and an inspired writer.


There are also many passages in the book of Psalms which relate to the poet himself, as, for instance, Psalm 2:7, "I will declare it as a law. The Lord spoke unto me, Thou art my son, today I have begotten thee." In the same light must be considered many other subsequent Psalms. There are Psalms of another character, the object of which is to describe the period of the Jewish exile; to this class belongs the above-mentioned Psalm 137. Of the like prophetic character is Psalm 79:1 commencing, "O God, the heathen have come into thine inheritance, they have defiled thy holy temple." In a similar sense we take Psalm 74:1, "Wherefore, O God, hast thou forever forsaken us?" All such Psalms were composed for the captives of Israel through inspiration. We find other Psalms which have a still more remote bearing, and take within their range the gathering of the captives, and the days of the Messiah. See, for instance Psalm 96:1, commencing, "Sing unto the Lord a new song," etc. This and other Psalms were dictated by holy inspiration, and originated most likely from some occurrence which urged the mind of the poet to enlarge upon the future restoration of Israel. Sometimes the cause of the production of such Psalms is recorded and pointed out by expressions more less definite. See, for instance, Psalm 20:2 [20:1], "The Lord shall answer thee on the day of trouble," in which David spoke first of his own sorrow, and then passed over to those awaiting the children of Israel while engaged in hazardous warfare. In the same category stands the Psalm, "God said unto my Lord (master), Sit thou at my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool." Firstly, David speaks concerning himself, perhaps taking occasion to treat on the subject when his men had sworn "that he should no longer go with them to battle," on account of the danger to which he had so repeatedly exposed his life in conflict with the Philistines. See 2 Samuel 21:17, "Then the men of David swore into him saying, Thou shall no longer go out with us to battle, that thou quench not the light of Israel." The Psalm in question seems to have emanated from the impression made on the poet, while his men were anxious to prevent him from exposing his life any more in battle, and speaking, as it were, in their name, he makes them utter an appeal to himself in the following words, "God saith to my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand until I make thy enemies thy footstool." Now, whether David was or was not the author of this appeal, we must allow that in any case this emphatic exhortation was well calculated to work a powerful effect on the mind of a man so pious as King David. Being thus assured of the protection of God, as confirmed by the words, "The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength from Zion," which is, that "He will send thee help from his sanctuary, He will support thee from Zion," as that holy city was the distinguished locality which "the Lord chose for his abode," the words which follow, "Thy people shall be willing on the day of thy power," mean, Thy subjects, O King, will freely offer their lives to spare thine, while thou keepest away from danger. The passage, "Thou art my priest for ever according to the word concerning Melchizedek," means, Thou shalt, during all thy life, be unto me like Melchizedek, king of Jerusalem, who was denominated king and priest of the most high God. See Genesis 14:18, "And Melchizedek, king of Salem, caused bread and wine to be brought out, and he was a priest of the most high God." That David's sacred compositions rendered him worthy to be adorned with a title of priest appears evident enough from Scripture, as is exemplified in the second book of Samuel, where we read that David built an alter, offered up burnt offerings and peace offerings, which, accompanied by prayer and entreaty, "were accepted by the Lord, and the plague was stayed in Israel." The words עַל דִּבְרָתִי in the passage in the Psalm in question, mean "according to." We find עַל in the same sense in Job 10:7, "according to thy knowledge." The letter י in דִּבְרָתִי is paragogic as the י in רַבָּתִי (Lamentations 1:1). We must mention here, by way of digression, a misinterpretation given to the passage, "And Melchizedek brought out wine and bread." The Christians believe that the bread and wine were offered as articles of sacrifice, but plain sense compels us to believe that the presentation of these things was merely for the entertainment of his guests. The 10th part given by Abraham to Melchizedek qualify the latter to be denominated priest of the most high God. Hence we see that the Psalmist meant none but himself, in the composition we have been treating of, while, on the other hand, he alluded to the future condition of the dispersed people, when in his inspiration he proclaimed (Psalm 96:1), "Sing ye unto the Lord a new song, let the whole Earth sing unto the Lord." Thus he says also in the subsequent Psalm, [Psalm 97:1] "The Lord reigneth; let the earth be glad, many isles shall rejoice." Those songs, as we said above, allude to the still unfulfilled ingathering of Israel. It appears to be a most unjustifiable assertion of the Christian expounder of the Psalms to maintain that the phrase, "To sit at the right hand of God," applies to an actual son of God, for the bible contains numerous proofs that the metaphor, "the right hand of God," solely signifies "Omnipotence of the Deity." What other interpretation could be assigned to the following sentences (from Psalm 118:16), "The right hand of the Lord is exalted, the right hand of the Lord worketh mighty things." Exodus 15:6, "Thy right hand, O Lord, is glorified in strength; thy right hand, O Lord, crusheth the enemy." Even when speaking of man, "the right hand" implies strength and exertion. See for instance Psalm 144:8, "And their hand is the right hand of falsehood." To take the word in a narrow and literal sense, must involve the expounder in the glaring fallacy of applying corporeality to one who he believes to be the Son of God. To a Jew, it would almost appear blasphemy literally to ascribe a right or a left hand to the Deity, a spiritual being to whom no attribute of corporeality can be absolutely ascribed. When the believer is urged to place himself on the right hand of the Lord, he can only understand that it is his duty to seek the protection of the Omnipotent. The more we read of Scripture, the more proofs we find that many parts of the bible have been misinterpreted in order to favor a certain religious dogma. The Psalm we are treating of has the expression, "The Lord hath sworn, he will not repent," which phrase has been considered as alluding to a new dispensation by which the sacrifices of flesh and blood should cease, and be substituted by oblations of bread and wine. But it has not been born in mind that the Deity never changes his views. "He is not a man that he should repent." Ordinances once given must be binding upon us, and upon all succeeding generations. We have already disposed of this subject in chapter 19 to which we refer the reader.

Note: chapter and verse numbers in brackets [] are the numbers used in the English bible.

 
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