Psalm 110

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Psalm 110
"The LORD said unto my Lord"
Royal psalm
Book of Hours, Use of Carmel, f.66v (157 x 110 mm), ca.1511, Alexander Turnbull Library, MSR-11 (5530631509).jpg
Introduction to Vespers and beginning of the psalm, "Dixit Dominus", in a Book of Hours
Other name
  • Psalm 109
  • "Dixit Dominus"
LanguageHebrew (original)

Psalm 110 is the 110th psalm of the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse, in the King James Version, "The LORD said unto my Lord". In the Greek Septuagint version of the bible, and in its Latin translation Vulgate, this psalm is Psalm 109 in a slightly different numbering system. In Latin, it is known as "Dixit Dominus".[1] It is considered both a royal psalm[2] and a messianic psalm.[3] This psalm is a cornerstone in Christian theology, as it is cited as proof of the plurality of the Godhead and Jesus' supremacy as king, priest, and Messiah. For this reason, Psalm 110 is "the most frequently quoted or referenced psalm in the New Testament".[3] Classical Jewish sources, in contrast, state that the subject of the psalm is either Abraham, David, or the Jewish Messiah.

The psalm is a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant liturgies. Because this psalm is prominent in the Office of Vespers, its Latin text has particular significance in music. Well-known vespers settings are Monteverdi's Vespro della Beata Vergine (1610), and Mozart's Vesperae solennes de confessore (1780). Handel composed Dixit Dominus in 1707, and Vivaldi set the psalm in Latin three times.

Background[edit]

The psalm is usually dated in its first part in the pre-exilic period of Israel, sometimes even completely in the oldest monarchy.[4]

Interpretation[edit]

Judaism[edit]

The Talmud (Nedarim 32a) and Midrash Tehillim state that this psalm speaks about Abraham, who was victorious in battle to save his brother-in-law Lot and merited priesthood.[5][6] According to Avot of Rabbi Natan (34:6) the psalm is speaking of the Jewish Messiah in the context of the Four Craftsmen in Zechariah's vision.[7] Rashi, Gershonides, and Rabbi David Kimhi identify the subject of the psalm as David.[8]

Christianity[edit]

According to Henry, this psalm is "pure gospel" and specifically refers to Jesus as the Messiah.[9] Spurgeon concurs that while David composed the psalm, the psalm is solely about Jesus.[10]

Adonai[edit]

The difference in interpretation between Jewish and Christian sources pivots on the translation of the Hebrew word אדני (Adonai) in verse 1. This is usually translated as "my master" or "my lord", thus rendering the verse as "The Lord spoke to my master". While Adonai is one of the names of God, thoughout the Tanakh it refers to a human "master" or "lord".[11] Since David wrote this psalm in the third person, to be sung by the Levites in the Temple in Jerusalem, the Levites would be saying that "the Lord spoke to my master"—i.e. to David. .[11]

However, the King James Version and many subsequent Christian translations[a] capitalize the second word "Lord", intending that it refers to Jesus.[15] As the LORD is speaking to another Lord, Henry postulates that "two distinct divine Persons…are involved"—namely, God and Jesus.[9] Henry further claims that in this psalm, David is acknowledging Christ's sovereignty and his (David's) subservience to him.[9] Jesus himself quoted this verse during his trial before the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:64), referring to himself, and Acts 2:34-36 states that this verse was fulfilled in the ascension and exaltation of Christ.[16]

The Priest-King[edit]

The altar of the Dominican church at Friesach, Austria, showing Abraham meeting Melchizedek

A second point on which Jewish and Christian interpretations differ is the language in verse 4, which describes a person who combines the offices of kingship and priesthood, as exemplified by the non-Jewish king Melchizedek. Ostensibly, this could not apply to King David, who was not a kohen (priest). However, Rashi explains here that the term kohen occasionally refers to a ministerial role, as in (II Sam. 8:18), "and David's sons were kohanim (ministers of state)".[11] Gershonides and Rabbi David Kimhi further state that the term kohen could be applied to a "chief ruler".[8] Thus, the prophetic promise, "You will be a priest forever", can be translated as "You will be a head and prince of Israel", referring to David.[8]

Spurgeon rejects this interpretation, stating that in ancient Israel, no one held the offices of king and priest simultaneously. However, that title can be given to Jesus, "the apostle and high priest of our profession".[10] The psalm is used in the Epistle to the Hebrews to justify the award of the title "High Priest" to Jesus from Scripture.[17] Henry notes: "Melchizedek was 'a priest upon his throne' (Zech. 6:13), so is Christ, king of righteousness and king of peace. Melchizedek had no successor, nor has Christ; his is an unchangeable priesthood".[9]

Text[edit]

Hebrew Bible version[edit]

Following is the Hebrew text and an English translation of Psalm 110:[18]

Verse Hebrew English
1 לְדָוִ֗ד מִ֫זְמ֥וֹר נְאֻ֚ם יְהֹוָ֨ה | לַֽאדֹנִ֗י שֵׁ֥ב לִֽימִינִ֑י עַד־אָשִׁ֥ית אֹֽ֜יְבֶ֗יךָ הֲדֹ֣ם לְרַגְלֶֽיךָ Of David a psalm. The word of the Lord to my master; "Wait for My right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool at your feet."
2 מַטֵּ֚ה עֻזְּךָ֗ יִשְׁלַ֣ח יְ֖הֹוָה מִצִיּ֑וֹן רְ֜דֵ֗ה בְּקֶ֣רֶב אֹֽיְבֶֽיךָ The staff of your might the Lord will send from Zion; rule in the midst of your enemies.
3 עַמְּךָ֥ נְדָבֹת֘ בְּי֪וֹם חֵ֫ילֶ֥ךָ בְּהַדְרֵי־קֹ֖דֶשׁ מֵרֶ֣חֶם מִשְׁחָ֑ר לְ֜ךָ֗ טַ֣ל יַלְדֻתֶֽךָ Your people will volunteer on the day of your host, because of the beauty of holiness when you fell from the womb; for you, your youth is like dew.
4 שְׁבַּ֚ע יְהֹוָ֨ה | וְלֹ֥֬א יִנָּחֵ֗ם אַתָּה־כֹהֵ֥ן לְעוֹלָ֑ם עַל־דִּ֜בְרָתִ֗י מַלְכִּי־צֶֽדֶק The Lord swore and will not repent; you are a priest forever because of the speech of Malchizedek.
5 אֲדֹנָ֥י עַל־יְמִֽינְךָ֑ מָחַ֖ץ בְּיוֹם־אַפּ֣וֹ מְלָכִֽים The Lord, on your right hand, has crushed kings on the day of His wrath.
6 יָדִ֣ין בַּ֖גּוֹיִם מָלֵ֣א גְוִיּ֑וֹת מָ֥חַץ רֹ֜֗אשׁ עַל־אֶ֥רֶץ רַבָּֽה He will execute justice upon the nations [into] a heap of corpses; He crushed the head on a great land.
7 מִנַּחַל בַּדֶּ֣רֶךְ יִשְׁתֶּ֑ה עַל־כֵּ֜֗ן יָרִ֥ים רֹֽאשׁ From the stream on the way he would drink; therefore, he raised his head.

King James Version[edit]

  1. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.
  2. The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
  3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
  4. The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
  5. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
  6. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
  7. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

Uses[edit]

Judaism[edit]

Verses 6-7 are the final two verses of Av HaRachamim, said during the Shabbat and Yom Tov morning service.[19][20]

Psalm 110 is recited on Shabbat Lech-Lecha in the Siddur Avodas Yisroel.[19]

This psalm is recited as a prayer of protection to achieve peace with enemies.[21]

Protestantism[edit]

Dixit Dominus, based on the psalm, is a Handel work of 1707, and his earliest surviving autograph.

Oliver Cromwell reportedly had his army sing this psalm before going out to battle against Scotland; it was his "favorite fighting song". This led to Psalm 110 becoming known as "the cursing psalm".[22]

Catholicism[edit]

In the rule of St Benedict set to 530, St. Benedict of Nursia designated psalms 109 to 147 to the Vespers, except those reserved for other hours. Therefore, from the early Middle Ages, Psalm 110 (109 in the septuagint numbering) was traditionally performed at the beginning of the solemn service of Vespers on Sunday.[23]

Even today, in the Ordinary form of the Roman rite, Psalm 110 is recited at Vespers every Sunday and read at the Mass for the feast of the Blessed Sacrament.[24] In the Extraordinary form, it is recited at Vespers every Sunday and during major holidays.

The psalm in Latin, Dixit Dominus, is used in Vespers such as Monteverdi's Marian Vespers.

Musical settings[edit]

Francesco Durante - Dixit Dominus

Because this Psalm is prominent in the Office of Vespers, its Latin text, "Dixit Dominus", has particular significance in music. It was set by Tomás Luis de Victoria in 1581, among many other 16th century composers. Claudio Monteverdi composed a choral setting in his Vespro della Beata Vergine in 1610 and again in his Selva morale e spirituale in 1640. Marc-Antoine Charpentier set Dixit Dominus in 1689, and Alessandro Scarlatti in 1700. George Frideric Handel wrote Dixit Dominus in 1707, Nicola Porpora set the psalm in 1720, and Antonio Vivaldi wrote three settings. Giovanni Battista Pergolesi set the psalm in 1732, and Leonardo Leo in both 1741 and 1742. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart set the psalm for choir and orchestra in his vespers, Vesperae solennes de Dominica (1779) and Vesperae solennes de confessore (1780). Michel Richard Delalande and Michael Haydn composed setting in the 18th century.

Heinrich Schütz set the psalm in German twice, "Der Herr sprach zu meinem Herren", in 1619 as the first movement of his Psalmen Davids for voices and instruments (SVW 22), and for choir as part of his setting of the Becker Psalter (SWV 208). In 1959, Richard Rodgers composed a partial setting of the psalm for the opening sequence of his musical The Sound of Music, using verses 1, 5, and 7.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Notable exceptions are the New Revised Standard Edition ("The Lord said to my lord"),[12] the New American Bible Revised Edition ("The LORD says to my lord")[13] and the Common English Bible ("What the Lord says to my master".)[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 109 (110) Archived 2017-09-30 at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Hayward 2010, p. 379.
  3. ^ a b Davis, Barry C. (April–June 2000). "Is Psalm 110 a Messianic Psalm?" (PDF). Bibliotheca Sacra. 157: 160–73. (footnote 1)
  4. ^ Hans-Joachim Kraus: Psalmen. 2. Teilband Psalmen 50-150.
  5. ^ Hayward 2010, p. 380.
  6. ^ "Midrash Tehillim / Psalms 110" (PDF). matsati.com. October 2012. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  7. ^ Boustan 2005, p. 138.
  8. ^ a b c Lindo 1842, p. 154.
  9. ^ a b c d Henry, Matthew (2018). "Psalms 110". Bible Study Tools. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Spurgeon, Charles (2018). "Psalm 110 Bible Commentary". Christianity.com. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  11. ^ a b c Kravitz, Bentzion (2005). "Psalm 110 – A Jewish Perspective". Jews for Judaism. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  12. ^ "Psalm 110 –New Revised Standard Version (RSV)". Bible Gateway. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  13. ^ "Psalms, Chapter 110". United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  14. ^ "Psalm 110 – Common English Bible (CEB)". Bible Gateway. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  15. ^ Mariottini, Dr. Claude (August 20, 2012). "Adonai". claudemariottini.com. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  16. ^ Stout 2014, p. 29.
  17. ^ Angela Rascher, Schriftauslegung und Christologie im Hebräerbrief, S. 118f.
  18. ^ "Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 110". Chabad.org. 2018. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  19. ^ a b Brauner, Reuven (2013). "Shimush Pesukim: Comprehensive Index to Liturgical and Ceremonial Uses of Biblical Verses and Passages" (PDF) (2nd ed.). p. 46.
  20. ^ Scherman 2003, p. 457.
  21. ^ "Protection". Daily Tehillim. Retrieved October 9, 2018.
  22. ^ Smith 1814, pp. 291–2.
  23. ^ Règle de saint Benoît, traduction de Prosper Guéranger, p. 47, Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, réimpression 2007.
  24. ^ Le cycle de lecture des messes du dimanche de déroule sur trois ans.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]