It happened again — I intended to write a post about one thing and got sidetracked by a different verse. This time, it was Psalm 2 out of The Holy Bible in its Original Order.
Why do the nations rage, and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against His Christ, saying, “Let us break Their bands asunder and cast away Their cords from us.” (Psalm 2:1-3)
The word translated “Christ” in this version is typically translated “anointed” (compare texts from the NKJV, NIV, and ESV). This is from the Hebrew word masiyach (H4899), which we typically Anglicize as Messiah. As pointed out in John 1:41, Messiah is, “being interpreted, the Christ.”
Looking at the use of this word in the Old Testament, it is translated several ways. The first time it appears, it is referring to “the priest that is anointed” (Lev. 4:3, 5, 16; 6:22). Since it usually refers to a consecrated person, it can also be used of kings (1 Sam. 24:6; 2 Sam. 23:1) or God’s people (1 Chron. 16:22; Psa. 28:8).* Warren Baker and Eugene Carpenter say in their dictionary that the concept of “Messiah, as a Savior is not fully developed in the Old Testament. .. this concept is developed later, during the New Testament period and fits better with the parallel Greek word christos.”
Daniel’s prophecy is the only place where masiyach is translated Messiah in the KJV.
Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:25-26)
Though masiyach is only translated as Messiah once, its usage in the OT may not be as disconnected from the NT as Baker and Carpenter seem to think. Take 1 Samuel 2 for instance. Hannah’s prayer of thanks after Samuel’s birth ends with a prophecy:
The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall He thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and He shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of His anointed.(1 Samuel 1:10)
This seems to me like it could be a prophecy of Jesus Christ coming, and I’m not the first to think along these lines. Writing in the early 18th century, Matthew Henry said,
We have reason to think that this prophecy looks further, to the kingdom of Christ, and the administration of that kingdom of grace, of which she now comes to speak, having spoken so largely of the kingdom of providence. And here is the first time that we meet with the name Messiah, or his Anointed. The ancient expositors, both Jewish and Christian, make it to look beyond David, to the Son of David. Glorious things are here spoken of the kingdom of the Mediator, both before and since his incarnation; for the method of the administration of it, both by the eternal Word and by that Word made flesh, is much the same.
Though Henry does not not draw the same conclusions about the following verses, I would like to bring them up as well. When the Lord rejects Eli’s sons from being priests because of their sins (1 Sam. 2:22-36), He says,
I will raise Me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in Mine heart and in My mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before Mine anointed for ever. (1 Samuel 2:35)
Neither The Holy Bible in its Original Order nor the NKJV capitalize “anointed” in this verse, but I could easily see this as referencing two God-beings. It is a similar situation in chapter 12, when Eli addresses the people after anointing a king over them.
Behold, here I am: witness against me before the LORD, and before His anointed: whose ox have I taken? or whose ass have I taken? or whom have I defrauded? whom have I oppressed? or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? and I will restore it you.
And they said, Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand. And he said unto them, The LORD is witness against you, and his anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand. And they answered, He is witness. (1 Samuel 12:3-5).
I would love to hear my readers’ thoughts on these verses. Could they be references to the Lord’s Anointed? or am I reading too much into this?
*according to Strong’s Dictionary and The Complete WordStudy Dictionary: Old Testament. See “About” for complete citations.