Who Is David’s Lord? Another Look At Psalm 110:1 -- By: John Aloisi

Journal: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal
Volume: DBSJ 10:1 (Fall 2005)
Article: Who Is David’s Lord? Another Look At Psalm 110:1
Author: John Aloisi


Who Is David’s Lord?
Another Look At Psalm 110:1

John Aloisi1

Although just seven verses long, Psalm 110 is the psalm most frequently quoted and alluded to in the NT.2 Yet it is seemingly one of the most difficult to interpret. Scholars have proposed numerous hypotheses in an attempt to identify the psalm’s original setting.3 Some of these proposals have been little more than imaginative conjecture. Others have been reasonable attempts to reconstruct the psalm’s origin. Still there is no real consensus on the identity of the psalmist’s Lord, and therefore no consensus on the subject of the psalm.4

Recognizing that a precise Sitz im Leben may be out of reach, this essay will attempt to explain the meaning of Psalm 110:1 without

speculating about its exact historical setting. This will be done by exegeting the text, examining its literary context, and surveying the major interpretative possibilities. In order to properly understand the psalm, the identity of the person referred to as “my Lord” in verse one must be determined. Three main interpretations of David’s Lord will be examined. The Davidic interpretation sees “my Lord” as a reference to David himself. The Solomonic view identifies “my Lord” as David’s son Solomon. And the Messianic interpretation understands “my Lord” as referring to David’s ultimate son the Messiah. The NT’s use of Psalm 110:1 will also be considered as the essay argues for the interpretation which seems to have the fewest difficulties.

Text Of Psalm 110:1

The Lord says to my Lord:
“Sit at My right hand
until I make Your enemies
a footstool for Your feet.”5

The psalm’s superscription states that it is a לרור מזמור (“psalm of David”).6 Some scholars have questioned Davidic authorship of Psalm 110, but most evangelicals believe that David wrote this psalm.7 As Kidner points out,

Nowhere in the Psalter does so much hang on the familiar title A Psalm of David as it does here; nor is the authorship of any other psalm quite so emphatica...

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