King David was a prolific poet and songwriter, and some of his work has been passed down to us through the psalms. Many of these have no event recorded with them, so at the end of David’s life, we have a large group of ‘unallocated’ psalms.
Psalm 110 is was quoted by Jesus to confound the Pharisees (Matt. 22:41-45); to make it clear that Jesus could be the messiah and the son of David.
But it’s more than that.
It’s a prophetic psalm, showing the glory of the resurrection Jesus:
Psalm 110 The Lord says to my lord:
‘Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies
a footstool for your feet.’
Contrast this to the request of two disciples, who wanted Jesus to let them sit on each side in heaven (Mark 10:35-37). (Jesus said ‘no’.)
The Psalm continues and describes the eventual rule of Jesus, and His ‘troops’, all dressed in ‘holy splendour’, like Aaron and the priests (Exod. 28:4; Lev. 16:4), and the saints when they accompany Jesus on his return to earth (Rev. 19:14).
2 The Lord will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying,
‘Rule in the midst of your enemies!’
Your troops will be willing
on your day of battle.
Arrayed in holy splendor,
your young men will come to you
like dew from the morning’s womb.
Jesus’ role as not just as a ruler sitting at the right hand of God, but also as a high priest, is described here too:
4 The Lord has sworn
and will not change his mind:
‘You are a priest forever,
in the order of Melchizedek.’
And Paul explained this further in his letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 5:1-10).
And, finally, as a conquering king:
5 The Lord is at your right hand;
he will crush kings on the day of his wrath.
He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead
and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.
7 He will drink from a brook along the way,
and so he will lift his head high.
But what is that stream He drinks from along the way? No one really knows for sure. It’s been suggested that it’s the suffering Jesus endured; it was much more than just a cup’s worth.
This last verse, then, summarises Jesus’ humiliation, both by being born human and through his death, and later His being glorified.