Acts 4:25

25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David: “ ‘Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?

Read Acts 4:25 Using Other Translations

Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, "'Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?
you spoke long ago by the Holy Spirit through our ancestor David, your servant, saying, ‘Why were the nations so angry? Why did they waste their time with futile plans?

What does Acts 4:25 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Acts 4:25

Who by the mouth of thy servant David has said
In ( Psalms 2:1 Psalms 2:2 ) from whence we learn, that that psalm, though it is without a title, and does not bear David's name, yet is one of his and so Kimchi says, that David composed it at the beginning of his reign; though Aben Ezra thinks, that it was composed by one of the singers for him, on the day he was anointed; yet he afterwards seems to doubt of it, and on ( Psalms 2:7 ) says, they are the words of David, or the words of the singer. And certain it is, that in the apostles' time this psalm was reckoned to be David's by the Jews in common; and therefore they speak of it as such: and it was the sense of the ancient doctors of the synagogue, that this psalm is to be understood of the Messiah. Jarchi says, our Rabbins expound the business (of this psalm) concerning the King Messiah; and Kimchi observes, that there are some that interpret this psalm of Gog and Magog F11, and the Messiah, or anointed, that is the King Messiah; though one of these writers was of opinion, that it is best to understand it of David himself; and Aben Ezra says, that it was composed either for David, or for the Messiah, and to understand it of the Messiah, the thing is more clear. The verses ( Psalms 2:7 Psalms 2:8 ) are particularly applied to the Messiah in some of their most ancient writings F12, and also in modern ones F13, as is ( Psalms 2:2 ) to Messiah ben Joseph F14: and indeed the whole psalm belongs to the Messiah, as appears from the express mention of him, and the vain attempts of the kings of the earth against him; from the decree and resolution of God to make and declare him king of Zion, notwithstanding their utmost efforts; from his having the Gentiles for his inheritance, which is true of no other; and especially from that reverence, adoration, and worship, which were to be given to him, and that trust and confidence to be placed in him, which can by no means agree with David, nor with any mere creature. The Syriac version reads, "who in the Holy Ghost, by the mouth" and so read Beza's most ancient copy, and five other manuscripts of his; and the Vulgate Latin, and Ethiopic versions, read, "who in the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of our father David" and the Alexandrian copy, but does not seem to be a genuine reading; since the Jews were not used to call David, but Abraham, their father; nor is it, with propriety, expressed, that God the Father said in, or by the Spirit, what follows, why did the Heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things?
that is, the Gentiles, and the people of the Jews, Pilate, and his council, with the Roman soldiers, and the Jewish sanhedrim, with the common people; who raged against Christ, seized him in a furious manner, led him as a malefactor, and hurried him from bar to bar, in a tumultuous way, and with great noise and clamour urged the crucifixion of him; nor did their rage cease until they had put him to death: yet it was a vain thing in them to imagine he should be held under the power of death; or that this would put a stop to the spread of his doctrine, and the enlargement of his kingdom and interest; since he rose from the dead, as a triumphant conqueror, over all his enemies, and pouring forth his Spirit, in an extraordinary way, he spread his Gospel, and his glory throughout the earth.


FOOTNOTES:

F11 Vid. T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol 3. 2.
F12 Zohar in Numb. fol. 82. 2. Bereshit Rabba, sect. 44. fol. 38. 4. & T. Bab. Succa, fol. 52. 1.
F13 Maimon. in Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 1. Abarbinel Mashmiah, Jeshua, fol. 37. 4. & 38. 1.
F14 Pirke Eliezer, c. 19.
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