Acts 13:33

33 1this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, 2"'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'

Acts 13:33 Meaning and Commentary

Acts 13:33

God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children
The natural descendants of them, as Paul and Barnabas, and the Jews in the synagogue, were:

in that he hath raised up Jesus again;
which may not be understood of his resurrection from the dead, since the promise made, and now fulfilled, has not a single respect to that; but of his being raised up, and sent forth into the world, to be a Saviour and Redeemer, and to sit upon the throne of David, as in ( Acts 2:30 ) ( 3:26 ) ( 13:23 ) of which raising of him up to regal dignity, mention is made in ( Psalms 2:1-12 ) , ( Psalms 6:1-7:17 ) which is produced as a testimony of it; and the rather this seems to be the sense, since the article of the resurrection of the dead is spoken of in the next verse, as distinct from this; and other passages of Scripture are produced, as speaking of it; though admitting that Christ's resurrection from the dead is here intended, as the Alexandrian copy reads, what follows is very applicable to it, without any detriment to the doctrine of Christ's eternal generation and sonship, as will be hereafter made to appear:

as it is written in the second psalm:
Beza's most ancient copy, and other very ancient copies, read, "in the first psalm"; for the first and second psalms seem to have been reckoned by the ancient Jews but one psalm, or one section; for so they say F4

``"blessed is the man" and "why do the Heathen rage", &c. (ayh hvrp adx) , are one "parasha", or section: and they further observe F5, that ``every section that was dear to David, he began it with "blessed", and ended it with "blessed"; he began with "blessed", as it is written, ( Psalms 1:1 ) "blessed is the man" and he ended it with "blessed", as it is written, ( Psalms 2:12 ) "blessed are all they that put their "trust in him":'' though it is elsewhere said F6, "blessed is the man" (( Psalms 1:1-6 ) ) "and why do the heathen rage" (( Psalms 2:1-12 ) ) are two sections; and "to the chief musician on Muth Labben", (( Psalms 9:1-20 ) ) and "why standest thou afar off" (( Psalms 10:1-18 ) ) are two sections.''

And Kimchi calls F7 this psalm, as the generality of copies here do, saying,

``this psalm is (ynvh rwmzmh) , "the second psalm."''

And that this psalm belongs to the Messiah, is evident from the mention made of him in ( Psalms 2:2 ) from the mad counsel, and vain attempts of the kings of the earth against him, ( Psalms 2:1-3 ) . God's decree and resolution to make and declare him King of Zion, notwithstanding all their efforts upon him, ( Psalms 2:4-6 ) from his asking and having the Gentiles, and uttermost parts of the earth for his inheritance, which is true of no other, ( Psalms 2:8 Psalms 2:9 ) and especially from that reverence, worship, and adoration, which are to be given to him, and that trust and confidence to be placed in him, ( Psalms 2:10-12 ) which can by no means agree with David, nor with any mere creature whatever; and as for ( Psalms 2:7 ) which is here cited, what is said in that is inapplicable even to angels, ( Hebrews 1:5 ) and much more to David, or any mere man. The whole psalm was, by the ancient Jews, interpreted of the Messiah, as is confessed by some of their later doctors. R. David Kimchi says F8,

``there are that interpret it of Gog and Magog, and the Messiah, he is the King Messiah; and so the Rabbins of blessed memory interpret it.''

And Jarchi confesses the same, and is somewhat more open in giving his reason for interpreting it otherwise.

``Our Rabbins (says he) expound this affair concerning the King Messiah; but according to its literal sense, and for an answer to the heretics (or Christians), it is right to explain it concerning David himself.''

he clause, "and for an answer to the heretics", is left out in later editions, but was in the more ancient ones; it being so open and barefaced, that the Jews did not choose to let it stand. Aben Ezra is in a doubt whether to interpret the psalm of David, or of the Messiah; though he thinks the former is best; and particularly this seventh verse is, by several of their ancient writers, applied to the Messiah; in one of their writings, esteemed very ancient, are these words F9;

``from thence shall come forth, in that day, the Messiah of David; and this is the mystery of, "I will declare the decree, the Lord said unto me, thou art my Son"''

And this is the sense of R. Ame F11, a famous ancient doctor of theirs: upon mention of those words in ( Jeremiah 31:22 ) "the Lord hath created a new thing"

``says R. Hone, in the name of R. Ame, this is the King Messiah, as it is said, ( Psalms 2:7 ) "this day have I begotten thee".''

And in like manner in the Talmud F12, it is understood of the Messiah, where are these expressions;

``the Rabbins teach, that Messiah, the son of David, who shall be revealed in haste in our days, the holy blessed God said unto him, ask anything of me, and I will give it thee, as it is said, ( Psalms 2:7 ) "I will declare the decree, &c. this day have I begotten thee".''

And that this was the sense of the Jews in the times of the apostle, need not be doubted, since the apostle cites these words before a Jewish assembly, in one of their synagogues, and applies them to the Messiah, without any hesitation, or any further reasoning upon it, as being a thing generally agreed on, and out of doubt; wherefore the Jew F13 has no reason to charge the apostle with an error in citing a passage in this psalm, and applying it to Christ, since their ancient doctors have allowed, that it belongs to him, and even the very passage which the apostle produces; which passage Maimonides F14 himself applies to the Messiah. This objector would have it, that David spoke the whole psalm by the Holy Spirit concerning himself, and that he calls himself the Lord's anointed; and that being anointed by the will of the Lord, what was against his kingdom, was against the Lord himself; and that he is called the Son of God, because he attended to the worship of God; and that the begetting of him refers to the time of his unction by Samuel; and that it can by no means agree with Jesus of Nazareth, who never ruled in any place, but others ruled over him, when they condemned him to death as the meanest of the people; and who himself says, that he came not to be ministered unto, ( Matthew 20:28 ) especially he thinks those words, "ask of me, and I will give the Heathen" greatly militate against the application of the psalm to Jesus; for if he is God, what need has he to ask of another? But since the Jewish doctors themselves have applied this psalm to the Messiah, the apostle ought not to be blamed for making such an application; and there are many things which cannot be applied to David himself; for whatever may be said of his anointing, begetting, and sonship, the uttermost parts of the earth were never given for his possession; and much less can he be the son the kings of the earth are called upon to kiss and worship, or he be the object of trust and confidence; and though Jesus in the days of his humiliation was not ministered unto, but ministered to others, and ruled not over others, but submitted to the death of the cross; he has since been made and declared Lord of all, and his kingdom has taken place in the nations of the world, and ere long all the kingdoms of it will become his; and though he is God, it is no ways inconsistent with him, as man and Mediator, to ask anything of his Father, and especially what has been agreed between them shall be given: the words cited by the apostle are, "thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee"; in Beza's ancient copy, the verse following these words is added, "ask of me" The words are to be understood of the eternal filiation of Christ, and are produced, to set forth the greatness and dignity of his person; whom God had raised and sent forth in human nature, to be the Saviour and Redeemer of his people: though should they be applied to the resurrection of Christ from the dead, it will no ways prejudice the doctrine of Christ's proper and natural sonship, as being the only begotten of the Father; since the resurrection of Christ is not the cause of his sonship, or the reason why he is called the Son of God, but a manifestation of it; Christ was the Son of God, before his resurrection from the dead; he was declared to be so by a voice from heaven, was believed on by his disciples as such, and confessed by others, both men and devils: besides, if his resurrection was the cause of his sonship, he must beget himself, which is absurd, for he was himself concerned in his resurrection from the dead; more over, his sonship would not be proper, but figurative and metaphorical, whereas he is God's own, or proper son; besides, on this account he could not be called God's only begotten Son, because there are others that have been, and millions that will be raised from the dead besides him: but the reason why these words are applied to the resurrection of Christ, allowing them to be so, is not because he was then begotten as the Son of God, but because he was then manifested to be the eternally begotten Son of God; things are said to be, when they are only manifested to be; so Christ is said to be that day begotten, because he was "declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead", ( Romans 1:4 ) Hence these words are applicable to any time or thing wherein Christ is manifested to be the only begotten Son of God, and accordingly are applied to different times and things; see ( Hebrews 1:3-5 ) ( 5:5 ) .


F4 T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 9. 2.
F5 Ib. fol. 10. 1.
F6 Piske Tosephot in T. Bab. Megilla, art. 34.
F7 In Psal. ii. 1.
F8 In Psal. ii. 12. Vid. T. Bab. Avoda Zara, fol. 3. 2.
F9 Zohar in Numb. fol. 82. 2.
F11 In Abarbinel. Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 37. 2.
F12 T. Bab. Succa, fol. 52. 1.
F13 R. Isaac, Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 68. p. 454
F14 In Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 11. sect. 1.

Acts 13:33 In-Context

31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.
32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers,
33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, "'You are my Son, today I have begotten you.'
34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, "'I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.'
35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, "'You will not let your Holy One see corruption.'

Cross References 2

  • 1. [ver. 23; Luke 1:69-73]
  • 2. Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 5:5; Cited from Psalms 2:7
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.