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In Case You Missed It -- Deuteronomy 23, Psalm 110

We could address one of the many interesting laws found in Deuteronomy 23—especially the law prohibiting charging interest on loans to fellow Israelites—but Psalm 110 is too important to pass up. To understand Jesus’ self-perception and revelation about His identity, we need familiarity with this psalm; in the New Testament, Jesus and His early followers refer to Psalm 110 more often than any other. This psalm of David begins with a cryptic statement, “My Lord (YHWH) said to my lord (adonai), ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies my footstool’” (v. 1). Prior to Jesus, Jewish interpreters of this passage believed that YHWH is speaking to David’s heir, the messiah. Jesus concurs, but when in conflict with the Pharisees, He challenges their notion that the messiah should be primarily called “Son of David.” Since David calls the messiah “lord,” the messiah is not truly David’s son, but rather the unique “Son of God” (Matthew 22:41-45). Psalm 110 goes on to say that this same messiah is “a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” This character from Genesis 14, whose name means “King of righteousness,” will continue to play a prominent role as a priest whose order contrasts to the Levitical priesthood. The Levitical priesthood ends, but the priest in Melchizedek’s line has a never-ending priesthood. Early Christians believed that Psalm 110 refers to Jesus as both the messiah and the eternal priest that makes a satisfactory sacrifice in His body, forever pleasing to God, who sufficiently welcomes the faithful into fellowship with YHWH. When we read Psalm 110, we might helpfully read it as beginning, “My Lord, God the Father, says to my lord, God the Son...” to grasp the meaning it foretells, which we now better appreciate.

Jeremiah Vaught