Mark 12:36

David said himself, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – ‘The Lord said to my lord: Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies beneath your feet.’

all titles of power
devolve to none
lords are lords
lording it over kings
who are never queens
who are never jacks
until kings are lords
lording it over fiefdoms
where all must agree
divine rights
are the cat’s pajamas
made of finest threads
as if they were nothing
in the end
the clothes of all lords
hide basic commonness

Behind every literalist is someone seeking to establish order on the universe that is based on their experience over against the experience of anyone else. The impetus for order has some helpful qualities to get us through life—though good habits are harder to break as we can avoid facing their consequences. Bad habits don’t afford that luxury.

Being able to connect dots from David to Messiah soothes a slower transition in the midst of change—this, at least, is still something we can rely on.

Christian Zionists who require a Jewish return to Jerusalem face the same difficulty as the scribal straw-man Jesus is facing here—folk wisdom raised from “common sense” to “authorized truth”. In this case, the attribution of all the Psalms to David is getting us into this riddle that will have to face competing scriptures, rather than have one verse rule all others.

The starting point of requiring a Davidic heritage to any subsequent leader is pointed toward in the categorization of the Psalm 110 as a royal psalm. A footnote in the CEB Study Bible996OT says this Psalm reflects “…the reality of life in Babylon and the beginnings of life after the return to Jerusalem, may indicate post-exilic hope for restoring the Davidic monarchy.”

The privilege of reestablishing a ruling power will gather its support wherever it can. It is then less of a mystery about how this verse becomes the most quoted Hebrew Scripture in Church Scripture referring to Jesus—as monarch, duly instituted by G*D and set to Christianize the whole world, at a minimum, through an apocalyptic end time of sorting sheep from goats, good seed from bad weed.

The issue of requiring this ambiguous “Lord” who takes precedence over King David is prelude to the way the early church changes Jesus from Mark’s preferred language up to this point—the “son of adam”, a “human one”—into “The Only Son of G*D”.

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