And now, kings, give heed;
take warning, judges on earth
Serve the Lord with fear;
exult with trembling,
The second Psalm is one centered around fear, specifically the fear of the Lord—the same kind of fear that is considered “the beginning of knowledge” in the first Proverb. A king or ruler, of all people, should be one who fears the Lord, who “trembles before him,” because failing to do so only increases pride, ultimately leading to destruction. Interestingly, the ruler’s pride here isn’t characterized as a “worldly foolishness,” like a mere stubbornness, but rather one that invokes the wrath of the Lord.
lest he become angry and you perish along the way
when his anger suddenly blazes up
Pride here isn’t characterized as an inwardly destructive force, but rather one that destroys from outside the self—pride is a provocation, a wind on the embers of the wrath of God.
But contrary to all of this destruction, the second psalm ends on on a positive admonition:
Blessed are all who take refuge in him! [The Lord]
This imagery of “refuge,” of the Lord as a “strong tower” is one that will crop up again and again in the Psalms. There is a prevailing discourse of power that persists through these songs, one that compares the King (or ego) with the King of Kings.