Psalms Lecture 7: Psalm 45

THE FOLLOWING ARE NOTES FOR LECTURES GIVEN AT NEW COLLEGE, BIRMINGHAM. I AM NOT AN EXPERT AND BOOKS WILL BE CREDITED TO SHOW WHERE MY INFORMATION IS COMING FROM. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, COMMENT ON THIS POST AND I WILL TRY MY BEST TO ANSWER.

~*~

For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil.[b] A wedding song.

My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

You are the most excellent of men
and your lips have been anointed with grace,
since God has blessed you forever.

Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one;
clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
In your majesty ride forth victoriously
in the cause of truth, humility and justice;
let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.
Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;
let the nations fall beneath your feet.
Your throne, O God,[c] will last for ever and ever;
a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy.
All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
from palaces adorned with ivory
the music of the strings makes you glad.
Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.

10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
Forget your people and your father’s house.
11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
honor him, for he is your lord.
12 The city of Tyre will come with a gift,[d]
people of wealth will seek your favor.
13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber;
her gown is interwoven with gold.
14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king;
her virgin companions follow her—
those brought to be with her.
15 Led in with joy and gladness,
they enter the palace of the king.

16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers;
you will make them princes throughout the land.

17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations;
therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

  • Korahites – a group of temple singers who may have collected and transmitted a number of psalms. Of the priestly group descended from the Levites, they are meant to have written this psalm.
  • Maskil – either an “artful song” or a “didactic song”, it has been composed with artistic skill.
  • According to the Lillies – uncertain, probably a melody.

This is about Solomon, seen in the OT as both great and bad at times. Famous for having MANY wives and concubines, this psalm would be rather ha to set on a particular wife or time in his life. He is supposed to have had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

His legacy is mixed both because he is known to have been given great wisdom, from which we get Proverbs, but also been led into idolatry, possibly due to having wives who did not worship Israel’s God, but brought their own idols with them.

The points of being a good king:

  •  cause of truth
  •  defend the right
  •  blessed
  •  Anointed
  •  handsome
  •  grace on their lips

Actions of the bride when getting married:

  •  forget your people
  •  forget your fathers house (cleave and leave)
  •  bow to your husband

The wedding preparation

The future of the couple

The trinity, the three cord marriage: king, bride and God.

Connection to song of songs. Connection via Ephesians 5:31-32

“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery – but I am talking about Christ and the church.”

Marriage, allegiance, messianic promise

Royal Psalm

Now the main debate over this psalm, and song of songs, is over interpretation.

There are three ways of seeing this:

  • a royal song for the wedding of a king and his wife
  • a view of God, Jesus and his bride the church/Israel
  • both

Debate: which one do you see?

Quotation from Spurgeon.

“Some here see Solomon and Pharoah’s daughter only – they are short-sighted; others see both Solomon and Christ – they are cross-eyed; well-focussed spiritual eyes see here Jesus only, or if Solomon be present at all, it must be like those hazy shadows of passers-by which cross the face of the camera, and therefore are dimly traceable upon a photographic landscape.”

Bit harsh.

I personally believe that it can be both and still have the fullness of both. Although this author could have been spiritually inspired to write about the messiah to come, he set out to write for a royal wedding. To trample on the original motive seems wrong to me. I believe God can renew our sight to allow us to see more in his scripture. This means that looking at the context and the culture is extremely important to see how God was working at the time and teach us about God throughout time. To add to that, and be ale to see Jesus walking through these words, a prophecy and words of hope for us, is all the more amazing. Just as Isaiah 61 was an amazing prophecy and comfort to those who were broken and abused, so it can be to us too when we realise Jesus was always there, is always there whether we realise or not.

Example of how this psalm has been used:

Sons of Korah Psalm 45

Where’s the end? Why not finish the psalm?

– maybe they wanted it as a praise song

– maybe they were avoiding singing that the groom is lord of the bride

In their own study material on sonsofkorah.com they link this psalm particularly with Jesus telling us about the great wedding feast, where the people of god will eternally wed with their God. They point out that the psalm ends with eternal praise, so it seems strange that they not use the last few verses of the original psalm.

  • Kidner, Derek. Psalms 1-72: An Introduction and Commentary on Book I and II of the Psalms (Inter-Varsity Press, England, 1973).
  • Spurgeon, C. H. The Treasury of David, Volume 1, Psalm I to LVII (Hendrickson Publishers, Massachusetts).
  • Society of Biblical Literature. The Harper Collins Study Bible (New Revised Standard Version).
  • Walton, John H. Chronolgical and Background Charts of the Old Testament (Zondervan, Michigan, 1978).
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