Scriptures

Psalm 45

Introduction

This psalm, in its historical setting, describes the marriage of a king, it’s one of praise for the grandeur of the king and his work among the people.

However, because the Hebrew writer refers to this psalm in Hebrews 1:8-9, it’s clear that this is also a Messianic psalm which metaphorically refers to King Jesus, 1 Timothy 6:15-16 / Revelation 17:14 / Revelation 19:16.

Heading

‘For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding about the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us that this is a psalm for the director of music. Some commentators believe that ‘director or music’ is God Himself and others believe that it is a song leader who led choirs or musicians, 1 Chronicles 6:33 / 1 Chronicles 16:17 / 1 Chronicles 25:6.

No one really knows what the word ‘maskil’ means, some believe it’s a musical term or a literary term. The word is used thirteen times throughout the Psalms, Psalm 32 / Psalm 42 / Psalm 44 / Psalm 45 / Psalm 52 / Psalm 53 / Psalm 54 / Psalm 55 / Psalm 74 / Psalm 78 / Psalm 88 / Psalm 89 / Psalm 142. The word is also used in Amos 5:13.

The sons of Korah were Levites, from the family of Kohath, who by the time of David, served in the musical aspect of the temple worship, 1 Chronicles 9:19 / 1 Chronicles 26:1 / 1 Chronicles 26:19 / 2 Chronicles 20:19. It was David who originally organised the temple singers, 1 Chronicles 15:17 / 1 Chronicles 16:41-42 / 1 Chronicles 25:4-5.

Korah is probably most famous for his lead in the rebellion against Moses during the wilderness days of the Exodus, Numbers 16 / Jude 11. God judged Korah and his leaders and they all died, but the sons of Korah remained, Numbers 26:9-11. It’s possible they were so grateful for this mercy that they became prominent in Israel for praising God.

It was a wedding song to be sung to the tune of Lilies, 1 Kings 7:22 / 1 Kings 7:26 / 2 Chronicles 4:5 / Hosea 14:5. A lily was probably some kind of musical instrument which looked like or was shaped like a lily. Or it may refer to general beauty of the composition.

‘My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skilful 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 splendour 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, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre 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 honoured women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.’ Psalm 45:1-9

The psalmist begins by setting out the main subject of the psalm, that is, the king, Isaiah 5:1. This is the King, whom the Old Testaments prophets spoke about and looked forward to coming, the Messiah, King Jesus, 1 Peter 1:10-12.

The psalmist’s tongue was their pen, Job 19:24, and it was ready to express their thoughts and feelings. Since God blessed the King forever, the King’s lips have been anointed with grace, that is, their lips are covered and flowing with grace. This is another clear reference to King Jesus, Matthew 7:29 / Matthew 13:54 / Luke 4:22 / Luke 2:47 / John 7:46.

King Jesus is prepared for battle and conquest with a sword, He is the ‘mighty one’, and His sword is called, ‘splendour and majesty’, Revelation 19:11-16.

He is the conquering King who is ready to go forward to defeat the nations around to Himself, 1 Corinthians 15:25 / 1 Corinthians 15:28, and set up a permanent kingdom, Psalm 45:5-6 / Isaiah 49:2 / Daniel 2:44 / Hebrews 4:12 / Revelation 1:16 / Revelation 19:15.

The King is going to ride victoriously in the cause of ‘truth, humility and justice’. In other words, Christ’s kingdom would be based upon truth, humility and justice, John 18:37. His arrows, 1 Kings 22:34 / 2 Kings 9:21-24, which represent truths, are designed to pierce deep into the hearts of His enemies, resulting in the fall of His enemies, Matthew 7:13-14 / Acts 2:37 / Acts 7:54 / Hebrews 4:12 / Revelation 6:14-17.

The words of verses 6-7, are an obvious reference to King Jesus, as the Hebrew writer quotes them in reference to Him, Hebrews 1:8-9. When we carefully watch the argument that is made about the Son in Hebrews 1:8-9, we see the writer says that this quotation is speaking about the Son, “Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever.”

This is speaking about the throne of the Son. In speaking about the Son, ‘your throne, O God, ‘the Son is God’, the writer states this point clearly and it cannot be missed or avoided.

Psalm 45 is a royal wedding song written for the King, Psalm 45:10-11 / Psalm 45:13 / Psalm 45:16. But the psalm is strange, because in verse 6 the King is called God, Deuteronomy 6:4 / Galatians 3:20. But verse 7 is even stranger, the King is God, but He has a God ‘your God’. There is no king in the Hebrew Scriptures that this describes, so this is all about the Messiah.

Again, it is a coronation picture, the Son has been chosen above all and has been anointed with the oil of joy. Olive oil was used to anoint kings of Israel at the inauguration of their rule. It is a Messianic royal wedding.

This image explains the parables in the Gospels Jesus told concerning ‘The wedding feast’, Luke 14:7-14 / Ephesians 5:32 / Revelation 19:6-8. When we look at Hebrews 1:7, we see the angels serve, but the Son rules, and so, the Son is superior.

The King’s robes are fragrant with ‘myrrh’, Genesis 43:11 / Esther 2:12 / Psalm 133:2 / Exodus 30:23 / Matthew 2:11 / Mark 15:23 / John 19:39-40. And ‘aloes’, Exodus 30:24 / Numbers 24:6 / Proverbs 7:17 / Ezekiel 27:19. And ‘cassia’, Exodus 30:24 / Ezekiel 27:19.

The ‘palaces adorned with ivory’, is where the King lived, 1 Kings 22:39, metaphorically, this is speaking of heaven. The King is glad because of ‘the music of the strings’, in other words, the Messiah is made happy by the affection and fellowship with His people.

Those who were attending the King’s wedding were honoured women, and at His right hand is His bride, 1 Kings 2:19 / Mark 14:62 / Mark 16:19 / Hebrews 1:3 / Acts 7:55. The bride is adorned with gold of Ophir, 1 Kings 9:26-28 / 1 Kings 22:48 / Isaiah 13:12.

This is a beautiful metaphor of Christ’s wedding to His church, Ephesians 5:25–27 / 2 Corinthians 11:2 / Ephesians 5:24. The church, the bride of the Lamb of God is raised to the highest post of honour, Revelation 19:7-9 / Revelation 21:1-2.

‘Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honour him, for he is your lord. The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favour. All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her—those brought to be with her. Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king. Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land. I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.’ Psalm 45:10-17

At this point the psalmist appears to turn to the bride to speak to her. They basically asks her to forget her people and her father’s house, Genesis 2:24, to be married to anointed King. This again, is a metaphor relating to Christ and His bride, the church. Jesus Himself says if we want to follow Him, we must do the same thing, Luke 14:26 / Luke 14:33.

The King recognises his bride’s beauty, in other words, the church, God’s people are beautiful and clothed in righteousness, 1 Peter 3:3 / Revelation 19:8.

The queen in the immediate context would honour the king, some translations use the word, ‘worship’, which would imply that the church would worship King Jesus, Matthew 2:11 / Matthew 8:2 / Matthew 14:33 / Matthew 15:25 / Matthew 18:26 / Matthew 28:9 / Ephesians 5:33 / Hebrews 1:6 / Revelation 19:10 / Revelation 22:9.

Being married to the King would bring benefits, here we see the city of Tyre, Isaiah 60:5-7 / Isaiah 60:9 / Isaiah 60:11 / Isaiah 60:13 / Matthew 11:21, would attend the wedding and bring a gift. Tyre is used symbolically for the Gentile nations that shall listen to and obey the Gospel of Christ. People who are rich, will look to the King’s bride for favour, Revelation 21:24.

The bride is all glorious because she is married a glorious King and her gown in interwoven with gold. Her gown would have been highly colourful, Judges 5:30 / 1 Chronicles 29:2 / Ezekiel 17:3 / Ezekiel 16:10 / Ezekiel 16:13 / Ezekiel 16:18 / Ezekiel 26:16 / Ezekiel 27:7 / Ezekiel 27:16 / Ezekiel 27:24.

This is the way Christ sees His beautiful bride, the church, Ephesians 5:25–27 / Revelation 19:7-8 / Revelation 21:2 / Revelation 21:9.

While the bride is dressed in all her glory, she is brought to the King, followed by her ‘virgin companions’, that is, the bridesmaids, 2 Corinthians 11:2, and others who are a part of this great wedding procession. They were all led in with joy and gladness, Isaiah 35:10.

This again, is a metaphor for Christ and His church, Revelation 21:9, who are described as beautiful and glorious, and as worthy of the affection of its Saviour, Ephesians 5:27.

As in most weddings today, a blessing is bestowed upon the marriage of the newlyweds. It appears that the fathers have passed away, but they will be replaced by sons that come from the marriage. Because of Christ, all of God’s children are now kings and priests, serving King Jesus, Revelation 1:6 / 1 Peter 2:9.

This again is another metaphor to describe the union between Christ, the King, and His bride, the church, they produce children who themselves are sons in all the earth, Daniel 7:14 / Daniel 7:27 / Hebrews 2:10.

The glorious union produces a posterity among the nations which generates praise from the people for ever and ever. In other words, singing praises to Christ, the King, will never cease, Revelation 4:10 / Revelation 5:9-13.

Conclusion

The psalmist metaphorically described Jesus as the King and His church as His bride. In Revelation 21:9, one of the angels said to John, “Come! I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” Paul highlights the beauty of the relationship between Christ and His church by comparing it to the traditional Jewish marital, Ephesians 5:25.

In Jewish custom, after the marriage ceremony, the bridegroom would often depart to prepare a house where he and his bride would call their home. This could take quite a bit of time to accomplish. The bride, therefore, was to have the patience to wait for her beloved, and the loyalty to refuse any temptation to be with another man, Revelation 2:4.

She lived for the return of her husband and was always in a state of eagerness to hear the charming voice of the bridegroom. Once the house was finished, it was customary for the father of the groom to examine it and if it met his approval, he would say, “Go and get your bride.”

The festivity that followed wasn’t the marriage, since this had occurred previously, it was the marriage feast or supper. This is what the five foolish virgins missed in Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins, Matthew 25:1-13.

Before the death of Christ, John the Baptist introduced Jesus as the bridegroom in John 3:29. He did this emphasizing the fact that he was not the Christ. John explained that he was merely a friend of the bridegroom and that his joy was fulfilled in introducing the presenting Jesus, the true bridegroom.

As the groom would depart after the bride to prepare a place for them to live so Christ has returned to heaven to prepare a place for His bride the church, John 14:3. It is this momentous occasion we patiently wait as Christ’s bride.

No other event holds more meaning to us or produces as much eager anticipation as the return of Christ from heaven. As we wait for Jesus we must be characterized by loyalty and fidelity to Christ and His teaching, Ephesians 5:27.

The great idea behind the church as the bride of Christ has to be the great and profound love that Christ has for us. With this knowledge of his profound love, how could we ever forsake Him? How could we ever do anything but love Him?

May our expectation of His return produce within us purity, steadfastness and joy.

Go To Psalm 46

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds."

James 1:2

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