New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary


Psa 45:1 For the Chief Musician. Set to The Lilies- This is the word for "trumpets". It was a song to accompany the trumpet symphony at a wedding.

A contemplation by the sons of Korah- "By" can as well be "for", so the Psalm may still be Davidic, but is dedicated to the memory of the sons of Korah. Korah had died in rebellion against God, but his children had been preserved (Num. 26:9-11); they therefore became representative of all who had overcome bad background to worship Yahweh independently, regardless of the sins of their fathers. They were therefore inspirational to the righteous remnant amongst the exiles in Babylon. Or these "sons of Korah" may refer to a group of musicians who were to perform the Psalm, the Levitical singers mentioned in 1 Chron. 26:1,2; 2 Chron. 20:19. Or if we insist on reading "by", it could have been a Davidic Psalm edited and as it were released by a group called "the sons of Korah" during the captivity in Babylon.

A wedding song- I suggest all of Psalms 1-72 were written by David (Ps. 72:20), so we can assume this was David's song for Solomon, as was Ps. 72.

My heart overflows with a noble theme. I recite my verses for the king-
David expected Solomon to be the next king.

My tongue is like the pen of a skilful writer- The inspired writer of Psalm 45 says that his tongue is like the pen of a writer (Ps. 45:1). The writer is God. God was using the inspired person’s words as His pen, with which to communicate to men. Ezra likewise saw himself as a “scribe of the law of the God of heaven” (Ezra 7:21). The God who is in Heaven wrote through a scribe here on earth. That’s the idea of inspiration.

Psa 45:2 You are the most excellent of the sons of men. Grace has anointed your lips, therefore God has blessed you forever-
Whilst this Psalm is quoted about the Lord Jesus in Heb. 1, we must remember that the initial context was David's prayer for Solomon at his wedding. He clearly assumes Solomon's excellence above all his brothers, perhaps referred to as "the sons of men", and automatic blessing from God as the one anointed by grace to the kingship. It was exactly these parental expectations and unrealistic assumptions which were to be Solomon's undoing in later life. "Excellent" is AV "fairer" and appears to be a reference to Solomon's beauty, glorified in Song 5:10-16.

Psa 45:3 Strap your sword on your thigh, mighty one, in your splendour and your majesty-
This appears to be David drunk with fatherly pride as it were, as he sees Solomon riding to the nuptials to claim his bride.

Psa 45:4 In your majesty ride victoriously on behalf of truth, humility, and righteousness. Let your right hand display awesome deeds-
This speaks in the Hebrew text of 'meekness-righteousness', as if meekness is the very essence of righteousness; and it was this which Solomon was to fight for.

Psa 45:5 Your arrows are sharp. The nations fall under you, with arrows in the heart of the king’s enemies-
Solomon was envisaged as conquering the surrounding nations. David rejoices that Divine "arrows" were sent to destroy his enemies (Ps. 7:13; 18:14; 45:5; 64:7; 144:6), in fulfilment of God's promise to do so to the sinful within Israel (Dt. 32:23,42). But David was to later realize that those same arrows had been fired by God into him in judgment for his sin (Ps. 38:2). This realization was perhaps to help David understand that his rejoicing in Divine arrows of judgment being fired at his enemies had not been mature; for he himself had to realize that he was worthy of the same.

Psa 45:6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever. A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of your kingdom-
We must ever remember that this Psalm is primarily David addressing his son Solomon at his wedding. Solomon was not "God" so we can interpret this as being used in the sense of "mighty one", as in :3. The New Testament quotation of it about the Lord Jesus is not, therefore, declaring Him "God" in a Trinitarian sense; but rather emphasizing His highly exalted status. David was wrong to imagine that his son would have an eternal Messianic kingdom; although that may have been potentially possible, had Solomon been obedient. But his misplaced expectation is applied to the Lord Jesus, who will ultimately fulfil it. David imagined that Solomon's reign was to be characterized by "equity"; but in fact this didn't work out. For Solomon ended up abusing his people. And so whatever possibilities there were for him to be the Messianic ruler, they were precluded by his later unfaithfulness. And so the language is reapplied and rescheduled to the Lord Jesus.

Psa 45:7 You have loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; therefore God, even your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows-
This is applied to the Lord Jesus in Heb. 1:9. The Lord Jesus had a wondrous mixture of "grace and truth" which has so eluded Christianity. His hating sin more than any other man was one reason for the height of his exaltation above all others by the Father. But Hebrews 1:9 understands the "fellows" as referring not only to men but Angels; for it is used in the course of arguing that the Lord Jesus although once human, is not an Angel; He is greater than or "above" Angels. This is typical of Jewish midrash (interpretation). Words are quoted not perfectly in context, and then the words are given an interpretation appropriate to the point being made.  The emphasis upon "God, even your God" is evidence enough that the Lord Jesus was not God; for God the Father is His God, as He Himself said (Mt. 27:46; Jn. 20:17).  This is not the only passage where there is an intentional juxtaposition of language about the Lord Jesus; He is called "God" (but see on :6), but now we read of 'his God', God the Father, as Heb. 1:9 interprets it. Out of this dialectic comes the true interpretation; the Lord Jesus was totally human, He was not God in the Trinitarian sense, God the Father was His Father and God; but because He was morally perfect, He was exalted to a status that can only be described in the highest possible terms.

It is also worth asking the question, in the context of Solomon: 'Who anointed him above his fellows to be king? Who judged him as such a spiritual person?'. The answer is surely his father David. And "God" / "mighty one" (note the word Yahweh isn't used here) could simply be a Hebraic way of referring to David.

Psa 45:8 All your garments smell like myrrh, aloes, and cassia. Out of the ivory palaces the stringed instruments have made you glad-
Having addressed the groom, the Psalm moves to address the bride, as she walks out of an ivory palace to the sound of stringed instruments. Ahab had an ivory palace (1 Kings 22:39; Am. 3:15), so it is not unthinkable that there was such a "palace" in Jerusalem at the time of Solomon's wedding. He himself made an ivory throne for himself. It would appear that this woman was a foreigner, perhaps the daughter of the queen of Sheba (:9) or an Egyptian woman. But Solomon,  just  like  the foolish young man he later wrote about, had gone right ahead down the road to spiritual disaster he so often warned others about. He warns the young man of the dangers of the Gentile woman who perfumes her bed with myrrh (Prov. 7:16,17)- and then falls for just such a woman (Ps. 45:8).

Psa 45:9 Kings’ daughters are among your honourable women-
Presumably these were not David's daughters, but the bridesmaids. It seems clear that this woman was a Gentile daughter of a king and queen; probably from Egypt.

At your right hand the queen stands in gold of Ophir- Perhaps she was the daughter of the queen of Sheba, and her mother was present at the wedding. Solomon's bride was in any case the daughter of a queen, and her sisters acted as her bridesmaids; they were king's daughters. The marriage of the "son of David" to a Gentile indeed fits the type well, regarding the marriage of the Lord Jesus. But in the immediate context, David and Solomon were surely wrong to go ahead with marrying outside of the covenant. 

Psa 45:10 Listen, daughter, consider, and turn your ear-
This may be David's desire for his new daughter in law to turn her ear to the God of Israel and convert. But this ought to have been done well before the wedding day. "Turn your ear" is a phrase used about responding to Yahweh's wisdom (Ps. 49:4; Prov. 2:2 and so often in Proverbs).

Forget your own people, and also your father’s house- Separation from the world unto the things of God is brought out in the way Ps. 45:10.16 alludes to the Mosaic laws about a Gentile woman forgetting her father’s house. Indeed the Psalm appears to have relevance to Solomon’s marriage to a Gentile [and note the allusions to Joseph’s marriage to a Gentile]: “Forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house [this is the ‘separation from’ the world]… instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, which thou mayest make princes in all the earth [land- of Israel]”. The emotional pain of separation from her father’s world would be offset by her bringing forth Godly children within the hope of Israel. The whole process of separating from and yet also separating unto seems to me to create a kind of synergy from the whole dialectic. It's by separating from the world that we go back into this world in service and witness and caring concern. And if we don't find ourselves 'separated unto' those things- have we actually separated from this world in the way God intends?

Psa 45:11 So the king will desire your beauty; honour him, for he is your lord-
David is saying that his son will be yet the more attracted to her beauty if she accepts the God of Israel (see on :10); but this of course should have all happened well before the wedding day.

Psa 45:12 The daughter of Tyre comes with a gift, the rich among the people entreat your favour-
It seems David was friends with Hiram king of Tyre (1 Kings 5:1), and the court of Tyre was represented at the wedding.

Psa 45:13 The princess inside is all glorious. Her clothing is interwoven with gold-
This can easily be understood in the type as the Lord's bride being internally "glorious", with the gold of faith interwoven in her clothing.

Psa 45:14 She shall be led to the king in embroidered work. The virgins, her companions who follow her, shall be brought to you-
The language of embroidery, gold and the spices of :8 is that of the tabernacle and priestly garments. It's as if David wishes to present this Gentile girl as somehow connected with the external symbols of the true faith of Yahweh; even though :10 implies she was not in fact converted to Him at this point.

Psa 45:15 With gladness and rejoicing they shall be led; they shall enter into the king’s palace-
The idea may be that these Gentile girls (:9) would come and live with the bride in Solomon's palace. David was wishing to see in all this a foretaste of the gathering of the Gentiles to Israel's God. But in reality :10 implies she was not in fact converted to Him at this point. And Solomon would be led astray by these women in the long term. The same ultimate hollowness is to be found throughout the Song of Solomon.


Psa 45:16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you shall make them princes in all the land-
With Solomon as king, his bride's children would be princes in the land of Israel. So David imagined. And this would take the place, psychologically, of her sacrifice of her relationship with her "fathers"; see on :10.

Psa 45:17 I will make your name to be remembered in all generations. Therefore the peoples shall give you praise forever and ever
- Again David comes over as somewhat arrogant and ahead of himself in thinking that this daughter in law would be made by him to have an eternal name in Israel, and also be the praise of the Gentiles. For :10 implies she was not in fact converted to Israel's God at this point. The mere external tokenism was to lead to this marriage going terribly wrong in spiritual terms, leading to the spiritual demise of Solomon.