Psalms 45:0 ¶ To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves.
I read several summaries of this introduction and thought the following one seemed to provide the best summation. New Bible Commentary: “Composed for an actual royal wedding and motivated by devotion to an earthly king, this psalm, like all royal psalms, runs beyond what any earthly king could be, to the longed–for Messiah in whom all the glories are true. Likewise it speaks tellingly to the Bride of Christ of her true position, beauty and dedication.”
The Hebrew for “Shoshannim” references lilies, and some commentators conclude that this may identify the tune to which it was to be sung.
Psalms 45:1 ¶ My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
“inditing” = to keep moving, overflows
I liked the NLT version of this verse: “My heart overflows with a beautiful thought! I will recite a lovely poem to the king, for my tongue is like the pen of a skillful poet.”
Psalms 45:2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
The psalmist describes the king as the most beautiful among men, and a man who speaks with charm and graciousness. It seems to be public knowledge that God has blessed this king forever.
Others draw different conclusions, but I believe this verse identifies David or possibly Solomon as the king. The following verse is a quote from David.
2 Samuel 7:29 “Therefore now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it: and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be blessed for ever.”
The evidence that both men were gifted in the area of verbal expression is revealed in their writings in the books of Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon.
Guzik: “Many older commentators regard the wedding as Solomon’s to the princess of Egypt, but this is not certain.”
Psalms 45:3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
Psalms 45:4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
Psalms 45:5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
The psalmist here pictures the king as a mighty warrior dressed for battle in glory and majesty. He rides out as a victor who represents truth, meekness and righteousness; he fights for what is right for the honor of God and His people. As a warrior, he is feared by his enemies and held in awe by his people. His arrows prove effective in the fight against his enemies.
These verses bring to mind the verses in Revelation that speak of the glorious and majestic return of Jesus to take the throne of David.
Revelation 19:11–16 “And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
I liked this comment from the EBC Abridged: “The success of the king is due to his concern for what is important to the Lord and his covenant people—“truth, humility and righteousness.” His concern for “truth” keeps him loyal to God and to his people. His concern for “humility” keeps him continually dependent on his covenant. His concern for “righteousness” is demonstrated in his ordering the affairs of state to correspond with God’s plans. The kingdom of the son of David is an expression of the kingdom of God on earth.”
Psalms 45:6 ¶ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Psalms 45:7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
The psalmist seems turns to praising God, identifying His scepter, the emblem of His fair and upright rule. His kingdom is one with the king’s kingdom. It is because the king loves righteousness and hates wickedness that God has anointed him and chosen him above his fellowman.
The writer of Hebrews quotes these words in reference to Jesus, obviously identifying Him as the promised Messiah descended from David in fulfillment of the promise God made to establish his throne forever.
Hebrews 1:8–9 “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
Psalms 45:8 All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
Psalms 45:9 Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
The translations differ a bit on these verses as represented below. Most commentators agree that the psalmist is describing the wedding ceremony and picturing the queen standing in the place of honor at the king’s right hand.
CJB: “Psalms 45:9–10 “Your robes are all fragrant with myrrh, aloes and cassia; from ivory palaces stringed instruments bring you joy. Daughters of kings are among your favorites; at your right stands the queen in gold from Ofir.”
NLT: “Your robes are perfumed with myrrh, aloes, and cassia. In palaces decorated with ivory, you are entertained by the music of harps. Kings’ daughters are among your concubines. At your right side stands the queen, wearing jewelry of finest gold from Ophir!”
“King’s daughters…women” – In my simple thinking, these would constitute the women chosen to constitute the queen’s “ladies in waiting” so to speak. Adam Clarke provided a good summary of thoughts by those more learned concerning this phrase. “Applied to Solomon, these words have no difficulty. We know he had seven hundred wives, princesses; and the mention of those here may be intended only to show how highly respected he was among the neighboring sovereigns, when they cheerfully gave him their daughters to constitute his harem. If we apply it to Solomon's marriage with the daughter of the king of Egypt, it may signify no more than the princesses and ladies of honor who accompanied her to the Israelitish court. Applied to Christ, it may signify that the Gospel, though preached particularly to the poor, became also the means of salvation to many of the kings, queens, and nobles, of the earth. The Chaldee interprets the queen standing at his right hand, by the law; and the honorable women, by the different regions and countries coming to receive that law from his right hand. Perhaps by kings' daughters may be meant different regions and countries, which are represented as constituting the families of potentates. Whole nations shall be converted to the Christian faith; and the queen - the Christian Church, shall be most elegantly adorned with all the graces and good works which at once constitute and adorn the Christian character.”
Psalms 45:10 ¶ Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;
Psalms 45:11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
Psalms 45:12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.
The psalmist turns his address to the queen. The phrase “forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house” indicates that she is a Gentile, a person from another nation. She is urged to focus her attention on pleasing her husband the king. He urges her to worship him, to honor and serve him. I think the daughter of Tyre, a land of great wealth, is singled out to represent those who will shower precious gifts upon the queen to court her good favor, thereby hoping to gain the king’s favor as well.
We could draw a parallel between the Gentile bride of the king with the primarily Gentile bride of Christ, the church. Just as urgently should the bride of Christ be encouraged to forget her worldly heritage to honor and serve Jesus.
Psalms 45:13 The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
Psalms 45:14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
Psalms 45:15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.
The psalmist describes the king’s daughter, soon to become queen, as beautiful both inside and out. She is clothed in garments that are interwoven with gold. As she goes forth to meet the king, she is accompanied by the young maidens that attend her. The entourage enters the king’s palace with gladness and rejoicing.
This makes me think of how we, the body of believers that form the bride of Christ, will be taken to His heavenly home clothed in the finest garments of righteousness that He provided for us through His sacrifice for our sins to provide for our redemption. I am certain that occasion will be one of great rejoicing!
Psalms 45:16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
Psalms 45:17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.
The psalmist closes with encouraging words to the queen about her future children, about sons that will become princes over many lands. I think the inference is that she will be remembered and praised because of her progeny.
Some commentators note that the psalmist is addressing the king at this point. The best reason for that assumption, I believe, is that it is the kings whose names are most remembered throughout history. One commentator pointed out that the pronouns used change to the masculine gender.