Christian Churches of God
(Edition 2.0 19960904-20000712)
Here is a beautiful Psalm which is entitled “A Song of Love”. It is a prophetic depiction of Jesus Christ as royal bridegroom and his church as the royal bride. This Psalm also depicts or describes the relationship of Jesus Christ and God the Father.
Christian Churches of God
(Copyright © 1996, 2000 Wade Cox and Ian Gudze)
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Psalm 45 is a prophetic depiction of Jesus Christ as royal bridegroom and his church as the royal bride. This Psalm also depicts or describes the relationship of Jesus Christ and God the Father. Not only has the Father anointed Jesus Christ to a special position, i.e. to become the royal bridegroom to His people, but also as elohim proceeding from His authority.
The rabbinical authorities have mixed reactions to the Psalm. Ibn Ezra understood the king as being David. However, the Targum and Kimchi understood this Psalm to refer to Messiah and the marriage referred to his redemption of Israel. The distinction between physical and spiritual Israel is not understood by them. Rashi tries to explain the Psalm in terms of Torah scholars who are acclaimed as kings (cf. Prov. 8:15). Thus Rashi views wisdom as Torah – the scholars are the true spiritual leaders of Israel who must heed them to survive. This explanation is entirely inadequate given the entities described. Malbim internalises the allegory to the body and mind which is again unsatisfactory, if not blasphemous.
Psalm 45:1-17 To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah a love song. My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe. 2 You are the fairest of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you for ever. 3 Gird your sword upon your thigh, O mighty one, in your glory and majesty! 4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously for the cause of truth and to defend the right; let your right hand teach you dread deeds! 5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you. 6 Your divine throne endures for ever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity; 7 you love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows; 8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; 9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir. 10 Hear, O daughter, consider, and incline your ear; forget your people and your father's house; 11 and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him; 12 the people of Tyre will sue your favor with gifts, the richest of the people 13 with all kinds of wealth. The princess is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes; 14 in many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions, her escort, in her train. 15 With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king. 16 Instead of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. 17 I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you for ever and ever. (RSV)
Divisions of the Psalm
The Psalm has three parts or distinct sections.
Section 1. Verse 1 depicts the emotion that the singer of the Psalm, under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, portrays in the singing of this beautiful “song of love” (The Shoshannim are literally roses. These are specific instruments).
Psalm 45:1 To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves. 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.
The other translations can read My heart is overflowing with a good theme. I recite my composition concerning the king etc. (NKJV). The word overflowing is used only here. As a noun it can mean a reptile and the root meaning is to move or stir (Hirsch). Compare this with the context of Isaiah 6:5-7 regarding the meaning of seraphim.
Section 2. Verses 2-9
Here we are pointed to the royal bridegroom. It is a prophetic address to Jesus Christ. Note the key words of great power in this section from verse 2: God has blessed you forever. This statement is a direct refutation of the Binitarian position. God would not do this if Christ was already co-eternal and co-existent with the Father on a dual basis from eternity.
We note in verse 4 that the bridegroom is contrasted to his adversary Satan who has disqualified himself from his position because of pride and arrogance.
Psalm 45:2-5 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. 3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. 4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. 5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
The pouring of grace upon the lips of the Messiah is as a function of salvation. This is done through the spirit. The favour is to rest upon him eternally. The call to gird on the sword, according to Rashi, is a call to defend Torah or the Law of God. Real glory is obtained not by might and the sword but by defending truth and uprightness (Metsudath David and Malbim) which he has the duty to defend (cf. Hirsch). The right hand is an emblem of power with him as with God (cf. Ps. 44:4). His arrows penetrate the heart.
In verses 6 and 7 we note some very important facts about the position that Christ is to occupy as the royal bridegroom. Namely that because he abhors evil and loves righteousness, God the father, His God, elevates him above his peers. The rabbinical authorities attempt to limit the application to Messiah as elohim. Rashi and Hirsch render elohim here as judge. The literal text thy throne of God is held not to suit the context. Ibn Ezra renders the text as Thy throne is [the throne of] God (cf. 1Chr. 29:23 “and Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord”). Here we see the concept of delegated authority and power as God’s power for ever (cf. 2Sam. 7:16).
Psalm 45:6-7 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. 7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Oil is the symbol of joy (Isa. 61:3). Kimchi says that the Psalmist intends that God, by anointing the Messiah as His king, will elevate him above others and generate universal joy (cf. n. to v. 8, Soncino).
The text is repeated in Hebrews 1:8-9 which shows absolutely that this text refers to Jesus Christ as Messiah. This text clearly proves that:
<![if !supportLists]>a. <![endif]>The God of Jesus Christ is God the Father; and
<![if !supportLists]>b. <![endif]>That he is one of many beings who are his peers and he has qualified to do a special job, namely to become royal bridegroom to the church as high priest (cf. Ps. 110:1-7) in the defence of truth and righteousness.
Psalm 45:8-9 All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. 9 Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
Here the Queen is the church at his right hand as he is at the right hand of the Father. The spices have symbolism referred to in the paper Commentary on Esther (No. 63). The spices refer to the good character traits (Kimchi) obtained through the Spirit. The ivory palaces are rendered palaces inlaid with ivory by Malbim from which he will go forth to meet his “bride” (Soncino, n. 9). Rashi holds that the correct rendering should be more than palaces of ivory, will those who come from Me gladden you. The word minni is a shortened form of mimenni from me, although some hold it is an emphatic form of that, hence verily (Soncino, ibid.).
The term honourable women is perhaps rendered thy precious ones following Ibn Ezra and Kimchi. The Soncino has the main text as thy favourites. Rashi holds the term to mean visit. Hence, the daughters of kings come to visit. The Targum renders the text come to visit and show you honour (n. 10, Soncino).
Section 3. Verses 10-17
Here we have an address (vv. 11-13) to the royal bride which describes the qualities that God has bestowed upon her as a fit and ready bride for Jesus Christ. The daughter is held by the rabbis to refer to the nation of Israel and then they narrow it again to daughter of Judah by comparison with Lamentations 2:6 (Soncino, n. 11).
Psalm 45:10-17 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house; 11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him. 12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour. 13 The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. 14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. 15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace. 16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. 17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever. (KJV)
Verse 10 calls her out of her own people. This is developed in the paper Song of Songs (No. 145). The Soncino says The bride comes from a foreign nation where idols are worshipped. Ibn Ezra therefore suggests the wife of David. Others even try to include Solomon who married Maacha of Geshur and Pharaoh’s daughter. The meaning is clearly that the Gentiles are included here as being in Israel. The identification with Israel can only refer to Gentile converts, not of Judaism. Metsudath David says:
Read in its Messianic context, it is a call to the nations to identify with the cause of the Messiah and not with the intrigues of his opponents (Soncino, n. 11).
Verse 11 refers to the beauty of the church that is greatly desired by the king. God is the Lord of the church and the object of its worship. The daughter of Tyre refers to the religious systems of the world (cf. Ezek. 28). Kimchi holds that not only Tyre but the affluent of the other nations will bring their gifts (Soncino). Here the church becomes the king’s daughter in readiness to be given to the bridegroom Messiah who has been anointed as king. The virgins are those who follow the church as her companions. This division is a representation of the 144,000 and the great multitude referred to in Revelation 7:1-17.
Verse 13 is rendered in the KJV as the king’s daughter is all glorious within. The clothing being of gold is a reference to the status that is given to the church on marriage; the purity of the church symbolised by the white robes are changed for cloth of gold as refined in the fire and as a symbol of the royal rank of the church.
A bizarre by-product of the misinterpretation of this text by some rabbinical authorities was that they then taught that the true glory for a modest woman is within the privacy of her own home (Shavuoth 30a; see also Maimonides Mishneh Torah, Laws Pertaining to Women 13:11; and also cf. Hirsch, Soncino). In a desire to deny Messiah and the church they imprisoned their own women.
Verse 14 is also rendered as she shall be brought to the king with robes of many colours. The virgins her companions who follow her shall be brought to you. There is a rendering of the word riqmâh (SHD 7553) meaning variegation thus coloured and connected with a weaver in colours (Ex. 26:36), used specifically of embroidery which Green (The Interlinear Bible) renders as embroidered work. She does not need this finery to satisfy her vanity but to enhance the honour of the king (cf. Hirsch). Her companions are the bridesmaids who follow her in the procession.
The reference to the fathers and the sons shows that the Messianic dynasty is not concerned with lineage backwards but with the descendants. Kimchi holds these offspring will assure him of a distinguished future (Soncino). Thus the priesthood of Melchisedek is not concerned with genealogy as was the Aaronic, but with eternal descent based on righteousness (Ps. 110:1-7; Heb. 5:6). See also the paper Melchisedek (No. 128).
The Kingdom of God will extend by the subjugation of other peoples over whom his sons, as Messiah’s children, will rule (cf. Soncino). It is God who will make Messiah’s name to be remembered in all generations and therefore the people will praise him for ever and ever.
Here we have a beautiful Psalm which is Messianic. In the address it describes the royal bridegroom in terms of:
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the beauty of his person
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the valour of his conquests
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the stability of his kingdom
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the gladness of his marriage
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the relationship of the groom to the Father.
In the address to the royal bride we have an insight to:
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the complete devotion of the bride to the royal bridegroom
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the wonderful promise of high honour
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>a eulogy of the bride’s charms or virtues
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>the pledging of increasing Divine favour.
The Psalm ends on verse 17 with I will make your name to be remembered in all generations. Therefore your people will praise you for ever and ever. God has exalted Christ and from this anointing people praise him. The Psalm is a song of the marriage of the bridegroom Messiah to the bride who is the church. God is the father of the bride and the power that elevates Messiah. He is king and elohim or God of both Messiah and the bride. God is praised through the beauty of this Psalm and this union.