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Psalm 45 June 16, 2019

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on Psalm 45.

Summary: In this passage, the Sons of Korah present an epithalamium to the king of Israel, where they:

  • proclaim his virtues – which are manifestations of God’s grace
  • pray for his continued success on the battlefield
  • extol the beauty of his bride
  • exhort her to devote herself to him
  • proclaim the permanence of His kingdom.

Thoughts: This psalm was written to celebrate a royal wedding in Israel. Spurgeon offers some thoughts on this point in his commentary on verse 1:

This song has the King for its only subject, and for the King’s honor alone was it composed…The psalmist wrote of what he had personally tasted and handled concerning the King.

While I agree that the ultimate object of this psalm should be God Himself, I am fairly certain that its original object was the contemporary ruler of Israel. That elicited questions such as: who was the contemporary ruler of Israel? Who was his royal bride, and how he make her acquaintance? How did he “love righteousness and hate wickedness?” Did the psalmist have any conception of the Messiah when they penned these verses? If so, did they view Him as this psalm’s ultimate object? Was this psalm composed before Israel was divided into northern and southern kingdoms?

In verse 4, the psalmist exhorts his sovereign to fight for God. Spurgeon offers some thoughts on this point:

It is a most potent argument to urge with our Lord that the cause of the true, the humble, and the good calls for his advocacy. Truth will be ridiculed, meekness oppressed, and righteousness slain unless the God, the Man in whom these precious things are incarnated, rises for their vindication. Our earnest petition ought ever to be that Jesus lay his almighty arm to the work of grace lest the good cause languish and wickedness prevail.

This verse, along with the note in verse 2 that the monarch is “the most excellent of men…since God has blessed you forever” and the notes in verses 6 and 7 concerning justice and righteousness, respectively, imply that the monarch maintains his authority because his words and deeds conform to the standard that God has set for him. This is a valuable reminder that while the monarch has many virtues – as evidenced by this psalm – he relies on God to sustain and strengthen him. Moreover, if his words and deeds failed to conform to God’s standard, then the promises in verses 16 and 17 would be nullified. Perhaps we can apply this psalm to our modern context by adopting a more balanced view of our human leaders, since they also derive their authority from God.

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