The poem celebrates the marriage of a king. After the prelude (Psalms 45:1) come addresses to the royal bridegroom (Psalms 45:2-9) and bride (Psalms 45:10-12), a description of the bridal procession (Psalms 45:13-15), and a final address to the king (Psalms 45:16-17). The marriage of Solomon to the Egyptian princess, of Ahab to Jezebel, of Jehoram to Athaliah, as well as later alliances, have all been suggested as the occasion in view. But while the Ps. had no doubt a historic reference, yet the language used of the king is of such a transcendent character that it could only be strictly true of the Messiah, or ideal King, and we find it quoted with a Messianic meaning in Hebrews 1:8, Hebrews 1:9. The Ps. is consequently used on Christmas Day.
Title.—RV 'Set to Shoshannim.' Shoshannim ('lilies') indicates the melody to which the Ps. is set, or possibly instruments shaped like lilies on which it was played; and A Song of loves describes the nature of the poem.
1. Is inditing, etc.] RV 'overfloweth with a goodly matter.' I speak, etc.] RM 'I speak: my work is for a king.'
3. With thy glo RV, etc.] RV 'Thy glory and thy majesty.' These are the weapons with which the king girds himself.
4. Because of] in the cause of.
5. In the heart, etc.] RV 'The peoples fall under thee; they' (the arrows) 'are in the heart of the king's enemies.'
6. Thy throne, O God, is] RV 'Thy throne is the throne of God.' This gives a good sense, and meets the difficulty that the human king who is addressed in the first instance could hardly be called 'God.' There are textual reasons for believing, however, that the original reading was simply, 'Thy throne shall be for ever.' Right sceptre] RV 'sceptre of equity.'
7. Oil of gladness] the oil, not of the coronation, but of a festive occasion.
8. Myrrh.. aloes.. cassia] These perfumes are not the substances now so named. Ivory palaces] palatial chambers ornamented with inlaid ivory work. Ahab had such a palace (1 Kings 22:39 : cp. Amos 3:15). Whereby, etc.] RV 'stringed instruments have made thee glad.' Their music greets the king as he enters.
9. Did (RV 'doth') stand the queen] the new consort, who takes the place of honour.
Gold of Ophir] the finest gold. Ophir was either in Africa or in S. Asia.
11. Thy Lord] rather, 'thy lord': see 1 Peter 3:6. Worship.. him] rather, 'do him homage.'
12. The daughter of Tyre] the city of Tyre, a personification like 'daughter of Zion,' 'daughter of Babylon.' Tyre was the wealthiest of Israel's neighbours, and was in alliance with David and Solomon. It would naturally grace a royal Israelite marriage with a gift, even if the bride were not, like Jezebel, herself a Tyrian princess. The rich among the people] better, 'the richest among the peoples.'
13. Is all glorious within] RV 'within the palace is all glorious': i.e. in the inner chamber from which she comes forth to meet the king. Of wrought gold] RV 'inwrought with gold.'
16. Instead of thy fathers, etc.] A distinguished posterity is better than a long ancestry, which was lacking in Solomon's case.
Mayest make] RV 'shalt make.' In all the earth] a world-wide dominion is promised for the king's children.
17. People] RV 'peoples.'
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 45". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany