Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, July 20th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Psalms 45

Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & PsalmsHengstenberg's Commentary


Psalms 45

IN the introduction, Psalms 45:1, the Psalmist announces the praise of a glorious king to be the object of his song. He praises this person on account of his beauty, and the grace poured especially upon his lips, Psalms 45:2, on account of his heroic might and glory, through which he was to perform great deeds, and achieve blessed results in the conflict for truth and righteousness, and would annihilate his enemies, Psalms 45:3-5, on account of the eternity of his dominion founded on his divine nature, and going hand in hand with absolute righteousness, Psalms 45:6. Because of his righteousness this divine king is endowed by God with greater joy than all other kings: he is clothed in wedding apparel, on the very point of celebrating his marriage with a band of noble virgins, daughters of kings in palaces of ivory, of whom one is peculiarly distinguished, shining in gold of Ophir on his right hand, intended for a consort of the first rank, Psalms 45:7-9. To her the Psalmist now turns, while till now he had constantly directed his address to the king, which is also again resumed toward the close. He urgently admonishes her in Psalms 45:10-12, to forget her people and her father’s house, and also, through an unconditional surrender to her husband and Lord, to make herself worthy of his love, promising her, as the reward of this surrender, the reverential homage of the most flourishing nations. This address is directed to the king’s daughter in her father’s house, to which the king has come to conduct her home. The procession from the paternal roof into the palace of the king is described in Psalms 45:13-15; with the king’s daughter are brought forth at the same time to the king other maidens, closely connected with her. The Psalmist promises to the king, in Psalms 45:16, a brilliant posterity, which, under his auspices, should reign over the whole earth. He concludes, in Psalms 45:17, with vowing to give perpetual praise to this glorious king, which should be followed by a loud response from the people.

The question has been started, whether this Psalm is a nuptial song, or a song for the glorification of a king; and in the answer to this question, expositors are of different opinions. But the question is ill put, for the Psalm is both a nuptial song, and a song of praise. For the former decides already the expression: “up on lilies,” i.e. upon lovely brides, and: “a song of the beloved,” in the superscription. In praise of the king the Psalmist begins at once with his beauty, which, in a general song of praise would certainly not have been done. From Psalms 45:7 to the very close every thing refers to the relation of the king to his brides. If this relation came into consideration only as a particular element in the praise of the king, it certainly occupies an undue place. That the song is to be regarded as sung on the wedding-day, with which the supposition of a general song of praise does not well accord, is clear from the mention of the fragrant garments of the king, and of the queen on his right hand in gold of Ophir, from the exhortation to the queen to forget her people and the house of her father, from the description of the wedding procession from the father’s house to the palace of the prince, and from the reference to the blessing of children. The allegation that the mention of the warlike qualities of the king is not suitable in a nuptial song, is, according to the literal interpretation, of the greatest weight. But in the allegorical, the heroic virtue of the king and his imposing majesty, by which he subdues the world to himself, is quite to the point. How suitable the king’s praise, as found in Psalms 45:1-5, is to a nuptial song, appears from Psalms 45:10-12, where, as its practical design, an admonition comes out to the king’s daughter, “to forget her father’s house and her own people;” for which the other had laid the foundation. But, on the other hand, it is not to be denied, that the Psalm is also a song of praise upon a king. The purpose of praising the king is declared at the beginning and the close. To the king the whole is addressed. What is said in commendation of the brides, is manifestly not for them, but for the king, who has such brides: so that views, such as De Wette’s: “I hold the Psalm to be a poem in honour of the king beside his consort,” entirely miss the right point of view. We must therefore conclude, that the Psalm is a eulogistic song upon a king on the occasion of his marriage.

We come now to investigate the subject of the Psalm. Nearly all the older Christian expositors understand it of the Messiah. The wedding is in their view a spiritual one, the queen Israel, “the virgins behind her, her companions,” the heathen nations. On the other hand, a great number of modern expositors have defended the non-Messianic exposition. But they have not succeeded in determining the application so as to agree upon the person of the king. The greater part think of Solomon and his union with an Egyptian princess; others, after the example of Hitzig, of Ahab of Israel, and his union with Jezebel; Bleek (Br. on the Hebr. P. II. p. 154,) of one of the later kings of Judah, considering any more exact determination impossible and others again of a Persian king.

The Messianic exposition is supported, first, by the fact of this Psalm’s admission into the number of the Psalms, and the canon of Scripture, which can be explained only on the supposition, that the allegorical interpretation at that time was universally admitted. And this can the less justly be denied, as the Messianic exposition is also found in the Chaldee paraphrase, and in numerous passages of the old Jewish writings, (comp. the Coll. in Schoettgen, de Mess. p. 234,) and the currency of which among the Jews, is implied in the citation in Hebrews 1:8-9. The farther proof that the Psalm could have been admitted into the Psalter and Canon, only on the ground of its allegorical meaning, we might leave untouched, as the recent opponents of the allegorical exposition see themselves necessitated to allow this. Ewald admits, that the Psalm, interpreted literally, has no analogy in the whole Psalter: “there is elsewhere no example of art so expressly consecrated to a king. Not properly God, but rather the king, is here the object and the aim of the praise. And in this praise are not merely included things properly divine. “The song is alone in the Psalter, and resembles more the poetry of the world.” Koester says: “when we consider the Psalm as having a place in the Psalter of the Synagogue, the fact can only be explained from an allegorical view of the union of Messiah with the church of Israel. The LXX. shew themselves to have been already well acquainted with this view, as they render in Psalms 45:6 and Psalms 45:7: O God! as an address.” Hitzig: “though a worldly song, contributing to sensual joys and pleasures, did not perish, yet its place was not in a collection of this sort, and it is to be regarded as an exception, if one of that kind has received a higher honour.”

The predilection in favour of the Messianic exposition of this Psalm, which we have derived from the fact of its reception into the canon, fully approves itself to us if we more narrowly investigate its contents. Even the superscription, which is distinguished from all the other Psalms by its multiplied designations, indicating by the very circumstance, that there is something uncommon, extraordinary, treated of in it, presents a fourfold argument for the view in question. 1. The expression: “to the chief musician,” shows, that the Psalm was destined for use in the public service of God, that it was sung in the temple at the holy assemblies, that it was a church-Song of Solomon 2. The sons of Korah are named as the authors of the Psalm. The historical books mention these to us as servants of the sanctuary; all the other Psalms of theirs, which have been preserved, bear a spiritual character, and this Psalm stands amid a circle of spiritual songs of the Korahites. 3. The Psalm is described as a משכיל , instruction, as a song of an edifying character, comp. on Psalms 32:4. Already does the superscription contain in the phrases: “upon lilies,” and: “a song of the beloved one,” a double allusion to a number of brides of the king, and this afterwards comes very distinctly out in the Psalm itself. According to Psalms 45:7, a greater joy is experienced by the Psalmist in this respect, than by his fellows; according to Psalms 45:8, he is made glad out of ivory palaces; according to Psalms 45:9, king’s daughters are among his honourable ones; according to Psalms 45:14-15, there are along with the king’s daughter also other virgins, her companions, brought to the king, and introduced into his palace. Hence arises to the defender of the non-Messianic exposition an invincible difficulty, as it has never been moral to take more than one wife at the same time. The attempts, which have been made to get rid of this difficulty, only show how great it is. The reference to the number of the brides, which lies in the words: “on the lilies,” and: “a song of the beloved ones,” has been attempted to be set aside by arbitrary expositions, as we shall see, when we come to the superscription. The king’s daughters in Psalms 45:9, according to Bleek, must not be brides, but the discharged mistresses of the king—which is sufficiently refuted by the words: “out of the ivory palaces,” and “they make thee glad,” in Psalms 45:8, and also: “he has anointed thee with the oil of joy above thy fellows,” in Psalms 45:7. The maidens in Psalms 45:14-15, are, according to Bleek, mere handmaids of the bride, who were given her on the part of her father’s house, and who now, in the train of their mistress, were brought along with her to the king. But the separation of the young women from the king’s daughters, is manifestly but an evidence of the difficulty; the designation, “their companions,” implies a footing of equality, and does not suit “mere handmaids;” the expressions: “they are brought to thee,” and: “they are concluded,” points to the circumstance, that these young women, as well as the bride, must unite themselves with the king in love; the handmaids remain with the queen, and have nothing to do with the king; the very fact, that the companions of the bride are named virgins, virgines illibatae, indicates that they must enter into a closer connection with the king, and the great number of sons also in Psalms 45:16 points to a marriage connection with the virgins.

If we follow the Messianic interpretation, the whole difficulty vanishes. The companions of the queen, who are inferior to her indeed in rank, but still are substantially like her, and, not less than she, must be united with the king in love, are then the heathen nations, the daughter of Tyre, the daughter of Babel, etc., before whom Israel, as the old covenant-people, has a certain outward precedence, but who, notwithstanding according to the uniform announcements in the prophets and Psalms regarding the Messiah’s kingdom, are made partakers along with them. So already the Chaldee and Kimchi filiae regum sunt gentes, quae omnes ad obsequium regis Messiae redigentur. A quite similar figurative representation is found in the Song of Solomon 6:8-9: “There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number; but one is my wife, my pious one, etc.” There is here therefore declared in a figurative form the very same thing, which in plain terms is stated in the other Messianic Psalms, such for example, as Psalms 2:8, that the Messiah would receive for a possession all people from one end of the earth to the other; Psalms 72:8, that he should reign from sea to sea, from Euphrates to the ends of the earth, etc. Hoffmann thinks, that what is uncommon in the lower relations, which form the ground of the figurative representation, that appears also unsuitable in reference to the higher. But what poet could have satisfied himself with such a canon! It would certainly be a very tame poetry, which should bind itself so slavishly to the common reality. What is uncommon in earthly love, the number of brides, this in the spiritual marriage is precisely according to the truth of things. The confidence, with which such Palpably false positions are set forth, may well fill us with as, astonishment.

The strongest proofs for the Messianic exposition present themselves in Psalms 45:6 and Psalms 45:7, where the king is named God, and his dominion is described as eternal. The words: Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness, therefore has God anointed thee with the oil of joy above thy fellows, i.e. greater marriage blessings are conferred on thee, than on them, is not to be comprehended, if we regard the brides as real, and not ideal persons. An allegorical representation is also implied in the circumstance, that “the ivory palaces,” out of which the king’s daughters were brought to the king, stood so near to the palace of the king, that it required only a marriage procession to bring them from these to him. In a matter of real life it must have been quite otherwise. The non-Messianic interpreters are embarrassed by Psalms 45:12, where the queen is assured of the homage of the Tyrians, as these never stood in a relation to Israel, which could have led to such a thing being so much as thought of. Then, by this interpretation, it remains incomprehensible, how this homage should be promised to the queen as a reward for the entire surrender of her heart to the king, and is made to depend upon this. In Psalms 45:16 it is said that the king will set his sons for princes over the whole earth.

Against the reference to Solomon, there is still the special objection, that the king in Psalms 45:3-5, is addressed as a hero,—not as a person, who, in fitting circumstances, might be this, as Hoffmann supposes, for the sake of that interpretation, but one who assuredly will be so,—compare especially Psalms 45:5. So also Psalms 45:16, which implies that the king should have an entire series of royal ancestors. Neither does it consist with any later Jewish king, that “kings’ daughters should be among the honourable women,” or that there should be such kingly state and glory as meets us throughout the whole Psalm, and which gave occasion to Venema’s just remark, that “no other can possibly be thought of here than Messiah or Solomon.” The reference to Ahab, whose father first seized the throne for himself, has Psalms 45:16 as an insuperable obstacle in the way; and at any rate we cannot think of a love song on an Israelitish king in the Jewish canon, composed by ministers of the temple in Jerusalem, and for employment in the divine service of that temple. The reference to a Persian king is now, at last, generally abandoned. Beside other grounds which at once present themselves, its close relation to Psalms 72 is decisive against the idea.

In such a state of matters, we can only ascribe it to the power which a prejudice, having once obtained a firm footing for itself at the beginning of rationalism, even now exerts over the minds of men, when a more impartial view of things is wont to be taken, that the Messianic exposition still finds so little favour. We see, at least, that the dislike to it appears without foundation. That the doctrinal matter of the Psalm stands entirely upon the ground of the old covenant, is clear as day. For every single figurative trait of the Messiah contained in it we can bring exactly corresponding parallel passages. Compare with Psalms 45:3-5, Psalms 72 and Isaiah 11 with Psalms 45:6 and Psalms 45:7, where the king is addressed as God, Isaiah 9:5, Psalms 110, Micah 5:1, Daniel 7:13-14, Zechariah 12:10, Zechariah 13:7, and the Christology there. The admission of the heathen into the kingdom of God in the times of Messiah is the uniform doctrine of the Psalms and prophecies, compare, for example, Psalms 2, Psalms 72. Isaiah 11:10: “the root of Jesse, which stands for an ensign of the peoples, which the Gentiles shall seek.” In like manner also, there are analogies that may be brought for the mode of representation in all its parts. That the personification of people as women, and specially as maidens, is a very common one in the Hebrew poetry, is well known, compare Isaiah 47, Psalms 54:1, ss., Jeremiah 46:11, Gesen. Thes. p. 320. In this very Psalm the city of Tyre appears as the daughter of Tyre. The representation of the higher love under the image of the lower is of frequent occurrence in the poetry of the East. Kistemaker, Cantic. Cant. ex hierographia orient. illustr. p. 28, ss., gives examples from Persian literature. From the Arabic comp. the poem Bordah, pub. by Uri, and by Von Rosenzweig under the title: Sparkling planets in praise of the best of creatures, (Mohammed) Vienna, 1824, and Ebn Faredh in De, Sacy’s Christom. and the Journ. As. The Turkish poem: Gülgül and Bülbül, that is, Rose and Nightingale, pub. and trans. by Von Hammer, Leipzig, 1834, concludes with “an explanation of the secret sense, which is contained in this sad history and lamentable narrative for the mystic,” beginning with the words: “Thou who seest these leaves, take not as a fable that which then proceeded from the fable; the instruction (moral) at length follows the fable.” In the territory of Scripture, the representation of the relation of God or Christ to the people of the Old and New Testament under this image, is very common. The germ of the representation is found already in the Pentateuch, comp. my Beitr. P. II. p. 48, ss. It meets us in the most extended form in the Song, comp. the proof for the correctness of the general exposition of that book in the Ev. K. Z. 1827, p. 177, ss. General agreements are found in Isaiah 54:5; Isaiah 62:4-5, Jeremiah 3:1, Hosea 1-3, Ezekiel 16, Ezekiel 23, Matthew 9:15; Matthew 22, Matthew 25, John 3:29, Romans 7:4, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Ephesians 5:27, Ephesians 5:32, Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 22:17. Finally, for the representation of Israel under the image of a wife of the first rank, and the heathen nations under the image of wives of an inferior standing, the relations of Solomon’s time, as appears especially from 1 Kings 3 and 1 Kings 11 presented the substratum. Besides the wife of the first rank, the daughter of the king of Egypt, Solomon had also a great multitude of outlandish women, in whom the poetic vision could easily discerned the types of the nations to be some time reigned over by Solomon’s great successor, as in him also it discerned the type of this successor. By such wives were these nations first represented in Jerusalem.

The arguments against the Messianic exposition have already been refuted in Christol. I. p. 123, ss. Nothing new since then has been advanced.

For the composition of the Psalm in the time of Solomon there is the fact, that the relations of that time form the basis of the representation, and then, the near relationship it holds to Psalms 72 which appears to have been the forerunner and occasion of this, as Psalms 63 of Psalms 42 and Psalms 43; Psalms 60 of Psalms 44 : also its relation in another respect to the Canticles.

To the chief musician, upon lilies, of the sons of Korah, an instruction, a song of the beloved, (Pl.) It being inscribed to the chief musician, indicates that the Psalm was designed for employment in God’s service; and hence, that it possesses a sacred character—opposing at the very threshold, every profane interpretation, and demanding that we penetrate from the shell into the kernel of the Psalm. Then follow four designations which make two pairs, each pointing at once to the form and to the nature, the one rising from the form to the nature, the other descending from the nature to the form. The Psalm employs itself on lilies, beautiful virgins, lovely brides, but it is composed by the sons of Korah, ministers of the sanctuary, whose song can have, not an earthly, but a heavenly love for its object. The song is an instruction; it bears a didactic character, prescribes for the spiritual life, so that the loved ones of whom it sings, could be those only of a heavenly bridegroom.

As שוּ?שן and שוֹ?שן , elsewhere occurs in the sense of lilies, so we can only translate על ששנים , upon lilies. The current exposition: After the manner of a song, or upon an instrument named lilies, are manifestly but indications of difficulty. That we must here, and in the analogous superscriptions of Psalms 40, Psalms 49, Psalms 80, strike out an entirely new way of explanation, is clear already from the remark of Ewald, Poet. B. I. p. 174; “evidently dark words, if people ask for anything like a tolerable sense.” We take the lilies as a figurative description of the lovely virgins, whose marriage with the king the Psalmist celebrates. 1. In a large number of Psalms the object of the Psalm is introduced in the superscription by על or אל , and indeed for the most part in figurative enigmatical terms; and the reference to the object, in designations of the kind almost uniformly approves itself as the correct one, where a reference has been supposed to lie to the melody, or to some instrument. So Psalms 22, Psalms 53, and Psalms 88, (comp. introd. to Psalms 14) Psalms 56, Psalms 5; comp. also Habakkuk 3:1, (see introd. to Psalms 7) 2. This exposition is supported by the ידידות , the beloved, which corresponds to “the lilies,” according to this exposition, and is to be regarded as its explanation, precisely as in Ps. the figurative lilies is explained by the literal statement that follows. In like manner in the Psalm itself, “the king’s daughters,” and “the honourable” in Psalms 45:9, “the virgins” in Psalms 45:14. 3. In the Canticles, the character of which is so nearly related to our Psalm, not only in general as an image of what is lovely, Song of Solomon 5:13: “his lips are lilies,” Song of Solomon 4:5; Song of Solomon 6:2-3; Song of Solomon 7:3; (comp. Hosea 14:5,) but the bride is specially designated by this name. She calls herself in Song of Solomon 2:1, “a lily of the valley,” and the lover says of her in Song of Solomon 2:2, “as a lily among the thorns, so is my love among the daughters.” 4. In the other Psalms, the superscriptions of which make mention of lilies, the reference to the loveliness of the object sung of, everywhere approves itself as the right one. Comp. on Psalms 60 etc.

As משכיל , instruction, comp. on Psalms 32. Our Psalm gives itself to be formally recognized in Psalms 45:10-12. The exhortation: “forget thy people and thy father’s house:”—“O man, how dost thou not understand and go to meet thy king, who humbles himself so much to come to thee, and so faithfully interests himself in thee! Do but receive him now with joy, provide for him an access to thy heart, that he may enter into thy mind, and that thou mayest enjoy his goodness,”—this discovers itself to be the proper kernel of the Psalm, and all besides serves merely a preparatory part. The words: שיר ידידות can only be rendered: a song of the beloved ones, a song, whose object are the loved,—comp. שיר with the object following in Psalms 30. The loved are the lilies, the king’s daughters, and honourable in Psalms 45:9, the virgins, who according to Psalms 45:14, were brought to the king. The designation corresponds to our Braut-lied (nuptial song), only that it alludes to the number of the brides; a song for a simple marriage would be שיר ידידה . This allusion at the very threshold to a number of brides, which presents an insuperable barrier in the way of a literal interpretation, is so fatal to the advocates of this, that they seek by sacrifices to get rid of it. The greater part, among the last Hoffmann, would explain ידידות : lovely things. On the other hand, Clauss has already pressed the objection, that no analogy is to be found in the superscriptions of such a boastful note of excellence, and Ewald, that such a combination of words, song of lovely things, for lovely song, may be sought for in prose. We remark, besides, that by this exposition the already produced parallel places in the Psalm itself are left without attention, that ידיד is always, used in the sense of beloved, never in that of lovely, not even in the passage Psalms 84:1, (that we must there keep the common signification of beloved, is clear from the very next verse.) Ewald (Poet. B. I. p. 29), and others expound: love song, a song of the love kind. But ידיד is never, as its form also might lead us to expect, used as a substantive. Even ידידוּ?ת in Jeremiah 12:7, signifies only love in the sense of, the beloved.

It is still to be remarked, that ידיד and ידידה , after the example, and on the ground of Deuteronomy 33:12, is put for a designation of those, who are loved of the Lord; Solomon, according to 2 Samuel 12:25, bore the name of Jedidiah: “and he called his name Jedidiah, because of the Lord,” comp. in 2 Samuel 12:24, “the Lord loved him;” Jedidiah, the loved (of the Lord), was the name of the mother of Josiah, according to 2 Kings 22:1, see Gesen. Thes. If the word, therefore, was commonly used of holy love, the right understanding was not far to seek.

Verse 1

Ver. 1. My heart boils with good words, I speak: my works to the king, my tongue a style of a quick writer. This is the introduction. The expression: my works to the king, forms the centre. A consequence of this is the goodness of the word, which is directed upon the glory of the object, and that the tongue must resemble the style of a quick writer. The exalted subject fills the Psalmist with animation, so that he has no need to seek for words, but they flow in upon him of themselves and flow out again. רחש , to boil, points to the internal excitement and fulness. It belongs to verbs of fulness, and on this account has the accusative with it, Ew. § 484. John Arnd: “Now mark and learn here the new heart of the faithful, in which Christ dwells through faith, and which is so full of Christ the Lord that it runs over like a fountain, and cannot be silent, it must break forth.” The expression: my works to the king, is to be taken as an exclamation, as also the third member, comp. Ew. § 585. The מלךְ? in prose would have the article,—compare upon the want of the article in poetry, Ew. § 533. We must not explain: my works, by: my poem. For this signification is entirely without proof, the plural is then extraordinary, and the common signification is proved by this, that the works according to the common trilogy, stand here beside the heart and the tongue. Hence the meaning can only be: to the service of the king must all my doing be consecrated. But this, from the connection, is certainly said with special respect to the work, which the Psalmist had now in hand. מהחיר is always hastening. The sig. active, expert, is not proved by any of the passages brought in support of it. Ezra derived his name: the quick writer, Ezra 7:6, after the Jewish custom, from this passage. The view of most of the older expositors, according to which the writer must be the Holy Spirit, the words an explanation upon the inspiration, has been fruitlessly revived by Stier. Ezra already understood by writer, a scribe, otherwise he would never have supposed himself at liberty to appropriate the name.

Verse 2

Ver. 2. The praise of the king begins. Thou art the most beautiful among the children of men; grace was poured upon thy lips, therefore God blesses thee for ever. Against the supposition, that יפיפית is a form with reduplication of the two first radicals, it is to be objected, that such forms elsewhere do not occur. The easiest method is, with Schultens, to take the form as standing for יֳ?פִ?י יָ?פִ?יתָ? , prop. thou art beautifulness beautiful, for, thou art perfectly beautiful. For this explanation, which is far more natural, than that struck out by Ew. § 256, many analogies can be produced, comp. Ew. § 486. The beauty here, since it is described, in what follows, as the ground of the divine blessing, cannot be simply outward beauty, but only the expression and image of spiritual perfection, which the poet, like the painter, sees so exactly in this mirror, comp. what is said in the poem Bordah, v. 39, of Mohammed, with Rosenzweig’s remarks. Here the extolling of the beauty was favoured by the particular design of the Psalm. That the beauty is throughout beauty of expression, is implied in the second member. The grace, which is here specially ascribed to the lips, is manifestly but a reflection of the loveliness of the speech, which streams from the lips, and parallel are 1 Kings 10:8, where the Queen of Sheba says to Solomon: “Happy are thy men, happy these thy servants, who stand continually before thee and hear thy wisdom,” and Luke 4:22: “And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words (ἐ?πὶ? τοῖ?ς λό?γοις τῆ?ς χά?ριτος ) which proceeded out of his mouth,”—in which passage there is a very pointed reference to this verse. The על כן , various expositors, because they cannot comprehend how the beauty should be the reason of the blessing, take in the sig. of because; but it means always, without exception, therefore, comp, Winer, s. v., and unquestionably occurs in that signification in Psalms 45:7 and Psalms 45:17. Then, with the rendering because, the for ever appears also unsuitable. By comparing Psalms 45:7 and Psalms 45:17, we shall have to refer the blessing, which God imparts to the king, specially to the enlargement of his dominion. Thus also Psalms 45:3-5 join fitly in.

Verses 3-5

Ver. 3. Gird thy sword on thy thigh, O hero, thy majesty and thy glory.

Ver. 4. And in this thy glory ride on victoriously, because of truth and meekness-righteousness, and thy right hand will teach thee terribleness.

Ver. 5. Thine arrows are sharp, peoples fall under thee, they pierce the heart of the enemies of the king. It is here represented how the king appropriates to himself the blessing, which God imparts to him on account of his grace, by his heroic virtue, glory, and majesty. The imperatives have prophetic import. The Psalmist calls upon the king to do that, which he will surely perform. This is clear from the connection, as in what precedes and follows, it is not wishes that are contained, but declarations on the glory of the king, also from the circumstance, that the discourse, after having begun with imper. proceeds with fut.: shall teach thee, shall fall. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, as one does in the prospect of warlike undertakings, comp. 1 Samuel 25:13. Thy majesty and thy glory stand in opposition to: thy sword. Many expositors render: thy ornament and thy comely dress. But the usage decides against this rendering. הוד (from הודה to praise, prop. praise; the signification turgor, vigor, which Gesen. in many places adopts, and on the ground of which he rejects this so natural derivation, and prefers another much more remote, is in no place well founded), and הדר , glory, so united, are put for a designation of the divine glory, Psalms 96:6, Psalms 104:1, Psalms 111:3, Job 10, and of the reflection of the same in earthly things, comp. on Psalms 8:6, and Psalms 21:5, where it is said of the Davidic race, “his glory is great through thy salvation, honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.” הוד also alone, is frequently used of the divine and kingly majesty, comp. 1 Chronicles 29:25: “And the Lord magnified Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed upon him royal majesty, מלכות הוד , which had not been on any king before him in Israel,” Daniel 11:21. On account of this very apposition, we might take the sword figuratively: the glory and majesty, the spiritual sword of the hero, with which he subdues the peoples. But the analogy of the arrows in Psalms 45:5 is against this. It only remains, therefore, for us to suppose that the sword of the hero-king is, indeed, a proper sword, but that the Psalmist, viewing it with the eyes of the Spirit, sees in it a symbol of his glory and majesty, so that he is girded with these, just as with the sword, which they use and manifest themselves thereby. The sword, spiritually considered, is everywhere as the man is, who bears it. That which is materially alike, assumes to the spiritual eye a quite different aspect. The subject of the Psalm becomes concentrated in the name El Gibbor, God-hero, which Isaiah 9:5, ascribes to the Messiah; the glory and the majesty corresponds to the El. Under the image of a mighty hero bringing the peoples under him, the Messiah also appears in Psalms 110:5, ss. Of New Testament scripture we are to compare, not Revelation 1:16, where the sword is that of the teacher, but Revelation 19:15, “And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he might smite the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron,” comp. Revelation 19:21, Revelation 2:12. In Psalms 45:4, the term: thy glory, is emphatically repeated, in order to indicate, that this is what provides the sure pledge of a prosperous issue. We can take the word either as nomin. absol.: and thy glory—may it be prosperous, proceed onwards; or as accus.: and in respect to thy glory, comp. Ew. 483. צלח , not to penetrates not to break up, not to fall over, not to spring up, not to impose; of its ascertained meanings there is only one: to have success, to be prosperous, comp. Isaiah 53:10, which is applicable here. צלח is to be closely connected with רכב : may be prosperous, go forward, for, proceed prosperously, victoriously, comp. Ew. § 539. רכב , of the king, who goes to battle in a chariot, also 1 Kings 22:34-35, is used as here absolutely, without naming the chariot, for ex. 2 Kings 9:16. The על דבר in this connection signifies constantly on account of, and for this reason alone we cannot suppose, that על marks the seat, which the king ascends. אמת always means truth, never faithfulness. Upon ענוה , humility, then the meekness and gentleness springing from humility, comp. on Psalms 18:35. ענוה־צדק cannot be regarded as asynd.: meekness and righteousness. Against this there is the Makkeph and the form עַ?נְ?וָ?ה , instead of the more common עֲ?נָ?וָ?ה , according to Stier’s just remark, a middle formation between stat. constr. and absol. The two words form rather a kind of nom. compos. But meekness-righteousness is not righteousness coupled with meekness, or tempered by it—such a contrast between righteousness and meekness is quite foreign to the Old Testament usage—but righteousness, which primarily and chiefly manifests itself in meekness. Meekness is the kernel of righteousness. Comp. Zephaniah 2:3: “Seek ye the Lord, all ye meek of the land, who do his judgment, seek righteousness, seek meekness,” where the meek are those, who do the judgment of the Lord, and where the striving after righteousness manifests itself first of all in a striving after meekness. The expression: on account of truth, etc. cannot indicate the properties of the king, on account of which he deserves victory, for then צלח must have stood after רכב . It rather means as much as, for the truth, which stands opposed to deceit and lies, comp. Hosea 4:1, Isaiah 59:14-15, for the good of him who possesses it, for the support and salvation of the truthful, the meek, the righteous; Luther right in the main: to maintain the truth aright, and the poor in their cause. Exactly parallel are Psalms 62:4, “He shall judge the poor of the people, save the sons of the needy, and break in pieces the oppressor,” comp. Psalms 5:12, Isaiah 11:4, “And he judges with righteousness the poor, and performs equity and justice for the meek of the land, and smites the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he slays the wicked.”

In Psalms 45:5 we must supply to, under thee: thou who comest with thine arrows upon them. Since then: under thee, is as much as under thine arrows, we can have no difficulty in supplying arrows in the last member, and there is no reason for so constrained an interpretation as that of De Wette (thy sharp arrows—peoples sink at thy feet—pierce the heart of the enemies of the king,) and of Hitzig: thy strong arrows, thou, under whom the peoples fall, stick in the heart of the enemies of the king—against which, besides the want of the article in שנינים , (comp. Ew. § 537, who here, however, grants more than ought to be granted,) there is the circumstance, that so trailing a period is intolerable in a song of such raciness. “The enemies of the king,” is a dignified expression for thy enemies. The idea in the verse is: the glory of the king, who secures for himself glorious results in the conflict for truth and righteousness, provides for him an easy conquest over his enemies. Arnd: “In this we have the glorious consolation, that our king fights for us, pierces the hearts of his enemies with arrows, so that they must be frightened and appalled, but the heart of faith he governs softly, gently, and affectionately.”

Verse 6

Ver. 6. Thy throne, O God, remains for ever and ever, a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of thy kingdom. The perpetual continuance of the dominion in the first member, and its internal character in the second, stand in the closest connection with each other. They are related to one another as cause to effect, comp. Isaiah 9:7: “that he (the Messiah may establish and settle it by judgment and righteousness, from henceforth even for ever.” The Messianic expositors take Elohim as the vocative, O God, in unison with: O hero, in Psalms 45:4. That this exposition must be one that lies nearest, the most readily and naturally occurs, appears even from the fact, that all the old translators, with whom also concurs the Ep. to the Hebrews, express the vocative. The non-Messianic expositors at first adopted this view likewise, and alleged, that the name Elohim might be used of judges, kings, etc. But since this opinion has been found untenable, (comp. against it, for example, Gesen. on Isaiah 9:5, and in the Thes. I. p. 98, Christol. p. 118, ss.) they have felt it necessary to resort to another mode of exposition. But they have not been able to bring forward any thing grammatically tenable. The greater part render: thy God-throne, i.e. thy throne committed to thee by God, stands for ever, while they suppose a stat. constr. interrupted by a suff. The only passage in which such a stat. constr. really appears to have place, is Leviticus 26:42, where בריתי יעקב , my Jacob’s covenant, stands for, my covenant with Jacob. But this passage, even apart from the circumstance, that the exposition is not quite certain, (Ewald, § 406, takes the י not as suff., but as the ancient external mark of the stat. constr.) presents on this account no suitable analogy, because in it the violation of the general rule, according to which, the suff. in the stat. constr. can only be appended to the second noun, is justified by this, that there that is a proper name, and hence is capable of no suff., while here the second noun bears an appellative character, and therefore both can and must receive the suff. Hoffmann, indeed, maintains, that the Elohim in this Psalm, as also elsewhere in those of the Korahites, has the nature of a proper name, and stands precisely for Jehovah, and therefore could receive no suff.; but, on the other hand, we have only to cast a glance at the אלהיך in the immediately following verse. Elohim is everywhere used in the Korahite Psalms in no other way, than it is throughout the whole of the Old Testament. The alleged analogies, which Maurer still brings forward, vanish at once on nearer inspection. In Psalms 71:7, מַ?חֲ?סִ?י עֹ?ז is not: my refuge of strength, but the עז is loosely appended to מחסי , my refuge, strength, which is strength, or strong. The same holds of 2 Samuel 22:33, comp. vol. i. p. 313, Ezekiel 16:27, Lamentations 4:17

Others expound: thy throne is God’s throne. So Ew. § 547, and Gesenius, who, however, vacillates in uncertainty between this and the first rendering, and prefers sometimes the one, and, sometimes the other, (comp. besides Thes. p. 1036,) which itself is no mark of a satisfied exegetical conscience. But there has not been produced a single well established example, where the just named subject in stat. constr. repeats itself in thought at the same time as part of the predicate. For the קירותיו עץ (Ew.) is not a case in point. It is not to be translated: his walls are walls of wood, but: his walls are wood. According to this analogy, we must, taking the Elohim as predicate, translate here: thy throne is (wholly) God, which gives no sense. Only to this also does the analogy of Psalms 45:8 lead. (Ew.) There it does not indeed mean: myrrh, etc. are of thy garments, but are thy garments, they consist, as it were, entirely of it, are simply myrrh. In the Song of Solomon 1:15, (Gesen.) we are to translate: thine eyes are doves, what doves are as to their eyes, not (eyes) of doves. So that the construction of Elohim as vocat. is the only one which can be grammatically justified. For removing the objection raised against it by Ewald, that the “for ever and ever” is always a mere accompaniment, never itself a predicate, Psalms 89:36-37, is alone sufficient.

With the expression: “thy throne remains for ever and ever, is to be compared the original passage, 2 Samuel 7:13, “I establish the throne of his kingdom even to eternity,” and 2 Samuel 7:16, “And thy house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee, thy throne shall be established for ever,” and the parallel passage of the whole house of David, of the ideal son of David, Psalms 89:4, Psalms 89:36-37 “his seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me; as the moon it shall be established for ever,” Psalms 21:4, Psalms 18:50, Psalms 61:6-7, Psalms 132:12; and of the Messiah, in whom the stem of David was to culminate, Psalms 72:5, “They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations,” Psalms 110:4, and Isaiah 9:6. By comparing these original and parallel passages, from which it is impossible to separate this, it follows: 1. That the reference is inadmissible to a heathen, or to an Israelitish king, or any reference to a particular human individual of the royal house of Judah, as they shew, that the “for ever and ever” must be taken in a strong sense. 2. That the אלהים is vocative. In both the original passage and the parallel passages, the subject of discourse is the eternity of the throne, or of the dominion in itself, not of the precise constitution of this.

On the second member, the parallel passage, Isaiah 11:4, is to be compared. מישור , prop. ivory, is found, besides there and here; only in Psalms 67:4, in a moral sense.

From the praise of the glorious king, the Psalmist now passes on to the theme of the royal marriage, for the celebration of which that praise was only to serve as introductory and preparatory.

Verse 7

Ver. 7. Thou lovest righteousness and hatest wickedness, therefore, O God, has thy God anointed thee with the oil of joy above thy companions. By means of the words: Thou lovest righteousness, etc., the beginning of the second part joins itself closely to the termination of the first, in which the righteousness of the kingly government was celebrated. This connection also, particularly the therefore, shows that the first part does not stand independent of the first, but serves as its foundation. Grammatically the rendering: God, thy God, has anointed thee, would have nothing opposed to it, comp. Psalms 43:4, etc. But if we compare Psalms 45:6, where the Elohim is in the vocat., we must so construe also here, the more so, as the Elohim at the beginning of the second part corresponds with visible intention to the Elohim at the close of the first. By this significant position of the Elohim, we are made to see, that it governs the whole. It was customary to anoint with oil on joyful occasions, hence to anoint any one with oil, is for, to impart to him joy. The further designation of the oil as oil of joy, has respect to this, that the Psalmist, among the different kinds of anointing, has that specially in his eye, in which the oil of joy stands opposed to mourning, comp. Isaiah 61:1. That here the discourse is not of the joy in general, which God gave to the king, but, in particular, of the joy which accrued to him from the great number of the glorious brides that God brought to him,—of his joy “in the day of his espousals, in the day of the gladness of his heart,” Song of Solomon 3:11, appears from the next verse, in the first member of which it is represented, how the joy of the king manifests itself, and, in the second, whence it springs: it comes from the palaces of ivory, in which are the king’s daughters. The expression: above thy companions, i.e. all other kings, is to be explained from 1 Kings 3:11-13, where God says to Solomon: “I give thee a wise and an understanding heart, so that there was none like thee, before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee.

And also I give thee riches and honour, so that there shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days,” comp. 2 Chronicles 12.

If it is certain, that the joy of the king is no other, than what arises from his possession of the brides, the non-Messianic interpretation necessarily comes into a great strait. The possession of a numerous harem is a rare recompense for the love of righteousness and the hatred of wickedness. On the other hand, the therefore appears deeply grounded, according to the Messianic exposition, in which the brides represent peoples, comp. Psalms 72:12, ss., “for he delivers the poor that cries,” etc., with Psalms 45:8-11, where the extension of Messiah’s dominion over all nations is set forth.

Verse 8

Ver. 8. Myrrh, aloes, and cassia, are all thy garments, out of palaces of ivory, from which they rejoice thee. The garments of the king are simple myrrh, etc., they smell as sweetly of the precious spices, as if they were wholly made of these. It is self-evident, that the discourse here is of the king’s garments in the day of the joy of his heart. The connection shows this incontestably, and the possession of fine smelling-clothes was in itself too unimportant to be here particularly mentioned; every kingdom could provide that for itself. Palaces of ivory, i.e. such as had their chambers ornamented with ivory, appear to have been the common dwellings of kings and great men, comp. besides 1 Kings 22:39, according to which Ahab is said to dwell in such a palace, Amos 3:15, “houses of ivory shall perish,” Amos 6:4, Song of Solomon 7:4, “Thy neck is as a tower of ivory.” We may see from these passages, with what right Hitzig would find in the mention of the palaces of ivory, an undoubted proof of the reference of the Psalm to Ahab. This appears so much the more arbitrary, as here it is not one palace of ivory, but palaces, that are spoken of. The passage, Amos 3:15, Hitzig endeavours to get rid of by the remark, that Amos spoke at Bethel, and knew Samaria probably by mere hearsay!

The ivory palaces are here the dwelling-places of the king’s daughters, Psalms 45:9.

As מני so often occurs in the Psalms as the prep. מן with the so-called י parag. comp. Psalms 44:10, Psalms 44:18; Psalms 68:31, etc., Ewald § 406, we must take it so here also, if it should be found suitable. We obtain a very natural and fitting sense, if we consider it as an expressive repetition of מן before היכלי , which is properly to be supplied again after the מני : out of the ivory palaces, therefrom they rejoice thee, etc.: the joy, of which I speak, comp. Psalms 45:7, comes to thee from other places, etc. Exactly analogous is Isaiah 59:18: צעל גמלת כעל ישלם according to their gifts, accordingly he will recompense. Hoffmann, taking the same grammatical view of מני translates: more than the ivory palaces, yea more than these do they (the garments) rejoice thee. But thereby the reference of the expression: “they rejoice thee,” to the oil of joy in Psalms 45:7, is left without notice, an undue importance is attached to the clothing, the whole verse is torn from its connection, etc. The now current exposition is: out of ivory palaces rejoice thee stringed instruments. מנים in this sense, Psalms 150:4. But this is liable to the following objections. 1. The Hebrew language does not know a plural ending in י . The examples, which, according still to Ew. § 359, must “certainly belong to such,” all vanish on a nearer inspection. The עמי in 2 Samuel 22:44, signifies, not peoples, but my people, comp. vol. i. p. 320. So also in Lamentations 3:14. In 1 Samuel 20:38, the Ketib is not to be pointed with Ewald חִ?צּ?ִ?י , but חֵ?צִ?י comp. 1 Samuel 20:36 and 1 Samuel 20:37. שלישי in 2 Samuel 23:8, is sing., as רגלי , foot-goer, for, foot-people. Ewald himself at an earlier period denied this ending, Small Gr. § 296. 2. The reference, which: they rejoice thee, has to the oil of joy in Psalms 45:8, is also against this rendering. It destroys the intermediate member between the oil of joy, and the king’s daughters. Then, by this construction we must, instead of: from palaces, rather have expected: in palaces. Finally, if we understand the words generally of the musical joy, which the king partook of, then the sense is a truly childish one.—שׂ?ִ?מּ?ֵ?חוּ?ךָ? is best taken indeterminately: one rejoices thee, thou art rejoiced. The nearer description of those, from whom the joy comes, follows in the next verse: they are the daughters of kings, whom the king takes home from the ivory palaces.

Verse 9

Ver. 9. Daughters of kings are among thy honourables, the consort stands at thy right hand in gold of Ophir. What is said here figuratively is repeated in plain terms in Psalms 72:8-11, the sum of which is declared at the close in the words: “all kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall serve him.” Comp. also Psalms 47:8-9, according to which the nobles of all the heathen gather themselves to the people of the God of Jacob. בִ?יקּ?ְ?רוֹ?תֵ?תךָ? , an Aramaic form for בְ?יִ?קּ?ְ?רוֹ?תֵ?יךָ? , compare Ewald, § 464, with Dag. Euphon., is not: among thy dear ones, in the sense of beloved, but in the sense of: among thy glorious ones. For יקר signifies only dear=precious, glorious, compare Proverbs 3:15, Proverbs 6:26. This signification also is, according to the whole context, to be adhered to in the only passage beside this, which Gesenius brings forward for the meaning, beloved, Lamentations 4:2. To the idea of pomp and glory points also the second member: splendid are all the consorts, the most splendid is the consort of first rank. Against the meaning we adopt, Stier objects: “who then were the others, that belonged to the wedding party, since all have been named?” But the ב denotes the class to which the brides belonged: if there were no more of them, more at least might be thought of. Quite analogous, for example, is this: “the Lord is among my helpers,” in Psalms 118:7, comp. Psalms 54:4, Judges 11:35. Many, after Luther, expound: daughters of kings are in thy ornaments, in thy jewels clothed therein, יקרות being probably taken in this signification in Zechariah 14:6, comp. Christol. in loc. But it is not to be supposed, that the king’s daughters, whom the king for the first time, leads away from the palaces of ivory, would be clothed by him even before the marriage, as that would be against the custom of all nations, and especially of the orientals. שגל , used in Daniel 5:2-3, and Nehemiah 2:6, of the Chaldee and Persian queens, is the rare and unusual designation of a consort of the first rank, which, as being such, poetry peculiarly appropriates to itself. The familiar appellation, גבירה , was still in common use in the age of Jeremiah, compare Jeremiah 29:2, Jeremiah 13:18. She is here named consort, who ought to be so. The place on the right hand is the place of honour. The royal bride is admitted to this place in the house of her father, compare Psalms 45:10, his ivory palace, Psalms 45:8, whence the king, according to the oriental custom, ( 1Ma_9:37 , ss.), has come to conduct her away, and where even the festive procession is arranged. The Psalmist then delivers to her in Psalms 45:10-12, a kind of mournful address, admonishing her, while she is going to leave outwardly her father’s house, to do so also inwardly, with her inclination, and then begins the procession to the palace of the king. Gold of Ophir was already in David’s time known in Jerusalem, compare against Hitzig, 1 Chronicles 29:4, under Solomon it came thence in great abundance.

Verse 10

Ver. 10, Hear daughter, and see, and incline thine ear, and forget thy people, and thy father’s house. The Psalmist now addresses the bride, of whom he had hitherto spoken. What is said immediately to the bride, is substantially spoken also to the other brides. According to the current exposition, the Psalmist must address the bride as his daughter. So understood, this address serves for confirmation of the figurative interpretation of the Psalm. Hoffmann indeed thinks, that this address is unsuitable in the figurative, not less than in the literal interpretation. But he overlooks, that in an ideal relation a description corresponding to the nature of things may be perfectly appropriate, which is shut out as improper by the laws established for the relations of common reality. But we can also conveniently suppose, that the daughter stands here for king’s daughter, or that the Psalmist so addresses the royal daughter, because she must now pass from the relation of a daughter into that of a consort. For this speaks the “king’s daughters,” in Psalms 45:9, the “king’s-daughter,” in Psalms 45:13, and especially “the house of thy father,” here. What the daughter must hear, see, (ראה also of spiritual seeing,) and to which she must incline her ear, is the exhortation of the Psalmist: however, as the ו before שכחי shows, primarily this only in the general: hear what I shall say, and forget. The repeated calls for attention imply that the Psalmist has something important and difficult to ask of the queen. Solomon’s wives plainly violated the demand pressed also upon them, to forget their people and their father’s house; of them it is said in 1 Kings 11:4, “it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods.”

The word: forget, etc. carries a very significant reference to Genesis 12:1, where God said to Abraham, “Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee.” This call, which was then addressed to the father of the race, is given anew to the people. Berleb. Bible: “If we could only sail away over these rocks, we would soon come in sight of the city of God.” There is perhaps a reference besides to Genesis 2:24.

Verse 11

Ver. 11. And cause that the king shall have desire toward thy beauty, he is thy Lord, and thou must worship him. Many expound: and so will the king desire; others: he desires notwithstanding. But by this exposition justice is done neither to the fut. apoc., nor to the for. We must rather expound: let the king sigh after thy beauty, give him occasion to do this by forgetting thy people and thy father’s house,—throw no hindrance in his way regarding it, by not fulfilling this indispensable condition of his love to thee. The for, etc., points to the ground of obligation for the required conduct. She must entirely live for the satisfaction of her Lord, who desires of her the forgetting of her people and her father’s house. On the words: for he is thy Lord, comp. Genesis 3:16, Genesis 18:12; 1 Peter 3:5-6; and on: worship thou him, 1 Samuel 25:41; 1 Kings 1:16, 1 Kings 1:31.

Verse 12

Ver. 12. So will the daughter of Tyre implore thee with gifts, the rich among the people. Luther: “Hold thy bridegroom in honour, and thou shalt be in honour among all people, for he is so very powerful.” The “daughter Tyre,” for the city of Tyre, with a reference not to be mistaken to the daughter in Psalms 45:10, contains a clear indication, that under the latter, an ideal person, a personification, is to be understood. That we must not explain: the daughter of Tyre, but: the daughter Tyre, is evident from what was formerly remarked on Psalms 9:14. We are especially to compare: the virgin daughter Sidon, Isaiah 23:12. The construction בת with the plural presents no difficulty as to the sense. The verb חלה always signifies to be weak, sick, in Pi., to make weak, sick, in Pu., to be made feeble, sick. Therefore חלה פנים can only mean, to make weak, to soften the countenance, to entreat so beseechingly, that the other cannot reject the suppliant, and cannot shew himself hard. The exposition of Gesenius, verbally incorrect: to stroke the countenance, has this also against it, that it commonly occurs of Jehovah. The object of the earnest entreaty is reception into the community of the people of God, comp. Isaiah 44:5, Psalms 47:9. That Tyre should seek to gain the favour of the queen with fervent supplication and presents, and to make her inclined to fulfil her desire, is inexplicable on the literal interpretation. The proud island-city never stood in a relation of dependance to Israel, always holds it to be beneath its dignity to make a humble suit for their favour, Israel’s king and queen had nothing which it could have sought to obtain from them with imploring earnestness. In this view also, one does not see how the humble solicitations could be made dependant on the place the queen had in the heart of the king. On the other hand, every difficulty vanishes with the figurative interpretation. Only when the church of God really occupies the position of the church of God, can prayer be directed to her for reception into her society. The church exercises a drawing power toward those that are without, in exact proportion to her own internal connection with the Lord. Her surrender to the Lord forms the ground of the heathen’s surrender to her. According to other places also, the church of God, in Messianic times, is the object of earnest desire, as generally of the whole heathen world, which brings its riches to her, comp. Psalms 72:10, Isaiah 60:6, ss., Haggai 2:7-8, so in particular of proud Tyre; in the likewise Korahite Psalms 87. Tyre, Psalms 87:4, is expressly named among other powerful nations for reception into the kingdom of God, and according to Isaiah 23:18, the gain of Tyre shall one day become holy to the Lord.—עשירי עם , as opposition to בת צר , not the rich of the peoples, but of the people, or among the people, q. d. the richest persons, indicates why it is, that precisely Tyre’s solicitations for favour are promised to the queen, viz. that this is singled out of the mass of the other heathen nations, whose homage is promised to the queen in and with hers, only as being the richest city of the old world, comp. in regard to the riches of Tyre, Isaiah 23, Ezekiel 27.

The exposition of Hitzig is quite different from the one now given: And, O daughter of Tyre, with presents the rich of the people flatter thee. It has already been objected by others, that there is great harshness in taking בת צר with the prefixed copula as vocative, that the queen’s (Jezabel) much richer marriage is thus brought to remembrance with special emphasis in the most unsuitable place, and that בת צר is too prevailing a designation of the city itself, for our understanding by it a Tyrian princess. We add further, that the reference presupposed in this exposition, to the marriage of Ahab and Jezabel, has against it the name of the Korahites in the superscription, since these had no connection with the kingdom of the ten tribes; that in one verse, in which the discourse is of rich gifts and rich people, that exposition has the presumption in its favour, by which the bringers of the rich gifts, and the rich people, are the Tyrians, whose riches were proverbial; and finally, that the produced parallel passages are in favour of the exposition we have given. Hence, that view of Hitzig may be regarded as entirely exploded.

After the Psalmist has finished his address, which found a full response in the heart of the bride, the procession advances from the house of the bride’s father, into the palace of the king.

Verse 13

Ver. 13. All splendour is the king’s daughter within, her clothing of gold fabric. פנימה always means inwards, in respect to the within, in the interior, comp. Leviticus 10:18, 1 Kings 6:18, 2 Kings 7:11, never into, (Ew.), nor also in any other than a local sense, (against Kohlbrügge and Stier, who think, that the glory of the queen is thereby indicated as a hidden, spiritual one.) It can only mean: in the interior of the palace, where the king stands on her right hand, Psalms 45:9, parallel to: out of the ivory palaces, in Psalms 45:8, and forming the contrast to: she is brought to the king, in Psalms 45:14, they come into the palace of the king, in Psalms 45:15.

Verse 14

Ver. 14. In variously wrought garments she is brought to the king, virgins behind her, her companions are brought to thee. The ל in לרקמות marks the kind, to which the garments of the queen belong, to variegated, hence that they belong to the variegated. Somewhat differently Ew. § 520. As the clothing was already described in the preceding verse, many expositors would render: upon variegated coverings, or carpets, with reference to Matthew 21:8, and what interpreters, for ex. Kuinoel, have there collected. However, the beginning of our verse can very fitly be taken as the resumption of the close of the preceding one, serving the purpose of making it manifest, that the splendour of the queen is that of a wedding. The march of the king was described in Psalms 45:8, on the occasion of his coming to the bride, the march of the queen is described here, on the occasion of her coming to the king. As the king conducts away the bride, comp. Psalms 45:9, the expression: she is brought to the king, can only signify as much as: she is brought into the palace of the king, comp. Psalms 45:15. The exposition: behind her points to the precedence held by the bride over the brides; the designation: her companions, to the essential similarity, so that she still appears, as also in the N. T., as the first among equals.

Verse 15

Ver. 15. They are brought in joy and gladness, they come into the palace of the king. Then follows now, in Psalms 45:16 and Psalms 45:17, the closing address to the king.

Verse 16

Ver. 16. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons, thou wilt set them as princes over the whole earth. This verse rests upon the custom of wishing to the married pair a numerous and mighty offspring, comp. Genesis 24:60, Ruth 4:11-12. What in common relations can appear merely as a wish, assumes here the character of a prophecy. The sense of the first clause: thy glorious forefathers, David, Solomon, and their successors, shall be cast into the shade by thy still more glorious sons, and retire into the back-ground before them, comp. Isaiah 60:17. Of what sort these sons are to be, is determined by the nature of the connection, from which they are produced: they are spiritual sons. In the second clause, the relations of the Psalmist’s time appear to form the ground of the representation. Solomon had divided his land, according to 1 Kings 4:7, into twelve departments, and, according to 2 Samuel 8:18, David appointed his sons as sub-regents. A similar plan was adopted by Rehoboam, 2 Chronicles 11:23. As the fathers of the king did with their limited territory, so will this king do with the whole earth. The naked idea is expressed in Psalms 72:11: all kings will do homage to thee.

In order to meet the Messianic exposition, Hoffmann would again revive the rendering of בכל הארץ by: in the whole land. “The poet had nothing farther in his mind, than that the king will have sons enough, so as merely to dispose them everywhere in the land, in which he holds the highest office.” Already has De Wette described this exposition as prosaic, and, indeed, the conclusion would form a rare contrast to the whole elevated subject of the Psalm, so rare, that we might more truly call such an exposition ridiculous. The reference to the king’s glorious march of victory, Psalms 45:3-5, is thereby left entirely out of view, so also Psalms 45:12, according to which Tyre stands in a relation of subservience to the king, and Psalms 45:17, according to which the peoples praise him. There is no choice, therefore, but between the Messianic exposition, and that of De Wette, “hyperbolical flattery.”

Verse 17

Ver. 17. I will proclaim thy name among all generations, therefore will peoples praise thee for ever and ever. The expression: I will proclaim, is spoken by the Psalmist, not as an individual, but as a representative of the evangelists. He carries the praise no farther, than simply announcing the name of the Lord, his glorious attributes. By these remarks, and only by these, is the therefore capable of explanation.

Bibliographical Information
Hengstenberg, Ernst. "Commentary on Psalms 45". Hengstenberg on John, Revelation, Ecclesiastes, Ezekiel & Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/heg/psalms-45.html.
Ads FreeProfile