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Bible Commentaries

Kingcomments on the Whole Bible

Psalms 45

Verses 1-2

Introduction

Psalm 45 and the next three psalms (Psalms 46-48) are God’s response to Psalms 42-44, which describe the suffering of the remnant. The great need in suffering is experiencing the absence of God. In the coming psalms, God responds to this distress. In Psalm 45, the answer is that He does not take away the suffering, but He brings the Beloved One to them in their circumstances.

God’s response is particularly connected to the cry of the remnant in the last verses of the previous psalm (Psalms 44:23-Ezekiel :). It is an exceptional answer: not only does God answer prayer, He comes Himself in His own Person! As a result, the tone changes. Affliction changes to joy and victory. God gives the believing remnant a special view of the Messiah. He is their King and will come to deliver them. That sight of Him and His tender love for the bride (cf. Hosea 2:19-Proverbs :), and that He will come, give perseverance in enduring suffering.

In Psalm 44, God is their king (Psalms 44:4). In Psalm 45, Christ is the King, the true Son of David. This is evident from the quotation of this psalm in Hebrews 1, where the glory of Christ is described (Hebrews 1:8-1 Samuel :). Ancient Jewish writings, such as the Targum – an explanatory translation of the Old Testament – also recognize that Psalm 45 is about the King Messiah. The Targum translates Psalms 45:2 as follows: ‘Your beauty, O King Messiah, is greater than the sons of men.’ The psalm is not directed at God, but at the King. The phrase “king” occurs five times in this psalm.

This is an encouragement to every suffering believer. God does not always take away suffering, but in the midst of suffering He does come to His suffering child in a special way. He participates in it and helps bear it. Christ, Who is God, walked the path of suffering Himself, encouraged by the joy that lay before Him. Now believers may walk the same way, facing Him, Him Who loves us.

To us comes the exhortation “fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:2-Leviticus :).

We can divide the psalm as follows:
Psalms 45:1 Heading.
Psalms 45:1 Introduction.
Psalms 45:2-Deuteronomy : The bride speaks to the King.
Psalms 45:6-1 Samuel : The glory of the King.
Psalms 45:10-2 Kings : The King speaks to the bride/queen.
Psalms 45:13-Ezra : The glory of the bride.
Psalms 45:16-Esther : Conclusion.

The psalm begins in Psalms 45:2 and ends in Psalms 45:17 with “therefore” and “forever”. The glory of the King is the very reason (“therefore”) for the permanency (“forever”) of the blessings in His kingdom.

Fairer Than the Sons of Men

For “to the choir director” (Psalms 45:1) see at Psalm 4:1.

The phrase “according to the Shoshannim“ or “upon lilies” points to the loveliness of the type of music. It refers to the tone, melody and music type of this psalm. “The Shoshannim” or “lilies” refers to the faithful remnant in their connection with Christ. The faithful are to Him as the lilies in the midst of the thorns (Song of Solomon 2:1-Exodus :). Thorns are a picture of sin (Genesis 3:18). It is human nature as it became through the Fall. The King sees the faithful as these tender field flowers in an environment that is full of sin, threat and violence for them and against which they cannot protect themselves. But He can. He does so by connecting them to Himself in love.

After Psalms 42-44, this psalm is the next “maskil” or “teaching”, or “instruction”. The subject is the Messiah, the King, Who He is to God and to His own. This instruction will be for the encouragement of the remnant in the time of the great tribulation in a special way. For “a maskil” see further at Psalm 32:1 and Psalm 42:1.

For “of the sons of Korah” see at Psalm 42:1.

It is “a song of love”, literally “a song of the beloved” (plural). This is already indicated in the division of the psalm. It is a unique song in the book of Psalms. This song is about the love between the King, the Messiah, and His bride, which is the earthly Jerusalem.

When we are in need, the Spirit of God always wants to direct our hearts to the love of God. Then He wants to remind us that for those who love God “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28), even though sometimes we do not understand why certain things must happen to us.

When the Beloved, the King in His beauty, is presented, the poet’s heart is moved (Psalms 45:1). It is the working of the Holy Spirit, the Author of Scripture, Who fills the poet’s heart with wonder and amazement when he beholds the beauty of the great King, the Beloved of God. His heart is full of Him and overflows or bubbles over with good words. The word “overflows” is used for something that boils over because it is cooking, or for a fountain that bubbles up water and pushes it out. In this way, the poet’s “good theme” comes out.

His inner strong feelings are not expressed in ecstatic expressions, but are put into words in a controlled way in “a good theme”. A good word is a word about Christ, the King, Who is anointed over Zion (Psalms 2:6).

Christ is King of His earthly people. His relationship with His heavenly people, the church, is not that of a King. Nowhere in Scripture is He called ‘the King of the church’. To those who belong to the church, He is Lord. We confess Him as Lord. We did so at our conversion (Romans 10:8-1 Samuel :) and we have confessed it since we came to faith (1 Corinthians 8:6).

The poet brings forth the good theme in the form of addressing “my verses to the King”. The word “verses” is literally “works” or “occupation”. It refers to being busy with the King, thinking about Him and expressing Himself about Him (cf. Isaiah 5:1). Reciting a poem is done with great feeling, but always controlled and never frantic.

He expresses things with his tongue reminiscent of “the pen of a ready writer”. With a pen things are recorded for future generations (cf. Job 19:24). His readiness is evident in his adeptness in the use of language, explanation and communication. It means that he does not have to search for words. The words come naturally from an overflowing heart, inspired by the Holy Spirit, as he comes to admiration by beholding the beloved King.

He speaks words that are inspired in him. His tongue is used as the pen of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit always speaks of Christ (John 16:13-2 Chronicles :). He does so not in an uncontrollable flow of words, but in full awareness of what He is saying. Part of “the fruit of the Spirit” is “self-control” (Galatians 5:22; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:32).

First, the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ, speaks in the poet about the days of Christ in the flesh on earth. God presents His Beloved to the suffering remnant. He is Man, but at the same time far more beautiful than all other men (Psalms 45:2). He is the Man par excellence. “My beloved is dazzling and reddish, outstanding among ten thousand” (Song of Solomon 5:10). This is seen only by the eye of faith (John 1:14). He is God’s answer to the need in which the believer may be. By looking to Him, the inner distress is removed.

David is said to be of handsome appearance (1 Samuel 16:12; 1 Samuel 17:42). Of Solomon it is said that He is outstanding among ten thousand and that he is wholly desirable (Song of Solomon 5:10; Song of Solomon 5:16). But of this King it is said that He is fairer than the children of men because “grace is poured” upon “His lips” (cf. John 1:16). His beauty is not outward, but is seen in a special way in His words (Luke 4:22; cf. Proverbs 22:11; Ecclesiastes 10:12).

He is the Son of Man. He became Man, He came to earth, born of a virgin and walked on earth doing good. He was rejected and crucified, killed, rose from the dead and ascended into heaven. This Son of Man will come in answer to the prayers of the believing remnant.

“Poured out” means that His words of grace flowed like water from His mouth to His hearers. It refers to the way of speaking, a way that is consistent with the beauty of His Person and which makes Him exceedingly attractive. Of Him is given the testimony that “never has a man spoken the way this man speaks” (John 7:46).

“Therefore”, that is, because He is like that and has spoken like that, God has “blessed” Him “forever”. The latter is also an indication that this psalm transcends a mere king such as David or Solomon, and points to Christ, Who said of the Scriptures: “It is these that testify about Me” (John 5:39).

This “blessed forever” began after Christ completed the work on the cross. Then God raised Him up and glorified Him and gave Him the Name that is above all names. He blessed Him forever with every imaginable blessing, including that of His dominion over the world. This will be evident at His second coming in judgment.

The redemption of His people and the judgment of His enemies takes place then, not through an angel or a human redeemer, but through the LORD Himself appearing as King. This is what the poet speaks of in the following verses where he speaks of the King and Bridegroom.

Verses 3-9

King and Bridegroom

King David in his victories is a type of the Christ Who will triumph over all His enemies. The beauty of the Lord Jesus in Psalms 45:2 is evident not only in His words, but also in His deeds, which are mentioned from Psalms 45:3 onward. From Psalms 45:3 on, it is about the second coming of the Lord Jesus to earth.

It begins with an urging from the believing remnant for the Lord Jesus to gird His sword at the thigh and ride on for the cause of God’s truth and meekness and righteousness. The purpose here, as with the grace of Psalms 45:2, is the enforcement of the honor of God and the display of the beauty of the King. He will enforce this and shape God’s kingdom in the realm of peace.

Christ is the “Mighty One”, the Man with power and ability to overcome anything and anyone. Against Him no one can stand (Isaiah 42:13). The sword of His splendor and majesty at the thigh is His Word, with which He strikes down and subjects to Himself all that opposes God. The picture is that of a king going to war with his sword girded. The sword means that the King now comes not only as Savior, but also as Judge. That the sword bears the marks of His splendor and majesty refers to the King’s past victories.

It is said to Him to ride on victoriously (Psalms 45:4). It is a wish and at the same time a prophetic description. He is always prosperous and surrounded by glory, both in His humiliation and in His exaltation. It is now about the King Who goes to war and will be prosperous in His warfare. When He appears in glory, He rides “for the cause of truth and meekness [and] righteousness“ as if He were sitting on a horse. His word, what He says, is His strength. Meekness recalls His first coming (Zechariah 9:9). He has not lost the characteristics of that when He acts in majesty.

By His word He created the worlds (Hebrews 11:3). By His word He will reclaim His right to the world fallen into sin (cf. Revelation 19:11; Revelation 19:15) and judge sin (John 12:48). He will, when He returns, reign in truth, meekness, and righteousness. “Truth” means that He is absolutely trustworthy in word and deed and that any falsehood or mendacity is absolutely absent. “Meekness” or ‘low of spirit’ is necessary to be with God (Isaiah 57:15). “Righteousness” means that everything He says and does is in complete accord with God’s holy requirements and His covenant.

Our task even now in the kingdom of God – which is now a kingdom in secret, the world does not see – is to serve Christ in meekness (Romans 14:17-Job :).

We see the power of judgment in the right hand. The right hand is the hand of power and of honor. He will control His right hand to do awesome deeds. What He does in judgment will evoke astonishment and wonder. These are feats of strength and bravery never before displayed in any war. It describes the great victories of the Messiah by which He subdues the whole world to Himself.

He goes to war and will completely destroy all His enemies. Then He establishes His reign which is grounded on truth. He rules in perfect righteousness and does so not as a ruthless ruler, but in meekness.

The sharp arrows He shoots are His words that strike the hearts of His enemies and by which the hostile nations will fall under Him (Psalms 45:5; cf. John 12:48). The Word of The Word of God is sharp and therefore deeply penetrating and deadly to what is inconsistent with it (Hebrews 4:12). No people will stand before Him.

All His enemies, whereby we may mention the king of the north, which is the Assyrian, the beast out of the sea and the beast out of the earth, which are the dictators of respectively restored Europe and the apostate mass of Israel, and the prince of the extreme north, are all enemies who will fall down under Him. It is the victory of the truth of the Word.

God says to His King that His throne “is forever and ever” (Psalms 45:6). He addresses Him as “O God”. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews quotes this verse and the next as evidence that the Man Christ is the Son of God and therefore is God and thus is exalted far above the angels (Hebrews 1:8-1 Samuel :). God speaks of His throne. It is an eternal throne because righteousness is its foundation.

As Man, He sits on the throne. Right now He is not sitting on His own throne, but on the Father’s throne (Revelation 3:21). In the future, He will sit on His own throne (Matthew 25:31). On whatever throne He sits, His throne stands unshaken, and He Who sits on it cannot be removed from the throne by any power in the world. It is His throne on earth upon which He has sat after what is described above in Psalms 45:4-Deuteronomy :. He has taken rightful possession of the throne.

The Messiah exercises His rule, of which the scepter is the symbol, in a righteous manner. It is “the scepter of uprightness”. No one can question the justice of His government. Any ground for doing so is lacking, for He rules according to the righteous law of God. All that Christ possesses, He possesses righteously. What the bride possesses and what the faithful possess, they possess by grace, which is based on His very own righteousness imputed to them.

God speaks to His Son and says to Him that He will sit on His own throne. His love of righteousness and His hatred of wickedness are the reasons why He is given such a special place (Psalms 45:7). “Wickedness” is rendered “lawlessness” in the quotation in Hebrews 1 (Hebrews 1:9). Lawlessness is the essence of sin, for “sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4). It is not merely breaking the law of God, but denying any authority whatsoever, especially God’s. This is what the Lord Jesus hates, Who has always perfectly acknowledged and upheld the authority of God.

Christ is absolutely unique in His love of righteousness and His hatred of wickedness. He is the Only One on all earth of Whom that can be said by God. “Therefore”, for that reason, He has been given such a unique place by God. Is He not then worthy to be given that unique place in our hearts as well?

His anointing with the oil of joy is the expression of Who He is to the heart of God. It is not just a question of oil. With it He is already anointed as King. Here we have a special anointing, which takes place “with the oil of joy”, because it is the day of His wedding. He is anointed “above Your fellows”. His fellows are prophetically the faithful remnant. They first shared suffering with Him and now they share in His glorification and joy (cf. Romans 8:17). His anointing shows that He is the First among them (Hebrews 1:9). Every believer longs for justice to be done to Him, Who was done so much injustice in His life on earth.

Myrrh and aloes (Psalms 45:8) are components of the holy anointing oil that is special to God (Exodus 30:22-Lamentations :; Exodus 30:31-Micah :). Of this the Bridegroom’s garments are fragrant with (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:15). The Messiah is there first and foremost for God. He is described in His glories. We also find those spices on the Bride when she is described by the Bridegroom in Song of Songs (Song of Solomon 4:14).

In these garments He appears when He comes out of “the ivory palaces”. Solomon had a great ivory throne (1 Kings 10:18), but He Who is more than Solomon dwells in ivory palaces. Ivory speaks of the precious things that emerges because the death of another has taken place. Here He appears differently than in the war costume in the previous verses (Psalms 45:3-Deuteronomy :). In addition to being surrounded by the precious fragrance of the oil of joy, He is filled with joy because of the anointing with oil of joy.

The “king’s daughters” surround the bride (Psalms 45:9). The king’s daughters are highly placed representatives of the nations that will come into the realm of peace. The daughter of Tyre (Psalms 45:12) is one of them. She represents the wealth of the nations. The nations come with gifts and share in the general joy of the wedding.

The queen has a separate place. She rules together with the Messiah. The word for queen here is the word used for a woman who becomes queen through her marriage to the king. The queen is the earthly bride of the Messiah, which is the faithful remnant, the Jerusalem that is on earth. The earth will be submitted to Christ and to His bride. There are two exceptions to that submission: God (1 Corinthians 15:27) and the church (Ephesians 1:22-Isaiah :).

The queen stands at the right hand of the King. The right hand, besides being a symbol of power, is also an exalted place, a place of honor (cf. 1 Kings 2:19; Mark 16:19; Hebrews 1:3). The queen has yet to be brought to the king (Psalms 45:14; Psalms 45:15), but the psalmist already foresees this scene. She is clothed “in gold from Ophir”. The fine or pure gold refers to the glory of God. The bride looks so glittering because God has put His own glory on her (Ezekiel 16:14).

Verses 10-15

The Bride

Now the bride is addressed directly (Psalms 45:10). The first thing that is said to her is to listen. God has something to say to her. Any change begins with listening. What is said, she must “give attention”, in the sense of consider, and incline her ear to it, tune her ear to it. It is namely about something important: God tells her in what way she can show her beauty, so that the King’s desire will go out to her.

She will be attractive to Him in her beauty if she forgets her past. The faithful remnant is to forget the sins committed by the people in the past (Psalms 103:12). The judgment for it, borne by Messiah, has caused a break with the past. Her full devotion to Him will be proof of that.

Every one who repents knows this. He breaks with the past and starts a new life. With respect to the past, there is nothing the remnant can boast about or claim a right to. Through their unfaithfulness they have forfeited all right to the promise.

We see this represented in Ruth, the Moabitess. As a Moabitess, she has no right whatsoever to stay in the land, let alone inherit it (Deuteronomy 23:3-Joshua :). However, she leaves her people and makes herself dependent on grace. This brings her into connection with Boaz, a type of the Lord Jesus, giving her all that he possesses (Ruth 1:7-Esther :; Ruth 4:9-2 Samuel :).

The connection with Christ breaks all the natural connections that were there and establishes entirely new ones (cf. Genesis 12:1; Matthew 10:37; Matthew 12:48-Philippians :; 2 Corinthians 5:17). “Your father’s house” refers to the strong earthly bond that is present in the family relationships. This too must be given up when it comes to the connection with the Messiah (cf. Luke 9:59-1 Peter :). The King’s desire is determined by the attachment to Him at the expense of every natural connection.

When He notices this, He will desire her beauty (Psalms 45:11). The beauty of Jerusalem can begin to shine, “when the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning” (Isaiah 4:4). Instead, the Bridegroom has given her the adornments of a bride (Isaiah 61:3; cf. Genesis 24:53).

For us, it means that we walk in such a way that the Lord finds His joy in it. That is what we do when we break the connection with natural relationships. It is also what Christ has done. The old connections have been removed by His work on the cross, through which He formed new ones. Any glorying in the flesh must be given up. Paul says: “Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know [Him in this way] no longer” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

The acknowledgment of this will be seen in submission to His authority or to His being Lord. The bride’s awe for her Bridegroom is evident in her bowing to Him, which is to give Him the due respect. This attitude of awe should also characterize the wife toward her husband in our day (Ephesians 5:33; 1 Peter 3:6).

The bride will receive from “the daughter of Tyre”, that is, the inhabitants of Tyre, “a gift” (Psalms 45:12). Tyre was the richest city in the Near East at that time. This city, as well as other rich nations, will bring their contributions to Jerusalem (cf. Isaiah 60:5-Judges :; Revelation 21:24; Revelation 21:26). They will do so in order to thereby seek the “favor” of the bride. Israel or Jerusalem will then no longer be despised and trampled upon, but will be recognized as the city on which they depend for every blessing.

The bride is “the King’s daughter”, meaning she is of royal descent (Psalms 45:13). “All glorious within” means ‘inside’, that is in the interior of the house where she is. It means that she is not yet visible to everyone. In the house she is “all glorious”, for “her clothing is interwoven with gold”. Her wedding garment is artfully embroidered of gold thread. There is nothing that recalls her past. Her appearance has the radiance of the glory of God (cf. Revelation 21:10-1 Kings :). She is ready to meet the Bridegroom.

Then the bride is “led to the King in embroidered work” (Psalms 45:14; cf. Ezekiel 16:10; Ezekiel 16:13) to be united with Him (cf. Genesis 2:22). In her entourage are the “virgins, her companions”. In them we can see a picture of the cities of Judah (Isaiah 40:9), which come to honor the King. What a contrast there is between the treatment of the King when He was crucified and this scene. Now honor is brought to Him. The whole world will rejoice over this connection. The book of Song of Songs will be fulfilled.

The whole wedding procession enters the King’s palace in joy (Psalms 45:15). Now the bride with her entourage comes to the King. All who are with her are received as it were as king’s daughters. This cannot but work the utmost joy with them. There is great joy in all. This is expressed in the bride’s companions. They too are full of joy for the grace that was given to all.

The church, too, will be made stand in the presence of Christ “with great joy” to the glory of God (Jude 1:24; Ephesians 3:20-Ecclesiastes :; Ephesians 5:27). Then the call will sound through heaven: ““Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride [lit wife] has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright [and] clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 19:7-Ruth :).

Verses 16-17

The Sons

In Psalms 45:16 the Messiah is addressed. “Your sons” are the sons who are led by God to the Son in glory (Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 2:13). “The fathers” are the fathers after the flesh (Romans 1:3; Romans 9:5). They are replaced by a new generation (Psalms 22:30; Isaiah 53:10), by the “youth” who “as the dew” (Psalms 110:3). The sons participate in the reign of the Messiah in the realm of peace and are appointed by Him as “princes in all the earth”. It is the payment of wages for what someone has done for Him (Matthew 19:28; Luke 19:17; 1 Corinthians 6:2-Leviticus :; Revelation 20:6).

In Psalms 45:17, the Messiah speaks to God. He will cause God’s Name “to be remembered in all generations” (cf. Psalms 72:17). Christ will always do everything to the glory of God. He did that on earth, He does that now, and He will continue to do that. What He does in the realm of peace will work a giving of thanks among the nations that will continue “forever and ever”. This praise will never die away. There will never be a time when God’s Name will not be honored. Blessed are those who partake of that thanksgiving!

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Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 45". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-45.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniƫl', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.