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Psalm 45

45:0The famous English author, C. S. Lewis, wrote that some of the psalms meant two things. He also wrote that Psalm 45 was a good example of this. What did C. S. Lewis mean? He thought that Psalm 45 meant one thing before Jesus came to the earth and something else after he came!

– Before Jesus came to the earth, it meant this. The king in verses 2-9 was the king of Judah or Israel. He was the messiah. The words ‘did this by pouring oil over’ in verse 7 are ‘messiahed’ in Hebrew! They poured oil (from the fruit of a tree we call the olive) over him when he became king. All the kings of Judah and Israel were God's messiahs.

The queen in verses 10-15 was the woman that the king married. Some Bible students think that the sons of Korah sang Psalm 45 when King Solomon married his queen. Others think that they sang it every time a king married. The ‘sons of Korah’ were the people that sang in the Temple. The Temple was the house of God. King Solomon built the Temple in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah.

– After Jesus came to the earth it meant something else. This is a more important meaning for Christians. They think that verses 2-9 describe Jesus, the King of kings. Verses 10-15 describe the Church, all Christians.

A few Christians think that the psalm only means one thing. They think that:

– The king in verses 2-9 is always God

– The queen in verses 10-15 is always God's people.

God's people were the Jews in the Old Testament, and are Christians in the New Testament and after. They think this because all through the Bible marriage is a picture of God as husband and his people as his wife.

This shows us that Psalm 45 is not a simple psalm. We must never think that we understand it completely. God will always have something new to say to us through it!

A Love Song

This is for the music leader.

It is for the sons of Korah.

It is a maskil and a love song.

Sing it to music that they call ‘lilies.’

1 These good words make my heart very happy.

I will say these verses to the king.

My tongue is like the pen of someone that writes easily.

45:1Verse 1: Students think that the person that wrote the psalm said verse 1. Although it is part of the psalm, it is not about the king and queen. (‘Like’ is another word for ‘as.’) It tells us that he says things (with his tongue) as easily as other people write things (with a pen). His tongue is his pen! A verse is a part of a psalm. There are 17 verses in this psalm (18 if you count the words above verse 1, as the Hebrew Bible does).

2 You are the most beautiful man that there is.

You speak words of grace.

God has made you special for ever.

45:2Verses 2-9 are words that the psalmist says to the king.

3 Wear your sword by your side.

You are the Mighty One.

You are great and you are the king!

4 Because you are the king,

ride out and beat all your enemies.

Then people that are honest

and meek and righteous will always win.

Your right hand will show you

that you can do things that make people afraid.

5 Your sharp arrows will cut into the heart of the king's enemies.

Nations will fall down under your feet.

6 Your throne, God, will go on for ever and ever.

The sceptre of your kingdom will be a righteous sceptre.

7 You have loved things that are righteous

and you have hated things that are wicked.

So God, your God, has put you above the people that are with you.

He did this by putting some oil on you, which made you happy.

8 All your clothes smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia.

The beautiful ivory in big houses

and the music that you hear from them makes you happy.

9 Among your great women are the daughters of kings.

Your queen stands at your right hand.

She is wearing gold from Ophir.

45:9Verses 2-9: For the Jews before Jesus came to the earth, these words described their king. There is now no king of the Jews – only Jesus! For Christians, these words are all about Jesus. Here are some of the things the psalm tells us about Jesus:

– He speaks words of grace, verse 2. This means that he tells us that he loves us and that he died for us. He did not have to do these things, but he did them. That is what grace means.

– He is the Mighty One, verse 3. This is another name for God. It tells us that he is more powerful than anybody else. It also tells us that Jesus is God (look also at verses 6 and 7).

– He does things that make people afraid, verse 4. This is because he is God and is more powerful than any man or woman.

– He will rule many nations, verse 5. In the end, he will rule all the nations in the world. He will be King of kings!

– His throne will go on for ever and ever, verse 6. This means that he will never stop being king.

– He is God's Messiah, verse 7. He was God's special servant on earth.

– He is beautiful and there are beautiful things round him, verse 8. Myrrh, aloes and cassia come from trees and plants. They used them as medicine, and to make things smell pleasant. They used ivory to make beautiful things to put in their houses. The end of the verse ‘and the music that you hear’ is not in the Hebrew Bible.

– His queen stands at his right hand, verse 9. Some people say that this was the marriage of the king to the queen, others do not agree. Ophir was a place probably on the east coast of the Red Sea, in what is now Saudi Arabia.

10 Daughter, listen to me.

Hear what I am saying and think about it.

Forget your people and your father's house.

45:10Verses 10-15 are words that the psalmist says to the queen.

11 You are beautiful and so the king loves you.

He is your lord, so worship him, daughter from Tyre.

12 Rich people will make you happy with gifts.

13 The daughter of the king is beautiful inside.

They made what she wore out of cotton made from gold.

14 They led her to the king in her beautiful clothes.

The girls that were her friends followed her.

15 They came in with joy and were very happy

as they entered the king's palace.

45:15Verses 10-15: For the Jews, these words described their queen. The Jews now have no king or queen. For Christians this part is about the bride of Christ. In several places in the Bible, the Church is ‘the bride of Christ.’ A bride is a woman who is at her marriage. John wrote, ‘the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife has made herself ready’ (Revelation 19:7). He also wrote, ‘I John saw new Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven. She was like a bride made beautiful for her husband’ (Revelation 21:2). New Jerusalem is another name for the Church. So, like the Jews in the Old Testament, the Church in the New Testament is like the wife of God. Does Psalm 45 tell us anything about the Church, the bride of Christ? Here are some of the things that it tells us:

– The Church is to forget the things that happened in the past, verse 10. Everything is now new.

– The King (Jesus) loves the Church, verse 11. He does this because the Church in Christ is beautiful! Remember, it is not how we see the Church but how God sees it that matters!

– The Church must worship Christ, verse 11. ‘Worship’ is a difficult word. It means love, be afraid of, be a servant of, and fall down on the ground in front of – all at the same time!

In verse 13 we read ‘the daughter of the king is beautiful inside.’ This probably means that nobody saw what she wore until the king saw it. When Jewish girls came to their marriage, they covered their clothes. When they met their husband, they showed everyone their dress. What will the Church wear when she marries Christ? If we believe in Jesus, we will all have a ‘robe of righteousness!’ A robe is a long dress that covers all the body and feet. Jesus gave us righteousness when we first believed in him. It means that He does not see us as bad but as good. This is not because we are good, but because Jesus gives us the gift of goodness (righteousness) when we believe that he died for us.

16 You will have sons instead of fathers.

You will make them princes over all the land.

45:16Verses 16-17 are words that the king says to the queen; or the psalmist says to the king.

17 I will make sure that people always remember your name.

So, people will praise you for ever and ever.

45:17Verses 16-17: Bible students are not sure about these two verses. Either the king is speaking, or the psalmist is speaking. But, whatever is right, ‘people will praise God for ever and ever.’ ‘For ever and ever’ is a strange idea in the Hebrew language. It means ‘as far as we can see.’ For us it means ‘for always and always.’