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The King & His Bride

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PSALM 45

The Psalm is one that finds its context at a royal wedding. In the title the Psalm is called a “song of loves”. The song is to be sung “upon Shoshannim”, that it, to the tune “lilies”: “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys” [SoS.2:1]; “My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feeds among the lilies” [SoS.2:16].

§         The Psalm is properly called a ‘maskil’: it is didactic with an urgent call to consider loving, obeying, and honouring Yahweh and his anointed.

§         The specific circumstances for which the Psalm was written have not been discovered. Undoubtedly, a king of the Davidic house was the subject, because of the allusions to and reflections on Yahweh’s covenant with David in 2Samuel 7:1-17].

§         The Psalmist does not predict the coming of the Messiah. He assumes that he is present, ruling, and occupies the throne of Yahweh.

§         The promised Messiah of 2Samuel is the glorified Christ: “but unto the Son he says, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever…” [Heb.1:8].

The Background

In this psalm, the grace and beauty of Solomon, his virtues in ruling the kingdom, and also his power and riches, are illustrated and described in terms of high commendation. More especially, as he had taken to wife a stranger out of Egypt [1Kgs.3:1-2], the blessing of God is promised to him in this relationship, provided the newly espoused bride, bidding adieu to her own nation, and renouncing all attachment to it, devote herself wholly to her husband.

The Structure of the Psalm

A. Introduction (v. 1)

        B. Address to the King (vv. 2-5)

            C. The Glory of the Bridegroom (vv. 6-9)

        B'. Address to the Bride (vv. 10-12)

            C'. The Glory of the Bride (vv. 13-15)

    A'. Conclusion (vv. 16-17)

A.      THE BEAUTY OF THE KING

The song begins with a personal address to the King as if he were in his view: “you are” [45:1].

    1. The Psalmist

a.        The Joy

The Psalmist is overflowing with joy: “my heart is inditing a good matter…” [45:1].

§         לִבִּ֨י - “heart” [45:1], ‘centre of being’;

§         רָ֘חַ֤שׁ - “inditing” [45:1], ‘to be stirred up’; ‘to have strong emotional, pleasurable feelings’; derived from the idea of ‘a stew-pan in which contents bubbled as they boiled’;

§         דָּ֘בָ֤ר ט֗וֹב - “good matter” [45:1], ‘good theme’; ‘appropriate word’;

b.        The Object

The Psalmist is addressing his thoughts to the King: “I speak of the things which I have made…” [45:1].

§         מַעֲשַׂ֣י - “made” [45:1], ‘works, products’;

§         לְמֶ֑לֶךְ - “touching” [45:1], ‘to the King’;

§         לְ֝שׁוֹנִ֗י - “tongue” [45:1], ‘tongue, language, speech’;

c.        The Experience

The Psalmist is a trained scribe or writer: “my tongue is the pen of a ready writer” [45:1].

§         עֵ֤ט - “pen” [45:1], ‘writing tool’;

§         סוֹפֵ֬ר מָהִֽיר - “ready writer” [45:1], ‘skilled, experienced’;

Application

An enthusiastic song writer, capable and ready, is prepared to address the King.

    1. The Beauty of the King In this “song of loves”, there is a special quality about the object of love, the King: “fairer from among the children of men” [45:2].

§         יָפְיָפִ֡יתָ - “fairer” [45:2], ‘beauty as to outward appearance’; “he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art a fair woman to look upon” [Gen.12:11].

§         מִבְּנֵ֬י אָדָ֗ם - “from the children of men” [45:2], ‘sons of Adam’;

§         The King of the Song: “he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved and this is my friend…” [SOS.5:16].

a.        Israel’s King

This was a pre-requisite for a King; without this, the person could not be King:

§         Saul: “he had a son whose name was Saul, a choice young man, and a goodly…” [1Sam.9:2].

§         David: “And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he” [1Sam.16:12].

b.        The Eloquence of the King

                                                                                                           i.          The Gift

The words of the King: “grace is poured into thy lips…” [45:2].

§         חֵ֭ן - “grace” [45:2], ‘a heartfelt response by someone who has something to give to one who has a need’; ‘to grant a favour’;

§         ה֣וּצַק - “poured” [45:2], hophal perfect, ‘to pour out’; ‘to be emptied out’; the predominant use was with everyday activities such as pouring water, oil, or molten metals: “And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured” [Lev.21:10].

§         בְּשְׂפְתוֹתֶ֑יךָ - “into thy lips” [45:2], ‘lips, speech, language’;

                                                                                                          ii.         The Gift of Oratory

Grace is here the ‘gift of oratory’ because it is poured upon the lips:

§         An ancient practice in various parts of the orient is to pour sweet juice on the lips and tongue of a newborn infant. This imagery was employed to indicate the gift God had bestowed upon the King.

§         Proverbs: “He that loves pureness of heart and has grace in his lips, the king shall be his friend” [Pro.22:11].

§         Ecclesiastes: “The words of a wise man's mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself” [Ecc.10:12].

                                                                                                         iii.        The Messiah

The Servant of Jehovah: “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakens morning by morning, he wakens mine ear to hear as the learned” [Isa.50:4].

§         The words of Jesus: “never man spoke like this man” [Joh.7:46].

c.        The Blessing of God

The King is the recipient of God’s favour: “therefore God has blessed you forever” [45:2].

§         בֵּֽרַכְךָ֖ - “blessed” [45:2], ‘to bless in the ot means “to endue with power for success, prosperity, richness, longevity, etc’;

§         לְעוֹלָֽם – “forever” [45:2], ‘unlimited duration of time’;

Application

Directly addressing the king, the psalmist declares and confirms the divine blessing which gives him beauty beyond that of mankind and inspired grace of speech; and it is a blessing ‘for ever’.

§         John: “we beheld his glory as the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” [Joh.1:18].

    1. A Divine-Human King a.        The King’s Humanity

The King is cited as being from among humankind: “you are fairer from the children of men” [45:2].

§         מִבְּנֵ֬י אָדָ֗ם - “from the children of men” [45:2], ‘sons of Adam’;

§         The phrase has royal connotations: “the son of man…you have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands…” [Psa.8:4-6].

§         The preposition min – ‘a marker of an extension from a source’; he is a ‘royal one among Yahweh’s royal people’.

b.        The Divinity of the King

The King: “your throne…” [45:6].

§         כִּסְאֲךָ֣ - “throne” [45:6], ‘piece of furniture on which a ruler sat’;

§         עוֹלָ֣ם וָעֶ֑ד  - “forever and ever” [45:6], ‘unlimited duration of time’;

§         אֱ֭לֹהִים - “O God” [45:6],

                                                                                                           i.          The Covenant King

The ‘foreverness’ of his throne identifies the King with the promised Son of David: “I will set up your seed after you…he shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever” [2Sam.7:13].

§         The King is not only the “son of David” but the Son of God: “I will be his Father, and he shall be my son” [2Sam.7:14].

§         These words form part of the argument for the deity and Sonship of Christ in Hebrew: “and of the angels he says, Who makes his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever” [Heb.1:8-9].

                                                                                                          ii.         The Distinction

The following verse distinguishes between “God, your God” and the King: “therefore God, your God…” [45:7].

§         אֱ֭לֹהֶיךָ - “thy God” [45:7], ‘the God of the King’ who is himself “God” [45:6].

Application

B.      THE ADDRESS TO THE KING [45:2-5]

1.       The Warrior King

a.        The Call

The King is called to militant action: “gird thy sword on thy thigh…” [45:3].

§         חֲגֽוֹר - “gird” [45:3], qal imperative, ‘to fasten, strap on’;

§         חַרְבְּךָ֣ - “sword” [45:3], ‘metal weapon of war’;

§         יָרֵ֣ךְ - “thigh” [45:3], ‘loins, hip, thigh’;

b.        The Title

The title of the King: “O most Mighty…” [45:3].

§         גִּבּ֑וֹר - “most Mighty” [45:3], ‘mighty, powerful’; “the Mighty God…” [Isa.9:6];

c.        The Battle Garments

The garments of the King: “with thy glory and majesty” [45:3]. 

§         ה֝וֹדְךָ֗ - “glory” [45:3], ‘splendour’; ‘what is glorious’; “His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him” [Psa.21:5];

§         וַהֲדָרֶֽךָ - “majesty” [45:3], ‘majesty’; ‘what is beautiful and instills awe and ascribing high value or status to what is majestic’;

d.        The Creation Mandate

The words provide another link with God’s purpose for humankind fulfilled in the Messiah:

§         Psalm 8: “For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour” [Psa.8:5].

§         Psalm 25: “His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him” [Psa.21:5];

Application

The terms “glory and majesty” are properly descriptive of a King prepared to lead his people to victory.

    1. The Internal State of the Kingdom a.        The Prosperity

The prospering King: “in your majesty ride prosperously…” [45:4].

§         וַהֲדָ֬רְךָ֨ - “your majesty” [45:4], ‘what is beautiful and instils awe’;

§         רְכַ֗ב - “ride” [45:4], ‘to ride or mount an animal or vehicle’;

§         צְלַ֬ח - “prosperously” [45:4], ‘to successfully accomplish a task’; ‘to advance’; ‘victoriously’;

b.        The Internal State of the Kingdom

On the one hand, no king will be able to preserve and defend his subjects, unless he is formidable to his enemies; and, on the other hand, it will be to little purpose to make war boldly upon foreign realms, if the internal state of his own kingdom is not established and regulated in uprightness and justice.

                                                                                                           i.          The Basis of Success

The basis of success: “because of truth…” [45:4].

§         עַֽל - “because” [45:4], preposition, ‘on account’; ‘a marker for the reason of a subsequent event’;

                                                                                                          ii.         The Faithfulness

The reliability of the King’s word: “because of truth…” [45:4].

§         עַֽל־דְּבַר־אֱ֭מֶת - “truth” [45:4], literally ‘word of truth’; ‘word, statement, communication’ and ‘firmness, certainty’; ‘faithfulness, reliability’;

§         The same construction is found in Psalm 119: “take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth…” [119:43].

                                                                                                         iii.        The Gentleness

The gentleness and faithfulness of the King: “because of meekness and righteousness” [45:4].

§         וְעַנְוָה - “meekness” [45:4], ‘humility, sincerity’; ‘true knowledge of one’s appropriate status before God’; ‘recognising Yahweh’s infinitely exalted majesty above all human perception’; ‘recognition of one’s dependence on the gracious mercy of Yahweh: “thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great” [Psa.18:35];

§         צֶ֑דֶק - “righteousness” [45:4], ‘rightness’; ‘doing what is right according to a standard’; ‘complete performance of one’s obligations’;

§         וְעַנְוָה־צֶ֑דֶק – ‘on behalf of the right cause of the poor’;

§         The rules for Israel’s king: “he shall write him a copy of this law…that his heart be not lifted up above his brethren” [Deu.17:20].

Application

The success of the king is due to his concern for what is important to the Lord and his covenant people. He is a champion of "truth, humility and righteousness" (v. 4).

§         In his concern for loyalty ("truth," 'emeth), he is faithful and just to God and to his people (cf. 72:2; Isa 11:1-5). His kingship mirrors the kingdom of God in fidelity and righteousness. He does not seek his own advantage to the detriment of his people or to the provocation of God's wrath.

§         His concern for "humility" keeps him continually dependent on his covenant God (cf. Mic 6:8; Zech 9:9). True wisdom is evident in trusting, fearing, and walking with God (Prov 3:3-6). His concern for "righteousness" is demonstrated in his ordering the affairs of state to correspond with God's plans.

§         The "splendor and majesty" speak of his past victories and the confident expectation of additional victories every time he marches at the head of his troops.

§         “By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life” [Pro.22:4].

    1. The Success a.        The Display

The display of awesome deeds: “thy right hand shall teach terrible things” [45:4].

§         יְמִינֶֽךָ - “right hand” [45:4], ‘the source of strength’;

§         וְתוֹרְךָ֖ - “teach you” [45:4], hiphil imperfect, ‘teach, instruct, direct’; ‘display’; ‘cause to see’;

§         נוֹרָא֣וֹת - “terrible things” [45:4], niphal, ‘to be afraid, in fear’; ‘fearful actions’;

§         Reference to the great redemptive deeds a righteous and powerful king performs on behalf of his people.

b.        The Enemies

The arrows of the King: “your arrows are sharp in the heart of your enemies” [45:5]. 

§         חִצֶּ֗יךָ - “your arrows” [45:5], ‘arrow from bow’;

§         שְׁנ֫וּנִ֥ים - “sharp” [45:5], ‘pointed’; ‘implying readiness for piercing action’;

§         בְּ֝לֵ֗ב - “heart” [45:5], ‘blood pumping organ of the body’;

§         אוֹיְבֵ֥י - “enemies” [45:5], ‘to be hostile towards’;

§         Equivalent to ‘your military strength is great’;

c.        The Subjects

The King’s subjects shall fall at his feet: “people shall fall under you” [45:5]. 

§         עַ֭מִּים - “people” [45:5], ‘nation’; ‘large kinship group related biologically as well as culturally’; 

§         יִפְּל֑וּ - “fall” [45:5], ‘to fall to the ground’;

§         תַּחְתֶּ֣יךָ - “under you” [45:5], ‘position below or underneath’;

§         The psalmist calls on people to submit to the King because his arrows will pierce the hearts of all his opponents.

Application

Accordingly, the inspired writer says, that the sword with which he will be girded will be, in the first place, a token of warlike prowess to repel and rout his enemies; and, secondly, of authority also, that he might not be held in contempt among his own subjects.

§         While, therefore, he is alluring us with meekness and kindness to himself, let us promptly and submissively yield to his authority, lest he should fall upon us, armed as he is with his sword and with deadly arrows.

C.      THE GLORY OF THE KING-BRIDEGROOM [45:6-9]

1.       The King’s Throne

The King: “your throne…” [45:6].

§         כִּסְאֲךָ֣ - “throne” [45:6], ‘piece of furniture on which a ruler sat’;

a.        A Divine King

The King is God of himself: “your throne, O God” [45:6].

§         אֱ֭לֹהִים - “O God” [45:6],

b.        The Covenant King

                                                                                                           i.          The Covenant King

The King is the promised Son of David: “I will set up your seed after you…he shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever” [2Sam.7:13].

§         The “son of David” but the Son of God: “I will be his Father, and he shall be my son” [2Sam.7:14].

§         These words form part of the argument for the deity and Sonship of Christ in Hebrew: “and of the angels he says, Who makes his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he says, ‘Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever” [Heb.1:8-9].

§         The Psalmist, seeing the King whom he describes as a messianic royal agent, applied this messianic promise to him, thus addressing the King as “God”.

                                                                                                          ii.         An Everlasting Throne

The King’s throne is: “forever and ever” [45:6].

§         עוֹלָ֣ם וָעֶ֑ד  - “forever and ever” [45:6], ‘unlimited duration of time’;

§         In the messianic promise, the elements of  ‘throne’, ‘kingdom’, and ‘forever’ are found: “I will set up your seed after you…he shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever” [2Sam.7:13].

c.        The Royal Government

The character of the messianic rule is further explicated: “the sceptre of your kingdom…” [45:6].

§         שֵׁ֥בֶט - “sceptre” [45:6], ‘ornamental staff used as a symbol of rulership’;

§         מַלְכוּתֶֽךָ - “kingdom” [45:6], ‘empire’; ‘area or people forming extent of reign’;

§         מִ֝ישֹׁ֗ר - “right” [45:6], literally refers to ‘a plain’; ‘to be straight or even’; ‘uprightness, justice’; ‘fairness according to a standard’; ‘prosperity in the context of what is right and pleasant’;

Application

The "scepter of justice" was a royal symbol of his authority to establish a rule of integrity based on the laws of God rather than on the whims or dictates of the king [cf. 67:4; 75:3; 89:14; 96:10; 98:8-9; 99:4; Isa 9:7; 11:4-5]

    1. The King’s Character The throne of David is assured by covenant (v. 6). The throne of David was God's trust to the descendants of David.

a.        Righteousness

The King loves to keep covenant: “you love righteousness…” [45:7].

§         אָהַ֣בְתָּ - “love” [45:7], qal perfect, ‘have affection based on close relationship’;

§         צֶּדֶק֮ - “righteousness” [45:7], ‘rightness’; ‘doing what is right according to a standard’;

§         The life of Jesus was a life of “righteousness”; He loved to keep covenant with his Father: “I delight to do your will, O my God; yea, your law is within my heart” [Psa.40:8].

§         Righteousness is equivalent to salvation: “My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth…” [Isa.51:5].

b.        Wickedness

The King hates the breaking of covenant: “you hate wickedness…” [45:7].

§         וַתִּשְׂנָ֫א - “hate” [45:7], qal imperfect, ‘have a feeling of open hostility and intense dislike’;

§         רֶ֥שַׁע - “wickedness” [45:7], ‘evil’ with a focus on ‘violation of civil or moral law by evil deeds’;

§         Legal terms that describe proper and improper conduct in particular places;

§         The “hate” wickedness is to do everything in one’s power to eradicate evil.

§         The death of Jesus was a death to removed “wickedness”; He suffered in order to destroy the power of sin and its consequences.

c.        The Exaltation

                                                                                                           i.          The Anointing

The exaltation of the King: “God, thy God, has anointed thee…” [45:7].

§         אֱ֭לֹהֶיךָ - “thy God” [45:7],

§         מְשָׁחֲךָ֡ - “anointed you” [45:7], ‘to anoint’; ‘to dedicate a person or object to service by pouring oil’: “thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office” [Exo.30:30].

§         God’s anointing includes his election and qualification of the King for the position and task assigned to him.

§         שֶׁ֥מֶן שָׂשׂ֗וֹן - “oil of gladness” [45:7], ‘olive oil’; ‘joy, gladness, exultation’;

§         “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified” [61:3];

                                                                                                          ii.         The Superiority

The superiority: “above your fellows” [45:7].

§         מֵֽחֲבֵרֶֽיךָ - “above your fellows” [45:7], ‘associate’; ‘one in close relation as companion or friend’.

§         Solomon was anointed “above his fellows” because he was anointed King: “And Zadok the priest took an horn of oil out of the tabernacle, and anointed Solomon” [1Kgs.1:39].

§         The idea of permanent kingship was built into God’s plan from the very beginning: “be fruitful and multiply; replenish the earth and subdue it; have dominion over…” [Gen.1:28].

This is the forward look to the reign of Christ; the royal line of David, which points back to his ancestor Adam, looks forward to its descendent Jesus.

Application

God’s righteousness means “death as the consequence of sin; God’s righteousness means the promise of salvation realised; God’s righteousness means “salvation through death”; this is the King’s mission!

    1. The Bridegroom King The song of that which is lovely here reaches the height towards which it aspires from the beginning. It has portrayed the lovely king as a man, as a hero, and as a divine ruler; now it describes him as a bridegroom on the day of his wedding.

a.        The King’s Garments

The King’s garments befit a regal person: “all thy garments smell of myrrh…” [45:8].

§         בִּגְדֹתֶ֑יךָ - “garments” [45:8], ‘clothing, apparel’;

§         מֹר - “myrrh” [45:8], ‘a yellowish to reddish brown resinous gum or oil related to Balsam tree or other oily bark trees, fragrant and slightly bitter, used as perfume and incense’; “Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much…” [Exo.30:23];

§         וַאֲהָל֣וֹת - “aloes” [45:8], ‘an aromatic wood, a tree that can grow 120 feet high, and native to northern India, the decaying wood used for perfumes, fragrances, incense, and fumigation’; “Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices” [SOS 4:14];

§         קְ֭צִיעוֹת - “cassia” [45:8], ‘cinnamon flowers, i.e., a powered, cinnamon-like bark of the tree or shrub of the genus’; ‘in context used as a powdered spice perfume’;

§         The anointing of Aaron as priest: “like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard…to the hem of his garments” [Psa.133:2].

b.        The King’s Location

The King’s palace is adorned with ivory: “out of the ivory palaces…” [45:8].

§         מִֽן־הֵ֥יכְלֵי - “palaces” [45:8], ‘temple, sanctuary’; ‘residence and complex of a king or other royalty’;

§         שֵׁ֝֗ן - “ivory” [45:8], ‘a precious material used as an ornamental inlay substance, from elephant tusk’;

§         Solomon’s throne: “Moreover the king made a great throne of ivory, and overlaid it with the best gold” [1Kgs.10:18];

§         “the rest of the acts of Ahab, and all that he did, and the ivory house which he made, and all the cities that he built…” [1Kgs.22:39];

c.        The King’s Surroundings

The King’s entertainment is of the highest quality: “whereby they have made thee glad” [45:8].

§         שִׂמְּחֽוּךָ - “make glad” [45:8], piel perfect, ‘to bring joy’; ‘to bring happiness’; “who for the joy set before him endured the cross…” [Heb.12:3].

Application

D.      THE BRIDE’S ALLEGIANCE [45:10-12]

1.       Solomon’s Kingdom

God has prospered Solomon and given the extension of his dominion: “the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon” [1Kgs.2:46].

§         An extended kingdom: “Solomon reigned over all kingdoms from the river unto the land of the Philistines, and unto the border of Egypt: they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life” [1Kgs.4:21].

2.       The Political Alliance 

Daughters of kings often played an important political role in the ancient Near East by cementing relationships between nations through marriage.  

a.        The Alliance with Egypt

Solomon was known for such arrangements and married the daughter of Pharaoh as part of an alliance with Egypt: “Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh King of Egypt …” [1Kgs.3:1].

§         וַיִּתְחַתֵּ֣ן - “affinity” [3:1], hithpael imperfect, ‘intermarry’, i.e., ‘become a son-in-law and so obtain a contract of affinity by marriage, with a focus on the alliance gained’;

§         Solomon married Pharaoh’s daughter: “took Pharaoh's daughter…” [1Kgs.3:1].

b.        Solomon’s Building Programme  

Solomon brought the daughter of Pharaoh to Jerusalem: “into the city of David…” [1Kgs.3:1].

§         Solomon’s building programme: “until he had made an end of building his own house, and the house of the LORD, and the wall of Jerusalem round about” [1Kgs.3:1].

§         Pharaoh’s daughter: “but Pharaoh’s daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her…” [1Kgs.9:24].

    1. The King’s Throne a.        The Princesses

The climax of the setting is reached with the place prepared for the queen herself: “king’s daughters are among your honourable women…” [45:9].

§         בְּנ֣וֹת מְ֭לָכִים - “kings daughters” [45:9], plural, ‘female offspring’;

§         בְּיִקְּרוֹתֶ֑יךָ - “among honourable women” [45:9], ‘precious, valuable’; ‘splendour’; ‘pertaining to beauty’;

b.        The Bride’s Place

The bride’s place of honour: “upon thy right hand did stand…” [45:9].

§         נִצְּבָ֥ה - “stand” [45:9], niphal, ‘position of honour’; ‘position of attending to a superior’;

§         לִֽ֝ימִינְךָ֗ - “right hand” [45:9],

§         שֵׁגַ֥ל - “queen” [45:9], ‘royal bride’;

§         בְּכֶ֣תֶם אוֹפִֽיר - “gold of Ophir” [45:9], ‘a rare commodity’;

§         Gold of Ophir came to be the standard for gold of purity and quality: “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the gold wedge of Ophir” [Isa.13:12];

Application

The extension and everlasting continuance of this royal ministry is the aspect which then comes to the fore.

§         The inspired poet turns his attention to the preparations for the wedding ceremony.

§         The descriptions and references to the robes, spices [45:8; SOS 4:14], music, the royal daughters, and the royal bride all reinforce the rightness of the moment and of the anointing of this son of David.

§         The future glory of the kingdom: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come…” [Rev.19:7].

4.       The Bride’s Allegiance

The Psalmist calls for the bride’s allegiance with the use of five imperatives.

a.        The Kingdom of Israel

                                                                                                           i.          The Wisdom of the Kingdom

The Psalmist urges the bride to receive instructions: “hearken, O daughter, and consider…” [45:10].

§         שִׁמְעִי - “hearken” [45:10], qal imperative, ‘use perception of hearing to process information’;

§         The wise counsel of Proverbs: “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother” [Pro.1:8].

                                                                                                          ii.         The Focus on the New Relationship

The Psalmist urges the bride to give her self to careful observance: “consider and incline your ear…” [45:10].

§         וּ֭רְאִי - “consider” [45:10], qal imperative, ‘to see’; ‘use perception of sight to view objects and make judgements based on perceptions’;

§         וְהַטִּ֣י אָזְנֵ֑ךְ - “incline your ear” [45:10], qal imperative, ‘to spread out’; hiphil ‘to extend, stretch out’;

b.        The House of Egypt

The Psalmist urges the princess to forget about Pharaoh’s house: “forget also thine own people…” [45:10].

§         וְשִׁכְחִ֥י - “forget” [45:10], ‘not remember information and so lose sight of its significance’;

§         To forget God is to ignore his commandments [Deu.8:11]; to forget God is to follow other gods [Deu.8:19); to forget God is to stand in fear of harm and danger, to live fretfully and timidly [Isa.51:13]; to forget God is to challenge him (Ps 106:13)’; “for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more” [Isa.54:4].

                                                                                                           i.          The Culture & Religion

The princess must forget the Egyptian culture and religion: “forget also your own people…” [45:10].

§         עַ֝מֵּ֗ךְ - “own people” [45:10], ‘nation’; ‘a very large kinship group, regarded as related biologically as well as language and other cultural common features’;

§         Ruth pledges her allegiance to God’s covenant people: “Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee; for whither you go I will go…” [Rut.1:16].

                                                                                                          ii.         The Identity

The princess must forget her previous identity: “forget also your father’s house…” [45:10].

§         וּבֵ֥ית אָבִֽיךְ - “father’s house” [45:10], ‘house, family, clan, tribe’; the “father’s house” is the usual Old Testament way of identifying people;

§         Abram is commanded to leave his father’s house: “the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee” [Gen.12:1].

§         This verse stands as an important counterpart to the duty of the husband: “a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife…” [Gen.2:24].

§         There must also be a “leaving” and a “cleaving” on the part of the woman.

c.        John Calvin

Calvin’s comments on these verses - Law, it was required that the Jews, previous to entering into the marriage

relation, should endeavour to instruct their wives in the pure worship of

God, and emancipate them from superstition; in the present instance, in

which the wife spoken of was descended from a heathen nation, and who,

by her present marriage, was included in the body of the Church, the

prophet, in order to withdraw her from her evil training, exhorts her to

forget her own country and her father’s house, and to assume a new

character and other manners. If she did not do this, there was reason to

fear, not only that she would continue to observe in private the

superstitions and false modes of worshipping God to which she had been

habituated, but that also, by her public example, she would draw away

many into a similar evil course; and, indeed, this actually came to pass

soon after.

§         The more clearly to show how much it behoved the new bride to become altogether a new woman, he employs several terms thereby to secure her attention, Hearken, consider, and incline thy ear. It is certainly a case in which much vehemence and urgent persuasion are needed, when it is intended to lead us to a complete renunciation of those things in which we take delight, either by nature or by custom.

Application

The Psalmist captures the sense of lowliness and homesickness in the princess, overwhelmed by the setting and the occasion,

§         The Psalmist urges her in his poetry not to lament the loss of her paternal home, but to look forward to the new love she will find in her groom, the king.

§         The duty of the bride: “even as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord; whose daughters you are, as long as you do well…” [1Pet.3:6].

§         In order to conduct into Christ’s presence his bride chaste and undefiled, the prophet exhorts the Church gathered from the Gentiles to forget her former manner of living, and to devote herself wholly to her husband: “I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: I have espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” [2Cor.11:2].

    1. The Bride’s Honour By following the Psalmist’s instruction the princess will receive double honour:

a.        The King’s Delight

The King’s desire: “so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty…” [45:11].

§         וְיִתְאָ֣ו - “desire” [45:11], hithpael imperfect, ‘to crave’; ‘strong yearning or desire’; ‘have a strong internalised desire’;

                                                                                                           i.          The Different Verbs

There are two verbs used in the Hebrew which are translated “desire”: dm'j and hw:a. The two verbs are commonly distinguished one from another as more objective versus more subjective:

§         The verb dm'j; denotes the desire as founded upon the perception of beauty, and therefore excited from without.

§         The verb hw:a; denotes desire originating at the very outset in the person himself, and arising from his own want or inclination: “the mixed multitude that was among them fell a lusting…” [Num.11:4]; “For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation” [132:13]; “This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it” [132:14].

                                                                                                          ii.         The Object of Delight

The object of the King’s delight: “greatly desire thy beauty…” [45:11].

§         יָפְיֵ֑ךְ - “thy beauty” [45:11], ‘beauty as to outward appearance’; ‘pertaining to an attractive appearance in accord with its person, class or kind, implying desirability’;

§         The intent is to speak of the basic physical and sexual attraction.

b.        The Bride’s Reverence

The princess must not only love the King as her husband but also honour him as her Lord: “for he is thy Lord…” [45:11].

§         כִּי־ה֥וּא – “for” [45:11], ‘because, since’;

§         אֲ֝דֹנַ֗יִךְ - “thy Lord” [45:11], ‘lord, father, master’;

§         וְהִשְׁתַּֽחֲוִי־לֽוֹ - “worship” [45:11], hishtaphel imperative, ‘bow down’; ‘prostrate oneself’; ‘bow down in worship’;

c.        The Honour of the Nations

                                                                                                           i.          The Honour

Her new status will command respect from visiting dignitaries: “the daughter of Tyre shall be there…” [45:12].

§         וּבַֽת־צֹ֨ר - “daughter of Tyre” [45:12], ‘Phoenician coastal city’;

§         בְּ֭מִנְחָה - “gift” [45:12], ‘to give’; has the technical meaning of ‘to lend something to someone’; ‘the word is used in secular contexts of gifts to superior persons, particularly kings. to convey the attitude of homage and submission to that person’;

                                                                                                          ii.         The Grace

Her new status will give her an opportunity to help others: “even the rich among the people…” [45:12].

§         עֲשִׁ֣ירֵי עָֽם - “rich” [45:12], ‘person of considerable wealth’;

§         יְחַלּ֗וּ - “entreat” [45:12], piel imperfect, ‘implore’; ‘ask a request of another, with the focus as a positive, humble request with no commanding or demanding’;

§         פָּנַ֥יִךְ - “thy favour” [45:12], literally ‘your face’;

                                                                                                         iii.        Tyre & The Nations

The people of Tyre, the great trading center in Phoenicia, are personified as "the Daughter of Tyre."

§         They, as well as other rich nations, will bring tribute to Jerusalem. During Solomon's regime precious gifts were brought to Jerusalem because of his international reputation.

§         The prophets envision the era of restoration as a time when the nations will bring gifts to signify the special position God's people have among the nations: “and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it.... The glory and honor of the nations will be brought into it” [Rev.21:24, 26].  

Application

She is not only to be married, but she is coming into a new position; no longer a daughter in her father’s house, she will be a queen in her own house, whose favour is sought by men and women alike…

§         So the young bride is comforted with words that bring out the advantages and the honor of being a member of God's people and, more specifically, of the royal household.

§         Calvin - He then shows that there is no reason why the daughter of Pharaoh should feel any regret in forsaking her father, her kinsfolk, and the land of Egypt, because she would receive a glorious recompense, which ought to allay the grief she might experience in being separated from them. To reconcile her to the thought of leaving her own country, he encourages her by the consideration that she is married to so illustrious a king.

§         The honoured bride: “Blessed are they that are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb” [Rev.19:9].

E.       THE BRIDAL PROCESSION [45:13-15]

1.       The King’s Building Programme

a.        The Programme

The marriage and entrance into the palace awaits the completion of Solomon’s building programme:  

§         A house for the Lord: “So was ended all the work that king Solomon made for the house of the LORD. And Solomon brought in the things which David his father had dedicated” [1Kgs.7:51].

§         A palace for the King: “But Solomon was building his own house thirteen years, and he finished all his house” [1Kgs.7:1].

§         A house for Pharaoh’s daughter: “And his house where he dwelt had another court within the porch, which was of the like work. Solomon made also an house for Pharaoh's daughter, whom he had taken to wife, like unto this porch” [1Kgs.7:8].

§         The beauty of all the buildings: “All these were of costly stones, according to the measures of hewed stones, sawed with saws, within and without, even from the foundation unto the coping, and so on the outside toward the great court” [1Kgs.7:9]. 

b.        The Completed Programme 

When Solomon completed the building programme: “it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD, and the king's house” [1Kgs.9:10].

§         The feast: “at that time Solomon held a feast, and all Israel with him, a great congregation, from the entering in of Hamath unto the river of Egypt, before the LORD our God, seven days and seven days, even fourteen days” [1Kgs.8:65].

§         The Lord’s house: “the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually” [1Kgs.9:3].

§         The house of Pharaoh’s daughter: “but Pharaoh’s daughter came up out of the city of David unto her house which Solomon had built for her: then did he build Millo” [1Kgs.9:24].

c.        The Messianic Programme 

The Messianic programme: “I go to prepare a place for you…” [Joh.14:2].

§         The promise: “if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again…” [14:3].

§         The goal: “receive you unto myself, that where I am…” [14:3].

§         The marriage is ready: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come…” [Rev.19:7].

Application

The hope of the people of faith: “we look for a city which has foundation…” [Heb.11:10].

§         The eternal home: “we have a house not made with hands…” [2Cor.5:1].

2.       The Bride Prepares Herself

a.        The Bride’s Home

The bride’s hidden beauty: “the king’s daughter is all glorious within…” [45:13].

§         כָּל־כְּבוּדָּ֣ה - “all glorious” [45:13], ‘to be heavy, weighty’; ‘weighty person in society worthy of honour and respect’; ‘valuable property’; ‘what is owned as wealth’;

§         פְּנִ֑ימָה – “within” [45:13], ‘inner’; ‘inside of a building’; ‘inner chamber’;

§         This is her temporary home: “into the city of David until he had made an end of building …” [1Kgs.3:1].

b.        The Bride’s Clothing

The bride’s clothing: “her clothing is of wrought gold…” [45:13].

§         לְבוּשָֽׁהּ - “clothing” [45:13], ‘garment’;

§         מִֽמִּשְׁבְּצ֖וֹת זָהָ֣ב - “wrought gold” [45:13], ‘an ornamental work with fine gold wire usually as a base or foundation for setting or attaching jewels’;

Application

The poet returns again to the quality of the princess in [45:13-14].

§         He has little to say about her physical beauty, but indicates again how the extravagantly beautiful garments worn for the occasion symbolise the inner honour and integrity of her person [45:13a].

    1. The Bridal Procession a.        The Entrance to the Palace  

                                                                                                           i.          The Entrance

The journey to the palace: “she shall be brought unto the king…” [45:14].

§         תּוּבַ֪ל - “brought” [45:14], hophal imperfect, ‘to bring’; ‘to direct or guide the movement of an object in a linear direction’;

§         לַ֫מֶּ֥לֶךְ - “unto the king” [45:14],

                                                                                                          ii.         The Bridal Party

The entrance of the bridal party: “they shall enter the king’s palace” [45:15].

§         תְּ֝בֹאֶ֗ינָה - “enter” [45:15], third feminine plural, ‘to come, go in’;

§         בְּהֵ֣יכַל מֶֽלֶךְ - “king’s palace” [45:15], ‘temple, sanctuary, palace’;

b.        The Carriage

The carriage of the bride: “with gladness and rejoicing…” [45:15].

§         בִּשְׂמָחֹ֣ת - “gladness” [45:15], ‘the root ś-m-ḥ denotes ‘being glad or joyful’ with the whole disposition as indicated by its association with the heart (cf. Ex 4:14; Ps 19:8 [H 9]; 104:15; 105:3), the soul (Ps 86:4); and with the lighting up of the eyes (Prov 15:30)’;

§         וָגִ֑יל - “rejoicing” [45:15], ‘root meaning is “to circle around” from which such ideas as “to circle in joy” are readily derived’;

§         תּ֖וּבַלְנָה - “be brought” [45:15], hophal imperfect, ‘to bring, deliver’;

c.        The Bridal Party

                                                                                                           i.          The Bride

The bride: “she shall be brought unto the king…” [45:14].

§         לִרְקָמוֹת֮ - “raiment needlework” [45:14], ‘embroidered works of coloured fabrics’;

                                                                                                          ii.         The Bride’s Companions

The companions: “the virgins her companions…” [45:14].

§         בְּתוּל֣וֹת - “virgins” [45:14], ‘a young marriageable maiden’;

§         רֵעוֹתֶ֑יהָ - “companions” [45:14], ‘friend’; ‘a female who is in close association and has regard for another’;

§         אַ֭חֲרֶיהָ - “follow” [45:14], ‘to come after’;

§         מ֖וּבָא֣וֹת לָֽךְ - “brought unto thee” [45:14], hophal participle, ‘to come, go, arrive’;

Application

The entrance into eternal blessedness: “the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy…” [Isa.35:10].

§         The first marriage: “The Lord God made a woman and brought her unto the man” [Gen.2:22].

§         The beauty of the bride: “to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints” [Rev.19:8].

§         The poet’s words in [45:14b-15] suggest a procession; perhaps the king, who is described first, is already in the palace, and the princess now comes in accompanied by her maidens. (modern analogy – groom waiting in the church; bride and bridesmaids processing in to him there).

§         The bride’s companions are similarly “led” to the palace of the king – probably to remain as the new wife’s attendants. This heightens the sense of a political arrangement rather than a marriage of equals or even a love match.

F.       THE CONTINUANCE OF THE KINGDOM [45:16-17]

In conclusion the singer returns to direct address to the king, a kind of blessing: by God-given destiny he will have children for the extension and continuance of his reign.

1.       The Continuity of the Kingdom

a.        A Family Succession

The potential for dynastic succession through the production of sons: “instead of thy fathers…” [45:16].

§         תַּ֣חַת - “instead” [45:16], ‘under’; ‘in place of’;

§         אֲ֭בֹתֶיךָ - “thy fathers” [45:16],

§         יִהְי֣וּ - “shall be” [45:16], qal imperfect,

§         בָנֶ֑יךָ - “thy children” [45:16], ‘child, son’;

b.        A Worldwide Kingdom

A worldwide kingdom: “whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth” [45:16].

§         תְּשִׁיתֵ֥מוֹ - “make” [45:16], with third masculine singular suffix, ‘to place, establish, ordain’;

§         לְ֝שָׂרִ֗ים - “princes” [45:16], ‘commander, princes, officials’;

§         בְּכָל־הָאָֽרֶץ - “all the earth” [45:16],

c.        The Creation Mandate

The creation mandate: “be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it; have dominion over…” [Gen.1:28].

§         A need for a wife: “it is not good for man to be alone…” [Gen.2:18].

§         The creation mandate back on track: “Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour…” [Heb.2:9].

§         The creation mandate fulfilled: “has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever” [Rev.1:6].

    1. The Continuity of the Name The perpetuation of the King’s name: “I will make thy name…” [45:17].

§         אַזְכִּ֣ירָה - “make remembered” [45:17], hiphil imperfect,

§         שִׁ֭מְךָ - “thy name” [45:17], ‘name, reputation, fame’;

§         בְּכָל־דֹּ֣ר - “in all generations” [45:17],

§         יְ֝הוֹדֻ֗ךָ - “praise thee” [45:17], hiphil imperfect,

Application

The worldwide mission of Christ accomplished through the church: “all power is given unto me. Go ye, therefore unto all nations…” [Mat.28:18-20].

§         The continuance of the kingdom: “he shall have dominion also from sea to sea…” [Psa.72:8].

§         The continuance of the name: “his name shall endure for ever…” [Psa.72:17].

§         The King is promised progeny through whom his rule is extended in all the earth and throughout generations to come.

The significance of “sons” is to be seen in the context of the continuity of the royal dynasty.

§         The marriage was not only a covenant of love, but from the union would come children upon whom would rest future responsibility for ruling in the kingdom.

§         The ultimate blessing of marriage is that of children, the future generations through whom the kingdom would flourish.

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