A Wedding Song
Have you been to a wedding lately? What hopes and wishes did you have for the newly weds?
The wedding day is meant to be one of the most important days in the life of a couple. I know this is true from personal experience. For all the hassle, the mistakes, and the misunderstandings the day brought, I would not have changed my wedding for the world. It was a day that celebrated my union with my best friend, my buddy, my advisor, my worst critic, and the love of my life. That day marked a happiness that has lasted three decades. The fruit of that day is a loving family, two great children, and several wonderful grandchildren. That wedding day is important to me, for it represents a life of blessing.
Psalm 45 celebrated the union of a man and woman. It is unique among all the psalms, for it is the only wedding hymn in the collection. Its focus was not upon God but upon the king and his princess bride. The song has an introduction, homage to the king, admonitions to the future queen, and a short conclusion.
For the Chief Musician. Set to "The Lilies." A contemplation by the sons of Korah. A wedding song.
1 My heart overflows with a noble theme.
I recite my verses for the king.
My tongue is like the pen of a skillful writer.
2 You are the most excellent of the sons of men.
Grace has anointed your lips,
therefore God has blessed you forever.
World English Bible
The introduction announced the reason and inspiration for the song. The singer's words, like "the pen of a skillful writer," praised the king. He was the one God blessed; the blessing was the quality of king's pronouncements and speech (45:2b).
3 Strap your sword on your thigh, mighty one:
your splendor and your majesty.
4 In your majesty ride on victoriously on behalf of truth, humility, and righteousness.
Let your right hand display awesome deeds.
5 Your arrows are sharp.
The nations fall under you, with arrows in the heart of the king's enemies.
6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever.
A scepter of equity is the scepter of your kingdom.
7 You have loved righteousness, and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
8 All your garments smell like myrrh, aloes, and cassia.
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made you glad.
9 Kings' daughters are among your honorable women.
At your right hand the queen stands in gold of Ophir.
45:3-5 praised the king as a warrior; the singer equated the warrior with the just judge. In other words, the battlefield valor was one of many virtues this ideal king possessed. Indeed, the psalmist seemed to indicate, success in war depended upon the virtue of the leader.
45:6-7 shifted the scene from the warrior to the judge. The king's throne was also the judgment seat for the nation. The quality of judgment reflected the virtue of the king. Equity meant fairness and immunity to bribes; righteousness of the king trumped evil in the kingdom.
45:7b acted as a transition to the blessings the king received. His demeanor ("anointed with oil of gladness"), his presence (symbolized by spices in 45:8a), his riches (ivory instruments in 45:8b) and family (honorable sisters and aunts, along with the queen mother who has status at court, in 45:9) all came from the benevolence of God.
10 Listen, daughter, consider, and turn your ear.
Forget your own people, and also your father's house.
11 So the king will desire your beauty,
honor him, for he is your lord.
12 The daughter of Tyre comes with a gift.
The rich among the people entreat your favor.
13 The princess inside is all glorious.
Her clothing is interwoven with gold.
14 She shall be led to the king in embroidered work.
The virgins, her companions who follow her, shall be brought to you.
15 With gladness and rejoicing they shall be led.
They shall enter into the king's palace.
16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers.
You shall make them princes in all the earth.
The princess bride was to be the king's alone. Her loyalty belonged to her new husband ("forget your people and your father's house" in 45:10b), for he was her spouse and lord (45:11). 45:12-15 described the bride's procession into the palace. The rich tried to gain the favor of the new queen, while foreigners (bride's family?) use the procession to present gifts to the court (45:12). The procession meant to shelter the bride from view of others (hence the large entourage), yet the bride herself was dressed lavishly (45:13-14). Their was joy for the bride and for the wedding, for the fruit of their union were sons that would be honorable and glorious (45:15-16).
17 I will make your name to be remembered in all
Therefore the peoples shall give you thanks forever and ever.
The conclusion of the psalm returned to the king with a blessing. May he have a memorable reputation. The conclusion acted like a "toast" at a wedding reception.
Psalm 45 celebrated the union of a king to his new queen, but it also described the aspirations of any newly wed in ancient Israel. They all wanted blessing on their day of days. Personally, I can understand their desire. The underlining hopes that the hymn represented are universal. Every bridegroom wants to live a moral, responsible, yet, important life. Every bride wants to be honored by her husband. Obviously, there is more to a wedding than these themes, but they remind us of our wishes for a couple's well being and happiness.
Pray for the happiness of the couples in your life. Mort important, pray for God's presence and blessings in their lives.