Psalm 45

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Psalm 45 (also described with Roman numerals as Psalm XLIV) is the 45th psalm from the Book of Psalms. According to Siddur Avodas Yisrael, it should be recited as an additional "Psalm of the Day" on Sabbath Parshat Chayei Sarah. It was written by the sons of Korach on (or "according to") the Shoshanim. Shoshanim, which means "lilies," may be either a musical instrument[1] or the tune to which the psalm should be sung.[2] The poem is a wedding song, or epithalamium, written to a king on the day of his wedding to a foreign woman, and is one of the Royal Psalms.[3]

Background and composition[edit]

In the 19th century, Franz Delitzsch argued that the poem was written on the occasion of Jehoram of Judah's marriage with Athaliah, while Alexander Kirkpatrick maintained that it referred rather to the marriage of Solomon with an Egyptian princess.[4]

The psalm has frequently been interpreted as a as Messianic prophecy.[5] In Hebrews 1:8-9, verses 6-7 are quoted as allusions to Jesus, and among Jews as well the king has been identified with the Messiah and the bride with Israel.[6]

Note that the verse marking for this psalm in the Revised Standard Version (RSV) differs from that used in other translations.[7]

Contents[edit]

The Psalm consists of two sections framed by an introduction (vss. 1-2) and final blessing (vss. 17-18). Verses 3-10 enumerate the virtues of the king,[3] while verses 11-16 describe the queen's wedding procession and urge her to forget her family and her own country and to submit to her husband.[8] In verse 3, the poet tells the king that "God has blessed you from eternity," a concept known as predestination.[9] The most controversial passage is verse 7 (6 in the RSV), traditionally translated "thy throne, O god, is for ever and ever,"[10][11] because it seems as if the poet is addressing the king as "god," which is theologically problematic.[12][13] Alternate translations include "your divine throne endures for ever and ever"[6] and "the eternal and everlasting God has enthroned you."[7] The last two verses of the psalm assure the king that he will have a long line of descendents and "peoples will praise you from age to age."[14]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Artscroll Tehillim page 90
  2. ^ Kirkpatrick 245
  3. ^ a b Dahood 270
  4. ^ Kirkpatrick 243-244
  5. ^ Kirkpatrick 244
  6. ^ a b Rhodes 78
  7. ^ a b Dahood 269
  8. ^ Rhodes 79
  9. ^ Dahood 271
  10. ^ Kirkpatrick 247
  11. ^ Dahood 273
  12. ^ Kirkpatrick 247
  13. ^ Dahood 273
  14. ^ Dahood, 270, 276

References[edit]

  • Dahood, Mitchell (1966). Pslams I: 1-50. Anchor Bible Series. Garden City, New York: Doubleday & Company. 
  • Kirkpatrick, A. F. (1901). The Book of Psalms. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Rhodes, Arnold B. (1960). The Book of Psalms. The Layman's Bible Commentary. Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press. 

Further reading[edit]