Psalm 45
Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
A nuptial ode, celebrating the marriage of a king with a king’s daughter. After a brief prelude (Psalm 45:1) the Psalmist addresses the king, praising the personal beauty which marks him out as a ruler of men, and bidding him use his strength in the cause of truth and right. Noble qualities of heart and mind fit him for his lofty calling, on which the seal of divine approval has been newly set by the blessing of this supreme happiness, the crowning glory of his state and splendour (Psalm 45:2-9). Then turning to the bride he bids her cheerfully accept her new position, and indicates its dignity by pointing to the gifts which allied nations bring in her honour. In magnificent bridal array she is conducted to the royal palace with jubilant rejoicings; and the Psalm concludes with the anticipation of a numerous posterity and undying and worldwide renown for so famous a monarch (Psalm 45:10-17).

There is no clearly marked strophical arrangement. The poet passes from thought to thought as his enthusiasm kindles with the grandeur of his theme.

That the Psalm refers to some actual occasion cannot be doubted. Some commentators indeed deny that it has an historical basis, and regard it as wholly prophetic or ideal. The language, they say, far transcends any language that could be used of the best of earthly kings; and from the earliest times, alike in the Jewish and in the Christian Church, it has been understood to refer directly to the Messiah.

A careful study of the Psalm shews that this view is untenable. (1) There is no indication that the Psalmist intends to describe a future personage. (2) The language of the Ps. does not really go beyond what might have been said by a poet of an actual king, viewed in the light of the promises made to the house of David. (3) The Ps. contains realistic details of the circumstances of an Oriental court, which would hardly have been introduced, if it had been originally written as a sacred poem with a mystic meaning.

The view that the Ps. is exclusively Messianic rests in great measure upon an imperfect apprehension of the typical character of the Davidic kingship. The Davidic king was the representative of Jehovah, Who was the true King of Israel, and the poet-seer can boldly greet the reigning monarch in the light of the great prophecies to which he was the heir. Bidding him rise to the height of his calling by the exercise of a just rule which should be a true reflection of the divine government, he can claim for him the fulfilment of the promise of an eternal dominion. It is of the essence of poetry to idealise, and sacred poetry is no exception to the rule. It could disregard the limitations and imperfections of experience, and portray the king in the light of the true and perfect conception of his office, not simply as what he was, but as what he should be. See Introd. pp. lxxvi. ff.; introd. and notes to Psalms 2; and comp. Riehm’s Messianic Prophecy (Engl. Tr., ed. 2), pp. 102 ff.

Who then was the king, and what was the occasion referred to? If the lofty language of the Ps. is clearly based upon the Messianic promises and only explicable in connexion with them, some king of the house of David must be its theme. This consideration excludes kings of the Northern Kingdom, such as Ahab, who has been suggested because he possessed an ivory palace (cp. Psalm 45:8 with 1 Kings 22:39) and married a foreign princess (1 Kings 16:31); or Jeroboam II, the luxury and splendour of whose reign might seem to correspond to the description in the poem. Still more decisively does it exclude foreign kings, such as some unknown Persian monarch, or Ptolemy Philadelphus, or the Syrian king Alexander (1Ma 10:57-58).

If then the Ps. must refer to some king of Judah, the choice appears to lie between Jehoram and Solomon. (1) Delitzsch finds a suitable occasion in the marriage of Jehoram with Athaliah. Jehoram was the son of the pious Jehoshaphat, whose reign revived the glories of the Solomonic age. Though not actually king when he married Athaliah, he had been raised to the position of co-regent with his father (2 Kings 8:16). The exhortation to the bride to forget her home, and the mention of Tyre, are supposed to be allusions to the Sidonian origin of Athaliah’s mother, Jezebel.

It is however difficult to believe that an inspired poet could have regarded an alliance with the idolatrous house of Ahab with satisfaction, or that in view of the subsequent history such an ode would have been preserved in a collection of temple-hymns. Moreover this bride appears to be a foreign princess, not an Israelite. It remains to adopt the old view that the Psalm celebrates the marriage of Solomon with the daughter of the king of Egypt (1 Kings 3:1). Such an alliance must have been an event of the highest importance. Solomon’s court was a scene of splendour and luxury like that which is described in the Ps. The kingdom was at the zenith of its glory. The promises to David were recent: the hopes which they held out had not yet been dimmed by failure and disappointment. Then as at no other later time it was easy for a poet to idealise the kingship and the kingdom, and to use the language of lofty hope and confident anticipation. Solomon’s close alliance with Hiram gives a natural explanation of the mention of Tyre (Psalm 45:12) as the representative of allied nations. A recent theory regards the Ps. as a ‘dramatic lyric,’ written after the Return from the exile at a time when the traditional glories of Solomon’s reign attracted the attention and exercised the imagination of poets. The theory is improbable, but it recognises the fact that the Ps. may most appropriately be referred to Solomon. The only objections which deserve consideration are that the king is described as a martial hero, whereas Solomon was a man of peace: and that Solomon had no line of royal ancestors such as is supposed to be implied in Psalm 45:16. (1) To the first of these objections it may be answered that although this king is described as a conquering hero, more stress is laid upon the justice of his rule than upon his warlike exploits. Moreover Solomon was not deficient in military spirit, and though his reign was on the whole peaceful, it was by no means entirely so. He made great military preparations (1 Kings 4:26; 1 Kings 9:15 ff. 1 Kings 11:27; 2 Chronicles 8:5 ff.), and it is recorded that he conquered Hamath-zobah (2 Chronicles 8:3). It was scarcely possible for a poet to dissociate the idea of a king from the idea of a victorious warrior. (2) As regards the second objection, Psalm 45:16 does not necessarily imply a long line of royal ancestors. It may be understood as implying the reverse, and expressing the hope that a noble posterity might arise to compensate for the absence of the long ancestry upon which so many oriental monarchs prided themselves.

Whatever may have been the original occasion of the Ps., its Messianic significance has been almost universally recognised. “The marriage-song of the Jewish monarch laid open thoughts which could only be realised in the relation of the Divine King to His Church.” The Targum paraphrases Psalm 45:2; “Thy beauty, O King Messiah, exceeds that of the children of men; a spirit of prophecy is bestowed upon thy lips:” and Psalm 45:10, “Hear, O congregation of Israel, the law of his mouth, and consider his wondrous works.” The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 45:6-7 as a description of the moral and eternal sovereignty of Christ (Hebrews 1:8-9). If the king was typical of Christ, the marriage of the king might symbolise the bridal of Christ and the Church; and this interpretation was facilitated by the common use of the figure of marriage in the O.T. to describe the relation of Jehovah to His people. The natural relationship is consecrated as the sacrament of the mystical relationship; and the mystical relationship is rendered more comprehensible to the human mind by the sanction of the analogy. Comp. Ephesians 5:23 ff.; Revelation 19:7 ff; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 22:17.

It may seem strange that an ode thus secular in its origin should find a place in the Canon. But the inclusion of such poems as this and the Song of Songs, with which this Psalm has much in common, helps to place the ordinary relations of human life in a truer light as part of the divine order of the world. And further they are ennobled and consecrated by being thus made the vehicle for lofty thoughts and the type of spiritual mysteries (Ephesians 5:23 ff.).

The Psalm is a Proper Psalm for Christmas Day.

The title may be rendered as in R.V., For the chief Musician; set to Shoshannim; (a Psalm) of the sons of Korah. Maschil, a Song of loves. Shoshannim, that is, lilies, denotes not the theme of the Ps., in reference to the beauty and purity of the bride, nor a lily-shaped instrument by which it was to be accompanied, but the melody to which it was to be sung—some well-known song beginning with the word Shoshannim. See Introd. p. xxvi. f., and cp. the titles of 69, 60, 80. The word for loves, or love, is from the same root as that which forms part of Solomon’s original name Jedidiah = Beloved of Jah (2 Samuel 12:25). It is always used of high and noble affection, especially of Jehovah’s love for His people (Psalm 60:5; Deuteronomy 33:12; Isaiah 5:1).

To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves. My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
1. Introduction and dedication.

My heart &c.] Better, My heart bubbleth over with goodly words. The nobility of his subject inspires him with an impulse which will not be restrained.

I speak of the things &c.] Better, I speak the things which I have made (i. e. composed, cp. Old Eng. maker = poet) touching a king. The absence of the article (a king) lays stress upon the dignity rather than upon the personality of the subject of the Ps.; one who is a king and of no lower rank. The punctuation of the Massoretic Text points to a slightly different rendering: I am about to speak; my work is for (or, touching) a king.

the pen of a ready writer] Prompt to express and record the thoughts with which the mind is overflowing. The words rendered ready writer are applied to Ezra (Psalm 7:6) the ‘ready scribe,’ but clearly they do not here bear this technical sense of ‘a learned student of the law,’ but the literal sense of ‘a skilful and rapid penman.’

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
2. Thou art fairer &c.] Personal beauty was always regarded as a qualification for a ruler, partly on account of its intrinsic attractiveness, partly as the index of a noble nature. Cp. 1 Samuel 9:2; 1 Samuel 10:23; 1 Samuel 16:12; and the descriptions of the classical heroes in Homer and Vergil; e.g. Aeneas (Aen. i. 589), “os humerosque deo similis.”

grace is poured into thy lips] Or, upon thy lips. The gracious smile upon his lips gives promise of the gracious words which proceed from them. Cp. Proverbs 22:11, “He that hath gracious lips, the king shall be his friend”; Ecclesiastes 10:12; Luke 4:22.

therefore] This is usually explained to mean, ‘Hence it may be seen that God hath blessed thee; it is the logical inference from this endowment of beauty.’ But must not therefore be understood as in Psalm 45:7? Physical qualifications correspond to moral qualifications. They are in themselves a Divine gift; but they are further regarded as a ground of the special blessings which have been showered upon the king. The P.B.V. because is ungrammatical.

for ever] The perpetuity of the covenant with David and his seed is constantly emphasised. Cp. 2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 7:16; 2 Samuel 7:25; 2 Samuel 7:29; Psalm 18:50; Psalm 89:2 ff.

2–9. The royal bridegroom: his personal beauty, the justice of his government, the success of his arms, the glory of his kingdom, the magnificence of his court. He is one upon whom the Divine blessing has rested in fullest measure.

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
3. Instead of praising the king’s strength and courage in the abstract, the Psalmist bids him use them in the cause of truth and right.

O most mighty] O mighty hero.

with thy glory and thy majesty] It is better to repeat the verb: (gird on) thy honour and thy majesty. Honour and majesty are Divine attributes, reflected in the person of the victorious King who is Jehovah’s representative. Cp. Psalm 96:6; Psalm 104:1; Psalm 145:5; with Psalm 21:5.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
4. And in thy majesty] The single word of the original is an exact repetition of the last word of Psalm 45:3. Such repetitions are a common poetical figure; but the construction is harsh, the prep. in not being expressed; the word is omitted by the Syr. (probably) and Jer. (ed. Lagarde); and may be due to an early error of transcription. The consonants are recognised by the LXX, but differently vocalised and rendered, and bend [thy bow]. This rendering however involves a doubtful ellipse, and the mention of the bow is hardly in place here.

ride prosperously] Ride on victoriously, on warhorse or in chariot, forcing a way irresistibly through the ranks of the enemy.

because of truth] Better, in the cause of truth: in defence and furtherance of virtues which are trampled under foot in evil times and under bad rulers. (Isaiah 59:14-15). Truth and righteousness are the constant attributes of the true king: meekness is the characteristic of the true people of God; and it is the king’s work to see that the meek have justice done them. Cp. Isaiah 11:1-5; Isaiah 29:19; Zephaniah 2:3; Psalm 37:11; Psalm 76:9; &c.

shall teach thee] Or, and let thy right hand teach thee terrible things, an epithet applied to the marvellous works of God for His people, inspiring them with a holy awe, and their foes with a panic terror (Deuteronomy 10:21; 2 Samuel 7:23; Isaiah 64:3; Psalm 65:5; Psalm 106:22; Psalm 145:6). By a bold figure the king’s right hand, i. e. his strength and courage, is said to teach or shew him terrible things, as his success in battle reveals the divine energy with which he has been endowed.

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
5. As the text stands it must be rendered;

Thine arrows are sharp;

Peoples fall under thee:

(They are) in the heart of the king’s enemies.

The poet depicts the battle with rapid vigorous strokes of his pen. The king’s arrows are sharpened (Isaiah 5:28), ready for fatal effect; his enemies fall at their discharge; he rides on over their prostrate corpses; each shaft has found its mark in the heart of a foe. But the construction is abrupt, and possibly there is some error in the text.

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
6. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever] (1) This appears to be the sense given by all the Ancient Versions, for though it has been argued that ὁ θεὸς in the LX X is not the vocative (Thy throne O God) but the predicate (Thy throne is God), the words do not appear to have been so understood by any of the ancient commentators, and the construction is certainly not an obvious one. But this rendering involves serious difficulties, whether it is taken as an address to the king or to God. (a) Can the king who is the subject of the Ps. be addressed as Elohim, ‘God’? The older expositors, who regarded the Psalm as directly Messianic, of course felt no difficulty, and saw in the words a recognition of the Deity of Christ. But the tone and contents of the Psalm make it clear that it is addressed to some actual king. Could such a king be so addressed? It is argued that judges were called gods (Exodus 21:6; Exodus 22:8-9; Exodus 22:28(?); 1 Samuel 2:25); that the theocratic king as the representative of God was said to sit “on the throne of Jehovah” (1 Chronicles 28:5; 1 Chronicles 29:23); that a prophet can predict that the house of David should be as God (Zechariah 12:8); that Elohim is applied to men in the sense of divine or supernatural (Exodus 7:1; 1 Samuel 28:13); that Isaiah speaks of the Messianic king as El gibbôr, ‘mighty God’; and that the words of the next verse (where doubtless Jehovah thy God originally stood) preclude the possibility of misunderstanding. But it is doubtful whether judges are actually called gods (see R.V. of the passage quoted): certainly they are only so called as the mouthpieces of God, Who is regarded as the fountain of judgement: and after all that has been urged in favour of this interpretation it seems hardly possible to suppose that the king is directly addressed as Elohim.

(b) The Targum regards the words as addressed to Jehovah, ‘The throne of Thy majesty, O Jehovah, abideth for ever and ever.’ Jehovah’s throne may mean His heavenly throne (Psalm 145:13; Lamentations 5:19), or the throne which He has established on earth as its counterpart and representative. But this interpretation seems to be excluded by the context. The king is addressed in the preceding and following verses, and it seems hardly possible to suppose that in this verse alone Jehovah is abruptly addressed.

(2) In view of these difficulties it is necessary to consider whether the words are correctly translated. Various other renderings have been proposed, taking Elohim as the subject or predicate of the clause instead of as a vocative. (a) God is thy throne: i.e. thy kingdom is founded upon God. In support of this are quoted such phrases as “Jehovah is my refuge and my fortress” (Psalm 91:2), or, “The eternal God is thy dwelling-place” (Deuteronomy 33:27). But the expression, to say the least, would be a strange one. (b) Thy throne is God, i.e. divine. But though Hebrew uses substantives as predicates in a way which our idiom does not allow, this particular instance seems scarcely admissible. (c) Thy throne [is the throne of] God (R.V. marg.). It is a disputed point whether this rendering is grammatically legitimate; but good authorities decide in the affirmative. It gives an excellent sense, and if the text is to be retained is the most satisfactory explanation of it. The theocratic king occupied the earthly throne of Jehovah as His representative (1 Chronicles 28:5; 1 Chronicles 29:23), ruling by His power (1 Kings 3:28), and in His Name; and the justice of this king’s government (6 b, 7) stamps him as a worthy representative of Jehovah.

(3) Various emendations have been suggested, for the most part introducing a verb to give the sense, God hath established thy throne. The most ingenious is that of Bruston, who supposes that the Elohistic editor misread YHVH, Jehovah, for YHYH, shall be, and according to his usual custom substituted Elohim. Thy throne shall be for ever and ever would be an echo of the promise in 2 Samuel 7:16 b.

Whatever may be the precise rendering, there can be little doubt that the words contain a reference to the promise of eternal dominion to the house of David, which was fulfilled in Christ. See 2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalms 89; cp. Psalm 21:4; Psalm 72:5.

Psalm 45:6-7 are quoted in Hebrews 1:8-9. “It is commonly supposed that the force of the quotation lies in the Divine title (ὁ θεός) which, as it is held, is applied to the Son. It seems however from the whole form of the argument to lie rather in the description which is given of the Son’s office and endowment. The angels are subject to constant change, He has a dominion for ever and ever; they work through material powers, He—the Incarnate Son—fulfils a moral sovereignty and is crowned with unique joy. Nor could the reader forget the later teaching of the Psalm on the Royal Bride and the Royal Race. In whatever way then ὁ θεός be taken, the quotation establishes the conclusion which the writer wishes to draw as to the essential difference of the Son and the angels.” Bp. Westcott in loc.

the sceptre &c.] R.V. rightly, A sceptre of equity is the sceptre of thy kingdom. The sceptre is the symbol of royal authority; and the authority of the true king, like that of Jehovah, is exercised in righteousness and equity. Cp. Psalm 67:4; Psalm 89:14 with Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 11:4 ff; Psalm 72:2 ff, Psalm 72:12 ff, and numerous passages in which righteousness is named as a fundamental attribute of God and an indispensable characteristic of His true representative on earth.

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
7. Thou lovest &c.] Or, as R.V., Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness. “I have loved justice and hated iniquity, and therefore I die in exile” were the last memorable words of Gregory VII. Milman, Hist. of Lat. Christianity, iv. 138.

therefore] The willing conformity of the king to the will of God is rewarded with special tokens of His favour.

God, thy God] The rendering, O God, thy God is unquestionably wrong. God, thy God in the Elohistic Psalms is the equivalent of Jehovah thy God elsewhere. Cp. Psalm 43:4; Psalm 50:7.

hath anointed thee &c.] The reference is not to anointing as the symbol of consecration to the office of king, but to the use of oil on occasions of festivity (Psalm 23:5; Psalm 104:15). Thus ‘the oil of gladness’ is contrasted with mourning (Isaiah 61:3 : cp. 2 Samuel 12:20; 2 Samuel 14:2). The rejoicings of the marriage festival are meant. Cp. Song of Solomon 3:11.

thy fellows] Other kings, to none of whom has equal happiness been granted. Cp. Psalm 89:27 b.

All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
8. The bridegroom appears, arrayed for the marriage, his garments saturated with costly perfumes, brought from distant lands. Myrrh was a product of Arabia: aloes here denotes the perfumed wood of an Indian tree: cassia (a different word from that so translated in Exodus 30:24; Ezekiel 27:19, and found here only) was either a species of cinnamon, or the koost of India, Indian orris or costus. Myrrh and aloes are mentioned together in Song of Solomon 4:14 among chief spices.

Prof. Earle notes that “these English spice-names are all identical with the words in the Hebrew; for with these oriental spices their oriental names travelled westward, and they became through Greek and Latin the common property of the European languages.” Psalter of 1539, p. 285.

out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad] An impossible rendering. Translate with R.V., out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made thee glad. Music greets the bridegroom as he enters the palace. Palaces ornamented with ivory, probably inlaid in panels, are mentioned in 1 Kings 22:39; Amos 3:15. Cp. 1 Kings 10:18; 1 Kings 10:22; Song of Solomon 5:14; Song of Solomon 7:4; Amos 6:4; Ezekiel 27:6; Ezekiel 27:15. Homer (Od. IV. 72) speaks of

Echoing halls

Of gold, electron, silver, ivory,

in the palace of Menelaus. Vergil (Aen. x. 135 ff.) and Horace (Odes ii. 18. 2) mention the use of ivory for inlaying.

Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
9. Kings’ daughters are among thy honourable women:

At thy right hand doth stand the queen in gold of Ophir (R.V.).

An Oriental monarch prided himself on the number and nobility of the wives in his harem, and some at least of the Jewish monarchs were no exception to the rule (1 Kings 11:3; Song of Solomon 6:8). It may seem strange that such a degradation of the true ideal of marriage should find place in a Psalm which opens up such lofty thoughts and hopes. But the Psalm reflects the actual facts and customs of the age: it is not intended to depict a perfect state of things. One of the wives takes precedence of the rest and occupies the place of honour (1 Kings 2:19) at the king’s right hand. It is implied that this place is reserved for the new bride whom the poet now turns to address. The verse is a general description of the king’s state, for the bride has not yet been brought in (Psalm 45:14); or is the poet anticipating? Gold of Ophir was the choicest gold (1 Kings 9:28; 1 Kings 10:11; Job 22:24; Job 28:16), but where Ophir was is not known. Most probably it was in S. Arabia or India.

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
10. Hearken, O daughter] The Psalmist adopts the tone of an authoritative teacher and uses language resembling that of the Wise Man to his disciples in the opening chapter of Proverbs (Proverbs 1:8, and frequently). The exhortation seems strange until it is remembered that the marriage was probably a matter of state policy, and that the bride would not even have seen her future husband.

forget &c.] Cast no lingering looks of regret behind, but adapt thyself to the new home and new conditions. Perhaps, as the Targ. suggests, there may be a special reference to religious beliefs and customs. It has been thought that Pharaoh’s daughter embraced Judaism, as Egyptian deities are not mentioned among those for which Solomon made high places. See Lumby on 1 Kings 3:1.

10–12. The poet addresses the bride, counselling her to forget her old home and surrender herself with complete devotion to her husband, and describing the honours which await her.

So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
11. So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty] Omit greatly.

worship thou him] Better, do him homage: not necessarily in the literal sense of prostrating herself before him (1 Samuel 25:41; 1 Kings 1:16; 1 Kings 1:31), but by shewing him befitting respect and submission. This exhortation, and the title lord for husband (cp. Genesis 18:12) reflect the subordinate position of women in ancient times and Oriental countries. Yet see also 1 Peter 3:5-6. The rendering of P.B.V., for he is thy Lord God, follows the Vulg. But God is not in the LXX, and was no doubt a gloss in accordance with the Messianic interpretation.

And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.
12. The words shall be there are not in the Heb., and it has been proposed to render, And, O daughter of Tyre, with a gift shall the rich of the people intreat thy favour, making the bride a Tyrian princess. But apart from other objections, the daughter of Tyre should mean, according to the analogy of the similar phrases, daughter of Zion, daughter of Babylon, not an individual Tyrian woman, but the city and people of Tyre personified as a woman: and the A.V. no doubt gives the sense correctly, though some verb has probably been lost. The express mention of the wealthy merchant city of Tyre as the representative of the neighbouring nations which would send their greetings to the new queen is most naturally accounted for if the Psalm refers to Solomon, who was in close alliance with Tyre.

even the rich &c.] Render, Yea, the richest of people: i.e. as the LXX paraphrases, the people of the earth; or perhaps, of the land: wealthy nobles of the country as well as foreigners.

The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
13. The King’s daughter within (the palace) is all glorious:

Her clothing is inwrought with gold. (R.V.)

The bride is described in all the splendour of her bridal attire. Within the palace, or in the inner part of the palace, may refer to her old home, the Psalmist by poetical licence ignoring intervals of time and place; but, more probably, to the house in Jerusalem to which she had been brought, and from which she is now to be conducted in state to the king’s palace (Psalm 45:14-15).

13–15. Description of the bride adorned for her husband.

She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
14. In raiment of embroidery shall she be conducted to the king, in solemn and stately procession, accompanied by a train of attendants such as befits a king’s daughter. Cp. Esther 2:9. For mention of embroidery cp. Exodus 28:39; Jdg 5:30; &c. Other but less probable renderings are, on tapestry or carpets of divers colours, or, into tapestry-curtained chambers.

With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.
15. shall they be brought] Shall they be conducted, as in Psalm 45:14. The procession which conducted the bride to her new home was an important part of the marriage ceremony, and was always accompanied with songs and music and dancing and every mark of rejoicing. See 1Ma 9:37 ff. “The children of Jambrin made a great marriage, and were bringing the bride from Nadabath with a great escort, inasmuch as she was the daughter of one of the great nobles of Canaan.… And there was much ado, and a great train of baggage; and the bridegroom came forth with his friends and his brethren to meet them, with drums and instruments of music and many weapons.”

Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
16. Instead of thy fathers &c.] The wish does not, as is sometimes said, imply a long line of royal ancestors, and therefore exclude the reference of the Psalm to Solomon, but rather the reverse. If he cannot boast of a long ancestry, may he at least be famous for a numerous and distinguished posterity.

whom thou mayest &c.] Better, whom thou shalt make princes in all the earth (R.V.). We might render in all the land, and compare Solomon’s governors (1 Kings 4:7 ff.), and the ‘princes of the provinces’ in the Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 20:14-15), and Rehoboam’s settlement of his sons in different fortified cities (2 Chronicles 11:23). But the reference to subject and allied peoples (Psalm 45:5; Psalm 45:17) makes it probable that in all the earth is right. Cp. Psalm 2:8; Psalm 72:8 ff.

16, 17. Concluding wishes and anticipations addressed to the king.

I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.
17. The poet’s song will perpetuate the memory of the king; and that not in Israel only, but among other peoples (Psalm 72:17).

therefore shall the people praise thee] Therefore shall the peoples praise thee, or (R.V.) give thee thanks: a word commonly applied to God (Psalm 42:5; Psalm 42:11; Psalm 43:4-5; and often), rarely to men (Genesis 49:8; Psalm 49:18). Solomon’s name is remembered while the names of monarchs far more powerful from a worldly point of view have been forgotten, because God had made him His representative and the head of His visible kingdom upon earth, the type of His perfect representative who should come to establish His universal kingdom among men.

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bible Hub
Psalm 44
Top of Page
Top of Page