What Psalm 45 means
Verse 1: Students think that the person that wrote the psalm said this. 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).
Verses 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:
a) 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.
b) 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).
c) he does things that make people afraid, verse 4 This is because he is God and is more powerful than any man or woman. Even his *disciples were a bit afraid when he made the storm become quiet!
d) 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 sharp *arrows will go into the *heart of his enemies. An *arrow in the *heart will kill you. This means that he will beat his enemies.
e) his *throne will go on *for ever and ever, verse 6. This means that he will never stop being king. "*for ever and ever" means "for always and always". There will be no end to his *kingdom. Also, his *kingdom will be *righteous. No bad things will happen in it. The *sceptre is the special stick (often made from gold) that a king holds as he rules his people. "A *righteous *sceptre" means that the king is good. So good things will happen and not bad things.
f) he is God's *Messiah, verse 7. All the kings of Judah and Israel were *messiahs, with a small "m"; but Jesus is the *Messiah with a capital "M"! He was God's special servant on earth.
g) 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. Ivory came from the tusks of a large animal called an elephant. Tusks are *like big white teeth and can be up to a metre long. Elephants have one each side of their mouth. The end of the verse "and the music that you hear" is not in the Hebrew Bible. Some Bible students think that it may be what a strange word in Hebrew means, but others do not agree.
h) 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. Really, Psalm 45 is very difficult to translate and we are not sure about many things in it. The Hebrew word is "*queen", or "the wife of a king", so in this verse they were already married. *Ophir was a place probably on the east coast of the Red Sea, in what is now Saudi Arabia.
Verses 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:
a) the Church is to forget the things that happened in the past, verse 10. Everything is now new.
b) 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!
c) 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.
Verses 16 – 17: Bible students are not sure about these two verses. The two important ideas are at the end of The Story of Psalm 44. 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".
In the New Testament, there is a book that we call "The Letter to the Hebrews". We do not know who wrote it. This is what it says in Hebrews 1:8-9:
v8 But about the Son (it says), "Your *throne, God, is *for ever and ever. His *sceptre is a *sceptre of *righteousness.
v9 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 pouring *oil over you, which made you happy".
This is a very important part of the Bible. It is important because it tells us that early Christians thought that Psalm 45 was about Jesus! So, it does not matter that it may have been about the King of Judah. It is now about Jesus!