Twelve years ago I walked down a carpeted aisle that seemed to stretch into eternity. I walked toward a man to which God had matched me. The chapel was beautiful and bright; and the day even more so.
But when my husband and I celebrated our anniversary last week, we didn’t spend any length of time reminiscing over the actual wedding day, my white dress, or even the delectable chocolate groom’s cake made by a friend.
Instead, we talked about the future – what it held, how we were going to attack certain problems, and where we wanted to “go” as a family.
In Psalm 45, another match has been made. Ps. 45 is the song of a national wedding telling the story of a match made between a King and a royal daughter. But this bride and groom are of more importance than a politic union; they are a match made in heaven (literally).
Who is the groom?
Listen to how this song describes the groom, and then tell me who you think it is. (Be sure to check out the extra textual goodies in the footnotes).
In Ps. 45, the groom is:
- Fair (appearance) (vs. 2)
- Speaks grace (vs. 2b)
- Blessed by God eternally (vs. 2c)
- Mighty One with a sword
- Poised for battle (vs. 3)
- Possesses glory & majesty (vs. 3b)
- Prosperous in his battle for truth, humility (an ethical king) (vs. 4)
- Destroys enemies (vs. 5)
- Subdues nations (vs. 5b)
- Eternal king (vs. 6)
- God! (vs. 6b)
- Rules with righteousness (vs. 6b)
- Loves right; hates wrong (vs. 7a)
- Anointed by God (vs. 7b)
- Anointed more than any other (vs. 7c)
- Royally dressed (vs. 8)
- Pledged to marry an honorable woman (“right hand is the queen of Ophir”) (vs. 9)
- People will praise him eternally (vs. 17)
- His name will be remembered in all times (vs. 17)
So, who’s the groom? Depending on how you approach the text, you could come up with a couple of possibilities.
Is the groom David or one of his kingly descendants? Very possibly.
Or is the author writing about a future coming King who will sit on an eternal throne and usher in permanent peace? Yeah, this option sounds good too! Especially when he’s described as eternal and divine in verse 6.
So, which is it? Is the groom a Davidic king or the Messianic King?
In their book Jesus the Messiah, several Old Testament scholars believe that the mention of David’s “future heirs” make it clear that the groom isn’t exclusively Messianic.
Instead, the authors believe Ps. 45 initially referred to an historical Davidic king but also provided “the foundation for a later robust messianic hope.” They believe this song was used to celebrate royal marriages in general.
The Groom of Ps. 45, they believe, is an ideal man and an ideal king.
But, I can’t help but wonder in what sense is a historical Davidic king called God? (Check out vs. 6b). Even the Jesus the Messiah authors must finally concede that “taken in its most robust literal sense, the words of the psalmist do in fact address the ultimate Davidic king as God” (85).
And we know the only Davidic King worthy of such a title is the Messiah. The Groom is the Messianic King.
Who is the bride?
If the Groom in Ps. 45 is the Messiah, then who’s his bride? This song tells us the bride is a daughter of the King. Listen to her description as she stands in her wedding procession with her hand-maidens:
- The bride stands side-by-side her King (vs. 9)
- The bride is beautiful (vs. 11, 13)
- The bride is desired by her King (vs. 11)
- The bride is glorious (vs. 13)
- The bride’s clothing is woven with gold, royal & regal (vs. 9b-14)
The bride, like any other bride on the dawn of her union, is given wise counsel to help her keep her vows. Here’s what the bride is urged to do on this bright and beautiful day.
She’s told to prize her Groom above all else and everyone else (vs. 10). And she’s told to worship the King (literally ‘bow to’) (vs. 11).
I love how Old Testament heavyweight Derek Kidner describes this verse. He writes: the bride’s submission to her partner as both husband and king goes hand in hand with the dignity she also derives from him. His friends and subjects are now hers; she is the gainer, not the loser, by her homage.
And the results of her wedding day?
- The bride is given gifts (vs. 12a)
- The bride finds favor among the rich (vs. 12b)
- The bride is made beautiful even more beautiful by her union (vs. 13)
- The bride is surrounded by gladness (vs. 15)
- The bride is part of an enduring legacy (vs.16)
The picture of this glorious wedding procession is likened to another match made in heaven – where another groom is breathlessly awaiting his beautiful and specially chosen bride.
“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” 2 Cor. 11:2
Ps. 45 is of monumental importance in the Psalter. Not only did it express a great, enduring hope in the coming Messiah, it expressed a hope that one day the people would be united eternally with their King as his bride.
This hope is of no small consequence to the reader, who is still wiping away the tears left behind from reading the previous psalm regarding national calamity in Ps. 44 and lifting his eyes toward eternity with this song of a national wedding in Ps. 45.
Ps. 45 is for us, each one of us who is called God’s people, his church (Eph. 5:22-33).
We are the blushing bride standing at the back of the chapel, looking down what seems like an interminably long aisle toward our Groom. He’s waiting for us. Breathless.
Our Groom is ready to be matched with us – a bride made glorious and beautiful by our association with him. A bride blessed beyond compare with every spiritual blessing given to her by her Groom – a royal position, regal new clothes of righteousness, and matchless beauty.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your great love that chose us and transforms us into your holy, lovely image. We cannot fathom the riches of our relationship with you – the blessings of gladness, wisdom, salvation, and more. Thank you for making us whole. Thank you for making us lovely. Thank you for bringing us to you through your Son. Help us to train our eyes toward eternity. Above all else, help us be a bride that prizes her Groom above all else and everyone else. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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 See also Ps 2:8-12; 18:47; 110:3, 6-7.
 This verse is used in Heb. 1:8 to show the superiority of the Son to the angels.
 The Messiah is God in verse 6b. Derek Kidner says this truth is consistent with the incarnation. Specifically, he notes that “the faithfulness of Pre-Christian LXX in translating these verses unaltered is very striking.” Derek Kidner, Psalms 1-71 (IVP Academic: Downers Grove, 1973), 189.
 Herbert Bateman, Darrell Bock, and Gordon Johnston, Jesus the Messiah (Kregel Academic: Grand Rapids, 2012), 87.
 Ibid., 83.
 Ibid., 83-84.
 Ibid., 85.
 Kidner, 190.
Lyli @ 3-D Lessons for Life says
Verse 11 has always been one of my favorites… 🙂