A Love Song

Psalm 45

An EasyEnglish Translation with Notes (about 1200 word vocabulary) on Psalm 45

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Gordon Churchyard

Words in boxes are from the Bible.

Words marked with a *star are described in the word list at the end.

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Jesus said, "At midnight somebody shouted, Look, the bridegroom is coming. Go out and meet him". (Matthew 25:6) (This is part of a story that Jesus told about a marriage. The bridegroom is the man getting married.)

Psalm 45

  (This is) for the music leader.
  (It is) for the *sons of Korah.
  (It is) a *maskil and a love song.
  (Sing it) to (music that they call) "*lilies".

(Words that the *psalmist says:)

v1   These good words make my *heart very happy.
  I will say these verses to the king.
  My *tongue is *like the pen of someone that writes easily.

(Words that the *psalmist says to the king:)

v2   You are the most beautiful man (that there is).
  You speak words of *grace.
  God has made you special *for ever.

v3   Wear your *sword by your side.
  (You are) the *Mighty One.
  (You are) great and (you are) the king!

v4   (Because you are) the king,
  ride out and beat (all your enemies).
  Then (people that are) honest
  and *meek and *righteous will always win.
  Your right hand will show you
  that you can do things that (make people) afraid.

v5   Your sharp *arrows will cut into the *heart of the king’s enemies.
  *Nations will fall down under your (feet).

v6   Your *throne, God, will go on *for ever and ever.
  The *sceptre of your *kingdom will be a *righteous *sceptre.

v7   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 putting some *oil on you, which made you happy.

v8   All your clothes (smell) of *myrrh, aloes and cassia.
  The (beautiful) *ivory in big houses
  (and the music that you hear from them) makes you happy.

v9   Among your great women are the daughters of kings.
  Your *queen stands at your right hand.
  (She is wearing) gold from *Ophir.

(Words that the *psalmist says to the *queen:)

v10   Daughter, listen (to me).
  Hear (what I am saying) and think about it.
  Forget your people and your father’s house.

v11   You are beautiful and so the king loves you.
  He is your *lord, so *worship him, (v12) daughter from Tyre.

v12   Rich people will make you happy with gifts.

v13   The daughter of the king is beautiful inside.
  They made what she wore out of cotton made from gold.

v14   They led her to the king in her beautiful clothes.
  The girls that were her friends followed her.

v15   They came in with *joy and were very happy
  as they entered the king’s *palace.

(Words that the king says to the *queen; or the *psalmist says to the king:)

v16   You will have sons instead of fathers.
  You will make them *princes over all the land.

v17   I will make sure that people always remember your name.
  So, people will *praise you *for ever and ever.

 The Story of Psalm 45

The famous English author, C. S. Lewis, wrote that some of the psalms meant two things. He also wrote that Psalm 45 was a good example of this. What did C. S. Lewis mean? He thought that Psalm 45 meant one thing before Jesus came to the earth and something else after he came!

1) Before Jesus came to the earth, it meant this. The king in verses 2-9 was the king of Judah or Israel. He was the *messiah. The words "did this by pouring *oil over" in verse 7 are "*messiahed" in Hebrew! They poured *oil (from the fruit of a tree we call the olive) over him when he became king. All the kings of Judah and Israel were God’s *messiahs.

The *queen in verses 10-15 was the woman that the king married. Some Bible students think that the *sons of Korah sang Psalm 45 when King Solomon married his *queen. Others think that they sang it every time a king married. The "*sons of Korah" were the people that sang in the *Temple. The *Temple was the house of God. King Solomon built the *Temple in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah.

2) After Jesus came to the earth it meant something else. This is a more important meaning for Christians. They think that verses 2-9 describe Jesus, the King of kings. Verses 10-15 describe the Church, all Christians.

A few Christians think that the psalm only means one thing. They think that:

  ·   the king in verses 2-9 is always God

  ·   the *queen in verses 10-15 is always God’s people.

God’s people were the Jews in the Old Testament, and are Christians in the New Testament and after. They think this because all through the Bible marriage is a picture of God as husband and his people as his wife.

This shows us that Psalm 45 is not a simple psalm. We must never think that we understand it completely. God will always have something new to say to us through it!

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".

Psalm 45 in the New Testament

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!

Something to do

1.  Read about the *sons of Korah at the end of Psalm 43 in this set of psalms.

2.  Read Psalm 45: 2 - 9. How many things can you find that remind you of Jesus?

Word list

arrow ~ stick with a sharp point at the end, shot by a bow.

disciple ~ someone that follows and obeys a teacher.

for ever (and ever) ~ always, with no end.

grace ~ being kind to someone when you do not have to be.

hate ~ the opposite of love.

heart ~ part of our body; the Jews thought that you used your *heart to think; so to know it "in your heart" or "by heart" means that you remember it.

heaven ~ the home of God.

ivory ~ hard white material of great value.

joy ~ feeling happy deep inside.

kingdom ~ a country that has a king.

like ~ another word for "as".

lilies ~ beautiful flowers.

lord ~ someone with authority (with a capital L a name for God, look after Psalm 25).

maskil ~ a psalm that teaches you something.

meek ~ letting people teach you.

Messiah ~ a name for Jesus; really it means ‘he is made king’.

Mighty One ~ a name for God that means that he is powerful.

myrrh, aloes, cassia ~ all have special smells.

nation ~ a group of people (or a country) with a government.

oil ~ liquid from the fruit of the olive tree.

Ophir ~ a place where Solomon got gold.

palace ~ the home of a king; a beautiful building.

praise ~ (noun, or being something) words that say that someone or something is very good.

praise ~ (verb, or doing something) say that someone or something is very good.

praise God ~ say how great that God is.

prince ~ son of a king.

psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm.

queen ~ the wife of a king.

righteous ~ very very good; only God is very righteous (or has righteousness); doing what is right.

righteousness ~ being very good.

sceptre ~ a special stick that a king holds, maybe made of gold.

sons of Korah ~ the people that sang in the *Temple (look in Psalm 43).

sword ~ a long sharp knife that soldiers used.

temple ~ a special building where people *worship God.

throne ~ a special chair that a king or *queen sits on.

tongue ~ the bit in the mouth that speaks or tastes.

wicked ~ very very bad.

worship ~ say that someone is very wonderful.

 

© 2000-2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)

This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)

July 2001

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