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Psalm 45

Psalm 45 is the rare Psalm that focuses on a royal couple, rather than on God. The context might be a Royal wedding, with the admonishment that the foreign Queen forget her ancestors and use her beauty to arouse her king. Distinctly the Psalmist describes his own skill, “my tongue is the stylus of an adept scribe” (verse 2). The king’s good looks are characterized by a Hebrew word uniquely suggesting “doubly beautiful” (3). And yet, this king who sits on the “throne of God” is primarily extolled for his  character: “rides upon a word of truth and humble righteousness…you love righteousness and hate wickedness.”

The Queen on the King’s right side wears garments filigreed with gold and is given advice directly, including “the entire honor of a king’s daughter is inside” (verse 14).  I knew this line from the Talmud as the justification for why a woman could not appear in a court as a witness:  modesty prevents a woman from testifying in a public setting (Shevuot 30a).

The Psalmist concludes, “Let me make your name remembered in all generations.” It is an ironic pledge in that the name of the Royal is never mentioned. As a result, classic commentators attribute the focus of the Psalm to differing Kings: King David, King Solomon, or King Messiah.

Come and see the royal life described, delve deeper into the characterization of a woman, and enjoy the lyricism of Psalm 45.