A King Prepares for his wedding

A Reflection on Psalm 45.10-end by Canon Rob,
9th July, The Fifth Sunday after Trinity

What a contrast today’s psalm is to the one we reflected upon two week’s ago: [Psalm 86.1-10.] Then the author was in a really bad place, suffering with depression and anxiety. Today though, there is much praise for the King who is soon to be married to a most beautiful woman. In one of my commentaries, the psalm we are reflecting upon is called “An anthem for a royal wedding” and although the verses set for today are 10 – 17, it is clear from verse 1 that the author – who may have been the court poet – is eager to write his hymn. The news is wonderful and he can’t wait to share it! “My heart is astir with gracious words; as I make my song for the king, my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.” It isn’t every day that the King will marry and his bride become a new Queen!

We know from verse 12 that the bride comes from Tyre, a city in Phoenicia, north of Palestine, but she is expected to leave that behind. “Hear, O daughter, consider and incline your ear; forget your own people and your father’s house.” [Verse 10.] We can presume from verse 13 that she is a princess for she is referred to as “The King’s daughter.” Soon though, she will become a wife and Queen and any children she will give birth to will be princes and princesses in her new country and home. Probably it is an arranged marriage and we don’t know how this princess really feels about leaving her father, family and all that is familiar to her. Hopefully though she and her husband will find love, if they do not already share it. What is clear, again from verse 12, is that the rich and famous from Tyre will be attending the wedding and bringing gifts, or tributes, seeking her favour.

Reading through my commentaries on the psalms, some suggest that the wedding is an allegory about the love of God for His Chosen People. The same is suggested about “The Song of Songs,” an erotic love poem, also in the Old Testament. The Church has often been called the Bride of Christ and, again, some reading the psalm may want to draw a similar conclusion. However, as always, we should beware of reading into a Biblical text something which isn’t there or even intended. Can we not simply take Psalm 45 for what it is: a celebration of the coming wedding of a King? If so, we can reflect on the significance of this great occasion.

Whether or not the marriage was arranged, as I have suggested, it would be important in ensuring the endurance of the King’s dynasty. Male heirs were critical as they were in our own country until comparatively recently. It wasn’t just a case of continuing the family name! Any sons born of this royal marriage will be given a position of responsibility and carry out duties on behalf of the King, just as we see with Prince William representing King Charles. “Instead of your fathers you shall have sons, whom you shall make princes over the land.” [verse 16.] All this is reinforced in the last verse: “I will make your name to be remembered through all generations; therefore shall the peoples praise you for ever and ever.” Once again, as you reflect upon the verses of this psalm, you may find it helpful to read the 2nd Book of Samuel, Chapter 7 which is part of the covenant made between God and King David. There we read, in verse 16,the Lord speaking to King David about the future of his kingdom: “Your family shall be established and your kingdom shall stand for all time in my sight, and your throne shall be established for ever.” Perhaps the King referred to in today’s psalm was David himself! Whoever it was, we can give thanks for the love which God gives to all those in close relationships and hope that the King, in the psalm, and his new Bride and Queen found that same love with each other, as have King Charles and Queen Camilla.

Keep me steadfast and honourable, O God,
in my relationships with those I love. Amen. [Marshall D. Johnson]

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