Book #2: 42-72
This Psalm voices the lament (sorrow, regret, grief) of the entire nation of Israel for their sin.
Psalm 44:1-3-God is given credit and praise for conquering those who inhabited the Promised Land and for giving it to Israel. It wasn’t Israel’s superior strength that dispersed the nations that lived in the Promised Land. It was God.
Psalm 44:4-7-Now, the writer asks God to come to their rescue again, as in times past.
Psalm 44:9-16-The writer says that right now it appears that God has intentionally given them over to the enemy.
Psalm 44:17-26-The Psalmist declares their innocence...saying that despite what has happened, they have not forsaken God, but have continued to worship Him. If this was not so He would know because "He knows the secrets of the heart" (:21-22). He then calls upon the Lord to save them. Not based on their qualification or deeds. But based on His nature…His lovingkindness.
To understand this Psalm…we must first determine whom it speaks of and what the setting is. Verse 1 tells us that it speaks of a King. But what King? There are those who suggest Solomon, and others suggest David. While they may have been in the mind of the writer as the original object of the Psalm…there is little doubt but that this is a prophetic Psalm that is directed beyond an earthly king to the Heavenly King, Jesus. The setting is a wedding ceremony. Again, perhaps the writer had a wedding of David in mind, intitally. But prophetically, this Psalm speaks of the relationship of Jesus and His church. The church is the bride of Christ and this Psalm is a glorious portrayal of that relationship.
Psa 45:1-17. Shoshannim—literally, "Lilies," either descriptive of an instrument so shaped, or denoting some tune or air so called, after which the Psalm was to be sung (see on JF & B for Ps 8:1, title). A song of loves, or, of beloved ones (plural and feminine)—a conjugal song. Maschil—(See on JF & B for Ps 32:1, title, and JF & B for Ps 42:1, title) denotes the didactic character of the Psalm; that it gives instruction, the song being of allegorical, and not literal, import. The union and glories of Christ and his Church are described. He is addressed as a king possessed of all essential graces, as a conqueror exalted on the throne of a righteous and eternal government, and as a bridegroom arrayed in nuptial splendor. The Church is portrayed in the purity and loveliness of a royally adorned and attended bride, invited to forsake her home and share the honors of her affianced lord. The picture of an Oriental wedding thus opened is filled up by representing the complimentary gifts of the wealthy with which the occasion is honored, the procession of the bride clothed in splendid raiment, attended by her virgin companions, and the entrance of the joyous throng into the palace of the king. A prediction of a numerous and distinguished progeny, instead of the complimentary wish for it usually expressed (compare Gen 24:60 Rth 4:11,12), and an assurance of a perpetual fame, closes the Psalm. All ancient Jewish and Christian interpreters regarded this Psalm as an allegory of the purport above named. In the Song of Songs the allegory is carried out more fully. Hosea (Hsa 1:1-3:5) treats the relation of God and His people under the same figure, and its use to set forth the relation of Christ and His Church runs through both parts of the Bible (compare Isa 54:5 62:4,5 Mat 22:3 25:1 Jhn 3:29 Eph 5:25-32, &c.). Other methods of exposition have been suggested. Several Jewish monarchs, from Solomon to the wicked Ahab, and various foreign princes, have been named as the hero of the song. But to none of them can the terms here used be shown to apply, and it is hardly probable that any mere nuptial song, especially of a heathen king, would be permitted a place in the sacred songs of the Jews. The advocates for any other than the Messianic interpretation have generally silenced each other in succession, while the application of the most rigorous rules of a fair system of interpretation has but strengthened the evidences in its favor. The scope of the Psalm above given is easy and sustained by the explication of its details. The quotation of Psa 45:6,7 by Paul (Hbr 1:8,9), as applicable to Christ, ought to be conclusive, and their special exposition shows the propriety of such an application.
Jamieson, Fausset & Brown :: Commentary on Psalm 45, https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/jfb/Psa/Psa_045.cfm?a=523001
This psalm is an illustrious prophecy of Messiah the Prince: it is all over gospel, and points at him only, as a bridegroom espousing the church to himself and as a king ruling in it and ruling for it. It is probable that our Saviour has reference to this psalm when he compares the kingdom of heaven, more than once, to a nuptial solemnity, the solemnity of a royal nuptial, Mt. 22:2; 25:1. We have no reason to think it has any reference to Solomon's marriage with Pharaoh's daughter; if I thought that it had reference to any other than the mystical marriage between Christ and his church, I would rather apply it to some of David's marriages, because he was a man of war, such a one as the bridegroom here is described to be, which Solomon was not. But I take it to be purely and only meant of Jesus Christ; of him speaks the prophet this, of him and of no other man; and to him (v. 6, 7) it is applied in the New Testament (Heb. 1:8), nor can it be understood of any other…
Some make Shoshannim, in the title, to signify an instrument of six strings; others take it in its primitive signification for lilies or roses, which probably were strewed, with other flowers, at nuptial solemnities; and then it is easily applicable to Christ who calls himself the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valleys, Cant. 2:1. It is a song of loves, concerning the holy love that is between Christ and his church. It is a song of the well-beloved, the virgins, the companions of the bride (v. 14), prepared to be sung by them. The virgin-company that attend the Lamb on Mount Zion are said to sing a new song, Rev. 14:3, 4.
Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Psalms 45, https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/mhc/Psa/Psa_045.cfm?a=523001
Psalm 45:1-9-The King is praised. When we understand that this Psalm is speaking prophetically of King Jesus…then we have no trouble understanding verses 2 and 7. Verse 2 says, “God has blessed Thee forever”, and verse 7 says, “Therefore God, Thy God, has anointed Thee.” How is this possible? We must remember that while it is not clearly defined in the Old Testament, on numerous occasions we see the doctrine (Biblical teaching) of the Trinity (the godhead, One God in Three Persons…Father, Son, Holy Spirit). That is the case here. God the Father blesses God the Son in verse 2. And, God the Father anoints God the Son in verse 7. While there is only one true God…He exists in three personalities. On some occasions we see all three persons of the Trinity working in concert as if they were actually one person…such is the case of creation (cf. Genesis 1:1-2,26; John 1:1-3). At other times, it appears that within the Trinity, there are separate and distinct roles and responsibilities (for instance: Jesus came as the Savior of the world and the Holy Spirit indwells believers). In verse 2, it says of the King, “grace is poured upon Thy lips”. How true that is of Jesus. His was a mission and ministry of grace. Grace flowed from His lips in such a way as had never been heard before. Indeed, He is fairer, better, than any other man that has ever lived. Verses 3-5 speak of King Jesus coming in power to conquer death and all that stands in the way of His eternal throne. Verses 6-8 describe the eternal nature of King Jesus. His reign is based on His righteousness and it results in the joy of His people.
Psalm 45:9-15-The bride is described. She is called “daughter” (:10) and “The King’s daughter” (:13). It is not uncommon for parents to refer to a dearly loved daughter-in-law as their “daughter”. So it is here. This is a reference to God the Father and His daughter-in-law, the bride of His Son (Jesus), the church.
Psalm 45:16-17-A blessing is proclaimed. These verses speak of the multitudes of people who will worship Jesus and be a part of His eternal family.
“Alamoth", meaning "maidens", probably refers to soprano voices and tells us that it was written to be sung by women. It is suggested that this Psalm is prophetic and may be speaking of the Millennial reign of Christ (the 1,000 years after the Second Coming of Christ when He will reign on earth).
Psalm 46 …While the invasion of Israel by Sennacherib during the reign of Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:13-19:37) may form the historical background for this psalm, it seems to anticipate Psalm 47, which is a song of God’s kingship, and thus ultimately refers to the millennial reign of Christ.
The Ryrie Study Bible, Psalm 46, p. 841
Psalm 46:1-3-"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble". What an incredible statement of faith in God. Especially if we consider that the author was aware of a massive army that was on its way to attack Jerusalem. The words “very present” mean…
מָצָא mâtsâʼ, maw-tsaw'; a primitive root; properly, to come forth to, i.e. appear or exist; transitively, to attain, i.e. find or acquire; figuratively, to occur, meet or be present: — be able, befall, being, catch, × certainly, (cause to) come (on, to, to hand), deliver, be enough
In other words…God is a God Who always shows up and is certain to deliver when there is trouble. And it doesn’t make any difference how difficult the trouble may appear to be (:2-3).
Psalm 46:4-7-These verses poetically speak of the presence of God with His people…resulting in His provision and His protection. The “river” (:4) symbolizes the provision (physical and spiritual) of God flowing to His people. The “city of God” is the New Jerusalem from which Jesus will reign (:5) during the Millennium (cf. Ezekiel 47:1; Zechariah 14:8). There is no nation that could ever stand against the Lord. All He has to do is raise His voice and they fall away in defeat.
Psalm 46:8-11-The Psalmist tells us to recognize the power of God and to accept Him as our Sovereign King. "Cease striving and know that I am God" (:10)...then we will have His peace. The word “striving” is not in the Hebrew…just the word “Cease”. Other translations suggest the text should read, “Be still…” (NIV, KJV, NLT). However we may decide to translate the word, the meaning is that we should stop worrying and working on our own…and “know” (realize, accept, acknowledge) that God is in control. It isn’t that we do nothing…but, we only do what God commands.
Prayer: Lord, I need to “cease striving”. Sometimes I worry about the future and I try to just hurry up and do something! That often only makes matters worse. Help me to always remember that You are in control. Show me what You would have me to do…and, what You would not have me to do.