Lectionary Year A
July 7, 2002
Psalm 45:10-17

Step IV: Context

A. Primitive Christianity

(JFC) The early church celebrated weddings as significant festivals for families and friends. They lasted for days at a time. See Matthew 22:1-10. Jesus alludes to Himself as the believers' bridegroom and they/we as the bride in Matthew 9:15 and Mark 2:19f and John 3:29f. Also, Revelation 19:7ff depict a wedding vision of joy and gladness when the Divine Bride and the Divine Groom, dressed in finery, are united with much glory and celebrating. Then, too, Ephesians 3:22-33 directs wives' and husbands' attitudes and actions toward each other in that culture and era. The progeny promised at the end of this Psalm is still wanted and needed in New Testament times. I Peter 3:6 reports that Sarah called Abraham, her husband, "lord". Of course, the Seer's vision of the New City descending from heaven, in Revelation 21:1f describes it as "prepared as a bride for her husband", a picturesque scene doubtlessly popular in those days to glorify God's creation and gifts beyond imagining. A few commentaries refer to Hebrews 1:8f as picking up on some of the celebrative elements of this Psalm as prefiguring the Messiah, which might seem to be a bit of a stretch.

B. Old Testament and Judaism

(JFC) What about young David's colorful coat's being as festive as the royal attire for weddings? The Song of Solomon celebrates love and marriage, especially 4:9f, where the groom tries to express his view of his bride in terms of valuable jewels, etc. The wedding procession is described in Song of Solomon 3:6-11, where the groom's entourage is described as well as the bride's. There, also, the elaborate costumes are more the groom's than the bride's described. Such liaisons occur throughout the Old Testament, from Abraham and Sarah, Jacob and Leah and Rachel, etc. "Marriage had been well established as a representation of the Lord's election of and covenant with Israel in classical prophecy (Hosea 1-3; Jeremiah 2; Ezekiel 16; 23; Isaiah 62:1-5)" says Mays' Interpretation Commentary.

C. Hellenistic World

(JFC) These philosophers might tend to be almost as materialistic as this Psalm could let them to be. The elaborate if not exorbitant costumes of the royal wedding party would surely appeal to their tastes. The celebrative atmosphere could interest them if they had had time and chances to discuss the appropriateness of them before going ahead with the party atmosphere.

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