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

Step V: Distillation

A. Summary of Salient Features

(JFC) The center of theology in this lection is in the person of the King, the one who rules, gets worshipped throughout the world and has many offspring who will reign in the next generation(s). His theological importance comes in his representing God. The bride is a close second place to the King in being the most significant figure in this Psalm. Next in importance are the bride's entourage, the sons the King is promised and then the gladness and joy the party is expected to find in the celebration. On down the list, to get to the lesser/minor elements in this passage, we find the bride's bowing down to her husband/King, her beauty and wardrobe and her having to forget/ignore her family of origin. We still need to keep the pictures of the wedding and the people involved in it in proper perspective and emphasize the more significant intentions of the text to come through to the preaching of this text's meaningfulness for faith development today. Does this Psalmist intend for the figure of the King to represent God who reigns even today, whom we worship, and whose children we are? Or, shall we find some solace in hearing and observing what this Psalm says, re: how God wants ancient Israel to relate to their King, fictitious or real, and then we try to relate similarly, in principle and in actions to our God contemporarily?

B. Smoother Translation

(JFC) English numbering 10 Hear daughter and look/perceive and incline your ear and forget/ignore your people/nation and the house of your father. 11 And the King will desire/long for your beauty for he is your master/lord and you are to bow down before/to him. 12 And daughter Princess/Sara the rich/wealthy people of the nations will bring tribute/offering/gifts to you. 13 All the riches/wealth/abundance of the daughter of the King within/toward the inside will wear plaited (setting for gems) gold as her clothing. 14 In embroidered she is led to the King, with virgins following after her, her female entourage of companions/attendants are being brought to you. 15 They are being brought in with gladness and a rejoicing they will enter into the palace/temple/sanctuary of the King. 16 To your generations there will be your offspring who will constitute to become rulers in all the earth. 17 I will cause to remember your name in all generations and a generation unto this praising will give thanks unto forever and ever.

C. Hermeneutical Bridge

(JFC) Reginald Fuller (in Preaching the New Lectionary) seems to get at the responsible handling of these images for today combined with appropriate caution for the uses in moderation. He writes, "In its original intention the psalm celebrates the marriage of an Israelite king to a foreign princess. In order to fit it to its liturgical use here an allegorical interpretation has to be given. The king in the psalm has to be equated with the Messiah (there is New Testament precedent for this, Heb. 1:8-9); the queen, with Israel, his bride. This provides an indirect connection with the Blessed Virgin Mary as the personification of Israel. But the allegory must not be pressed. Not only does it do violence to the original meaning, but it does not fit the desired application. For Mary is the mother, rather than the bride of Christ, and his bride only insofar as she is the personification of the true Israel, one who believed in him (Acts 1:14)."

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