Preacher: “My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.”
Seeker: Is the psalmist is preparing once again to praise the Divine? The preface of the psalm says it is a love song. Written, maybe, when there was peace and harmony; and the psalmist’s soul turned to appreciate and express gratitude for the shalom. But before that exegesis is confirmed, let us hear more.
Preacher: “You are the most handsome of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.”
Seeker: But is this love song written to/for the Divine? Or is it to/for someone who rules and prospers under the leadership and guidance of the Divine? So often biblical commentators assume that because these scripture passages are found in the bible, it must address the Divine. But really, this is just a sensitive person writing poetry.
Preacher: “Your throne, O God, endures forever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity; you love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions; your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia. From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor; at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.” (Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9)
Seeker: Ah, the scripture passage for today has skipped a few verses. Might the psalmist be considering & praising the Divine? Let me check the scripture notes carefully. Ah again! An alternate transcription might be “your throne is a throne of God, it endures forever and ever.” So it could well be a psalm or poem celebrating a ruler who rules under the guidance and instruction of the Divine.
Preacher: The psalmist’s words twist and turn, it is true. But as you discerned, Seeker, this could well be a poem for a human. Endowed and filled with the Divine, to be sure. But of human form and origin. Those who are so filled with the Lord God seem to rise above others. And their deeds and abilities set them apart. Praise them, yes; but as Paul so wisely says, if there is boasting to be done, let it be boasting of what the Lord God has done in a person.
Seeker: Still, there is great honor in having such a poem written for one. And that, I think, is a double-edged sword. One tends to look at what one has accomplished and forget that it was only through the blessing of the Divine. And having forgotten that, the poetry and accolades warp one’s sense of self. That leads down a dark path that ends in personal destruction. Maybe that was a path that the kings of Israel and Judah went down, taking much of their kingdoms with them.
Preacher: It is never a good idea, Seeker, to assume that the psalms are no more than poetical words from a sensitive soul. They have much to teach!