Psalm 45 : Therefore God, Your God

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rgprice
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Psalm 45 : Therefore God, Your God

Post by rgprice » Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:37 pm

What's the interpretation of this?
Psalm 45:
6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever;
The scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your companions.
8 All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia;
From ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You joyful.
9 Kings’ daughters are among Your noble women;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
I can conjecture, but the translation doesn't give much to work with. Nor may the underlying Hebrew. If this is a psalm that was revised by Deuteronomists, they may have simply changed the underlying names.

I suspect that as a Canaanite song this originally said something like, "Therefore YHWH, Your El, has anointed You", or it may have been been Baal or someone else, not Yahweh. I'd suspect that it wasn't Yahweh, which is what may have led to completely rewriting the names.

Maybe I'm way off.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Psalm 45 : Therefore God, Your God

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Mar 09, 2021 2:02 pm

rgprice wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:37 pm
What's the interpretation of this?
Psalm 45:
6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever;
The scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.
7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your companions.
8 All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh, aloes, and cassia;
From ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You joyful.
9 Kings’ daughters are among Your noble women;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.
I can conjecture, but the translation doesn't give much to work with. Nor may the underlying Hebrew. If this is a psalm that was revised by Deuteronomists, they may have simply changed the underlying names.

I suspect that as a Canaanite song this originally said something like, "Therefore YHWH, Your El, has anointed You"....
No Deuteronomist would have any reason to change "Yahweh, your God," to anything else. That phrase would be a wonderfully Deuteronomist thing to say. If anything, the change you propose would be an Elohistic one, one which denies that Yahweh and Elohim/El are the same deity.

I am not sure any special interpretation is needed here, though. It could easily be simple apposition, like, "O God, my God," in more modern religious parlance. 1 Chronicles 28.20 has "Yahweh God, my God." Psalm 48.14 has "God, our God," and so does Psalm 67.6. In Psalm 50.7, God himself says, "I am God, your God." It is exactly analogous to "God, the God of Israel," as at Psalm 68.8, or "Yahweh God, the God of Israel," at Psalm 72.18.

rgprice
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Re: Psalm 45 : Therefore God, Your God

Post by rgprice » Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:24 pm

The way I was reading it was, that God was being anointed.

6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever; The scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.

Is this talking about God's kingdom, or a person's kingdom?

"Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You"

I was thinking that this was saying God was being anointed by God or is this saying "therefore, YWHW, who is your God..."

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Re: Psalm 45 : Therefore God, Your God

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:45 pm

rgprice wrote:
Tue Mar 09, 2021 4:24 pm
The way I was reading it was, that God was being anointed.

6 Your throne, God, is forever and ever; The scepter of Your kingdom is a scepter of justice.

Is this talking about God's kingdom, or a person's kingdom?

"Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You"

I was thinking that this was saying God was being anointed by God or is this saying "therefore, YWHW, who is your God..."
Ah, I see where you are. The interpretation of Psalm 45.6 is obviously highly contentious. The psalm as a whole is addressed to a human king; there seems to be no doubt of this, nor any real controversy about that part of the interpretation. The issue, naturally, is why suddenly it is God being addressed.

Some reimagine the grammar. For example, "your throne is God forever," or "your throne of God is forever." My Hebrew is not nearly as strong as my Greek, but I am pretty sure that these are not the most natural readings of the Hebrew grammar at this point, which in any other context would seem straightforwardly to address God.

Others think that the psalmist has lapsed momentarily into addressing God instead of the king, kind of a miniature doxology.

The interpretation I favor, however, is that the psalmist is calling the king God, point blank. This kind of thing is not completely unprecedented. Exodus 7.1 says that Moses was set up as a God to Pharaoh, for example. Suffice it to say that, while this is the interpretation I currently espouse, I do not know all the ins and outs of why it should be so. I suspect that the kings of Ancient Near Eastern cultures were often identified with certain deities in a pretty direct way, as if the deities had come down and indwelt them at their coronation, but I am no expert on that.

Long story short, I do not think that this psalm has anything to do with which deity is which; rather, it has to do with what it means to call a human king God.

rgprice
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Re: Psalm 45 : Therefore God, Your God

Post by rgprice » Tue Mar 09, 2021 5:33 pm

Gotcha, that makes sense.

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Re: Psalm 45 : Therefore God, Your God

Post by rgprice » Wed Mar 10, 2021 6:27 am

Of course, the complication of understanding this is relevant because of Hebrews 1:9, which quotes this verse. It seems that the writer of Hebrews is using this to mean, "Therefore God [Jesus], Your God [God], has anointed You." Thus I was trying to understand if this originally was taken as, "Therefore God [YHWH], Your God [Elohim], has anointed You."

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Re: Psalm 45 : Therefore God, Your God

Post by Ethan » Mon Mar 15, 2021 1:36 pm

The verse in Hebrews came from the LXX, thus the author of the Book of Hebrew didn't translate directly from the Hebrew.


Heb 1:9 — ἠγάπησας δικαιοσύνην καὶ ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέν σε ὁ θεός ὁ θεός σου ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους σου

Psa 45:7 — ἠγάπησας δικαιοσύνην καὶ ἐμίσησας ἀνομίαν διὰ τοῦτο ἔχρισέν σε ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεός σου ἔλαιον ἀγαλλιάσεως παρὰ τοὺς μετόχους σου

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