The King’s Glorious Bride
All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold. In many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions following behind her” (vv. 13-14).- Psalm 45:10-17
David’s throne, because it was established and preserved by God, could rightly be called God’s throne, and that is exactly what we find in Psalm 45 (see 2 Sam. 7). Since the throne of Israel was the throne of the Lord, the king was expected to be a model of the One who loves righteousness and hates wickedness (Ps. 45:6–7a; see Deut. 17:14–20). When this was true, the Davidic king enjoyed an anointing from on high with the oil of gladness (Ps. 45:7b), a successful reign that brought joy to the kingdom and its citizens.
In ancient Israel, the queen also played an important role in the maintenance and extension of the reign of David’s line. We only need to consider David’s wife Bathsheba, for example, who was instrumental in making sure that the true successor to David—his son Solomon—was placed on the throne (1 Kings 1–2). Given the importance of the queen of Israel, it is not a surprise that she is celebrated alongside the king in the wedding song for the ancient Israelite monarchy. She receives special focus in Psalm 45:10–17.
Interestingly, the queen described in this passage is not a citizen of Israel but rather a foreigner who marries into Israel’s royal line. We see this in vv. 10–11a, which implore the queen to forget her people and her father’s house. Such a call would never be given to one from the nation of Israel. Israel’s king could marry a foreigner as long as she pledged to forsake the gods of her country of origin and submit to her husband and the faith of Israel (v. 11b). As a consequence, she would enjoy the gifts brought to Israel by foreigners and be clothed in garments of beauty (vv. 12–15).
Our study of Psalm 45:1–9 noted that Christ ensures that David’s throne is the throne of God, for Jesus the son of David is the incarnate Lord of all (John 1:1–18). The bride depicted in Psalm 45:10–17, therefore, is a type of the bride of Christ, namely, the church. Like the foreign queen of ancient Israel, we can be joined to the Savior as His beloved spouse if we forsake all other gods and lovingly submit to Him alone (Acts 17:22–34). When we do so, we will be beautified by our Husband. Augustine of Hippo comments on this psalm, giving this message to believers: “Thy God is ‘thy King,’ thy ‘King’ is also thy Bridegroom. Thou weddest to thy King, who is thy God: being endowed by Him, being adorned by Him; redeemed by Him, and healed by Him. Whatever thou hast, wherewith to be pleasing to Him, thou hast from Him.”
Believers are concerned to mortify sin and grow in holiness, so it is easy to become discouraged when we feel like we are failing in this task and are struggling against the sins that seem to overpower us. If you find yourself in this situation, take heart: your Groom is working to make you beautiful. He is conforming you to His image even when you think you are not making much progress at all, and He has already clothed you in His perfect righteousness so that you stand before God unafraid.
Passages for Further Study