In my first post about Psalm 45, we discovered that it was written by the Sons of Korah, whom I described as dead men walking, and that this particular Royal Psalm is a love song. And today I want to begin to dig into the words of this song. Let’s look at verse 1.
My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.
The first thing I want us to notice is the attitude of the writer. Is this someone who’s disinterested? No, not at all. Are they simply wanting to write an intellectual thesis? Is this an exercise in diction or grammar? No. It’s a love song, and they, literally, sound “in love.”
In fact, the word there that is translated as “overflows” in the English is the same word used for cooking in a skillet. John Calvin translated it as “Boiling Over.” Something that can’t be contained, something that can’t be held back. This is affectionate language. And we see this in the Psalms regularly. Language not just of worship, but of longing, of yearning, of craving. For instance,
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire[a] in his temple.
42 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?
Those are just 3 examples. And all of this is the language of a lover. Imagine if I called my wife, Megan, and said: Whom have I but you? Who else could I ever want? I want to gaze upon you. I want to be with you. When can I see you?
That’s…whew! Right!?!? That’s lover language. That’s pupils-dilating, heart rate-climbing sort of language.
So, the Sons of Korah are in love. Well, then, who are they writing about? Who is the object of their affection? “I address my verses to the King.” The King? Hmm. OK, why him? What is it about the King that has so gripped the Sons of Korah? We’ll look at that in our next post.