The Translation Of “Elohim” In Psalm 45:7-8 -- By: Murray J. Harris

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 35:1 (NA 1984)
Article: The Translation Of “Elohim” In Psalm 45:7-8
Author: Murray J. Harris


The Translation Of “Elohim” In Psalm 45:7-8

Murray J. Harris

Psalm 45 is one of the 42 psalms in the ‘Elohist Psalter’ (Pss. 42–83), so-called because the term אלהים predominates as the divine name.1 The psalm belongs to a group of some ten ‘royal psalms’ in which the king is the central figure.2 It is a wedding-song (epithalamium) that was composed for some unspecified royal marriage3 and that was included within the Psalter probably because it epitomised an ideal king of the Davidic dynasty, the royal Messiah.4

As for the psalm’s setting, M. E. Podechard believes that the poet’s thought follows the successive stages of the wedding ceremony, from the bridegroom’s procession to the bride’s home, to the meeting of the two groups, to the joyful return to the royal palace.5 Some suggest that this nuptial ode may have been sung as the new queen and her attendants entered the royal palace in splendid procession (G. H. A. von Ewald6 ) or after the marriage ceremony had taken place and the king and queen were seated on thrones in their palace attended by the royal retinue and celebrating their wedding feast (with vv. 14–16 referring to an earlier event) (E. J. Kissane7 ).

With regard to the structure of the psalm, v. 2is a dedicatory preface in which the psalmist describes his pleasant task, while v. 18 forms a valedictory epilogue that indicates the desired outcome of the wedding-song, viz, perpetual praise of the king among the nations. Within this structure v. 3 is an introduction that praises the beauty and graciousness of the king, and v. 17 a conclusion which foresees that illustrious descendants will come from the marriage union. The heart of the poem consists of two sections, vv. 4–10 and vv. 11–16.8

There are depicted in vv.

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