Psa 44.1-26 is the third psalm by the sons of Korah and it is a description of how Yehovah allowed Israel to conquer the land. It also shows Israel’s suffering and the non-Jews coming into the faith. This concept is nothing new. This “coming” is a sign to Israel of their continuing (election” and “chosenness” otherwise there would be no Israel or faith to come into. Paul quotes this psalm in Rom 8.35-39. This is also read in a time of national distress and it recounts God’s gracious dealings in the past. The heading reads, “For the Conductor. A Maskil (instruction) of the sons of Korah.”
In Psa 44.1-3 we learn about the past victories of God. The people have heaard with their own ears what their fathers have told them about what God (attribute of Justice) did in their days (they saw it themselves), in the days “days of old” or in the first or Egyptian Redemption (v 1). Israel did not take the land by their military power but by the hand of Yehovah. He drove out the nations and then planted Israel as his vineyard (Isa 5.1-2) and he banished Canaan (v 2).
Israel did not possess the land by their own power but by the “right hand” and “arm” (both terms for the Messiah) of Yehovah and the “light of they presence” which is the Shekinah, and open miracles. God was with them as long as they walked in the Torah (v 3).
Psa 44.4-8 tells us that the psalmist want God to command victories in their day as well (v 4), or “through you” or “B’cha” in Hebrew. This has the numerical value of 22. The Targum translates this by “your word” because the Hebrew alphabet has 22 letters (“Tehillim” by Mesorah Publications, p. 548). Through the word of God they will push back their enemies, and through “thy name ” (Yehovah) they will trample down those who rise up against them. This is a Hebrew parallelism in that “through you” (the word) and “through his name” (Yehovah) are similar concepts.
They do not trust in carnal weapons (bow and sword). They have been saved from their enemies by God (“Elohim” or the atrribute of Justice) and they boast and give thanks to his name “all the days” and “forever” (olam). This is an allusion to the 7000 year plan of God and the Olam Haba (world to come). Then we have the word “Selah” which means to “pause and think” about what was just said. It is also a musical interlude related the the concept of “prostration” (v 6-8).
You would think that these verses would be leading to more thanks and praise, but in Psa 44.9-16 that is not what we have. It descends into asking why God has rejected and dishonored them by not appearing for them or going out with their armies like in 1 Sam 4 when they took the Ark but lost the battle (v 9). God caused them to run and turn their backs to the enemy like in the days of Eli in 1 Sam 4.10 (v 10).
Israel was a covenant people and everything was in the hands of the Lord. If they were defeated it was because the Lord’s hand was in it. Look at how many times “thou” (you) is used in Psa 44.10-16 for example. He has caused them to run in battle, losing their possessions and given as sheep to be slaughtered and scattered among the nations, sold as slaves, a reproach to their neighbors and a byword among the nations, a laughingstock among the peoples (“shake their heads”).
Psa 44.17-19 tells us that all of this has come upon them but they have not forgotten God. The writer presents a case that they have not forgotten the Torah (v 17) and their hearts have not strayed from the way (another word for the Torah), but God has crushed them in place of jackals. The word “jackal” is “tannim” and it is used for a wild creature that lives in a place where humans cannot. It is a term used for a serpent or dragon that lives in the wilderness. The wilderness is seen as the domain of Ha Satan. The writer feels that God had covered them with the “shadow of death” alluding to the threat of death.
In Psa 44.20-26 the writer continues to present the case that they have not rejected the Lord. If they did forget, wouldn’t God know it? Would he not know it if they participated in idolatry by extending their hands to a strange god(v 20-21)?
But they were defeated despite their compliance with the Torah and are killed as sheep to be slaughtered “for his sake.” Paul quotes this in Rom 8.36. This means they suffered in faithfulness to Yehovah, and because they were faithful to the Torah. Paul quotes this to tell us that even in defeat, we will not be separated from the love of God and the Messiah and we will be conquerors in the long run (v 22).
They want God to “arouse thyself” (act) and “wake up” from his “sleep.” He didn’t actually believe that God was sleeping, but it looked like it. They need help (v 23). God’s inaction (“hide they face”) has led them to think God has forgotten their troubles. Their “soul” (nafshaynu) has “sunk down in the dust” (fell flat on their face) and have reached their lowest point. They need God to “rise up” and redeem them through his kindness. This will show that Israel is God’s people and he has not “concealed” himself any longer (v 24-26).
Psa 45.1-17 is very eschatological and it celebrates the King’s marriage and is very similar to the Song of Songs (Hebrew “Shir ha Shirim”) in theme. This is a Rosh Ha Shanah psalm and the marriage of the Messiah is one of the themes of that particular festival, and it is also associated with the coronation of the Messiah, along with Psalm 2, 24, 47, 48, 72, 110; Dan 7 and Rev 4-5.
Eschatologically, the marriage and coronation of the Messiah occur on the same day in heaven. That day is Tishri 1, year 6001 from creation, and is the background of 1 Cor 15.51-55, 1 Thes 4.13-18 and Rev 4.1 to 5.14. Scholars explain that this psalm as a wedding song celebrating the marriage of a bride and groom who begin marriage with two very different and sometimes conflicting personalities. They will ultimately blend together in perfect sublime harmony. In light of their interpretations the title “A Song of Endearments” (Shir Y’Didot) is very appropriate (“Tehillim”, Mesorah Publications, p. 559). In “Tehillim” p. 560 it says, “Radak and Ibn Ezra maintain that this song was dedicated to Messiah. Ibn Ezra adds that it may refer to David himself; for the names of Messiah and David are one, as seen in the verse, ‘And David, my servant will be a prince for them forever (Ezek 37.24-25).'”
For a more detailed look at the timing of the Natzal and the themes of Rosh Ha Shanah, see the “Tanak Foundations-Concepts on the Natzal (rapture)” on this site.
The heading is verse 1 in a Jewish Published Bible as we have said before and it reads, “For the Conductor; according to the Shoshanim. A Maskil of the sons of Korah.” Now, there are a few things to unpack here. The “Shoshanim” are lilies (or roses) that are shaped like trumpets (Num 10) and one of the themes for Rosh Ha Shanah (Num 29.1; 1 Cor 15.51-55; 1 Thes 4.13-18; Rev 4.1). It also alludes to a name of the Messiah in Song 2.1. The word “maskil” means an instruction and it alludes to the fact that the sons of Korah were “enlightened” about Moses being the anointed of God and the “shaliach” (sent one) of Yehovah. To go against him like their father did was wrong. This is also called a “Song of Endearments” in Hebrew because the term here is not singular (y’didut) but plural (y’didot). This alludes to a number of friends (feminine) or endearments (“Tehillim” p. 560-561).
Psa 45.1-2 says the heart of the psalmist is “stirred or moved” with a good theme concerning the Messiah and will compose a fine song as a result. He says that this song is fit for a king, meaning Messiah. His tongue is the pen (articulates what is in the heart) of a ready writer being moved by the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit). He says, “You are fairer than the sons of men” and this language can be seen in the Song of Songs and alludes to the greatness of the Messiah (Isa 52.13). The spirit of prophecy is referred to in the phrase, “grace is poured through thy lips” and as a result God (Elohim) has blessed the Messiah “for eternity” (L’Olam) and this concept can be seen in Luke 4.22.
Psa 45.3-5 the king has “grace through his lips” but that does not mean he is weak. It says, “Gird thy sword on thy thigh, O mighty one (givor).” The sword is seen as a “sharp mind in the Torah” (Psa 149.6; Heb 4.12) and the thigh is where the tzitzit (symbolic of Yehovah and the Torah) lay. Yeshua is seen returning for battle with the name of Yehovah written on his thigh because he is sitting on a horse and the tzitzit are laying on his thigh (Rev 19.15-16). In “majesty” he rides on in victory (Rev 19.11) for the cause of truth (Torah) and meekness (his character) and righteousness (as defined by the Torah-Isa 11.4). The “right hand” speaks of skill (Psa 137.5) and is an idiom for the Messiah (v 4). God’s arrows (weapons of the king like famine, war, pestilence-Rev 6.2) and the people are conquered. Spiritually, his arrows are what pricks the heart (Acts 2.37, 7.54) and how one repents from sin (v 5).
Psa 45.6-10 tells us that this verse is alluding to Yeshua. Heb 1.8 quotes Psa 45.6-7. Luke 1.31-32 refers to the fact that Yeshua will be the king. The king is called “Elohim” and his throne is for “eternity” (L’Olam). Because his scepter is righteousness and he hates wickedness, God (the Father) has anointed him (the Messiah). The anointing is one of the five aspects of a coronation. The author of Hebrews, who we believe is Paul, has shown us that he applied these verses to Yeshua. These verses not only show us that yeshua is God, but the Father regards him as God also (v 6-7).
All his garments (a picture of his character) are myrrh (spiritually pure/white) and aloe (used in incense, symbolic of prayer) and cassia (spreads in the wind-Ruach Ha Kodesh described that way); the palaces that God will give us in the Olam Haba will surpass any of the palaces in the world (v 8). The king’s daughters (for the sake of imagery, these are believers. Just as the king is seen as a “son” his wife is alluded to as his “daughter.” It is the same as queen and bride-1 Chr 28.5-6) are among the noble ladies, and the queen (Israel or the kahal as a whole) stands at thy right hand (term for the Messiah).
In Psa 45.10-12 these verses are speaking of the bride. In the spirit of Gen 2.24, she is to leave the world of unbelief. The Messiah is to be preferred above all human relations and “fathers” (v 10). Then the king will desire “your beauty” (the righteousness he gives us-1 Pet 3.3; Rev 19.8). The bride also recognizes that the king is her husband, but should also be honored as her Lord and worthy to be worshiped by faith in him, hope, love, prayer, praise and keeping the Torah (v 11).
The daughter of Tyre (symbolic of the non-Jews) will come with a gift (symbolizing the superiority of Israel in the Messianic Kingdom-Isa 45.14, 60.16, 66.19-20) and the rich among the people (of every nation) will desire to show friendship to the queen (v 12).
Psa 45.13-15 says that the king’s daughter (in the sense that the Messiah is the “son”) is glorious within because she is joined with the king. She is the same as the “bride” and “queen” (see v 9 notes). Her clothing “without” is interwoven with gold and speaks of her character “interwoven” by God (v 13).
She will be led to the king in embroidered work (not filthy rags) and the virgins, her companions (non-Jewish believers) who follow her will be brought to “thee” (Messiah-Eph 5.22-32). Virgins are used here for the sake of imagery in this psalm. These “friends” are certainly part of the Kahal of God (v 15).
Psa 45.16-17 says that in place of your fathers (who have died in the flesh) will be your sons (the elect) that come from the marriage. You (Messiah) will make them princes to rule and reign with him in the Messianic Kingdom (Rev 20.4-6). Because he has chosen a bride and has given her gifts (new life), the name of the Messiah to be remembered in all generations and the “peoples” (non-Jews, the nations) will praise him forever (L’Olam Vaed) and will accept his sovereignty (v 16-17).