The king and prosperity (Ps 72:15-72:17)

“Long may he live!

May gold of Sheba be given to him!

May prayer be made for him continually!

May blessings be invoked for him all day long!

May there be abundance of grain in the land!

May grain wave on the tops of the mountains!

May its fruit be like Lebanon!

May people blossom in the cities

Like the grass of the field!

May his name endure forever!

May his fame continue as long as the sun!

May all nations be blessed in him!

May they pronounce him happy!”

These are a series of wishes for the king. First, there is the one that he might have a long life. Thus the famous saying, “Long live the King.” Then the wish was for gold from Sheba, where of course, the famous Queen of Sheba had visited King Solomon. Every day in the great Temple prayers should be offered to the king who built the Temple. They also wished for an abundance of grain on the land and in the mountains. They wanted it to be like Lebanon to the north. The cities should also prosper like grass in the field. They wanted his name and his fame to endure as long as there was a sun in the sky. All nations were to be blessed by him in his happiness. Thus the king was like a mini-god in his great power.

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The anointed one (Ps 45:6-45:9)

“Your throne!

O God!

Endures forever and ever.

Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity.

You love righteousness.

You hate wickedness.

Therefore God,

Your God!

Has anointed you

With the oil of gladness.

Thus you are beyond your companions.

Your robes are all fragrant

With myrrh, aloes, and cassia.

From ivory palaces

Stringed instruments make you glad.

Daughters of kings are

Among your ladies of honor.

At your right hand

Stands the queen in gold of Ophir.”

Is this throne the throne of God or the king that endures forever? Once again, the scribe psalmist treats the king like a mini-god. The royal crown helps insure equality. Then we have the famous saying about being anointed with the oil of gladness that had such a resonance with Christian prayers about anointing. This is a royal anointing of the new king. This new king was beyond his companions. His robes were fragrant or smelly. They were filled with myrrh, aloes, and cassia. Myrrh was an aromatic perfume from the Asian bushes. Aloes was a bitter tasting leaf that was used in perfumes. Cassia is an Asian evergreen tree with an aromatic bark that also was used in perfumes. Ivory and stringed instruments were also there. All this adds to the concept of wealth. Of course stringed instruments and beautiful ladies of honor were also added to the scene. Then there was queen in her gold from the mysterious unknown but often mentioned Ophir.

The king is good looking (Ps 45:2-45:3)

“You are the most handsome of men.

Grace is poured upon your lips.

Therefore God has blessed you forever.

Gird your sword on your thigh

In your glory and majesty!

O mighty one!

The king is the most handsome man in the world. Grace sits on his lips. God has blessed him forever. His sword is on his thigh. He is the mighty one in glory and majesty. He is like a mini-god. Flattery will get you everywhere with this psalmist.