To the choirmaster, according to Lilies, a testimony of Asaph, a psalm
O shepherd of Israel!
You lead Joseph like a flock!
You are enthroned upon the cherubim!
Before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh!
Stir up your might!
Come to save us!”
Psalm 80 is another choral psalm of Asaph, a transcriber or author of psalms at the time of David and Solomon, a Temple singer at the time of Solomon during the transport of the Ark of the Covenant. This psalm is set to the tune of the lilies, much like Psalm 45 and Psalm 69. This is an attempt of the northern tribes of Israel, Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh to have God come to their aid. Notice the importance of Joseph here. Remember that those northern Israel tribes were sent to captivity before the people in Jerusalem and Judah. This psalmist wanted the shepherd of Israel to listen and shine before the northern tribes. The God of Israel sat on the cherubim in the holy of holies. He wanted God to stir up his might and thus save them from their captivity.
To the choirmaster leader, according to Lilies, a psalm of David
The waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire.
There is no foothold.
I have come into deep waters.
The flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying.
My throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
With waiting for my God.”
Psalm 69 is another choral lament about being delivered from enemies. It is called a psalm of David that is sung to the melody of “Lilies” like Psalm 45. David wants to be saved because the water of the flood is up to his neck. He is mired in mud with nothing to stand on. The floods keep sweeping over him. He is weary from crying since he has a parched throat. His eyes are growing dim as he waits for God.
Is decked in her chamber
With gold-woven robes.
In many-colored robes
She is led to the king.
Behind her are
Her companions follow.
With joy and gladness,
They are led along.
They enter the palace of the king.
In the place of ancestors,
You shall have sons.
You will make them princes on all the earth.
I will cause your name
To be celebrated in all generations.
Therefore the peoples
Will praise you forever and ever.”
Here comes the bride! She is the center of any wedding. This psalm ends with the happy ending for both the bride and groom with the hope that they live happily ever after. Instead of the romantic ending, the king is told by this scribe psalmist that he will have sons instead of ancestors to worry about. These sons would become princes all over the place. The king’s name would be celebrated for generations to come, even forever. Forever is the like the marriage forever, since it appears to be a wish rather than a reality.
Incline your ear!
Forget your people!
Forget your father’s house!
The king will desire your beauty.
Since he is your lord,
Bow to him.
The people of Tyre will sue your favor with gifts.
The richest of the people,
With all kinds of wealth,
Will come to you.”
This psalmist scribe asks that the daughter listen carefully and consider her words. She was to forget her people and her father’s house. She was to go forward to the king, her new lord. She was to bow to him. She would become powerful and rich with this marriage. These are like the words of encouragement to a reluctant bride before a marriage. Clearly she is to be subject to her new husband, the king. The consequences of this marriage will be enormous power and wealth. There is an interesting note about the new queen coming from Tyre. She may have been a Phoenician or a Philistine, the mortal enemy of David.
Endures forever and ever.
Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity.
You love righteousness.
You hate wickedness.
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.
“In your majesty
Ride on victoriously!
Defend the cause of truth!
Defend the right!
Let your right hand
Teach you dread deeds!
Your arrows are sharp
In the heart of the king’s enemies.
The peoples fall under you.”
This majestic king must ride on to victory. He must defend the cause of truth and the rights of all. His right hand does dreaded deeds. His sharp arrows are in the hearts of his enemies. Many people fall under him. He is a good looking dude who fights for justice and wins.
“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.
To the choirmaster, according to Lilies, a Maskil of the Korahites a love song
“My heart overflows with a goodly theme.
I address my verses to the king.
My tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.”
This psalm is like a love song at a royal wedding. It is obviously a choral song. Once again, it is like the preceding psalms, this is a Maskil of the sons of Korah, who were first mentioned in 1 Chronicles, chapter 9. There name appears on 11 psalms, 3 of them right here. The melody for this must have been like the tune about the lilies, perhaps a 6th chord. Psalm 69 has the same melody. The psalmist said that his heart was overflowing with goodness. This is clearly not David. He was addressing these verses to the king. His tongue was a pen so that he was a worthy scribe.