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Psalms 45:9-16

Context

45:9 Princesses 1  are among your honored guests, 2 

your bride 3  stands at your right hand, wearing jewelry made with gold from Ophir. 4 

45:10 Listen, O princess! 5 

Observe and pay attention! 6 

Forget your homeland 7  and your family! 8 

45:11 Then 9  the king will be attracted by 10  your beauty.

After all, he is your master! Submit 11  to him! 12 

45:12 Rich people from Tyre 13 

will seek your favor by bringing a gift. 14 

45:13 The princess 15  looks absolutely magnificent, 16 

decked out in pearls and clothed in a brocade trimmed with gold. 17 

45:14 In embroidered robes she is escorted to the king.

Her attendants, the maidens of honor who follow her,

are led before you. 18 

45:15 They are bubbling with joy as they walk in procession

and enter the royal palace. 19 

45:16 Your 20  sons will carry 21  on the dynasty of your ancestors; 22 

you will make them princes throughout the land.

1 tn Heb “daughters of kings.”

2 tn Heb “valuable ones.” The form is feminine plural.

3 tn This rare Hebrew noun apparently refers to the king’s bride, who will soon be queen (see Neh 2:6). The Aramaic cognate is used of royal wives in Dan 5:2-3, 23.

4 tn Heb “a consort stands at your right hand, gold of Ophir.”

sn Gold from Ophir is also mentioned in Isa 13:12 and Job 28:16. The precise location of Ophir is uncertain; Arabia, India, East Africa, and South Africa have all been suggested as options.

5 tn Heb “daughter.” The Hebrew noun בת (“daughter”) can sometimes refer to a young woman in a general sense (see H. Haag, TDOT 2:334).

sn Listen, O princess. The poet now addresses the bride.

6 tn Heb “see and turn your ear.” The verb רָאָה (raah, “see”) is used here of mental observation.

7 tn Heb “your people.” This reference to the “people” of the princess suggests she was a foreigner. Perhaps the marriage was arranged as part of a political alliance between Israel (or Judah) and a neighboring state. The translation “your homeland” reflects such a situation.

8 tn Heb “and the house of your father.”

9 tn After the preceding imperatives, the jussive verbal form with vav (ו) conjunctive is best understood as introducing a purpose (“so that the king might desire your beauty”) or result clause (see the present translation and cf. also NASB). The point seems to be this: The bride might tend to be homesick, which in turn might cause her to mourn and diminish her attractiveness. She needs to overcome this temptation to unhappiness and enter into the marriage with joy. Then the king will be drawn to her natural beauty.

10 tn Or “desire.”

11 tn Or “bow down.”

12 sn Submit to him. The poet here makes the point that the young bride is obligated to bring pleasure to her new husband. Though a foreign concept to modern western culture, this was accepted as the cultural norm in the psalmist’s day.

13 map For location see Map1 A2; Map2 G2; Map4 A1; JP3 F3; JP4 F3.

14 tn Heb “and a daughter of Tyre with a gift, your face they will appease, the rich of people.” The phrase “daughter of Tyre” occurs only here in the OT. It could be understood as addressed to the bride, indicating she was a Phoenician (cf. NEB). However, often in the OT the word “daughter,” when collocated with the name of a city or country, is used to personify the referent (see, for example, “Daughter Zion” in Ps 9:14, and “Daughter Babylon” in Ps 137:8). If that is the case here, then “Daughter Tyre” identifies the city-state of Tyre as the place from which the rich people come (cf. NRSV). The idiom “appease the face” refers to seeking one’s favor (see Exod 32:11; 1 Sam 13:12; 1 Kgs 13:6; 2 Kgs 13:4; 2 Chr 33:12; Job 11:19; Ps 119:58; Prov 19:6; Jer 26:19; Dan 9:13; Zech 7:2; 8:21-22; Mal 1:9).

15 tn Heb “[the] daughter of a king.”

16 tn Heb “[is] completely glorious.”

17 tc Heb “within, from settings of gold, her clothing.” The Hebrew term פְּנִימָה (pÿnimah, “within”), if retained, would go with the preceding line and perhaps refer to the bride being “within” the palace or her bridal chamber (cf. NIV, NRSV). Since the next two lines refer to her attire (see also v. 9b), it is preferable to emend the form to פְּנִינִיהָּ (“her pearls”) or to פְּנִינִים (“pearls”). The mem (מ) prefixed to “settings” is probably dittographic.

18 tn Heb “virgins after her, her companions, are led to you.” Some emend לָךְ (lakh, “to you”) to לָהּ (lah, “to her,” i.e., the princess), because the princess is now being spoken of in the third person (vv. 13-14a), rather than being addressed directly (as in vv. 10-12). However, the ambiguous suffixed form לָךְ need not be taken as second feminine singular. The suffix can be understood as a pausal second masculine singular form, addressed to the king. The translation assumes this to be the case; note that the king is addressed once more in vv. 16-17, where the second person pronouns are masculine.

19 tn Heb “they are led with joy and happiness, they enter the house of the king.”

20 tn The pronoun is second masculine singular, indicating the king is being addressed from this point to the end of the psalm.

21 tn The prefixed verbal form could be taken as jussive and the statement interpreted as a prayer, “May your sons carry on the dynasty of your ancestors!” The next line could then be taken as a relative clause, “[your sons] whom you will make princes throughout the land.”

22 tn Heb “in place of your fathers will be your sons.”



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