Odd ESV Commentary on Psalm 45

C. John Collins

Psalm 45 is a Messianic psalm with trinitarian implications which presents Jesus as the anointed One:

6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;
7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.
Therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;

Before we examine the ESV commentary on this passage which was written by Old Testament scholar C. John Collins and passed the well respected editorial board of the ESV Study Bible (Grudem, Packer, etc), lets look at some INSPIRED commentary on Psalm 45.  This particular commentary was written by the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews under the direction of the Holy Spirit.  Here is what the Holy Spirit has to say about the Supremacy of the Son using the quote from Psalm 45:

8But of the Son he [God] says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

It is abundantly clear from this Hebrews commentary on Psalm 45:6-7 that it is the intention of the Holy Spirit to clarify that “Your throne, O God” is “Your throne, O God the Son” and that “God, your God” refers to the trinitarian persons of the Son and the Father, respectively.

Having confirmed that the Holy Spirit makes this clear (Heb 1:8), let us examine the ESV comment below:

Your throne, O God. Many have supposed that these words must address the Davidic king, either as foretelling Christ or as a type that Christ would eventually fulfill. Although the OT does foretell a divine Messiah (e. g., Isa. 9:6), this kind of interpretation does not easily fit this context. It seems better to think that the song speaks to God about his throne (“your throne, O God”), namely, the one that the heir of David occupies, and then goes on to describe the divine ideals for a king’s reign (scepter of uprightness). Hebrews 1:8–9 cites these verses in Greek from the Septuagint as part of the author’s argument that the “Son” is superior to the angels. Hebrews 1 applies the term “Son” to Jesus, probably in his role as the heir of David. Thus Heb. 1:5 puts Ps. 2:7 with 2 Sam. 7:14, where “Son of God” is a title for the Davidic king (see note on Ps. 2:7). This also accounts for the use of the messianic 110:1 in Heb. 1:3, 13.

It would appear that in the first part of the comment, Collins is at odds with the straight-forward interpretation given by Hebrews 1:8: “But of the Son he says…”  It is the Son whose throne is forever and ever.  It is the Son who is anointed by God.  Collins states that it does not “easily fit this context.”

In the second part of the comment, Collins does not aim at the heart of the matter which is the divinity of Christ in this context.  He settles on the superiority to angels argument when the Psalm clearly says “God, your God.”

I use the ESV Study Bible and recommend it to the youth in my church, but I was disappointed by the intellectual play I found in this commentary.  The whole purpose of Hebrews 1 is to lay down the  SUPREMACY and DIVINITY of the Son as foundation for the rest of the book.

So much simpler and easier to just say just like the writer of Hebrews “But of the Son he  says…  “…God, your God, has anointed you…””

image credit

5 comments on “Odd ESV Commentary on Psalm 45

  1. I have used the NASB for years and am not that familiar with the ESV. I’m in the process of reading through the King James Version for the first time. Lots of “Thees” and “Thous” there, but it is an interesting version and I think the translators did a pretty good job on it in the early 17th century (1611 I believe). They worked on it seven years.

    God’s blessings, Delight…

    • The ESV is an excellent translation, almost as word for word as the NASB. I have only used the NKJV and NIV in the past, and for the last year ESV. Although at some point I would like to get a KJV and read this time tested translation…

  2. From my King Himey 🙂 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Why is it that intellectuals presume to change Scripture’s intent?

    Me thinks too many chefs spoil the broth!

  3. Many point out errors in KJV but I for one think the point is made pretty clear… But unto the Son he saith, thy throne, O God,.. there seems to be a fast and loose desire for ambiguity in many of the hot-rod versions.

    • Intellectual twisting is what they are doing, Manny.

      The Son is the center of that passage, and this guy is trying to tell us that The Son does not easily “fit” here. Tell that to the Holy Spirit who wrote Hebrews 1.

Share your thoughts...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s