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Psalm 45:8 reads

אָהַבְתָּ צֶּדֶק, וַתִּשְׂנָא-רֶשַׁע: עַל-כֵּן מְשָׁחֲךָ אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֶיךָ, שֶׁמֶן שָׂשׂוֹן-- מֵחֲבֵרֶךָ.

Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated wickedness; {N} therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

What is the proper way to translate this? Who is the 'God of thy God'?

  • @H3br3wHamm3r81 i believe translation is interpretation. I would assume there is a way of translating that does not imply that there is a God of God but I'd like to understand how that would follow from the text. – user2861 Oct 28 '13 at 18:58
  • There is no reason given why the standard translation is in doubt. – Bob Jones Dec 27 '17 at 18:08
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The Hebrew literally says, "God, your God". This translation is straight-forward and, as far as I can tell, undisputed. The interesting question concerns the interpretation:

Ps 45 seems to be a psalm about a king, perhaps used in the ordination of kings:

Psa. 45:5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; The peoples fall under You.

Psa. 45:9 Kings’ daughters are among Your honorable women;

Psa. 45:10-11 Listen, O daughter, Consider and incline your ear; Forget your own people also, and your father’s house; So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.

Etc.

Either way, the king is the main character of the psalm. The "sons of Korah" who wrote the psalm (according to its inscription), were music leaders in the temple (1Chr 6:31-37), which was in Judah. This is therefore about a king or kings of Judah, of the line of David - kings who the Old Testament says were (figuratively) anointed and blessed by God.

This anointing by God is what v7 is speaking of:

Psa. 45:7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.

God is called "God, your God" to distinguish him from the "god" of v6, which is referring to the king himself in exalted terms. The book of Hebrews refers to this as a Messianic prophecy, which makes sense in light of the Messiah being the "son of David", the "branch of the root of Jesse", the one prophesied to restore and fulfill Davidic kingship. Those who see this as exclusively being a messianic prophecy, compare it to Ps 110:1, "The Lord said to my lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool," arguing that the reference to God's God in Ps 45:6-7 cannot be resolved except by Jesus. I respect this opinion, but disagree: calling a king "a god" is no more blasphemy than calling an excellent meal "divine" - it is simply an term of great respect and appreciation. Neither do we object to the term "godly" when describing a man of good moral fibre. Likewise, no one saying of a celebrity, "he/she is a god" means that the celebrity is a non-human deity with supernatural powers. Calling the Davidic king "god" in no way elevates him to divine status - he is clearly distinguished from God by v7, which says that the king was chosen and anointed by God, who is the king's God.

That being said, I am not saying that the text in addition to primarily functioning as a psalm about a king or kings does not also double as a messianic prophecy.

  • This applies to most prophecies. They have a short term fulfillment, and a long-term fulfillemt. The latter is always superior and always fulfills it better than the 'initial' fulfillment; while the former still retains contextual, historican—etc—meaning. "Likewise, no one saying of a celebrity, "he/she is a god" means that the celebrity is a non-human deity" I would, however, say that constitutes the sin of idolatry. – Sola Gratia Jun 5 '17 at 18:07
  • @SolaGratia So was Moses Almighty God? KJV Exodus 7:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, See, I have made thee a god to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy brother shall be thy prophet. And isn't the SATAN called "the god of this age"? – Ruminator Sep 26 '18 at 18:34
  • Yes, but no one ever understood Moses to be literally divine or God or 'a god,' but to have been granted a positional, relational authority with regard to Pharoah, for which reason God compared him to Pharoah's 'God,' and Aaron takes the place of this 'God's' 'prophet.' The metaphorical, rhetorical value of 'you shall be God to Pharoah, and Aaron will be your Prophet' is something you either see or you don't (much like how if God had said, 'I've made you master over Pharoah, and him your slave' it wouldn't mean He has already worked an actual change in their nature, but positional status). – Sola Gratia Sep 26 '18 at 19:18
  • Satan being the 'god of this world/age' isn't a concession but a mockery of whom the world accepts as their ruler and god rather than the only God. – Sola Gratia Sep 26 '18 at 19:19
  • Psalm 45 works the same way. – Ruminator Sep 26 '18 at 19:41
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The NT book called "To the Hebrews" interprets Psalm 45 as referring to Jesus, the Messiah:

ESV Hebrews 1:

8 But of the Son [Jesus] he 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.”

Since the Psalm refers to Jesus as "O god" he is careful to distinguish him from Almighty God by referring to "YOUR God". This makes it clear that though Jesus is referred to as "Oh god" he is not the Almighty, since he has a God. As Paul said:

ESV 1 Cor 11:3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

So we see that Christ, even in his resurrected and glorified state sits next to God but rules as a god but obeys God Almighty.

Many scriptures explicitly identify the God of Jesus the Messiah as "the Father":

ESV Romans 15:6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

ESV 2Co 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,

ESV Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

ESV 1 Cor 8:6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Peter also identifies Jesus' God as "the Father":

ESV 1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Jesus also identifies his Father as his God:

ESV John 20:17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”

I could go on but I hope that answers your question satisfactorily, that the God of Jesus is "the Father" aka YHVH.

Please see this related post.

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