Weddings are occasions of great joy and celebration, and this was no less true in ancient Israel than it is today. In fact, our modern weddings are but minor affairs when compared to the marriage celebrations in ancient Israel. Back then, weddings could last for days as family and friends spent time feasting and rejoicing in the joining of man and woman as husband and wife.
If this was true for the ordinary ancient Israelite, we can only imagine what it must have been like for the king. Happily, we are not left only with our imaginations when it comes to royal weddings in ancient Israel. Scripture tells us something of the royal wedding customs. We know, for example, that psalms were composed and sung at the marriage of a Davidic king. Psalm 45, the title of which in the ESV refers to it as a “love song,” is one of these hymns that was written to celebrate the marriage of king and queen.
The psalm is one of praise to the king and ultimately the God who appointed the king. Verses 1–5 celebrate the qualities of a good ruler in ancient Israel. While there is reference to his handsome physical appearance (v. 2a) and the might of the sovereign in battle (vv. 3–5), positive elements that one often searches for in a ruler, there is also an emphasis on “truth and meekness and righteousness” (v. 4). In the ancient world, meekness or humility was not an attribute that most people were looking for in a king. Ancient Israel, however, was not to have a king who was like the kings of the other nations (1 Sam. 8). Gentle, quiet, and kind strength—meekness—was to be evident in the king’s life, just as Moses, the model leader for ancient Israel, was known for being meeker than all the people on the face of the earth (Num. 12:3). Moreover, truth and righteousness were to characterize the reign of the Davidic king. This was not truth and righteousness as defined by the king’s own whims, as opposed to the practices of the rulers of surrounding nations, who defined right and wrong for their peoples. Instead, the king of Israel was subject to a higher law, the law of the one true God and covenant Lord of Israel (Deut. 17:14–20).
We see confirmation of this in Psalm 45:6 and its reference to the Davidic throne as the throne of God. The Lord established the Davidic line and the king ruled as His representative on earth. Israel’s throne, therefore, was really the throne of the Creator Himself, a reality that finds its ultimate fulfillment in the God-man and Son of David, Jesus Christ.