The Treasury of David, by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, [1869-85], at sacred-texts.com
Title - The many titles of this Psalm mark its royalty, its deep and solemn import, and the delight which the writer had in it. To the Chief Musician upon Shoshannim. The most probable translation of this word is upon the lilies, and it is either a poetical title given to this noblest of songs after the Oriental manner, or it may relate to the tune to which it was set, or to the instrument which was meant to accompany it. We incline to the first theory, and if it be the true one, it is easy to see the fitness of borrowing a name for so beautiful, so pure, so choice, so matchless a poem from the golden lilies, whose bright array outshone the glory of Solomon. For the sons of Korah. Special singers are appointed for so divine a hymn. King Jesus deserves to be praised not with random, ranting ravings, but with the sweetest and most skilful music of the best trained choristers. The purest hearts in the spiritual temple are the most harmonious songsters in the ears of God; acceptable song is not a matter so much of tuneful voices as of sanctified affections, but in no case should we sing of Jesus with unprepared hearts. Maschil, an instructive ode, not an idle lay, or a romancing ballad, but a Psalm of holy teaching, didactic and doctrinal. This proves it is to be spiritually understood. Blessed are the people who know the meaning of its joyful sound. A Song of loves. Not a carnal, sentimental love song, but a celestial canticle of everlasting love fit for the tongues and ears of angels.
Subject - Some here see Solomon and Pharaoh's daughter only - they are shortsighted; others see both Solomon and Christ - they are cross-eyed; well-focussed spiritual eyes see here Jesus only, or if Solomon be present at all, it must be like those hazy shadows of passers-by which cross the face of the camera, and therefore are dimly traceable upon a photographic landscape. "The King," the God whose throne is for ever and ever, is no mere mortal and his everlasting dominion is not bounded by Lebanon and Egypt's river. This is no wedding song of earthly nuptials, but an Epithalamium for the Heavenly Bridegroom and his elect spouse.
Division - Psa 45:1 is an announcement of intention, a preface to the song; Psa 45:2 adores the matchless beauty of Messiah; and from Psa 45:3, he is addressed in admiring ascriptions of praise. Psa 45:10, Psa 45:11, Psa 45:12, are spoken to the bride. The church is further spoken of in Psa 45:13-15, and the Psalm closes with another address to the King, foretelling his eternal fame, Psa 45:16.
Hints to Preachers
Psa 45:1 - In the preface, the prophet commends the subject he is to treat of, signifying,
1. That it is a good matter - good, as speaking of the Son of God, who is the chief good.
2. Good for us; for upon the marriage of Christ to his church depends our good.
- Bishop Nicholson.
Psa 45:1 - Character read by heart-writing.
I. The true lover of Christ is sincere - "my heart"?
II. He is a man of emotion.
III. A man of holy meditation.
IV. A man of experience - "things I have made."
V. A man who bears witness for the Lord.
Psa 45:1 - Three things requisite for Christian teaching:
I. That the matter be good; and concerning the best of all subjects, "touching the King."
II. That the language be fluent like the pen, etc.
1. Partly from nature.
2. Partly from cultivation.
3. Partly from the Spirit of God.
III. That the heart be absorbed in it - "My heart is inditing."
- G. R.
Psa 45:2 - In what respects Jesus is fairer than the best of men.
Psa 45:2 - Jesus - his person, his gospel, his fulness of blessing.
Psa 45:2 -
I. We may and ought to praise Christ. Angels do, God does, Scripture does, Old Testament saints and New, so should we. It is the work of heaven begun on earth.
II. For what should we praise him?
1. For his beauty. Is wisdom beauty? Is righteousness? Is love? Is meekness? All are found in him supremely -
"All human beauties, all divine,
In our Redeemer meet and shine."
2. For his grace. Grace of God treasured up in him.
3. For his blessedness - of God and for ever.
- G. R.
Psa 45:2-5 - In these verses the Lord Jesus is presented,
I. As most amiable in himself.
II. As the great favourite of heaven.
III. As victorious over his enemies.
- Matthew Henry.
Psa 45:3 - The captain's presence desired by the soldier. It is our honour, our delight, our safety, our strength, our victory, our reward.
Psa 45:3-5 - Messiah's victory predicted and desired - E. Payson's Sermon.
Psa 45:5 -
I. Arrows of judicial wrath are sharp.
II. Arrows of providential goodness are sharper still.
III. Arrows of subduing grace are sharpest of all. The quiver of the Almighty is full of these arrows.
- G. R.
Psa 45:5 - Arrows - what they are; whose they are; whom they strike; where they strike; what they do, and what follows.
Psa 45:6 - The God, the king, his throne, its duration, his sceptre. Let us worship, obey, trust, acquiesce, rejoice.
Psa 45:6, Psa 45:7 - Empire, Eternity, Equity, Establishment, Exultation.
Psa 45:7 - "Thou hatest wickedness." He hated it when it assailed him in his temptation, hated it in others, denounced it, died to slay it, will come to condemn it.
Psa 45:7 - Christ's love and hate.
Psa 45:8 - Christ's garments - his offices, his two natures, his ordinances, his honours, all are full of fragrance.
Psa 45:8 - "Whereby they have made thee glad." We make Jesus glad by our love, our praise, our service, our gifts, our holiness, our fellowship with him.
Psa 45:8 -
I. The odour of his garments, not of blood and battle, but of sweet perfume.
II. The splendour of his palaces - ivory for rareness, purity, durability, etc.
III. The source of his delight.
1. Himself, the sweet odour of his own graces.
2. His people, the savour of those who are saved.
3. His enemies, "even in them that perish."
4. All holy happy creatures who unite to make him glad.
- G. R.
Psa 45:10 - "Christ the best husband: or, an earnest invitation to young women to come and see Christ." - George Whilefield's "Sermon, Preached to a Society of Young Women, in Fetter Lane."
Psa 45:9, Psa 45:10 - I. The connections of the Bridegroom are to be remembered, those of the Bride to be forgotten.
Psa 45:11 - "So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty." Christ delighting in the Beauty of the Righteous - Martin Luther. [Select Works, by H. Cole. I. 281.]
Psa 45:13-15 -
I. The Bride's new name - "The king's daughter." She is the king's daughter for two reasons.
1. She is born of God; and
2. She is espoused to the Son of God.
II. The Bride's character - "All glorious within."
1. Because Christ reigns on the throne of her heart.
2. Because she is the temple of the Holy Ghost.
III. The Bride's raiment - "wrought gold," "needlework:" this is the righteousness of Christ; in other words,
1. His perfect obedience.
2. His atoning death.
IV. The Bride's companions - "Virgins that follow her."
V. The Bride's home-going - "She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework.... With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace."
1. She shall see the king in his beauty.
2. There will be an open declaration of his love to her before all worlds.
- Duncan Macgregor, M.A.
Psa 45:14 -
I. The presentation of the church to Christ.
1. When souls are first brought to him - "I have espoused you as," etc.
2. When they come before him at death.
3. When the perfected church is presented to him - "That he might present it," etc.
II. The manner of presentation -
1. "in raiment," etc., such as he himself wrought out.
2. With all her followers.
(1.) Their purity - "virgins."
(2.) Their fellowship - "companions."
(3.) Their succession - "that follow thee," from one age to another until they are complete.
- G. R.
Psa 45:17 -
I. Christ is the Father's delight. "I will make," etc.
II. He is the church's themes his name shall be remembered; and
III. He is heaven's glory, "Shall praise thee," etc.
- G. R.
Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
"Upon Shoshannim," or upon lilies. It will be remembered that lilies were an emblem of purity and loveliness, and were introduced as such in the building of Solomon's temple (see Kg1 7:19, Kg1 7:22, Kg1 7:26; Ch2 4:5); and the church is compared in the Canticles to a "lily among thorns." Sol 2:2. The Psalms which bear this title, "upon lilies," are the present, the sixty-ninth and the eightieth (cp. Psa 60:1-12); and all these contain prophecies of Christ and his church. The Psa 60:1-12 is a parallel to the forty-fourth, and represents her supplicating appeal to God, and Christ's victories. The sixty-ninth displays the victories gained by Christ through suffering. The eightieth is also parallel to the forty-fourth and Psa 60:1-12, a plaintive lament of the church in distress and a supplicating cry for deliverance. All these three Psalms are (if we may venture to use this expression) like the voice of the "lily among thorns." That there is, therefore, some reference here to the spiritual meaning of the word שׁשׁגּים, or lilies, in this title, seems at least to be probable. - Christopher Wordsworth.
We think that Shoshannim signifies an instrument of six strings, or a song of rejoicing. - Augustin Calmet, 1672-1757.
Kitto, on the other hand, says that the word is so clearly lilies, that he is disinclined to go out of the way to bring in the Hebrew word for six.
"To the chief musician upon Shoshannim." Some would have it that instruments whereon were many engravings of lilies, which are six-leaved flowers, are here meant. And, indeed, some interpreters, because of that derivation of the word, do thus translate it, upon Shoshannim, that is, upon lilies; and that either in reference to their wedding garlands, that were made much of lilies, or as intending by these lilies Christ and his church. - Arthur Jackson
"A Song." The word שׁיר,shir, the meaning of which (song), is unquestioned, is prefixed to many of the Psalms, three times simply and thirteen times in connection with Mizmor. There is no mark of peculiarity in their composition. The meaning of the word seems to be discriminated from Mizmor, as signifying a thing to be sung, with reference to its poetical structure. - John Jebb.
The Psalter, which sets forth so much truth respecting the person and work of Christ - truth more precious than gold and sweeter than the honey comb - is not silent respecting the bond subsisting between him and his people, the mystical union between Christ and the church. When a prince sets his affections on a woman of lowly rank, and takes her home to be his wife, the two are so united that her debts become his, his wealth and honours become hers. Now, that there is formed between Christ and the church, between Christ and every soul that will consent to receive him, a connection, of which the most intimate of all natural relations is the analogue and type, we have already found to be not only taught in the Psalms, but to be implied in the very structure of many of them. He takes his people's sins upon him, and they receive the right to become the sons of God; the One Spirit of God wherewith he was baptised without measure, dwells in them according to the measure of the grace that is given them. I will only add further, that this union, besides being implied in so many places, is expressly set forth in one most glorious Psalm - the Nuptial Song of Christ and the Church - which has for its peculiar theme the home-bringing of Christ's elect, that they may be joined to him in a union that shall survive the everlasting hills. - William Binnie, D.D.
"My heart is inditing a good matter," and then, "My tongue shall be like the pen of a ready writer." Oh, then I shall go merrily on in his service, when I have matter prepared in my heart. And, indeed, as the mariner sees further new stars the further he sails, he loseth sight of the old ones and discovers new; so the growing Christian, the further he sails in religion he discovers new wants, new Scriptures affect him, new trials afflict him, new business he finds with God, and forgetting those things that are behind, he reacheth after those things that are before, and so finds every day new business with the Lord his God; and he that is busy trifles not; the more business the less distraction. - Richard Steele.
"My heart is inditing a good matter." רחשׁ (rakhash), boileth or bubbleth up; denotes the language of the heart full and ready for utterance. - Victorinus Bythner.
"My heart is inditing a good matter." Here you have the work of the Spirit of prophecy. By his operation the good "matter" is engendered in the Psalmist's bosom, and now his heart is heaving and labouring under the load. It is just beginning to throw it up, like water from a fountain, that it may flow off in the channel of the tongue. Here, therefore, you have some insight given you of the manner of the operation of the Spirit in the heart of man. The Psalmist says his heart is doing what the Spirit is doing in his heart. The heart does it, indeed, but it is the Spirit's working. The Psalmist took all the interest and pleasure in his subject that he could have done, if the Spirit had had nothing to do with it; for when the Spirit works, he works not only by the heart, but in the heart; he seizes upon all its affections, every fibre of it is bent to his will. - George Harpur, in "Christ in the Psalms," 1862.
"Good matter," the goodspell, or gospel. - Christopher Wordsworth.
A similitude taken from the mincah, or meat-offering in the law, which was dressed in the frying-pan (Lev 7:9), and there boiled in oil, being made of fine flour unleavened, mingled with oil (Lev 2:5), and afterwards was presented to the Lord by the priest, Lev 2:8. Here the matter of this Psalm is as the mincah or oblation, which with the oil, the grace of the Spirit, was boiled and prepared in the prophet's heart, and now presented. - Henry Ainsworth.
It is reported of Origen, saith Erasmus, that he was ever earnest, but most of all when he discoursed of Christ. Of Johannes Mollias, a Bononian, it is said, that whenever he spake of Jesus Christ, his eyes dropped, for he was fraught with a mighty fervency of God's Holy Spirit; and like the Baptist, he was first a burning (boiling or bubbling), and then a shining light. - John Trapp.
"Touching the king." It does not all concern the king immediately, for much of it concerns the queen, and about one-half of it is directly addressed to her. But it relates to him inasmuch as it relates to his family. Christ ever identifies himself with his people; so that, whatever is done to them, is done to himself. Their interests are his. - George Harpur.
"My tongue" shall be like the pen of one that takes minutes or writes shorthand: for I shall speak very briefly, and not in words at length, or so as to be understood in a literal sense, but in figures and emblems. - From "Holy David and his old English Translators cleared," 1706. [Anon.]
"The pen." We call the prophets the penmen of Scripture, whereas they were but the pen. - Matthew Henry.
"Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips." Thus he begins to set forth his beauty, wherein is the delightfulness of any person; so is it with the soul when God hath made known to man his own filthiness and uncomeliness through sin, and that only by Jesus sin is taken away; oh, how beautiful is this face, the first sight of him! Secondly, "Full of grace are thy lips:" here is the second commendation; which is, when Jesus hath opened his lips to us, from them he pours out grace into our soul, when he makes known the Father to us, and speaks peace to all that are far off and near; when he calls, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you:" and all this is because God hath blessed him for ever; we are assured he comes from God, and that he and his works are eternal, and therefore all his grace poured out upon us shall remain with us, and make us blessed for ever; for he is the Word of God, and he speaks the mind of God, for he speaks nothing but what he hath heard from the Father; and when he speaks to our souls with his Word, the Spirit is given, a certain testimony to our soul that we are the sons of God, and a pledge of our inheritance; for the Spirit and the Word cannot be separated. - Richard Coore, in "Christ set forth."
"Thou art fairer than the children of men," etc. Nothing can be more beautiful than this abrupt way of discourse. The prophet sets out with a professed design to speak of the king. But as if in the moment he had so intended, the glorious Person of whom he was going to speak appeared to his view, he instantly leaves every other consideration to speak to him himself. And what a rapturous address he makes! He first describes the glories, the beauties, the astonishing loveliness, of his person. Though to a carnal eye there was no beauty to desire him, his visage was marred more than any man's, and his form more than the sons of men, yet to an eye truly enlightened, he is the king in his beauty, fairer, as the glorious Mediator, the Head, the Bridegroom of his Church and people, than all the children of men. And, in the Father's view, so greatly beloved, so truly glorious, that grace was poured into his lips. Reader, observe the expression; not simply grace put into his heart, for the holiness and purity of his person, but poured into his lips, that, like the honey, it might drop upon his people, and be for ever communicated to all his redeemed, in an endless perpetuity of all suited blessings here, and glory hereafter. - Robert Hawker, D.D.
"Thou art fairer than the children of men." Are you for beauty? That takes with most: for this none like Christ. For beauty and comeliness he infinitely surpasses both men and angels. We read of Moses, that he was exceeding fair; and of David, that he was ruddy, and of a beautiful countenance; and Josephus reports of the one of them, that all that saw him were amazed at and enamoured of his beauty. Oh, but what was their beauty to Christ's? Were their beauty, and with theirs the beauty of men and angels put together, it would all be nothing to the beauty of Christ; not so much as the light of a farthing candle is to the light of the sun at noon-day. - Edward Pearse in "The Best Match," 1673.
"Thou art fairer," etc. Fair he was (1) in his conception, conceived in purity, and a fair angel brought the news. Fair (2) in his nativity: ὡραῖος is the word in the Septuagint, tempustivus, in time, that is, all things are beautiful in their time, Ecc 3:11. And in the fulness of time it was that he was born, and a fair star pointed to him. Fair (3) in his childhood; he grew up in grace and favour, Luk 2:52. The doctors were much taken with him. Fair (4) in his manhood; had he not been so, says S. Jerome, had there not been something admirable in his countenance and presence, some heavenly beauty, the apostles and the whole world (as the Pharisees themselves confess) would not so suddenly have gone after him. Fair (5) in his transfiguration, white as the light, or as the snow, his face glittering as the sun (Mat 17:2), even to the ravishing the very soul of S. Peter, that "he know not what he said" could let his eyes dwell upon that face for ever, and never come down the mount again. Fair (6) in his passion. Nihil indecorum, no uncomeliness, in his nakedness; his very wounds, and the bloody prints of the whips and scourges drew an ecce from the mouth of Pilate: "Behold the man!" the sweetness of his countenance and carriage in the midst of filth and spittle, whips and buffets. His very comeliness upon the cross, and his giving up the ghost, made the centurion cry out, he "was the Son of God:" there appeared so sweet a majesty, so heavenly a lustre in him through that very darkness that encompassed him. Fair (7) in his resurrection; so subtle a beauty, that mortal eyes, even the eyes of his own disciples, were not able to see or apprehend it, but when he veiled it from them. Fair (8) in his ascension; made his disciples stand gazing after him so long (as if they never could look long enough upon him), till an angel is sent from heaven to rebuke them, to look home, Act 1:2. - Mark Frank.
O fair sun, and fair moon, and fair stars, and fair flowers, and fair roses, and fair lilies; but O ten thousand thousand times fairer Lord Jesus! Alas! I have wronged him in making the comparison this way. O black sun and moon! but O fair Lord Jesus! O black flowers, and black lilies, and roses! but O fair, fair, ever fair, Lord Jesus! O black heaven! but O fair Christ! O black angels! but O surpassingly fair Lord Jesus! - Samuel Rutherford.
In one Christ we may contemplate and must confess all the beauty and loveliness both of heaven and earth; the beauty of heaven is God, the beauty of earth is man; the beauty of heaven and earth together is this God-man. - Edward Hyde, D.D., 1658.
"Thou." "I have a passion," observed Count Zinzendorf in one of his discourses to the congregation at Herrnhut, "and it is He - He only."
"Thou art fairer." Hebrew, Thou art double fairer; the Hebrew word is doubled, ad corroborandum, saith Kimchi. - John Trapp.
"Grace is poured into thy lips." This is said as if this grace were a gift, and not something inherent in our Lord himself. And is not this exactly what we learn from the histories of the evangelists? Before Jesus went forth to the work of his public mission, the Holy Ghost descended from heaven like a dove and lit upon him. The Spirit who imparts all its graces to the church of Christ imparted his graces to Christ himself. Not that the Son of God needed the anointing of the Spirit of God, but he suffered it to be so that he might be in all things like his brethren. If he was to be their example, he must show them wherein their great strength lay. They see in him the fruits of the Holy Ghost who is promised to themselves. All that Christ ever did as the Head and Representative of his people, he did by that very Spirit which is still resident in his church. - George Harpur.
"Grace is poured into thy lips." "Full of grace are thy lips." Full of grace for the matter, and full of grace for the manner. I. For the matter, he delivered acceptable doctrine: "The law was given by Moses, but grace came by Jesus Christ." Joh 1:17. Moses had harsh and hard words in his law; "Cursed is he that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them;" but Christ on the contrary speaks better things, the first words in his first sermon are, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Mat 5:3. He cometh unto his people, cum verbo gratiae, cum osculo gratiae, saith Augustine: his lips are full of grace, that is, pouring out gracious words abundantly. Mat 11:28; Joh 3:16; Luk 4:18. "His lips are like lilies dropping down myrrh" (Sol 5:13); all that heard him wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, Luk 4:22. II. For the manner, he taught not as the scribes; he spake so sweetly that the very catch-poll officers, astonished at his words, gave this testimony, "Never man spake like this man," Joh 7:46. He spake so graciously that the apostles forsook all things and followed him; at his call Andrew left his nets straightway, James and John their father without tarrying, Matthew from the receipt of custom, Zacchaeus from the like worldly course, came hastily to receive him joyfully. Mar 10:28; Mat 4:20, Mat 4:21; Mat 9:9; Luk 19:6. Nay, beloved, he was so powerful an orator, that the very winds and waves obeyed his word. Mar 4:39. It is reported in Holy Writ that all princes and people were desirous of hearing Solomon's eloquence; the Queen of Sheba wondering at the same, cried out, "Happy are these thy servants which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom," Kg1 10:8 Solomon is a type here, but Christ is the truth; and this showeth evidently that Christ is not a tyrant, but a mild prince, persuading obedience plausibly, not compelling his people violently; his sayings are his sceptre and his sword: his piercing exhortations are, as it were, his sharp arrows by which his followers are subdued unto him.
To conclude this argument, his fair words (as the Scripture speaks) "are as an honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones" (Pro 16:24): "an honeycomb," and what more toothsome? "sweetness to the soul and health to the bones;" and what, I pray, more wholesome? The good man's soul is Christ's own spouse, to which he speaks a great many ways graciously; sometimes correcting, and what stronger argument of love? for "whom he loveth he chasteneth" (Heb 12:6); sometimes instructing, and his gospel is able to make "the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" (Ti2 3:17); sometimes wooing in amorous terms, as in his love-song everywhere: "my beloved," "my sister," "my spouse," "the fairest among women,.... my love,.... my dove," etc.; sometimes promising, and that both the blessings of this life present (Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: etc., Isa 41:10), and of that life which is to come. Joh 17:21, Joh 17:24. But Christ's excellent intercession every day to God the Father, appearing in the court of heaven, and as an advocate pleading for us, is yet fuller of grace; for if Caleb easily granted his daughter's request, and bestowed on her "the springs above and the springs beneath" (Jdg 1:15), how shall Almighty God (whose mercies are above all his works) deny the suits of such a Son in whom he is well pleased? - John Boys.
"Grace is poured into thy lips." The former clause noted his inward perfections; and this signifies his ability and readiness to communicate them to others. - Matthew Pool.
Psa 45:2 (second clause)
Never were there such words of love and sweetness spoken by any man as by him: never was there such a loving and tender heart as the heart of Jesus Christ: "Grace was poured into his lips." Certainly never were there such words of love, sweetness, and tenderness spoken here upon this earth as those last words of his which were uttered a little before his sufferings, and are recorded in the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th chapters of John. Read over all the books of love and friendship that were ever written by any of the sons of men, they do all come far short of those melting strains of love that are there expressed. So sweet and amiable was the conversation of Jesus Christ, that it is reported of the apostle Peter in the Ecclesiastical History, that after Christ's ascension he wept so abundantly, that he was always seen wiping his face from the tears; and being asked why he wept so, he answered, He could not choose but weep as often as he thought of that most sweet conversation of Jesus Christ. - John Row.
"Gird thy sword upon thy thigh." The sword, according to ancient custom was hung in a belt put round the shoulders, and reaching down to the thigh. It was suspended on the back part of the thigh, almost to the ground, but was not girded upon it; the horseman's sword was fixed on the saddle by a girth. When David, in spirit invites the Redeemer of the church to gird his sword upon his thigh, and the spouse says of the valiant of Israel, "every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night" (Sol 3:8), they do not mean that the weapon was literally bound upon their thigh, but hung in the girdle on the back part of it; for this was the mode in which, by the universal testimony of ancient writers, the infantry wore their swords. It is still the practice in the East to wear swords in this manner, for Chardin informs us, that "the Eastern people wear their swords hanging down at length; and the Turks wear their swords on horseback, and on their thigh." But in his poetical invitation to the Redeemer, to gird his sword upon his thigh, David manifestly points to some special occasion of solemn and official character; and a clear light is thrown upon his meaning by a custom to this day observed in the East. "When a Persian or an Ottoman prince ascends the throne," says Mr. Morier, "he girds on his sabre. Mohammed Jaffer, for example, was proclaimed by the Khan, governor pro tempore, till the arrival of his brother, and was invested in this dignity by the girding of a sword upon his thigh, an honour which he accepted with a reluctance perhaps not wholly feigned." - "This ceremony," says Dr. Davey, giving an account of an Eastern coronation, "remained to be performed before the prince could be considered completely king - it was that of choosing a new name, and putting on the regal sword. The prince went in great state to the temple where he presented offerings, and then, the sword having been girded on his thigh, the priest presented a pot of sandal-powder, in which the prince, who may now be called king, dipped his fingers."
From these anecdotes, it is evident girding a sword on the thigh is part of the ceremony of royal inauguration; and that when the Psalmist addresses the Messiah, he refers to his receiving the honours and powers of the Lord of all. - G. Paxton's Illustrations of Scripture.
"Thy sword." The word of God is compared to such a weapon, for the apostle informs us that it is quick, or living, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and laying open the thoughts and intents of the heart. It must be observed, however, that this description of the word of God is applicable to it only when Christ girds it on, and employs it as his sword. Of what use is a sword, even though it be the sword of Goliath, while it lies still in its scabbard, or is grasped by the powerless hand of an infant? In those circumstances it can neither conquer nor defend, however well suited it might be to do both in the hand of a warrior. It is the same with the sword of the Spirit. While it lies still in its scabbard, or is wielded only by the infantile hand of Christ's ministers, it is a powerless and useless weapon; a weapon at which the weakest sinner can laugh, and against which he can defend himself with the utmost ease. But not so when he who is the Most Mighty girds it on. Then it becomes a weapon of tremendous power, a weapon resistless as the bolt of heaven. "Is not my word like a fire, and a hammer, saith the Lord, which breaketh the rock in pieces?" It is indeed, for what can be more efficacious and irresistible than a weapon sharper than a two-edged sword, wielded by the arm of omnipotence? What must his sword be whose glance is lightning? Armed with this weapon, the Captain of our salvation cuts his way to the sinner with infinite ease, though surrounded by rocks and mountains, scatters his strongholds and refuges of lies, and with a mighty blow cleaves asunder his heart of adamant, and lays him prostrate and trembling at his feet. Since such are the effects of this weapon in the hand of Christ, it is with the utmost propriety that the Psalmist begins by requesting him to gird it on, and not suffer it to be inactive in its scabbard, or powerless in the feeble grasp of his ministers. - Edward Payson.
"O most mighty." Christ is almighty, and so able to make good all that he speaketh, and to make his word of precept, promise, and threatening effectual unto the errand for which it is sent. - David Dickson.
Psa 45:3, Psa 45:4
We may reflect with pleasure on the glorious cause in which Christ is engaged, and the holy war which he carries on, and in which he shall prosper. It is the cause of truth, of meekness, and righteousness. His gospel, his sword, which is the word of God, tends to rectify our errors by truth; to control our passions by that meekness which it promotes, and to regulate our lives by the laws of righteousness which it inculcates. Let us rejoice that this sacred cause has hitherto prospered, and shall prosper. - Job Orton, 1717-1783.
"And in thy majesty ride prosperously," etc. The wheels of Christ's chariot, whereupon he rideth when he goeth to conquer and subdue new converts to his kingdom, are majesty, truth, meekness, righteousness, manifested in the preaching of his gospel; majesty, when the stately magnificence of his person and offices is declared; truth, when the certainty of all that he teacheth in Scripture is known; meekness, when his grace and mercy is offered to rebels; and righteousness, when justification by faith in his name is clearly set forth. Christ goeth no voyage in vain, he cometh not short of his intent and purpose, but doth the work for which he cometh, preaching the gospel; in his majesty, truth, meekness, and righteousness, he rideth prosperously. - David Dickson.
"Ride prosperously, because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness." The literal translation would be, "Ride on the word of truth, and the meekness of righteousness," and so the Syriac has it. If this rendering be adopted, the meaning will then be, that the great object of Christ's gospel was to vindicate the cause of truth and righteousness in the world. Christ is said to ride on the word of truth, because the knowledge of the truth depends on the word - it is by the word that truth is made known. He is said to ride on the meekness or humility of righteousness, because meekness or humility is its distinguishing characteristic. The former relates to what man is to believe, the latter to how he is to live. - George Harpur.
"Thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things." This expression seems only used to imply, either that by his power he should be enabled to do terrible things, because teaching enables men to do what they are taught, or that by his almighty power he should experimentally see what great and terrible things should be done by him. - Arthur Jackson.
"Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies." In a still bolder metaphor the arrows which are discharged from the bow of Christ are the preachers of the gospel, especially the apostles and evangelists. "His sagittis," says S. Jerome, "totus orbis vulneratus et captus est." Paul, the apostle, was an arrow of the Lord, discharged from his bow from Jerusalem to Illyricum, and from Illyricum to Spain, flying from east to west, and subduing Christ's enemies beneath his feet. - Christopher Wordsworth.
While beseeching the Redeemer to ride forth prosperously, and predicting his success, he seems suddenly to have seen his prayers answered and his predictions fulfilled. He saw his all-conquering Prince gird on his resistless sword, array himself in glory and majesty, ascend the chariot of his gospel, display the banner of his cross, and ride forth, as on the wings of the wind, while the tremendous voice of a herald proclaimed before him: "Prepare ye the way of the Lord," exalt the valleys, and level the hills; make the crooked ways straight, and the rough places plain; for, behold, the Lord God comes; he comes with a strong hand, his reward is with him, and his work before him. From the bright and fiery cloud which enveloped his chariot, and concealed it from mortal eyes, he saw sharp arrows of conviction shot forth on every side, deeply wounding the obdurate hearts of sinners, and prostrating them in crowds around his path, while his right hand extended raised them again, and healed the wounds which his arrows had made; and his omnipotent voice spoke peace to their despairing souls, and bade them follow in his train, and witness and share in his triumph. From the same bright cloud he saw the vengeful lightnings flashing thick and dreadful, to blast and consume everything that opposed his progress; he saw sin, and death, and hell, with all its legions, baffled, defeated, and flying in trembling consternation before him; he saw them overtaken, bound, and chained to his triumphant chariot wheels; while enraptured voices were heard from heaven exclaiming, "Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of God, and the power of his Christ." Such was the scene which seems to have burst upon the ravished sight of the entranced prophet. Transported with the view, he exclaims, "Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee." - Edward Payson.
"The king's enemies," is not simply an expression for "Thy enemies," as some think, but rather implies that Christ's kingship is the ground of their enmity; just as in the Psa 2:1-12their cry was, "Let us break their bands asunder." - George Harpur.
"Thy throne, O God." The original word, is probably vocative, both in the Greek and in the Hebrew; and is so taken by modern Unitarians, who seek their refuge by explaining away θεός. - Henry Alford, D.D., on Heb 1:8.
"Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness." Many a one loves righteousness, but would not be its champion; such a love is not Christ's love. Many a one hates iniquity, not for its own sake, but for the sake of its consequences; such a hate is not Christ's hate. To be like Christ we must love righteousness as he loved, and hate wickedness as he hated. To love and hate as he loves and hates is to be perfect as he is perfect. The perfection of this love and hate is moral perfection. - George Harpur.
"Therefore." Observe how usual it is to impute Christ's exaltation to his merits. God blessed him for ever, as in the Psa 45:2of this Psalm (if such be the sense of that verse), because he was fairer than the children of men, and grace was poured into his lips. And so the apostle. God highly exalted him and gave him a name above every name, because he had humbled himself, and become obedient unto death. And here God anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows, because he loved righteousness and hated iniquity. - George Harpur.
"Therefore." He says not, "Wherefore he anointed thee in order to thy being God, or King, or Son, or Word;" for so he was before, and is for ever, as has been shown; but rather, "Since thou art God and Kings, therefore thou wast anointed, since none but thou couldst unite man to the Holy Ghost, thou the image of the Father, in which we were made in the beginning: for thine is even the Spirit." - Athanasius.
"Therefore God, thy God." God was the God of Christ in covenant, that he might be our God in covenant; for in his transactions, whole Christ, Head and members, are to be considered (Gal 3:16; Co1 12:12), the covenant being first transacted with the Head (who is given for a covenant to us, Isa 42:6), and then with the members, with him in reference to us and for us. As God did not fail our surety, but supported him in his great conflict, when out of the depths he called unto him; so neither will he fail us in time of need. Heb 4:16; Heb 13:5, Heb 13:6. - William Troughton.
"Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows;" i.e., enriched and filled thee in a singular and peculiar manner with the fulness of the Spirit, whereby thou art consecrated to thy office; and by reason whereof thou out-shinest and excellest all the saints who are thy "fellows," or co-partners in these graces. So that in these words you have two parts, namely first, the saints' dignity; and, secondly, Christ's pre-eminency. First. The saints' dignity, which consists in this, that they are Christ's "fellows." The Hebrew word מהבריך, is very full and copious, and is translated consorts, companions, co-partners, partakers; or, as ours reads it, "fellows;" i.e., such as are partakers with him in the anointing of the Spirit, who do in their measure receive the same Spirit, every Christian being anointed, modo sibi proportionato, with the same grace and dignified with the same titles. Jo1 2:27; Rev 1:6. Christ and the saints are in common one with another. Doth the Spirit of holiness dwell in him? So he doth in them too. Is Christ King and Priest? Why, so are they, too, by the grace of union with him. He hath made us kings and priests to God and his Father. This is the saints' dignity, to be Christ's fellows, consorts, or co-partners; so that look whatever grace or excellency is in Christ, it is not impropriated to himself, but they do share with him; for indeed he was filled with the fulness of the Spirit for their sakes and use. As the sun is filled with light not to shine to itself, but to others, so is Christ with grace; and therefore some translate the text not prae consortibus, above thy fellows, but propter consortes, for thy fellows; making Christ the first receptacle of all grace, who first and immediately is filled from the fountain of the Godhead, but it is for his people who receive and derive from him according to their proportion. This is a great truth; and the dignity of the saints lies chiefly in the partnership with Christ, though our translation, "above thy fellows," suits best both with the importance of the word and scope of the place. Secondly. But then, whatever dignity is ascribed herein to the saints, there is, and still must be, a pre-eminency acknowledged and ascribed to Christ: if they are anointed with the spirit of grace, much more abundantly is Christ: "God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." - John Flavel.
"Oil of gladness." For sweet-smelling oils were also used to beautify the face upon occasions of feasting and mirth. Psa 23:5; Psa 104:15; Isa 61:3. And likewise this oil of consecration and infusion of the gifts of the Holy Ghost hath been the cause and foundation of Christ's human nature's obtaining of the everlasting joys and glory. Phi 2:9; Heb 12:2. - John Diodati.
Behold, O ye Arians, and acknowledge even hence the truth. The Psalmist speaks of us all as fellows or partakers of the Lord, but were he one of things which come out of nothing, and of things generate, he himself had been one of those who partake. But since he hymned him as the eternal God, saying, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever," and has declared that all other things partake of him, what conclusion must we draw, but that he is distinct from generated things, and he only the Father's veritable Word, Radiance, and Wisdom, which all things generate partake, being sanctified by him in Spirit? And, therefore, he is here "anointed," not that he may become God, for he was so even before; nor that he may become king, for he had the kingdom eternally, existing as God's image, as the sacred oracle shows; but in our behalf is this written, as before. For the Israelitish kings, upon their being anointed, then became kings, not being so before, as David, as Ezekias, as Josias, and the rest; but the Saviour, on the contrary, being God, and ever ruling in the Father's kingdom, and being himself the dispenser of the Holy Ghost, nevertheless is here said to be anointed, that, as before, being said as man to be anointed with the Spirit, he might provide for us more, not only exaltation and resurrection, but the indwelling and intimacy of the Spirit.... And when he received the Spirit, we it was who, by him were made recipients of it. And, moreover, for this reason, not as Aaron, or David, or the rest, was he anointed with oil, but in another way, above all his fellows, "with the oil of gladness," which he himself interprets to be the Spirit, saying by the prophet, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me;" as also the apostle has said, "How God anointed him with the Holy Ghost." - Athanasius.
"All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad." Although there is considerable obscurity overhanging these words, still the general idea of a supereminent fulness of anointing is quite apparent, combined, however, with the other idea that the anointing oil or ointment is of the most exquisite quality. Myrrh, and aloes, and cassia were celebrated for their peculiar fragrance, on which account they were used in compounding the choicest unguents. Myrrh and cassia are mentioned in Exo 30:23, Exo 30:24, as two of the spices of which the holy anointing oil was made up. All its ingredients were considered sacred. The Israelites were forbidden to pour it upon man's flesh, or to attempt any imitation of it in their own perfumes. Ivory was in early times, as it still is, rare and costly, and it was highly esteemed as a material for household decoration, on which the finest workmanship and the most princely expenditure were displayed. In palaces of ivory, therefore, it was to be expected that, in correspondence with the magnificence of their structure that the costliness of their furniture, the ointment employed for anointing would be of the richest perfume, and in the greatest profusion. According to our version of the Psalm, the divine Saviour is thus represented as being anointed with oil of the very best kind, even oil taken from the ivory palaces; and also as receiving it in no ordinary measure. His anointing was not confined to a few ceremonial drops poured upon the head, but so abundant is it said to have been, that all his garments smelled of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia.
Bishop Horsley has proposed a change in the translation, by which means the idea of abundance is connected, not with the fragrance arising from the anointing, but with the anointing itself, which is a different and far more important thing. "Thy garments are all myrrh, aloes, and cassia, excelling the palaces of ivory, excelling those which delight thee." This translation, which is strictly literal as well as poetical, is at the same time comparatively free from obscurity, and it visibly sets forth, under the most expressive imagery, the surpassing measure of that anointing which was conferred on our Lord above all his fellows. His garments are supposed not merely to have been all richly perfumed, or even thoroughly saturated with the oil of gladness, but to have consisted of the very articles which entered into the composition of the most precious and odoriferous unguent. "Thy garments are all myrrh, aloes, and cassia." This is figurative language, but nothing could more emphatically exhibit how truly "the Spirit rested on Jesus, and abode with him" in all the plenitude of his heavenly gifts. That heavenly anointing constituted, as it were, his very dress, "excelling" in the quantity or measure of the anointing "the palaces of ivory;" because their furnitures, however highly scented, were not made of aromatic materials. The strength of the perfumes would evaporate, the fragrance would soon diminish; but permanent as well as plentiful fragrance is secured to him whose "garments are all myrrh, aloes, and cassia." It is added, in the way of parallelism, "excelling those which delight in thee," or those which make thee glad. To say that the persons here alluded to are the occupiers of the ivory palaces, might perhaps be objected to as fanciful; but palaces are the abodes of kings; and anointed kings, either literally, or typically, or spiritually, are the fellows of the Lord's anointed One; and it does seem manifest that, as his anointing causes joy and gladness to all the parties concerned in it, so likewise there is an anointing of those who are honoured to be his fellows which causes joy and gladness to him. The persons who are in the one verse spoken of as giving delight to Christ, there is no reason to regard as any other than the persons spoken of in the former verse as his "fellows." And if this is the case, then we have a comparison drawn betwixt the one and the other in the matter of their anointing, and to that of Christ a decided superiority is ascribed. - David Pitcairn, in "The Anointed Saviour," 1846.
"All thy garments smell of myrrh." etc. These things are true in Jesus; by his garments is meant his righteousness; for it is written, He clothed himself with righteousness and zeal. And here the translator hath put in "smell," which rather should have been are, for "his garments are of myrrh, and aloes and cassia," that is, truly purging, cleansing, and making sound; for his righteousness, which is the righteousness of faith, maketh sound-hearted Christians; whereas, man's righteousness, which is the righteousness of works, maketh filthy hypocrites. And by "ivory palaces," is meant the true faith and fear of God; for ivory is solid and white, and palaces are king's houses; and by Christ we are made kings, and our dwelling is in faith and fear of God; and this is the gladness and joy of our Lord Jesus, that he brings many sons and daughters unto God. - Richard Coore, 1683.
"Out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad." Commentators have been more perplexed in explaining these words than any other part of the Psalm. Not to detain you with the various expositions that have been proposed, I will give you what I conceive to be the meaning of the passage. The word rendered "whereby," is also the name of a region in Arabia Felix, namely, Minnaea, which, according to the geographer Strabo, "abounded in myrrh and frankincense." Now, it is singular that, according to the historian, Diodorus Siculus, "the inhabitants of Arabia Felix had sumptuous houses, adorned with ivory and precious stones." Putting these two things together, therefore, namely, that this region abounded in myrrh and frankincense, and that its inhabitants adorned their houses with ivory, we may, I conceive, find a clue to the Psalmist's meaning. If we substitute "Minnaea" for "whereby," the passage will run thus -
"Myrrh, aloes, and cassia, are all thy garments,
From ivory palaces of Minnaea they have made thee glad."
You recollect in the verse just going before, the oil with which Christ was said to be anointed, is called the oil of "gladness." Accordingly, he is here said to be made glad (it is the same word in both places in the Hebrew), by the spices of which that oil is composed. Those spices are said to have been brought out of the most spicy region of the land of spices, and it is implied that they are the best spices of that spicy region. "Out of the ivory palaces," says the Psalmist; not only houses, but palaces - the mansions of the great, where the best spices would naturally be kept - out of these have come the myrrh, aloes, and cassia, that have composed the oil of gladness whereby thou art made glad. God anointed Christ, when he set him on his everlasting throne, with the oil of gladness; and this anointing was so profuse, his garments were so overspread with it, that they seemed to be nothing but myrrh, aloes, and cassia. The spices, moreover, of which the anointing oil was composed were the best of their kind, brought, as they were, from the ivory palaces of Minnaea. Such appears to be the Psalmist's meaning; and when thus understood, the passage becomes most beautifully expressive of the excellency and unmeasured supply of the gifts and graces of that Spirit with which Christ was anointed by his Father. - George Harpur.
"The ivory palaces." "The ivory courts." Probably so called from the great quantity of ivory used in ornamenting and inlaying them; as the emperor Nero's palace, mentioned by Suetonius, was named "aurea," or "golden," because "lita auro," "overlaid with gold." This method of ornamenting or inlaying rooms was very ancient among the Greeks. Homer, in the fourth book of the Odyssey, seems to mention it, as employed in Menelaus's palace at Lacedaemon; and that the Romans sometimes ornamented their apartments in like manner, seems evident from Horace and Ovid. So in modern times, the winter apartment of the fair Fatima at Constantinople, has been described by an eye-witness as "wainscotted with inlaid work of mother-of-pearl, ivory of different colours, and olive wood." Ivory is likewise employed at Aleppo, as Dr. Russell informs us, in the decoration of some of the more expensive apartments. - Richard Mant.
"Ivory palaces." Either edifices (Kg1 22:39; Sol 7:1-13 :14), or ivory coffers, and wardrobes, whence those garments were taken, and are kept. - Westminster Assembly's Annotations.
"Whereby they have made thee glad." The best sense of the phrase - from which they rejoice thee - is had by making they refer to the king's daughters mentioned in the next verse. - William S. Plumer.
Gesenius and Delitzsch consider מגּי an abbreviated form of the plural מגּים (Psa 105:4), "strings," or "stringed instruments," and would render thus: - "Thee glad out of the ivory palaces stringed instruments have made." - Dalman Hapstone. [With this rendering Ewald and Lange agree. - J. L. K.]
"Kings' daughters." Albeit the Catholic church consisting of true converts or real saints be but the one and only true spouse of Christ, yet particular visible churches consisting of saints by calling, by obligation, by profession, and common estimation, their own or others, are many. The true church consisting of true converts (whose praise is of God, to whom only they are certainly known, and not of men), being but one, is compared to the queen; but the particular, whose collections and consociations are known to men, being many, are compared to ladies of honour who serve the queen. - David Dickson.
"The queen." It is written of Matilda, the empress, that she was the daughter of a king, the mother of a king, and the wife of a king.
Ortu magna, viro major, sed maxima prole,
Hic jacet Henrici filia, nupta, patens.
So David intimates in this hymn, that the church is the daughter of a King, at the Psa 45:13, "The king's daughter is all glorious within;" and the mother of a king, at the Psa 45:16, "Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth;" and the wife of a king, in this verse, "Upon thy right hand did stand the queen," as being (I speak in the language of Canaan), spiritually the wedded and bedded wife to the king of glory. - John Boys.
"Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house." Three alls I expect you to part with, saith Christ. 1. All your sinful lusts, all the ways of the old Adam, our father's house. Ever since Adam's apostacy, God and man have parted houses. Ever since, our father's house is a house of ill manners, a house of sin and wickedness. 2. All your worldly advantages. "If any man come unto me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." He that hath all these must be ready to part with all; they are joined not disjunctively but copulatively. 3. All self, self-will, self-righteousness, self-sufficiencies, self-confidences, and self-seekings. - Lewis Stuckley.
"Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house." If you see a bee leave a fair flower and stick upon another, you may conclude that she finds most honey-dew in that flower she most sticks upon: so here God's people would never leave so many fair flowers in the world's garden, had they not some other in which they find most sweetness. Christ hath his garden, into which he brings his beloved, and there she finds other manner of flowers than any the world hath, in which there is sweetness of a higher nature, even the honey-dew of the choice mercy and goodness and blessing of God himself; if God's people do leave the full breasts of the world, it is because they have found the breasts of consolation from which they have sucked other manner of sweetness than the breasts of the world can afford. - Jeremiah Burroughs, in "Moses, his self-denyall." 1649.
"Forget." If thou be on the mountain, have no love to look back to Sodom. If thou be in the ark, fly not back to the world, as the raven did. If thou be set on Canaan, forget the flesh-pots of Egypt. If marching against Midian, forget stooping to the waters of Harod. Judg. 7. If on the house-top, forget that is below thee. Mar 13:15. If thy hand be put to the plough, forget that is behind thee. Luk 9:62. Themistocles desired rather to learn the art of forgetfulness than of memory. Philosophy is an art of remembering, divinity includes in it an art of forgetting. The first lesson that Socrates taught his scholars was, Remember; for he thought that knowledge was nothing else but a calling to remembrance of those things the mind knew ere it knew the body. But the first lesson that Christ teacheth his scholars is, Forget: "Forget thine own people;" "Repent" (Mat 4:17); first, "eschew evil," Pe1 3:11. - Thomas Adams.
"So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty." This is a most sweet promise. For the Holy Spirit knoweth that this monster, Monk, sticks fast in our heart - that we want to be pure and without spot before God. Thus, under Popery, all my temptation was this. I used to say, "that I would willingly go to the sacrament if I were but worthy." Thus we seek, naturally, a purity in ourselves; and we examine our whole life and want to find a purity in ourselves, that we might have no need of grace, but might be pronounced righteous upon the grounds of our own merit.... Thou wilt certainly never become righteous by thyself and thine own works.... The Holy Spirit saith, therefore, I will give thee wholesome counsel; and if thou wilt hear me, thou shalt become a virgin all fair. For, if thou wouldst be beautiful in the sight of God, so that all thy works should please him, and he should say, "Thy prayer pleaseth me; all that thou sayest, doest, and thinkest, pleaseth me!" proceed thou thus: "hear, see, and incline thine ear;" and thou shalt thus become all fair when thou hast heard, hast seen, hast forgotten all thine own righteousness, all the law, all traditions, and all that monkery, and hast believed, then art thou fair; not in thine own beauty, but in the beauty of the King who has adorned thee with his Word; because he has brought unto thee thereby his righteousness, his holiness, truth, and fortitude, and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit... The Holy Spirit uses the most exalted language. "So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty:" that is, thou wilt by this faith prevail upon him to do whatever thou desirest: so that, as one urged by the power of love, he will spontaneously follow thee, abide with thee, and take up his abode with thee. For wherever God has given his Word, there he does not leave his work which he has begun in thee; but he brings upon thee first the temptations of the world, the devil, and the flesh; that by them he may work upon thee. These are his embraces whereby he embraceth his spouse through impatiency of love.... The sum of the whole, therefore, is this: That our beauty does not consist in our own virtues, nor even in the gifts which we have received from God, by which we put forth virtues and do all those things which pertain unto the life of the law; but in this - our apprehending Christ and believing in him. Then it is that we are truly beautiful: and it is this beauty alone that Christ looks upon, and upon no other. - Martin Luther.
In this Psalm Christ is set forth in all his royalty and majesty; yet he is said "greatly to desire or delight in the beauty" of his queen, that is, the graces of the saints; and that not with an ordinary delight, but he "greatly desires;" his desire is increased as her beauty is. For that is there brought in as a motive unto her to be more holy and conformed unto him, "to incline her ear, and forsake her father's house." "So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty." Christ hath a beauty that pleaseth him as well as we have, though of another kind: and, therefore, ceaseth not till he hath got out every spot and wrinkle out of his spouse's face, as the apostle speaks (Eph 5:27), "so as to present her glorious unto himself," that is, delightful and pleasing in his eye. - Thomas Goodwin.
"And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift." The daughters of Tyre are the daughters of the Gentiles, the part standing for the whole. Tyre, a city bordering on this country where the prophecy was delivered, typified the nations that were to believe in Christ. Thence came that Canaanitish woman, who was at first called a dog; for that ye may know that she was from thence, the gospel speaks thus (Mat 15:21-28), "Jesus departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts," with all the rest that is related there. She who at first, at the house of her "father," and among her "own people," was but a dog, who by coming to, and crying after that "King," was made beautiful by believing in him, what did she obtain to hear? "O woman, great is thy faith." The King has greatly desired thy beauty. - Augustine.
"With a gift." Those who sold their property, came with presents to entreat the face of this "queen," and "laid what they brought at the apostles' feet." Warm then was love in the church. - Augustine.
"The rich." They are, indeed, rich in grace, whose graces are not hindered by riches, whose souls prosper when their bodies prosper, as the apostle John speaks in his third Epistle; or, who, as 'tis prophesied in this verse, being full of worldly blessings, are yet hungry and eager in their pursuit after Christ. "The daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour," saith the Psalmist; that is, either the favour of Christ himself, or the favour of the church, by reason of that spiritual excellence and inward glory which she hath received from Christ. Now, to see the rich bring their gifts, and, which is the thing chiefly aimed at here, giving up themselves to Christ, this is a rare sight, and a remarkable work of grace. - Joseph Caryl.
"The king's daughter is all glorious within," etc. When the children of God recollect their glorious and heavenly pedigree, they endeavor to excel other, both in the beautiful disposition of soul, and manner of life. "The king's daughter," that is, the daughter of the heavenly Father, who is also the bride of the king's Son; every believing soul "is all glorious," adorned with a holiness not only glorious to herself, but also to the Father and the Bridegroom, and is the beginning of a heavenly glory; and that chiefly "within," not only when she appears abroad, and presents herself to the view of men, but also when she sits in the inner bed-chamber in the secret exercises of religion, in which she in private pleases the Father and the Bridegroom, who having a regard to the inward man, she above all endeavours to keep that pure and chaste. Her clothing is of "gold;" in comparison of which whatever excellency natural men were even possessed of, is but a shining vanity; nay, it was "wrought" gold, curiously beautified with various resemblances, which represents the perfections of God himself; and of different colours, on account of the different yet harmoniously corresponding graces of the Holy Spirit; or of needlework of the Phrygian embroiderers, or rather the work of the cunning workman, mentioned in Sol 7:1. Nor is the spouse only beautiful within, but also without; "holding forth the word of life," Phi 2:16, she practises charity, glorifies Christ, edifies her neighbour, and in this manner she is brought unto the king, worthy to be presented to him. This is the only way by which we are to endeavour to obtain familiarity with him, and the sweetest intercourse of the chastest love, both on earth and in heaven. - Hermann Witsius. 1636-1708.
"The king's daughter is all glorious within." The meaning is, either, (1.) that her chief glory consisted in this, that she was admitted to such a familiar privacy with the king; or, (2.) that when she sat in the inmost rooms of the king's palace, she was there in her greatest glory, because those rooms were most gorgeously set forth with all kinds of bravery and glorious furniture; or, (3.) that she used to be gloriously attired, not only when she went abroad in public, but also when she stayed within, as being indeed adorned (which may be implied) only for the delight of the king, and not that others might gaze upon her; or, (4.) - which I like best - that the inward virtues and endowments of her mind were her greatest ornament and glory. - Arthur Jackson.
"All glorious within." Saints must shine by the comeliness of Christ, as a gracious husband labours to change his spouse into his own image and likeness by kindnesses, precepts, and example, that he may take the more delight in her person; so does our spiritual Solomon change the hue of his Egyptian queen to deem of things and persons as her Lord and husband judges, and frames her spirit to delight in doing his will and pleasure, and take the highest solace in obedience, to enjoy a heavenly freedom, mixed with amiable and joyful reverence. He roots out of her heart all changeable affections and worldly fancies, and hankering longings after the fond fashions of Shechem, and all carnal inclinations to the daughters of Canaan's lineage, and all the beggarly humours of the besotted world, and to pass by with a holy scorn all the pitiful pageantry of this perishing and fading life, and rise to a mean estimate of the baubles and trifles that enchant a carnal heart. At length she arrives to a noble and generous judgment, counting all but dung and dross that she may win Christ. As her prince of life was crucified by the world for her redemption, so she begins to be crucified to it in token of conformity to him, and at length becomes "all glorious within." - Samuel Lee, in "The Triumph of Mercy," 1676.
"Within." The ark was pitched within with the same pitch with which it was pitched without withal; such is the sincere man, within and without alike, inside and outside, all one. Yea, he is rather better than he shows, as the "king's daughter," whose outside might sometimes be sackcloth, yet was "all glorious within, and her inward garments of wrought gold." Or as the temple, outwardly nothing but wood and stone to be seen, inwardly all rich and beautiful, especially the sanctum sanctorum. (when the veil was drawn) was all gold. The very floor, as well as the roof, was overlaid with gold. Kg1 6:30. - John Sheffield.
"Her clothing is of wrought gold." Some read it purled works, or closures of gold, enamelled gold, such as precious stones were set in, which were exceeding splendid and glorious; such were the clothes of service in the tabernacle, and the garments and robes of the high priest, which shadowed forth Christ's righteousness. Exo 28:11-14; Exo 39:1-6. - William Troughton.
About this time, Father La Combe was called to preach on some public occasion. The new doctrine, as it was termed, was not altogether a secret. Public curiosity had become excited. He chose for his text the passage in Psa 45:13, "The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold." By the king he understood Christ; by the king's daughter, the church. His doctrine was, whatever might be true in regard to men's original depravity, that those who are truly given to Christ, and are in full harmony with him, are delivered from it: that is to say, are "all glorious within." Like Christ, they love God with a love free from selfishness, with pure love. Like Christ, they are come to do the will of the Father. Christ is formed in them. They not only have with in Christ, and faith in God through Christ, but, as the result of this faith, they have Christ's disposition. They are now in a situation to say of themselves individually, in the language of the apostle Paul, "I live, and yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." He did not maintain that all Christians are necessarily the subjects of this advanced state of Christian experience, but endeavoured to show that this is a possible state; that, however intense human depravity may be, the grace of God has power to overcome it; that the example of Christ, the full and rich promises, and even the commands, give encouragement to effort, and confidence in ultimate victory. - From the "Life, Religious Opinions and Experiences of Madame de la Mothe Guyon."
"The virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought unto thee." The highest and most excellent Christian cannot say, I have no need of thee; the queen will not be without any of her true companions. As it is in the body natural, so it is in the church of Christ, or body mystical; all the members being fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love. Eph 4:16; Col 2:19. - William Troughton.
"The virgins her companions that follow her." These are members of the church, but the figure of a bridal train is employed to sustain the allegory. What a bright train the Royal Bride will have as she goes forth to meet the Bridegroom. Kings' daughters will be there, for every crowned head on earth shall one day bow at the foot of the cross. The daughter of Tyre shall be there - Tyre, the ancient emporium of the nations - to show that the merchandise of the world shall be holiness to the Lord. The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Jews and Gentiles will be there - representatives from all peoples, and tongues, and nations. They are "virgins." They keep themselves unspotted from the world. They are weaned from its idols; they dread its contaminations. Their first care is to preserve the whiteness of their souls by daily washing in the blood of the Lamb.... They "follow" the royal Bride. They keep by her side in storm and sunshine. They follow her in the regeneration. They follow her in the search after her Beloved. Sol 3:2, Sol 3:3. They follow her to the green pastures and the still waters. They follow her without the camp bearing his reproach. Like Ruth, they leave father and mother to follow her. Rut 1:16. Like Caleb, they follow the Lord fully. When a crisis comes, and the question, "Who is on the Lord's side?" involves heavy issues, and hollow-hearted professors fly away like swallows before the storm, they follow her. When persecution comes, and Christ's faithful witnesses have to prophesy clothed in sackcloth, and perhaps to pass through a baptism of blood to the crown, they follow her: like Peden, when - the bloodhounds of persecution in full chase after him, and the lone moor his home - he thought of Richard Cameron gone to glory, and sighed, "Oh, to be with Richie!" - Duncan Macgregor, M.A., in "The Shepherd of Israel; or, Illustrations of the Inner Life," 1869.
"With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought." No marriage was ever consummated with that triumphal solemnity as the marriage of Christ and believers shall be in heaven. Among the Jews the marriage house was called bethillulah - the house of praise; there was joy on all hands, but not like the joy that will be in heaven when believers, the spouse of Christ, shall be brought thither. God the Father will rejoice to behold the blessed accomplishment and consummation of that glorious design and project of his love. Jesus Christ the Bridegroom will rejoice to see the travail of his soul, the blessed birth and issue of all his bitter pangs and agonies. Isa 53:11. The Holy Spirit will rejoice to see the complement and perfection of that sanctifying design which was committed to his hand (Co2 5:5); to see those souls, whom he once found as rough stones, now to shine as the bright polished stones of the spiritual temple. Angels will rejoice; great was the joy when the foundation of this design was laid, in the incarnation of Christ (Luk 2:13); great, therefore, must their joy be when the tops tone is set up with shouting, crying, Grace, grace. The saints themselves shall rejoice unspeakably, when they shall enter into the king's palace, and be for ever with the Lord. Th1 4:17. Indeed, there will be joy on all hands, except among the devils and damned, who shall gnash their teeth with envy, at the everlasting advancement and glory of believers. - John Flavel.
"They shall be brought." Reader! do not fail to observe the manner of expression, the church is brought, she doth not come of herself. No, she must be convinced, converted, made willing. No one can come to Christ, except the Father, who hath sent Christ, draw him. Joh 6:44. - Robert Hawker, D.D.
"They shall enter into the king's palace." There are two rich palaces mentioned in this Psalm: the one an ivory palace (Psa 45:8), whereby is signified the assemblies of the saints, and ordinances of divine worship, in which the Lord manifests himself graciously. Here the presence of the Lord is sweet and amiable. Sol 1:8; Psa 84:2. The other "palace" is mentioned in this Psa 45:15, and it is a palace of glory, a palace more bright and splendid than the finest gold, glorious mansions. Joh 14:2. - William Troughton.
"Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children." O church of God, think not thyself abandoned then, because thou seest not Peter, nor seest Paul - seest not those through whom thou wast born. Out of thine own offspring has a body of "fathers" been raised up to thee. - Augustine.
"Thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." The new connexion is glorious to the King. Many were his glorious and royal ancestors down to Jesse, but now there are born to him, the Eternal King, sons as the dew from the womb of the morning (Psa 110:3), who shall, as princes, occupy the thrones of the world. So our Lord promised to his disciples, "Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." Mat 19:28. And Paul says, "Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world?" Co1 6:2. - Augustus F. Tholuck.
"Princes in all the earth." Others are but princes in their own dominion, but he will make you princes in all lands.... Such a kingdom you shall have, if you will come in to Christ, you shall have the liberty of kings, the abundance and plenty of kings, the power of kings, the victory of kings, and the glory of kings. - John Preston.
"Therefore shall the people praise thee." Christ's espousing unto himself a church, and gathering more and more from age to age by his word and Spirit unto it, his converting souls and bringing them into the fellowship of his family, and giving unto them princely minds and affections, wherever they live, is a large matter of growing and everlasting glory unto his majesty; for in regard of this point, and what is said before in this Psalm, he addeth as the close of all, "Therefore shall the people praise thee." - David Dickson.
In the Hebrew text, which is here quoted, there is a particle added to the word ever, which in that case intendeth a proper everlastingness, without any period or end at all, and thereupon translated "for ever and ever." - William Gouge, D.D on Heb 1:8.
Psa 45:17 (last clause)
"When morning gilds the skies,
My heart awaking cries;
May Jesus Christ be praised.
* * * *
When sleep her balm denies,
My silent spirit sighs;
May Jesus Christ be praised.
* * * *
In heaven's eternal bliss,
The loveliest strain is this:
May Jesus Christ be praised.
* * * *
To God the Word on high,
The hosts of angels cry;
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Let mortals, too, upraise
Their voice in hymns of praise;
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Let earth's wide circle round,
In joyful notes resound;
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Let air, and sea, and sky,
From depth to height reply;
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Be this while life is mine,
My canticle divine;
May Jesus Christ be praised.
Be this the eternal song
Through all the ages on;
May Jesus Christ be praised."
Translated by Edward Caswall, in "Poems," 1861.
1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
"My heart." There is no writing like that dictated by the heart. Heartless hymns are insults to heaven. "Is inditing a good matter." A good heart will only be content with good thoughts. Where the fountain is good good streams will flow forth. The learned tell us that the word may be read overfloweth, or as others, boileth or bubbleth up, denoting the warmth of the writer's love, the fulness of his heart, and the consequent richness and glory of his utterance, as though it were the ebullition of his inmost soul, when most full of affection. We have here no single cold expression; the writer is not one who frigidly studies the elegancies and proprieties of poetry, his stanzas are the natural outburst of his soul, comparable to the boiling jets of the geysers of Hecla. As the corn offered in sacrifice was parched in the pan, so is this tribute of love hot with sincere devotion. It is a sad thing when the heart is cold with a good matter, and worse when it is warm with a bad matter, but incomparably well when a warm heart and a good matter meet together. O that we may often offer to God an acceptable minchah, a sweet oblation fresh from the pen of hearts warmed with gratitude and admiration. "I speak of the things which I have made touching the King." This song has "the King" for its only subject, and for the King's honour alone was it composed, well might its writer call it a good matter. The Psalmist did not write carelessly; he calls his poem his works, or things which he had made. We are not to offer to the Lord that which cost us nothing. Good material deserves good workmanship. We should well digest in our heart's affections and our mind's meditations any discourse or poem in which we speak of one so great and glorious as our Royal Lord. As our version reads it, the Psalmist wrote experimentally things which he had made his own, and personally tasted and handled concerning the King. "My tongue is the pen of a ready writer," not so much for rapidity, for there the tongue always has the preference, but for exactness, elaboration, deliberation, and skilfulness of expression. Seldom are the excited utterances of the mouth equal in real weight and accuracy to the verba scripta of a thoughtful accomplished penman; but here the writer, though filled with enthusiasm, speaks as correctly as a practised writer; his utterances therefore are no ephemeral sentences, but such as fall from men who sit down calmly to write for eternity. It is not always that the best of men are in such a key, and when they are they should not restrain the gush of their hallowed feelings. Such a condition of heart in a gifted mind creates that auspicious hour in which poetry pours forth her tuneful numbers to enrich the service of song in the house of the Lord.
2 Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
"Thou." As though the King himself had suddenly appeared before him, the Psalmist lost in admiration of his person, turns from his preface to address his Lord. A loving heart has the power to realise its object. The eyes of a true heart see more than the eyes of the head. Moreover, Jesus reveals himself when we are pouring forth our affections towards him. It is usually the case that when we are ready Christ appears. If our heart is warm it is an index that the sun is shining, and when we enjoy his heat we shall soon behold his light. "Thou art fairer than the children of men." In person, but especially in mind and character, the King of saints is peerless in beauty. The Hebrew word is doubled, "Beautiful, beautiful art thou," Jesus is so emphatically lovely that words must be doubled, strained, yea, exhausted before he can be described. Among the children of men many have through grace been lovely in character, yet they have each had a flaw; but in Jesus we behold every feature of a perfect character in harmonious proportion. He is lovely everywhere, and from every point of view, but never more so than when we view him in conjugal union with his church; then love gives a ravishing flush of glory to his loveliness. "Grace is poured into thy lips." Beauty and eloquence make a man majestic when they are united; they both dwell in perfection in the all fair, all eloquent Lord Jesus. Grace of person and grace of speech reach their highest point in him. Grace has in the most copious manner been poured upon Christ, for it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell, and now grace is in superabundance, poured forth from his lips to cheer and enrich his people. The testimony, the promises, the invitations, the consolations of our King pour forth from him in such volumes of meaning that we cannot but contrast those cataracts of grace with the speech of Moses which did but drop as the rain, and distil as the dew. Whoever in personal communion with the Well-beloved has listened to his voice will feel that "never man spake like this man." Well did the bride say of him, "his lips are like lilies dropping sweet-smelling myrrh." One word from himself dissolved the heart of Saul of Tarsus, and turned him into an apostle, another word raised up John the Divine when fainting in the Isle of Patmos. Oftentimes a sentence from his lips has turned our own midnight into morning, our winter into spring. "Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever." Calvin reads it, "Because God hath blessed thee for ever." Christ is blessed, blessed of God, blessed for ever, and this is to us one great reason for his beauty, and the source of the gracious words which proceed out of his lips. The rare endowments of the man Christ Jesus are given him of the Father, that by them his people may be blessed with all spiritual blessings in union with himself. But if we take our own translation, we read that the Father has blessed the Mediator as a reward for all his gracious labours; and right well does he deserve the recompense. Whom God blesses we should bless, and the more so because all his blessedness is communicated to us.
3 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
4 And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
8 All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
9 King's daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
"Gird thy sword upon thy thigh." Loving spirits jealous of the Redeemer's glory long to see him putting forth his power to vindicate his own most holy cause. Why should the sword of the Spirit lie still, like a weapon hung up in an armoury; it is sharp and strong, both for cutting and piercing: O that the divine power of Jesus were put forth to use it against error. The words before us represent our great King as urged to arm himself for battle, by placing his sword where it is ready for use. Christ is the true champion of the church, others are but underlings who must borrow strength from him; the single arm of Immanuel is the sole hope of the faithful. Our prayer should be that of this verse. There is at this moment an apparent suspension of our Lord's former power, we must by importunate prayer call him to the conflict, for like the Greeks without Achilles we are soon overcome by our enemies, and we are but dead men if Jesus be not in our midst. "O most mighty." A title well deserved, and not given from empty courtesy like the serenities, excellencies, and highnesses of our fellow mortals - titles, which are but sops for vain glory. Jesus is the truest of heroes. Hero worship in his case alone is commendable. He is mighty to save, mighty in love. "With thy glory and thy majesty." Let thy sword both win thee renown and dominion, or as it may mean, gird on with thy sword thy robes which indicate thy royal splendour. Love delights to see the Beloved arrayed as beseemeth his excellency; she weeps as she sees him in the garments of humiliation, she rejoices to behold him in the vestments of his exaltation. Our precious Christ can never be made too much of. Heaven itself is but just good enough for him. All the pomp that angels and archangels, and thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers can pour at his feet is too little for him. Only his own essential glory is such as fully answers to the desire of his people, who can never enough extol him.
"And in thy majesty ride prosperously." The hero-monarch armed and apparelled is now entreated to ascend his triumphal car. Would to God that our Immanuel would come forth in the chariot of love to conquer our spiritual foes and seize by power the souls whom he has bought with blood. "Because of truth and meekness and righteousness." These words may be rendered, "ride forth upon truth and meekness and righteousness" - three noble chargers to draw the war-chariot of the gospel. In the sense of our translation it is a most potent argument to urge with our Lord that the cause of the true, the humble and the good, calls for his advocacy. Truth will be ridiculed, meekness will be oppressed, and righteousness slain, unless the God, the Man in whom these precious things are incarnated, shall arise for their vindication. Our earnest petition ought ever to be that Jesus would lay his almighty arm to the work of grace lest the good cause languish and wickedness prevail. "And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things." Foreseeing the result of divine working, the Psalmist prophesies that the uplifted arm of Messiah will reveal to the King's own eyes the terrible overthrow of his foes. Jesus needs no guide but his own right hand, no teacher but his own might; may he instruct us all in what he can perform, by achieving it speedily before our gladdened eyes.
"Thine arrows." Our King is master of all weapons: he can strike those who are near and those afar off with equal force. "Are sharp." Nothing that Jesus does is ill done, he uses no blunted shafts, no pointless darts. "In the heart of the King's enemies." Our Captain aims at men's hearts rather than their heads, and he hits them too; point-blank are his shots, and they enter deep into the vital part of man's nature. Whether for love or vengeance, Christ never misses aim, and when his arrows stick, they cause a smart not soon forgotten, a wound which only he can heal. Jesus' arrows of conviction are sharp in the quiver of his word, and sharp when on the bow of his ministers, but they are most known to be so when they find a way into careless hearts. They are his arrows, he made them, he shoots them. He makes them sharp, and he makes them enter the heart. May none of us ever fall under the darts of his judgment, for none kill so surely as they. "Whereby the people fall under thee." On either side the slain of the Lord are many when Jesus leads on the war. Nations tremble and turn to him when he shoots abroad his truth. Under his power and presence, men are stricken down as though pricked in the heart. There is no standing against the Son of God when his bow of might is in his hands. Terrible will be that hour when his bow shall be made quite naked, and bolts of devouring fire shall be hurled upon his adversaries: then shall princes fall and nations perish.
"Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." To whom can this be spoken but our Lord? The Psalmist cannot restrain his adoration. His enlightened eye sees in the royal Husband of the church, God, God to be adored, God reigning, God reigning everlastingly. Blessed sight! Blind are the eyes that cannot see God in Christ Jesus! We never appreciate the tender condescension of our King in becoming one flesh with his church, and placing her at his right hand, until we have fully rejoiced in his essential glory and deity. What a mercy for us that our Saviour is God, for who but a God could execute the work of salvation? What a glad thing it is that he reigns on a throne which will never pass away, for we need both sovereign grace and eternal love to secure our happiness. Could Jesus cease to reign we should cease to be blessed, and were he not God, and therefore eternal, this must be the case. No throne can endure for ever, but that on which God himself sitteth. "The sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre." He is the lawful monarch of all things that be. His rule is founded in right, its law is right, its result is right. Our King is no usurper and no oppressor. Even when he shall break his enemies with a rod of iron, he will do no man wrong; his vengeance and his grace are both in conformity with justice. Hence we trust him without suspicion; he cannot err; no affliction is too severe, for he sends it; no judgment too harsh, for he ordains it. O blessed hands of Jesus! the reigning power is safe with you. All the just rejoice in the government of the King who reigns in righteousness.
"Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness." Christ Jesus is not neutral in the great contest between right and wrong: as warmly as he loves the one he abhors the other. What qualifications for a sovereign I what grounds of confidence for a people! The whole of our Lord's life on earth proved the truth of these words; his death to put away sin and bring in the reign of righteousness, sealed the fact beyond all question; his providence by which he rules from his mediatorial throne, when rightly understood, reveals the same; and his final assize will proclaim it before all worlds. We should imitate him both in his love and hate; they are both needful to complete a righteous character. "Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Jesus as Mediator owned God as his God, to whom, being found in fashion as a man, he became obedient. On account of our Lord's perfect life he is now rewarded with superior joy. Others there are to whom grace has given a sacred fellowship with him, but by their universal consent and his own merit, he is prince among them, the gladdest of all because the cause of all their gladness. At Oriental feasts oil was poured on the heads of distinguished and very welcome guests; God himself anoints the man Christ Jesus, as he sits at the heavenly feasts, anoints him as a reward for his work, with higher and fuller joy than any else can know; thus is the Son of man honoured and rewarded for all his pains. Observe the indisputable testimony to Messiah's Deity in Psa 45:6, and to his manhood in the present verse. Of whom could this be written but of Jesus of Nazareth? Our Christ is our Elohim. Jesus is God with us.
"All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia." The divine anointing causes fragrance to distil from the robes of the Mighty Hero. He is delightful to every sense, to the eye most fair, to the ear most gracious, to the spiritual nostril most sweet. The excellences of Jesus are all most precious, comparable to the rarest spices; they are most varied, and to be likened not to myrrh alone, but to all the perfumes blended in due proportion. The Father always finds a pleasure in him, in him he is well pleased; and all regenerated spirits rejoice in him, for he is made of God unto us, "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." Note that not only is Jesus most sweet, but even his garments are so; everything that he has to do with is perfumed by his person. "All" his garments are thus fragrant; not some of them, but all; we delight as much in his purple of dominion as in the white linen of his priesthood, his mantle as our prophet is as dear to us as his seamless coat as our friend. All his dress is fragrant with all sweetness. To attempt to spiritualise each spice here mentioned would be unprofitable, the evident sense is that all sweetnesses meet in Jesus, and are poured forth wherever he is present. "Out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad." The abode of Jesus now is imperial in splendour, ivory and gold but faintly image his royal seat; there is he made glad in the presence of the Father, and in the company of his saints. Oh, to behold him with his perfumed garments on! The very smell of him from afar ravishes our spirit, what must it be to be on the other side of the pearl gate, within the palace of ivory, amid those halls of Zion, "conjubilant with song," where is the throne of David, and the abiding presence of the Prince! To think of his gladness, to know that he is full of joy, gives gladness at this moment to our souls. We poor exiles can sing in our banishment since our King, our Well-beloved, has come to his throne.
"Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women." Our Lord's courts lack not for courtiers, and those the fairest and noblest. Virgin souls are maids of honour to the court, the true lilies of heaven. The lowly and pure in heart are esteemed by the Lord Jesus as his most familiar friends, their place in his palace is not among the menials but near the throne. The day will come when those who are "kings' daughters" literally will count it their greatest honour to serve the church, and, meanwhile every believing sister is spiritually a King's daughter, a member of the royal family of heaven. "Upon thy right hand," in the place of love, honour, and power, "did stand the queen in gold of Ophir:" the church shares her Lord's honour and happiness, he sets her in the place of dignity, he clothes her with the best of the best. Gold is the richest of metals, and Ophir gold the purest known. Jesus bestows nothing inferior or of secondary value upon his beloved church. In imparted and imputed righteousness the church is divinely arrayed. Happy those who are members of a church so honoured, so beloved; unhappy those who persecute the beloved people, for as a husband will not endure that his wife should be insulted or maltreated, so neither will the heavenly Husband; he will speedily avenge his own elect. Mark, then, the solemn pomp of the verses we have read. The King is seen with rapture, he girds himself as a warrior, robes himself as a monarch, mounts his chariot, darts his arrows, and conquers his foes. Then he ascends his throne with his sceptre in his hand, fills the palace hall with perfume brought from his secret chambers, his retinue stand around him, and, fairest of all, his bride is at his right hand, with daughters of subject princes as her attendants. Faith is no stranger to this sight, and every time she looks she adores, she loves, she rejoices, she expects.
10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
11 So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favour.
"Hearken, O daughter, and consider." Ever is this the great duty of the church. Faith cometh by hearing, and confirmation by consideration. No precept can be more worthy of the attention of those who are honoured to be espoused unto Christ than that which follows. "And incline thine ear." Lean forward that no syllable may be unheard. The whole faculties of the mind should be bent upon receiving holy teaching. "Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house." To renounce the world is not easy, but it must be done by all who are affianced to the Great King, for a divided heart he cannot endure; it would be misery to the beloved one as well as dishonour to her Lord. Evil acquaintances, and even those who are but neutral, must be forsaken, they can confer no benefit, they must inflict injury. The house of our nativity is the house of sin - we were shapen in iniquity; the carnal mind is enmity against God we must come forth of the house of fallen nature, for it is built in the City of Destruction. Not that natural ties are broken by grace, but ties of the sinful nature, bonds of graceless affinity. We have much to forget as well as to learn, and the unlearning is so difficult that only diligent hearing, and considering, and bending of the whole soul to it, can accomplish the work; and even these would be too feeble did not divine grace assist. Yet why should we remember the Egypt from which we came out? Are the leeks and the garlic, and the onions anything, when the iron bondage, and the slavish tasks, and the death-dealing Pharaoh of hell are remembered? We part with folly for wisdom; with bubbles for eternal joys; with deceit for truth; with misery for bliss; with idols for the living God. O that Christians were more mindful of the divine precept here recorded; but, alas! wordliness abounds; the church is defiled; and the glory of the Great King is veiled. Only when the whole church leads the separated life will the full splendour and power of Christianity shine forth upon the world.
"So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty." Whole-hearted love is the duty and bliss of the marriage state in every case, but especially so in this lofty, mystic marriage. The church must forsake all others and cleave to Jesus only, or she will not please him nor enjoy the full manifestation of his love. What less can he ask, what less may she dare propose than to be wholly his? Jesus sees a beauty in his church, a beauty which he delights in most when it is not marred by worldliness. He has always been most near and precious to his saints when they have cheerfully taken up his cross and followed him without the camp. His Spirit is grieved when they mingle themselves among the people and learn their ways. No great and lasting revival of religion can be granted us till the professed lovers of Jesus prove their affection by coming out from an ungodly world, being separated, and touching not the unclean thing. "For he is thy Lord; and worship thou him." He has royal rights still; his condescending grace does not lessen but rather enforce his authority. Our Saviour is also our Ruler. The husband is the head of the wife; the love he bears her does not lessen but strengthen her obligation to obey. The church must reverence Jesus, and bow before him in prostrate adoration; his tender union with her gives her liberty, but not license; it frees her from all other burdens, but places his easy yoke upon her neck. Who would wish it to be otherwise? The service of God is heaven in heaven, and perfectly carried out it is heaven upon earth. Jesus, thou art he whom thy church praises in her unceasing songs, and adores in her perpetual service. Teach us to be wholly thine. Bear with us, and work by thy Spirit in us till thy will is done by us on earth as it is in heaven.
"And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift." When the church abounds in holiness, she shall know no lack of homage from the surrounding people. Her glory shall then impress and attract the heathen around, till they also unite in doing honour to the Lord. The power of missions abroad lies at home: a holy church will be a powerful church. Nor shall there be lack of treasure in her coffers when grace is in her heart; the free gifts of a willing people shall enable the workers for God to carry on their sacred enterprises without stint. Commerce shall send in its revenue to endow, not with forced levies and imperial taxes, but with willing gifts the church of the Great King. "Even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour." Not by pandering to their follies, but by testifying against their sins, shall the wealthy be won to the faith of Jesus. They shall come not to favour the church but to beg for her favour. She shall not be the hireling of the great, but as a queen shall she dispense her favours to the suppliant throng of the rich among the people. We go about to beg for Christ like beggars for alms, and many who should know better will make compromises and become reticent of unpopular truth to please the great ones of the earth; not so will the true bride of Christ degrade herself, when her sanctification is more deep and more visible; then will the hearts of men grow liberal, and offerings from afar, abundant and continual, shall be presented at the throne of the Pacific Prince.
13 The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
14 She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought; they shall enter into the king's palace.
"The king's daughter is all glorious within." Within her secret chambers her glory is great. Though unseen of men her Lord sees her, and commends her. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be." Or the passage may be understood as meaning within herself - her beauty is not outward only or mainly; the choicest of her charms are to be found in her heart, her secret character, her inward desires. Truth and wisdom in the hidden parts are what the Lord regards; mere skin-deep beauty is nothing in his eyes. The church is of royal extraction, of imperial dignity, for she is a king's daughter; and she has been purified and renewed in nature, for she is glorious within. Note the word all. The Bridegroom was said to have all his garments perfumed, and now the bride is all glorious within - entireness and completeness are great points. There is no mixture of ill savour in Jesus, nor shall there be alloy of unholiness in his people, his church shall be presented without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing. "Her clothing is of wrought gold." Best material and best workmanship. How laboriously did our Lord work out the precious material of his righteousness into a vesture for his people! No embroidery of golden threads can equal that master-piece of holy art. Such clothing becomes one so honoured by relationship to the Great King. The Lord looks to it that nothing shall be wanting to the glory and beauty of his bride.
"She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework." The day comes when the celestial marriage shall be openly celebrated, and these words describe the nuptial procession, wherein the queen is brought to her royal Husband attended by her handmaidens. In the latter-day glory, and in the consummation of all things, the glory of the bride, the Lamb's wife, shall be seen by all the universe with admiration. While she was within doors, and her saints hidden ones, the church was glorious; what will be her splendour when she shall appear in the likeness of her Lord in the day of his manifestation? The finest embroidery is but a faint image of the perfection of the church when sanctified by the Spirit. This verse tells us of the ultimate rest of the church - the King's own bosom; of the way she comes to it, she is brought by the power of sovereign grace; of the time when this is done - in the future, "she shall be," it does not yet appear; of the state in which she shall come - clad in richest array, and attended by brightest spirits. "The virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee." Those who love and serve the church for her Lord's sake shall share in her bliss "in that day." In one sense they are a part of the church, but for the sake of the imagery they are represented as maids of honour; and, though the figure may seem incongruous, they are represented as brought to the King with the same loving familiarity as the bride, because the true servants of the church are of the church, and partake in all her happiness. Note that those who are admitted to everlasting communion with Christ, are pure in heart - virgins, pure in company - "her companions," pure in walk - "that follow her." Let none hope to be brought into heaven at last who are not purified now.
"With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought." Joy becomes a marriage feast. What joy will that be which will be seen at the feasts of paradise when all the redeemed shall be brought home! Gladness in the saints themselves, and rejoicing from the angels shall make the halls of the New Jerusalem ring again with shoutings. "They shall enter into the King's palace." Their peaceful abodes shall be where Jesus the King reigns in state for ever. They shall not be shut out but shut in. Rights of free entrance into the holiest of all shall be accorded them. Brought by grace, they shall enter into glory. If there was joy in the bringing, what in the entering? What in the abiding? The glorified are not field labourers in the plains of heaven, but sons who dwell at home, princes of the blood, resident in the royal palace. Happy hour when we shall enjoy all this and forget the sorrows of time in the triumphs of eternity.
16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations; therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.
"Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children." The ancient saints who stood as fathers in the service of the Great King have all passed away; but a spiritual seed is found to fill their places. The veterans depart, but volunteers fill up the vacant places. The line of grace never becomes extinct. As long as time shall last, the true apostolical succession will be maintained. "Whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." Servants of Christ are kings. Where a man has preached successfully, and evangelised a tribe or nation, he gets to himself more than regal honours, and his name is like the name of the great men that be upon the earth. Jesus is the king-maker. Ambition of the noblest kind shall win her desire in the army of Christ; immortal crowns are distributed to his faithful soldiers. The whole earth shall yet be subdued for Christ, and honoured are they, who shall, through grace, have a share in the conquest - these shall reign with Christ at his coming.
"I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations." Jehovah by the prophet's mouth promises to the Prince of Peace eternal fame as well as a continuous progeny. His name is his fame, his character, his person; these are dear to his people now - they never can forget them; and it shall be so as long as men exist. Names renowned in one generation have been unknown to the next era, but the laurels of Jesus shall ever be fresh, his renown ever new. God will see to this; his providence and his grace shall make it so. The fame of Messiah is not left to human guardianship; the Eternal guarantees it, and his promise never fails. All down the ages the memories of Gethsemane and Calvary shall glow with unextinguishable light; nor shall the lapse of time, the smoke of error, or the malice of hell be able to dim the glory of the Redeemer's fame. "Therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever." They shall confess thee to be what thou art, and shall render to thee in perpetuity the homage due. Praise is due from every heart to him who loved us, and redeemed us by his blood; this praise will never be fully paid, but will be ever a standing and growing debt. His daily benefits enlarge our obligations, let them increase the number of our songs. Age to age reveals more of his love, let every year swell the volume of the music of earth and heaven, and let thunders of song roll up in full diapason to the throne of him that liveth, and was dead, and is alive for evermore, and hath the keys of hell and of death.
"Let him be crowned with majesty
Who bowed his head to death,
And be his honours sounded high
By all things that have breath."