Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Psalms 45

Verse 3-4


‘Full of grace are Thy lips, because God hath blessed Thee for ever. Gird Thee with Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O Thou most Mighty: according to Thy worship and renown.’

Psalms 45:3-4 (Prayer Book Version)

The three offices of Christ.

Our Lord is here spoken of in two distinct characters—as a Teacher: ‘Full of grace are Thy lips’; and as a Conqueror: ‘Gird Thee with Thy sword upon Thy thigh,’ or, in other words, as a Prophet and as a King. His third special office is that of a Priest, in that He offered Himself up to God the Father as a propitiation for our sins.

I. These three offices seem to contain in them and to represent the three principal conditions of mankind: endurance, active life, and thought. Christ undertook them all, suffering that we might know how to suffer, labouring that we might know how to labour, and teaching that we might know how to teach.

II. In these offices Christ also represents to us the Holy Trinity, for in His own proper character He is a Priest; and as to His kingdom, He has it from the Father; and as to His prophetical office, He exercises it by the Spirit. The Father is the King, the Son the Priest, and the Holy Ghost the Prophet.

III. Christ left behind Him a ministerial order, who are His representatives and instruments; and they, though earthen vessels, show forth according to their measure these three characters: the prophetical, the priestly, and the regal. Nay, all His followers in some sense bear all three offices, as Scripture is not slow to declare. Knowledge, power, endurance, are the three privileges of the Christian Church. (1) Each state, each rank in the world, has its particular excellence; but that excellence is solitary. The kingly office has this great defect, that it is all power and no subjection, all doing and no suffering. Christ was not a King without being a Sufferer too, and so in like manner His followers after Him. (2) The soldier comes more nearly than the king to the pattern of Christ. Yet there are great drawbacks here also. (a) There is the carnal weapon. (b) The soldier is but an instrument directed by another. Christ and His ministers are bloodless conquerors. (3) The great philosophers of the world, whose words are so good and so effective, are themselves too often nothing more than words. Who shall warrant for their doing as well as speaking? They are shadows of Christ’s prophetical office, but where is the sacerdotal or the regal? Where shall we find in them the nobleness of the king and the self-denial of the priest? Such is the world, but Christ came to make a new world. He came to combine what was dissipated, to recast what was shattered, in Himself. He began all excellence, and of His fullness have all we received.


(1) ‘Christological analysis—

I. The Royal (Psalms 45:1; Psalms 45:5) Bridegroom (Psalms 45:9-16).

II. His Divinity (Psalms 45:6-7).

(a) His Divinity (Psalms 45:6-7).

(b) The gift of unction to His Humanity (Psalms 45:7).

(c) His Humanity and its characteristics.

(1) Spiritual beauty (Psalms 45:2).

(2) Power of word (Psalms 45:2).

(3) Power of deed (Psalms 45:3-5).

(4) Graces and virtues (Psalms 45:4; Psalms 45:7).’

(2) ‘The margin of Psalms 45:1 tells us that the Psalmist’s work was “for a king.” This ode was probably composed for the marriage-day of Solomon, but it has a far wider import. There is only One that can be described as fairer than the children of men, whose lips drop with grace, and who rides in majesty. The quotation of Psalms 45:6-7 in Hebrews 1. proves beyond controversy the Messianic reference. It is the Son of God Who is the centre picture in this tableau. His garments smell of sweet spices; his arrows are sharp in the heart of his foes. Oh that He would ascend His triumphal car, and ride forth in truth, meekness, and righteousness!’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 45". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.