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Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Psalms 45

Verses 1-17

PSALM 45

A song of the Beloved, in which Christ is presented in answer to the appeal of the godly in Psalm 44 . He is seen in His moral perfection; as the One mighty in battle; and finally as the King reigning in righteousness, with restored Israel under the figure of a queen.

(v. 1) The heart of the singer is “welling forth with a good matter” (JND). It is more than full, it is overflowing, for the theme of his song is the King in His beauty. His words are no mere recital of what others have said: he speaks of the glories that he himself has discerned in the King. His tongue is the pen of a ready writer. An empty heart will mean a silent tongue. An overflowing heart will lead to a ready tongue; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.

(v. 2) The psalmist, addressing the Beloved, and voicing the feelings of the earthly bride, can say, “Thou art fairer than the children of men.” The King surpasses all others in beauty and moral excellence. Moreover His moral perfection filled His lips with grace. “Grace is poured into thy lips.” The grace of His words is the outcome of the love of His heart. “Therefore,” says the psalmist - because of His intrinsic worth - “God hath blessed thee for ever.” Others are blessed through His work and worth; He, alone amongst men, is blessed because of His own intrinsic excellence.

(vv. 3-5) However excellent the King, yea, because of His moral perfection, He has been opposed by the enmity of men, who will not submit to His claims as the King. His throne, therefore, can only be reached through the judgment of His enemies. Thus the godly man appeals to the King to gird on His sword for the day of battle. Not only is the King morally perfect, but He is all powerful - a “mighty One.”

With the girding on of the sword, the day of His humiliation is passed; the time to put on His glory and majesty has come. When He comes forth in His majesty, as the One mighty in battle, He will ride prosperously, for He will do battle with the forces of evil on behalf of “truth, and meekness, and righteousness.” He will maintain the truth, avenge the oppressed, and establish righteousness. In this world's wars, earthly kings pay little heed to truth; the meek are crushed, and too often might prevails over right. A prosperous kingdom and a permanent throne cannot be reached by such means. Here, however, is One that wars, not simply to acquire territory or renown, but to establish the right, and bless the meek of the earth. With such motives and aims the King, in the day of battle, will “ride” through all the ranks of the enemy, and overcome every obstacle. The peoples will fall under Him, and the King's enemies will be smitten to rise no more.

(vv. 6-7) Thus will He reach a throne that will be established for ever and ever, of which the sceptre will be wielded in righteousness. Moreover in that day the King will be recognized as a Divine Person, and addressed as God. The King is none less than the Son of God. Nevertheless, He has taken a place amongst man, and as Man, He loved righteousness and hated wickedness; and of Him it can be said, “God, Thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy companions.” Righteousness must be the basis of a kingdom that endures for ever, and joy and gladness will flow from righteousness. While others will share the kingdom glories, Christ, as King, will ever be pre-eminent.

Thus the King has been passed before us in His moral perfection (v. 2); as the One mighty in battle, overcoming every enemy (vv. 3-5); and finally as reigning in righteousness, in the glory of His Person, exalted above His companions in kingly dignity (vv. 6-7).

(v. 8) We are now permitted to behold the King in yet another glory, as the Bridegroom in the day of His espousals. For even as the recognition of Christ in heaven, as the omnipotent King, is followed by the marriage of the Lamb ( Rev_19:6-8 ): so the coming forth of Christ to reign on earth as the King of kings will be followed by the restoration of Israel as the earthly bride.

Once He had worn the garments of humiliation; then He had gone forth to war clothed in a vesture dipped in blood; now the days of His humiliation are passed, His victories are complete, and He comes forth in garments that speak of a character redolent with every grace. Not only does gladness flow from His throne (v. 7); but He, Himself, is made glad by the joy of His people. At last He dwells amidst the praises of Israel ( Psa_22:3 ).

(v. 9) The nations, presented under the figure of “King's daughters,” will do homage to the King; though the place of honour will be reserved for restored Israel, brought before us under the figure of the queen standing at the right hand of the King (cp. Isa_54:5 ; Jer_3:1 ; Hos_2:19-20 ).

(vv. 10-12) The psalmist, using the figure of a bride, calls upon restored Israel to consider the new relationship upon which the nation is entering, and to forget the sorrowful past with all its failure and unfaithfulness to Jehovah. In those days the leaders of the nation had boasted in their fathers while rejecting Christ. Restored Israel is called to recognize that, in connection with their own people, they had forfeited every claim to blessing. They are now to learn that if they inherit blessing it is entirely owing to Christ, and in connection with Him - the One who had been rejected by their fathers. They are called to dissociate themselves from the guilty nation in order to be entirely for Christ. Thus only will the Lord delight in Israel, and Israel worship the Lord.

Thus devoted to the Lord they will exercise an attractive power over the nations, as set forth by the “daughter of Tyre” and “the rich among the peoples.” Such will come with their gifts, entreating the favour of the nation that is in favour with the King. In like spirit Isaiah can say, “The sons also of them that afflicted thee shall come bending unto thee; and all they that despised thee shall bow themselves down at the soles of thy feet” ( Isa_60:14 ).

(vv. 13-15) The restored nation of Israel has its distinct place of honour in submission and devotedness to the King. The nations have come with their gift, thus submitting to Israel. Now restored Israel, and the converted of the nations, under the figure of the bride and her companions, having been made suited to the King, are presented to Christ with gladness and joy, to have a place of intimacy and nearness - “They shall enter into the king's palace.”

(vv. 16-17) In the closing verses of the psalm, we hear the voice of Jehovah speaking through the psalmist. Jehovah predicts that restored Israel, instead of looking back to their fathers, through whom all blessing was forfeited, will rejoice in her children who will rule as princes in the earth. Above all, Christ will be exalted and praised for ever and ever. Other names will be forgotten, but the name of Christ will be remembered throughout all generations, and He, Himself, the Object of praise among all people for ever and ever.

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 45". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-45.html. 1832.