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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 45

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 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.

Psalms 45:1-17 -A praise-song to the King on His marriage.

Solomon, the type, suggests much of the imagery, but the inapplicability of the rest to him (as the warlike character of the King, Psalms 45:3-5) shows that Messiah alone is the ultimate reference. Hebrews 1:7-9 decides this. Only on the view that the marriage is that of King Messiah, the antitype of warlike David and of peaceful Solomon, to Israel and His Church, can the admission of an Epithalamium into the Canon be accounted for. Moreover, He is described as divine (Psalms 45:6-7).

Psalms 45:1-17.-Excellence of the Psalmist's theme, of which he is full (Psalms 45:1); address praising the King, His grace, might, triumph over foes in behalf of truth: perpetuity and righteousness of His sceptre; His anointing of God; the myrrh, etc., sent from various kings' palaces; His consorts and the Queen-bride pre-eminent (Psalms 45:2-9); address to the Queen to give up all else for Him, so will He desire her beauty; she appears in her father's house, whence He takes her home (Psalms 45:10-12); the procession, her beauty, the virgins with her; the princes' posterity; the people's perpetual praises of the King (Psalms 45:13-17).

The Title. - To the chief Musician. The psalm was designed for the choral service of the temple. This certainly it never would have been if it had been a mere literal love-song.

Upon Shoshannim - occurring also in the titles of Psalms 69:1-36 and Psalms 80:1-19. "Upon" expresses the object of the psalm. In Psalms 60:1-12 the singular occurs, Shushan. It means 'lilies' - i:e., beautiful virgins. But lest it should be misunderstood in a mere earthly sense, there is added for the sons of Korah-the authors of the psalm; as "for" lª- implies. They were servants of the sanctuary; and all their other psalms are spiritual. Therefore the lily-like virgins (cf. Psalms 45:9; Psalms 45:14) meant must be those possessing spiritual beauty.

Maschil - implying that the psalm is of an edifying character (cf. Psalms 45:10-12). As the words 'upon lilies' are qualified by "for the sons of Korah," so "Maschil," or instruction, qualifies the fourth designation, "a Song of loves;" or rather, 'a song of the loved ones,' since it is spiritually didactic in aim, not an earthly, but a heavenly love is its object. 'The loved ones' can be those only of an heavenly Bridegroom. As Jedidoth ('loves') expresses the objects of Messiah's love, so Solomon was called Jedidiah, 'beloved of the Lord' (2 Samuel 12:24-25). Compare Jedid-Jehorah, Deuteronomy 33:12. Many brides literally would be immoral. The Messianic interpretation solves the difficulty (cf. Song of Solomon 6:8-9). Israel the Queen-bride, by virtue of the everlasting covenant, stands first. With her as fellows, yet yielding her the precedency are the Gentile nations converted, covenant, stands first. With her as fellows, yet yielding her the precedency are the Gentile nations converted, the daughter of Tyre, etc.

My heart is inditing a good matter - Hebrew, 'bubbleth up' like a fountain full to bursting forth. The Believer is so full of Christ that he cannot contain himself; his mouth must speak out of the abundance of his heart (Job 32:18; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Acts 4:20; Acts 18:5). "A good matter;" or, 'a good word.'

I speak of the things which I have made touching the King. Otherwise-literally, 'I (am) speaking my works TO the king;' i:e., let all that I do be consecrated to the king. The Hebrew for "touching" lª- implies appertaining or belonging to; so in honour of. Hengstenberg objects to taking 'my works' as 'my poem,' as the signification is, without proof. But the English version seems to me to maintain the parallelism better, and accords with the Septuagint, Vulgate, Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Chaldaic-`My heart is bubbling full to overflowing with a good word: I speak the things which I have made to the honour of the king: my tongue is the pen of a quick writer.' So Ezra was called "a ready scribe in the law of Moses" (Ezra 7:6).

Verse 2

Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

Thou art fairer than the children of men. The Hebrew is a peculiarly intensive form [ yaapªyaapiytaa (H3302), for yªpiy yaapiytaa]; literally, 'Thou art beautifulness beautiful' - i:e., thou art perfectly beautiful-namely, with spiritual beauty, as the following clause implies.

Grace is poured into thy lips - by the Holy Spirit. So the Queen of Sheba to Solomon, the type (1 Kings 10:8). Of the Antitype Luke (Luke 4:22) writes with reference to this (Psalms 45:2), "All bare Him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth." It was in reading Isaiah 61:1 that He manifested that He was the Anointed One. This inward beauty, beaming forth in His outward expression, tones, gestures and deeds, formed the ground of the divine and everlasting blessing which follows.

Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever - (cf. Psalms 45:7; Psalms 45:17.) The blessing consists in a supreme, world-wide, and everlasting dominion.

Verse 3

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O (Most) Mighty - in order that thou mayest, by destroying thine enemies (cf. the type, 1 Samuel 25:13), take the kingdom to thyself which is thine own (cf. Revelation 11:15; Revelation 11:17). The last event before "the marriage of the Lamb" is, He that is "Faithful and True ... in righteousness doth judge and make war: and out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations; and He hath on His vesture ... a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (cf. Revelation 19:7; Revelation 19:11-21; Revelation 20:4-6; Revelation 21:8-9).

With thy glory and thy majesty - in apposition to '(Gird thyself) with thy sword (upon thy thigh).' His destroying sword is the instrument wherewith His glory and His majesty vindicate and manifest themselves. Compare Psalms 21:5; and the type, Solomon, 1 Chronicles 29:25. The imperative "gird" is God's inspired Word-sure to bring to pass that which it commands. The future naturally follows - "thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things" (Psalms 45:4). His 'glory and majesty' answers to His Godhead; His might as a Hero (which the Hebrew, gibbor, "O Most Mighty," may be rendered) answers to His causing 'the people to fall under Him' (Psalms 45:5). Compare Psalms 110:5. The two are combined in Isaiah 9:6, where He is called "the mighty (or hero) God."

Verse 4

And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously, because of truth and meekness (and) righteousness. "Thy majesty" is repeated from Psalms 45:3, as being the pledge of a prosperous issue. The image in "ride" is that of kings going to battle in a chariot (1 Kings 22:34-35). "Prosperously" - literally, 'prosper thou' (cf. Isaiah 53:10; margin, Isaiah 52:13).

Because of - `on account of;' in behalf of.

Meekness - literally, humility, whence spring meekness and gentleness (Psalms 18:35). It is joined by a hyphen (maqqeph) to "righteousness." Therefore, instead of the English version, "meekness and righteousness," translate, 'meekness-righteousness' - i:e., righteousness manifesting itself in meekness. [Stier truly remarks, in support of this translation, that `anwaah (H6037), instead of the common `ªnaawaah (H6037), implies that the connection between the nouns "meekness" and "righteousness" is a kind of semi-construct state.] (Zephaniah 2:3.) Messiah Himself, the embodiment of 'truth and meekness-righteousness,' rides on prosperously in behalf of, as the Champion for, the 'truth and meekness-righteousness' which are at stake in the cause of His people (cf. Psalms 72:2; Psalms 72:4; Isaiah 11:4). So here there follow terrors of judgment.

And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. It alone (without need of any other instructor) will make thee to witness its tremendous exploits.

Verse 5

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. The Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. The Hebrew order is, 'Thine arrows are sharp, peoples fall under thee, in the heart of the king's enemies.' Messiah's arrows of conviction pierced the hearts of His enemies on Pentecost, when Peter preached. "They were pricked ( katenugeesan (G2660) in their heart, and said ... Men and brethren, what shall we do?" Also cf. Acts 9:5-6; Hebrews 4:12; Ephesians 6:17. Again, it was so when Christianity triumphed over paganism, under Constantine, at Rome, the mistress of the world. But here it is the sword and arrows of judgment; because it is just when the marriage of the Bride and the Lamb is about to take place. Revelation 19:1-21 shows us that wrath is to be executed on the foe just before the marriage of the heavenly Bridegroom with the Church. The "terrible things" of Psalms 45:4 confirm this view. So also in Revelation 6:2. Compare Revelation 19:11. So Deuteronomy 32:23; Deuteronomy 32:41-42. The result of 'peoples falling under Him' - i:e., under His arrows-is implied in Ps. 45:43 .

Verse 6

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

The victory having been won, and the enemies destroyed, Messiah's throne is contemplated in the first clause as to its perpetuity; in the next clause, as to its internal character: the latter being the cause, the former the effect.

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre. The perpetuity of Messiah's kingdom results from its righteousness. So Isaiah 9:7. As in Psalms 45:3 Messiah is addressed, 'O mighty One,' or 'Hero,' so here He is addressed, "O God." Perfect manhood and Godhead are implied as combined in His person. All the old translators concur with the inspired authority of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 1:8) in taking 'Elohiym (H430), the Hebrew for "God," in the vocative, "O God," as the English version does. Opponents evade the truth by translating, 'thy God-throne' - i:e., thy throne committed to thee by God; but thus they would introduce the anomaly of a construct state interrupted by a suffix. Leviticus 26:42 is not a case in point, as "Jacob" is a proper name, incapable of a suffix; whereas 'Elohiym is capable of one. Gesenius vacillates between this and 'thy throne is God's (throne).' But no good instance can be shown in which the subject just before named in the construct state repeats itself in thought at the same time as part of the predicate. 'Thy throne is God' would give no sense. Nor can Messiah be called ''Elohiym' in the same limited sense as earthly rulers are called so (Psalms 82:6); because they bore the name of God as being His earthly vicegerents, having a finite dominion; but lest this limitation should be applied to Messiah, it is declared that His throne, as ''Elohiym,' is "FOREVER AND EVER;" and in this perpetuity of His kingdom the promises of perpetuity to David's throne find their fulfillment (2 Samuel 7:13; 2 Samuel 7:16; Psalms 72:5; Psalms 89:4; Psalms 89:36-37; Psalms 132:12; Isaiah 9:7). On 'the sceptre of His kingdom' being "a right sceptre," cf. Isaiah 11:3-4, "With righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth;" Psalms 67:4 - literally, 'a straight sceptre,' the emblem of undeviating justice: the ensign of all kingdoms, but belonging fully to Messiah's alone.

Verse 7

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. From praising the King the Psalmist passes to the royal marriage. THE SECOND PART.

Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness - the connecting link between this second part and the first (cf. the close of Psalms 45:6, "the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre").

Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Righteousness is Messiah's title to the throne, as "therefore" implies. He is raised 'above all His fellows' (i:e., fellow-kings), as "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 19:16). Compare the type (1 Kings 3:11-13), Solomon, "There shall not be any among the kings like unto thee all thy days." His kingdom is not based on mere might, but on having fulfilled all righteousness in His humiliation. "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:9). Instead of "God, thy God," translate, 'O God, thy God hath anointed thee.' This is confirmed by the obvious design to make the ''Elohiym,' or "O God," at the beginning of the second part correspond to the ''Elohiym,' or "O God," at the end of the first part (Psalms 45:6). So Aquila and Jerome, 'Epistles,' 104. The anointing with the oil of gladness is an image from the custom of anointing on joyful occasions. The 'oil of joy' wherewith the Messiah is here represented as about to be anointed is on a two-fold ground: first, as the then triumphant King who was once the "Man of sorrows" (Psalms 45:3-5). It was for this "joy set before Him" that "He endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2); so He is the One whom the Lord anointed as the only suitable Preacher of "good tidings unto the meek," the Giver unto them of "the OIL OF JOY for mourning" (Isaiah 61:1-3). Secondly, and inseparably connected with the former, "the oil of gladness" shall be that which shall be His "in the day of His espousals, in the day of the gladness of His heart" (Song of Solomon 3:11). It is impossible to conceive, in the non- Messianic interpretation, how the possession of a numerous harem should be the consequence of 'loving righteousness.'

Verse 8

All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

All thy garments (smell) of myrrh, and aloes, (and) cassia. Cassia is 'a bark like cinnamon, but less aromatic: so called from its being peeled off' [ qªtsiy`owt (H7102), from qaatsa` (H7106)] (Gesenius). The attire of the bridegroom in Eastern custom is richly perfumed.

Out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. It is significant that the perfumes come from the same palaces of kings (frequently decorated with ivory, 1 Kings 22:39; Amos 3:15) out of which the "kings' daughters" come (Psalms 45:9). The "gladness" of the King manifests itself in the perfumed garments (literally, 'myrrh, and aloes, (and) cassia (are) all thy garments;' so sweetly do they smell as to seem to be made wholly of them). The quarter whence His "gladness" comes is "out of the ivory palaces," whence come the "kings' daughters." Their graces (symbolized by these perfumes) become His gladness (cf. Philippians 4:18). The neck of the bride herself is called a "tower of ivory" (Song of Solomon 7:4). The typical high priest was anointed with a precious compound oil exclusively appropriated to him.

Verse 9

Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. The "kings' daughters" are the Gentile peoples, which their respective kings govern as fathers to their peoples. These shall 'fall down and serve' Messiah (Psalms 72:8-11; cf. Psalms 47:8-9, with Genesis 22:18; Galatians 3:8-9; Galatians 3:16; Galatians 3:18). The kings' daughters are the secondary consorts; the queen is the consort of first rank-namely, the Church of Israel, converted and re-united to her heavenly Bridegroom, and exalted to be the mother-church of Christendom. The Gentile nations shall be the first-fruits of the restoration of literal and spiritual Israel. The Gentile converts, upon the re-union, shall be children of the restored wife (Hosea 2:18-20; Isaiah 54:1; Isaiah 62:2-7; Romans 11:11-33) "Honourable" (precious, glorious) as are the other consorts, the "kings' daughters," the first place of honour, 'at the right hand of the King,' is given to the queen. She is called by an unusual Hebrew term [ sheegal (H7694), instead of the ordinary malqaah], to designate a consort of the first rank. It is found elsewhere only in Nehemiah 2:6; Daniel 5:2-3. Reference to the "gold of Ophir" is appropriate, as David had amassed much of it for the temple, and Solomon had imported large quantities (1 Chronicles 29:4; 1 Kings 9:28).

Verse 10

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;

Address to the Bride.

Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house A foreign princess, espoused by a great king, if she wished to please her lord, would divest herself of the customs of her native land, and conform to the language, manners, dress, and tastes of her husband and his people. So the queen-consort, Israel, is called on to abandon the ancient Jewish ritualism, in order to become wholly Christ's; not that she is to forget the spirit of the law, which is indeed the Gospel expressed in hieroglyphical types. The legal ceremonial and circumcision, in the letter, is 'her father's house,' which now she is to leave for her Bridegroom's better home. How far the future temple service (Ezekiel 40:1-49; Ezekiel 41:1-26; Ezekiel 42:1-20; Ezekiel 43:1-27; Ezekiel 44:1-31; Ezekiel 45:1-25; Ezekiel 46:1-24; Ezekiel 47:1-23) is literal or figurative we know not yet, but we are sure it will have a spirituality which Judaism now has not (Romans 2:28-29). We do not easily divest ourselves of the prejudices of childhood. But the parents are to be left for the consort (Genesis 2:24); and all things are to be left for Christ (Matthew 10:37). Israel's present carnal Judaism is the great obstacle to her becoming Christ's. "Forget" significantly reminds Israel of the original call of God to Abraham (Genesis 12:1), "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house." This call is now given afresh to Israel, as it was to their forefathers (cf. Isaiah 51:1). At the same time, it is not her heavenly Father whom she is told to "forget," but her "father's house;" for God, the heavenly King, is her Father, whence she is called "the King's daughter" (Psalms 45:13); but it is her earthly parentage, in whom Israel boasted herself, and therefore had rejected Messiah (cf. Matthew 3:9; John 8:33; John 8:39). She must cease to trust in the earthly father, and trust only in the heavenly Father, King, and Bridegroom.

Verse 11

So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord - Hebrew, 'And let the King (be given, by thy devotion to Him, occasion to) desire thy beauty, for He is thy Lord' (1 Peter 3:5-6).

And worship thou him - (cf. 1 Samuel 25:41.) Abigail, when called to be David's wife, "bowed herself on her face to the earth" (1 Kings 1:16; 1 Kings 1:31).

Verse 12

And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.

And the daughter of Tyre (shall be there) with a gift -- as the consequence of thy entire self-surrender to the King. It is only when Israel, the literal and the spiritual, occupies her true position, giving herself up wholly to the Lord, that she will be entreated by the people of the world to receive them into her communion, "The daughter of Tyre" is Tyre herself, with her people, personified (cf. 2 Kings 19:21). So Israel here is called "daughter" (Psalms 45:10). Instead of "shall be there," supply the ellipse from the latter clause: 'the daughter of Tyre, with a gift (shall entreat thy favour), even the rich among the people, shall entreat thy favour. "The rich" are in apposition with "Tyre." She in particular is selected as being the richest city of the old world, (Isaiah 23:1-18; Ezekiel 27:1). The Hebrew for to "entreat thy favour" is literally to make weak, or soften the countenance [ paaniym (H6440) chaluw (H2470)]; to entreat so beseechingly that the other cannot show himself hard. The entreaty is that the Gentile suppliant may be received into the kingdom of God (Isaiah 44:5; Isaiah 60:6-14; Psalms 72:10). When Israel gives herself to the Lord, Messiah shall become "the Desire of all nations" in the fullest sense (Haggai 2:7; cf. Psalms 87:4). Then "Tyre's merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the Lord" (Isaiah 23:18).

Verse 13

The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

The address to the Bride-elect (Psalms 45:10-12) has now met a cordial response in her heart; so the procession moves from her father's house into the palace of the King.

The King's daughter is all glorious within - i:e., in the interior of the King's palace, "within" which she stands on His right hand; not, as some explain it, her glory is an inner spiritual glory. The Hebrew expresses a local interior (Leviticus 10:18; 1 Kings 6:18). At the same time, her inner communion with her Lord within His palace is the cause of her outward glory. That the same Israel is called the King's bride, and yet "the King's daughter," shows the spiritual nature of the psalm. She is the daughter of the Heavenly King in one point of view, and at the same time His Bride in another (James 1:18). So the double relation is combined, Revelation 21:7; Revelation 21:9, "my son ... the bride, the Lamb's wife."

Verse 14

She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework. As the King was described in Psalms 45:8 in His coming for the Bride, so she is here described in her being escorted to the king, so as to be brought "into the palace" (Psalms 45:15). "Brought" implies the providential and gracious instrumentalities by which Israel shall be finally brought to Messiah, her Lord, and to her own land; see Isaiah 18:7; Isaiah 66:20; the Gentiles aiding Israel in her return (Zephaniah 3:10; Isaiah 49:22). Compare Song of Solomon 1:4, "The King hath brought me into His chambers."

The virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. "Her companions," imply their essential equality with her; they "follow her" as the first among equals. They shall be "brought," through her instrumentality, into living union, like herself (cf. Psalms 45:14), with the Lord Christ.

Verse 15

With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.

No JFB commentary on this verse.

Verse 16

Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth. A princely and spiritual progeny shall be the fruit of this spiritual union (Isaiah 49:20-21; Isaiah 54:1). The allusion is to the custom of wishing to a newly-married pair a numerous and mighty offspring (Genesis 24:60; Ruth 4:11-12). The distinguished forefathers, David and Solomon, shall be eclipsed by their more glorious sons (Isaiah 60:17). The "children" are spiritual children. Solomon had divided Israel into twelve departments, with an officer over each (1 Kings 4:7). David, too, had made his sons princes under him, (2 Samuel 8:18, margin.) So also Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:23). As the fathers of the King did in their limited land, so will the King do in all the earth (cf. Psalms 72:11). Instead of the twelve patriarchs, your boast heretofore, shall be the twelve apostles, "sitting upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel" (Matthew 19:28); along with them others "reigning" under King Messiah "on the earth" (Revelation 5:10).

Verse 17

I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations - primarily fulfilled by this psalm, which for little under 3,000 years has kept the faithful in joyful remembrance of what Messiah has done for His Church, is doing, and will do finally at the coming "marriage of the Lamb." Secondarily, the Psalmist speaks as representative of the evangelists, apostles, and all by whom Messiah has been, is, and shall be made known to the world.

Therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever - namely, because of Messiah's glorious work of grace so promulgated.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 45". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-45.html. 1871-8.
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