Of David, or of any other mere man, this psalm cannot be understood. Of the Messiah, and only of him, it was understood in the ancient church. The rabbi Joden, as in Poole’s Synopsis, cites rabbi Chija on the sixteenth psalm, as writing thus. “The holy God will associate king Messiah at his right hand, as is declared: The Lord said to my Lord, sit thou at my right hand.”
Rabbi Jizhac Arama in Genesis, writes, “We find no man whose nativity was foretold, as anterior to the nativity of his father and mother, except the Messiah. Therefore it is presignified, from the womb of the morning; that is, before thy mother was created, thou hast the dew of thy youth. So is the import of the text, Before the sun, thy name was promulged, because the name of our Messiah subsisted immoveably before the creation of the sun.
The title is a psalm of David, a title undisputed. The reference above is to the sixteenth psalm, where he saw the Lord always before him; and in some such view, enjoying abstraction of mind, he saw the Eternity of Christ; his session at the right hand of the Father; all his enemies put under his feet; and his converts, countless as the rain, worshipping before him.
Psalms 110:1. The Lord said unto my Lord, &c. נאם יהוה לאדני neum Jehovah La-Adonai. Neum signifies a saying, a speech, an edict, a decree. Then the sense of our Version is correct: Jehovah said to my Adonai [pronounced ‘Adonóy.] But who is Adonai? The Chaldaic reads, Jehovah said to his eternal Word; that is, to Christ, the Word and Wisdom of the Father. Then the modern rabbins are condemned by their own books, in their blind attempts to refer this psalm to Abraham, or to Melchizedek, or to any created intelligence. The only-begotten, who is in the bosom of the Father, sits alone at his right hand, and reigns, as St. Paul cites the text, till all his enemies are made his footstool, even as Joshua put the necks of the kings of Canaan under his feet. 1 Corinthians 15:25.
Psalms 110:2. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion. Isaiah and Micah use similar language: “Out of Zion shall go forth the Law.” Christ, as the King of kings, gave the apostles power and authority to subjugate the nations to the christian faith. Romans 1:3; Romans 1:5.
Psalms 110:3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. Our bible here nearly copies Calvin, and without the authority of any ancient Version. Though the text be brief and obscure, yet the ancients should not be left behind. The Hebrew is, princes or leaders. The Greek is η αεχη, the beginning, that is, in the beginning of thy reign, to shew thy power. The Latin reads, principium, with thee is the principle or commencement, in the day of thy power, in the splendour of thy saints, or of holiness. The text sets forth the regal glory of Christ, and the exuberating joys of his people. Those who cite the English reading to favour the irresistability of grace, had better look for other passages.—From the womb of the morning, thou hast the dew of thy youth. The womb of the morning designates the Eternity of Christ, as is expressed in other words by some of the prophets. Proverbs 8:22. Micah 5:2. The dew, as in the note on Isaiah 26:19, denotes his perpetuity, one with the Father for ever. I can see no reason for the fancy, that the dew means exclusively his spiritual progeny.
Psalms 110:4. A priest—after the order of Melchizedek, and not of Aaron’s line.
(1) Melchizedek has no predecessor, no successor named; without father, without mother, without genealogy.
(2) He was both king and priest, which was not Aaron’s dignity.
(3) Melchizedek offered bread and wine, Aaron only sheep and goats.
(4) Melchizedek was priest of the most high God, universal priest. Aaron was priest only to the Hebrews.
(5) Melchizedek had neither tabernacle nor temple. Aaron’s tabernacle decayed, while the Messiah’s temple is heaven and earth.
(6) He was made a priest with an oath. Aaron not so; his priesthood being transient.
Psalms 110:7. He shall drink of the brook in the way. This whole psalm bears a martial character. It represents Christ as vanquishing all his foes; his armies therefore should not perish for want of water, like those of Cambyses in Upper Egypt; on the contrary, the Lord would refresh them from heaven, with the fountains of life.
Hail, Zion, hail! Thy Messiah is on the throne, and reigneth king for ever. He has sent out the rod, the sceptre of his strength, to vanquish all the rebellious power of his foes, and has poured out his Spirit, with gifts for the rebellious gentiles. From the womb of the morning, even from the bosom of the Father, he hath the dew of his youth, with light and healing grace for the dark regions of crime and of cruelty.
Oh what a glorious sight did the prophet here behold. The gentile nations, with a more willing mind, crowding the courts of Zion with acclamations of praise and melodious songs. He saw the spiritual Zion, no more to be bathed in tears, and drenched with blood; no more assailed with burnings and with war, but exalted with her regal priest, and arrayed in glory to reign for ever and ever!
Be not afraid then, oh Zion; for though all those prophecies concerning the enlargement of Christ’s kingdom be connected with the overthrow of the wicked, he will seal his servants, and number the hairs of their head. He shall not desist, nor faint, but shall drink of the brook in the way, till he shall have accomplished all the good pleasure of the Father. Thus he liveth and reigneth for ever. May our willing hearts be the first to yield him homage in this, the day of his power.
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Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 110". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Epiphany