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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 45

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-17

Meir Arama says, that with the consent of all [the rabbins] this psalm speaks of the Messiah. The Targum also, as far as the eighth verse, expounds it of the Messiah. Their interpretation appears to be correct,

( 1) From the sublime effusions of David’s soul.

(2) The King is higher than the kings of the earth.

(3) In all his wars he is terrible and victorious.

(4) His title, the Elohim, St. Paul, Hebrews 1:8, will not allow to be inscribed to a mortal man.

(5) The description of the Queen is too exalted for Pharaoh’s daughter, and agrees better with St. Paul’s description of the church. Ephesians 5:27.

Though Solomon had no war, yet some orthodox fathers think that David glances also on Solomon’s marriage.

Shoshannim, in the title, signifies an instrument of six strings. Maschil signifies of instruction. A song of loves: the original word is Jedidiah, the beloved of the Lord. So Nathan appointed Solomon to be called, 2 Samuel 12:25; a name which made him highly figurative of Christ, the beloved of the Father. Now, though these high encomiums are passed on Solomon, and these exalted requests made for his person and empire; and though language equally strong is used for David; yet we have proof in abundance, that the inspired writers in the old testament referred all their sorrows, and all their joys, to the Messiah as the ultimate object of their hope.

Psalms 45:1 . My heart is inditing, pouring forth a torrent of divine truths, maxims the most illustrious, and prophecies the most luminous.

Psalms 45:2 . Thou art fairer than the children of men, in point of regal splendour, virtue, and wisdom. Targum, Thou art fairer, oh King Messiah.

Psalms 45:3 . Gird on thy sword. Solomon had indeed a sword, but he engaged not in wars; nor had he occasion, except to quell revolts by some of his officers in old age. But Christ has a sword with two edges.

Psalms 45:5 . Thine arrows are sharp. As Solomon had no war, this prophecy refers to Christ, who fights against Jews and Romans, and all the enemies of the church, with the sharp sword that goes out of his mouth.

Psalms 45:6 . Thy throne, oh God, is for ever and ever. The word אלהים Elohim, in the plural, is here applied to the king whose praise the psalmist celebrates. But this cannot be Solomon, for the word in the plural form is never applied to any creature individually, whether angel or man. It is several times metaphorically applied to judges, rulers, or princes, in their collective capacity, as Psalms 82:6; but never individually. Manoah said of the angel, Judges 13:22, “We shall surely die, because we have seen ELOHIM.” But the angel there is the same as in Genesis 22:11, JEHOVAH, the Angel of the covenant. St. Paul adduces this passage expressly to prove the divinity of Christ, Hebrews 1:8-9; and it does not admit of any other interpretation.

Psalms 45:7 . The oil of gladness above thy fellows. God gave not the Spirit to the Messiah by measure; he had a name of glory and exaltation above every name. He is heir of all things, and Mediator between God and man.

Psalms 45:8 . Ivory palaces. The walls of palaces were sometimes cased with polished ivory.

Psalms 45:9 . Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women. The rabbins, and most of the christian fathers, expound the remaining verses of the marriage of Solomon with Pharaoh’s daughter; and our Poole admits that this idea does not diminish the glory of the Messiah. It is usual with the prophets, by things which are near, to speak of Christ, and of the glory of his kingdom.

Psalms 45:10 . Forget also thine own people. A man must forsake father and mother, and cleave to his wife. The gentiles also must forget their kindred and their gods, to be joined to Christ, and incorporated with the Israel of God.

Psalms 45:11 . Worship thou him. As a woman is required to reverence her husband, so the church, yea all the angels of God, must adore the Saviour. Kiss the Son lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way.

Psalms 45:12 . The daughter of Tyre. So also we read of the daughter of Zion, the daughter of Jerusalem, and the daughter of Babel. It means the virgins of those cities, and denotes the conversion of that nation to Christ. Both Greece and Carthage, to which they fled, embraced the christian faith.

Psalms 45:13 . The king’s daughter is all glorious within. In royal marriages there is a great deal of exterior splendour, in dress, jewels, crowns, equipage; but in the church, the glory of holiness is within the adornings of godliness, and the loveliness of the christian temper. We may here add, a versification by the late C. Wesley, never, with the exception of five verses, before printed. Its merits are incomparable.

My heart is full of Christ, and longs His rising glories to declare; Of him I make my loftiest songs, I cannot from his praise forbear; My ready tongue makes haste to sing The beauties of my heavenly King.

Fairer than all the earth-born race, Perfect in comeliness thou art, Replenished are thy lips with grace, And full of love thy tender heart; God ever blessed, we bow the knee, And own all fulness dwells in thee.

Gird on thy thigh the Spirit’s sword, And take to thee thy power divine; Stir up thy strength, Almighty Lord, All power and majesty are thine; Assert thy worship and renown, Oh all-redeeming God come down.

Come, and maintain thy righteous cause, And let thy glorious toil succeed; Dispread the victory of thy cross, Ride on and prosper in thy deed; Through earth triumphantly ride on, And reign in all our hearts alone.

Terrible things thine own right hand, Shall teach thy greatness to perform; Who in th’ avengeful day can stand Unshaken by thine anger’s storm; While riding on the whirlwind’s wings, They meet the thundering King of kings.

Sharp are the arrows of thy love, And pierce the most obdurate heart; Their point thine enemies shall prove, And strangely filled with pleasing smart, Fall down before thy cross subdued, And feel thine arrows dipt in blood.

Lover thou art of purity, And hatest every spot of sin; Nothing profane can dwell with thee, Nothing unholy or unclean, And therefore doth thy Father own, His glorious likeness in his Son.

Therefore he hath his Spirit shed, Spirit of joy, and power, and grace, Immeasurably on thy head, Firstborn of all the chosen race; From thee the sacred unction springs, That makes thy followers priests and kings.

Sweet is the odour of thy name, Through all the means a fragrance comes; Thy garments hide a sinner’s shame, Thy garments shed divine perfumes; That through the ivory palace flow, The church in which thou reign’st below.

Thy heavenly charms the virgins move, And bow them to thy pleasing sway; They triumph in thy princely love, Thy will with all their hearts obey; Revere thine honourable word, The glorious handmaids of the Lord.

High above all at thy right hand, Adorned with each diviner grace, Thy favourite queen exults to stand, Thy church her heavenly charms displays; Clothed with the sun, for glories meet, She sees the moon beneath her feet.

Daughter of heaven though born on earth, Incline thy willing heart and ear, Forget thy first ignoble birth, Thy people and thy kinsfolks here; So shall the king delight to see His beauties copied, and by thee. He only is thy God and Lord, Worship divine to him be given, By all the host of heaven adored, By every creature under heaven: And all the gentile world shall know, And freely to his service flow.

The rich shall lay their riches down, And poor become for Jesu’s sake: Kings at his feet shall cast their crown, And humbly for his mercy make; (Mercy profuse on all bestowed)

And languish to be great in God.

Are not his servants kings, and rule They not o’er hell, and earth, and sin? His daughter is divinely full Of Christ, and glorious all within; All glorious inwardly she reigns, And not one spot of sin remains.

Clothed with humility and love, With every darling virtue bright, With faith which God vouchsafes t’ approve, Precious in her great Father’s sight; The royal maid with joy shall come, Triumphant to her heavenly home.

Brought by his sweet attracting grace, She first shall in his sight appear; In holiness behold his face, Made perfect with her followers here: Spotless and pure, a virgin train, They all shall in his palace reign.

In lieu of seers and patriarchs old, Of whom she once did make her boast, The virgin-mother shall behold Her numerous sons, a princely host; Installed o’er all the earth abroad, Anointed kings and priests to God.

Thee, Jesus, King of kings, and Lord Of lords, I glory to proclaim; From age to age thy praise record, That all the world may learn thy name: And all shall soon thy grace adore, When time and sin shall be no more.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 45". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-45.html. 1835.
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