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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 45

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-17

Psalms 45:1-17. Title. The word " Shoshannim " signifies lilies, and is several times so rendered in Canticles : as used, however, in the titles of a few Psalms, (Marg. Ref.) it is generally understood to mean an instrument of six strings. This Psalm is entitled, A song of loves ; and it evidently describes the mutual love, which subsists between Christ and his church. In many respects it resembles the Song of Solomon ; and it treats of the spiritual union between Christ and the church under the allusion of a marriage. (Notes, Ephesians 5:22-31.) Most expositors maintain that it was written on Solomon’s marriage with Pharaoh’s daughter ; but a great part of it is wholly inapplicable to that transaction : nor is there sufficient ground to support the decided opinion, that this was so much as the occasion of its being written, or that David composed it. The latter is indeed probable ; but it is entirely a prophecy of Christ, and is quoted as such by the apostle. (Comp. 6, 7. with Hebrews 1:8-9.)

V. 1. The inspiration of the Holy Spirit stirred up in the prophet’s heart this meditation, on a most excellent and important subject, as water bubbles up in a fountain : (marg.) so that he spoke freely of the things, which he had been considering, and had composed concerning the King," the promised Messiah ; and his tongue was guided by the Spirit of God, as entirely as the pen is by

the hand of a ready writer, to express promptly and fully " the mind of the Spirit," and nothing more. This seems the genuine meaning : for as the tongue utters more rapidly, than the readiest writer can note down the words ; the clause, in the common interpretation, conveys no distinct idea.

(Notes, 2 Samuel 23:1-2. John 16:14-15. 1 Corinthians 2:10-13. 1 Peter 1:10-12. 2 Peter 1:19-21.)

V. 2. In speaking " concerning the King, the prophet was led abruptly to address him ; as one in a rapture while he contemplated his glorious excellences. He was formed more beautiful and lovely than the children of men : (Song of Solomon 5:16. Note, Zechariah 9:1-7 ’ ie unspeakably surpassed all, who ever were admired or extolled on earth, for wisdom, justice, truth, and love ; without having any intermixture of infirmity or defect. His word reveals the unsearchable riches of his grace : and, being authorized to speak to sinners, as their Prophet, in the Father’s name, grace is poured into his lips," and his words are full of energy, instruction, persuasion, and consolation : and being in every respect fully qualified for his mediatorial work, God has exalted and blessed him for ever, in order to the completion of it. ’ His word instructed the ignorant, resolved the doubtful, comforted the mourners, reclaimed the wicked, silenced his adversaries, healed diseases, controuled the elements, and raised the dead.’ Bp. Home.

(Notes, Song of Solomon 5:10-16. Isaiah 50:4. Luke 4:16-22. John 7:40-53.)

V. 3- 5. The prophet here joyfully foretells the progress and success of the Messiah, in setting up his kingdom and overcoming his enemies. Girded with the word of truth, rendered effectual by the power of the Holy Spirit, as with a sharp sword, let him ride forth as a mighty Conqueror, in unrivalled might, glory, and majesty, to spread truth, meekness, and righteousness on earth ;

(Notes, Is. 63. 1- 6. Revelation 6:1-2; Revelation 19:11-16 ;) bringing his people into a state of acceptance and peace with God; and teaching them to live in humble meekness, peace, and equity with each other. For his right hand, expert in this warfare, would readily execute his purposes, whether of mercy or of vengeance. (Notes, Psalms 2:7-9; Psalms 110:3-6.) His arrows of conviction are very sharp, and the

effects of them very terrible, for a time, in the hearts of sinners, till they are humbled, subjected, and reconciled : but the arrows of his righteous vengeance are unspeakably more sharp and dreadful to his obstinate enemies, when they fall under that power to which they refused to submit. (Notes, Psalms 21:8-13; Psalms 66:13; Psalms 68:17-23.)

V. 6, 7 The victorious Conqueror is here introduced as placed on his royal throne : and the prophet not only celebrates him as far superior to all the sons of men, but as being himself " God over all." His everlasting kingdom, which lie possesses for the benefit of his church, is administered with perfect wisdom and equity : his character, doctrine, precepts, and, above all, his atoning sacrifice, shew that he " loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity. Therefore God the Father, as " his God," in respect of his human nature and mediatorial offices, (Note, John 20:11-17, end,) has given him the. Holy Spirit, without measure : that, being thus anointed to be our Prophet, Priest, and King, he might have the pre-eminency in the gladdening gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit the Comforter; and from his fulness might communicate them to isfeUows, his brethren in human nature.

(Notes, Isaiah 59:20-21. Zechariah 13:7. John 1:16; John 3:27-36. Ephesians 4:7-13.) Various attempts have, in different ages, been made to explain away this decisive testimony to the Deity of Christ; but the manner in which the apostle quotes it, rather varied from the Septuagint and made more energetick, is conclusive to all who admit his authority. Some would render the words, " God is thy throne forever and ever. Heaven indeed is the throne of God; but who ever heard of God being the throne of any of his creatures ! (Marg. Ref. Note, Hebrews 1:8-9.)

V. 8. The garments of princes were generally imbued with costly perfumes : those of the high priests were anointed with the holy ointment, composed of the spices here mentioned, with several others. (Notes, 133: Exodus 30:22-33.’) Thus the Messiah is represented as clothed with garments, which diffuse a refreshing fragrancy through his royal palace, his church on earth, and in hea-

ven, in which he more rejoices, than magnificent princes do in palaces inlaid with ivory. (Marg. Ref. Note, Psalms 21:1-7) ’ From the glorious vestments of our High Priest ’ and King is diffused the sweet savour of his heavenly ’ graces, filling those happy regions of joy and gladness, ’ where he keeps his residence above; and, by the com’ munication of his Spirit, refreshing the faithful on earth ’ with their odours.’ Bp. Home. Aloes.] Note, Numbers 24:6.

V. 9 -11. The King, now seated in majesty and glory on his throne, is next represented as surrounded with a splendid train. Among other honourable women, the daughters of Kings are mentioned, who may be supposed to have submitted to his authority, and put themselves under his protection ; and who would deem it an honour for their daughters to wait, in his court, around his queen ; while she, arrayed in the most costly robes, stood at his right hand, as a bride adorned for her nuptials. By the " queen," the collective body of believers seems to be intended, who, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, enriched by his bounty, and adorned by the graces of his Spirit, adhered to him in singleness of affection and fidelity, and are admitted to the most endeared union and communion. The other attendants are either introduced, according to the customs of the times on such occasions, to keep up the allegory; or they may mean distinct churches or individuals who in succession seek to be admitted into this sacred relation. (Notes, 12- 15. Song of Solomon 1:5-6; Song of Solomon 5:9.) The royal consort is next exhorted, as it seems, by the Father himself, to hearken, consider, and consent to, the terms of this union : and, in order to enter into it, and act properly in it, she must forget her own people, and her father’s house. The whole church, composed of Jews and Gentiles, consists of such as were born in sin : and separation from all idolatry, iniquity, and self-dependence, and from all the carnal interests, pleasures, and attachments of an unconverted state, must make way for receiving Christ as their whole Portion andSalvation. (Note, Genesis 12:1-3.) When grace has thus prepared the heart, there is a spiritual beauty with which the Redeemer is greatly delighted ; and the soul is ready to submit to him as Lord, and to worship him as God, with unreserved obedience and humble adoration ; as well as to cleave to him in love, and trust in him as a Saviour. (Notes, Song of Solomon 4:8-14. Isaiah 54:4-5; Isaiah 62:1-5. John 3:27-36. 2 Corinthians 11:1-6. Ephesians 5:22-27. Revelation 19:7-8.)

V. 12. The accession of the Gentiles to the church may be here predicted, under the name of Tyre, a neighbouring city, and at that time the mart of the world: for even the richest among the nations will in due time submit to the Messiah, consecrate their wealth to him, and court the friendship and desire the prayers of his church. (Notes, Is. 60. 1-14. Zechariah 8:20-23. Revelation 3:8-9.)

Thy favour.] ps : the pronoun is feminine, and the queen, the church, is especially meant.

V. 13- 15. The relation, in which the believer stands to the Lord, comprises in it every tie and affection ; and the church is called his spouse, sister, or daughter, indiscriminately : or the title " spouse," or " bride," may express her relation to the Son of God ; and " daughter, that to the Father. Her glory and beauty are inward and spiritual : and her adorning is most precious ; as she is

arrayed with the righteousness which Christ wrought out in human nature for her justification, and with the beauties of a holy conversation by the operation of the Spirit of God ; who works by the labours of ministers, and by all the means, which others diligently use, to promote the sanctification of themselves and of their brethren. (Notes, 1 Peter 3:1-4. Revelation 19:7-8.) When the church is thus prepared, this union is begun on earth, which will be completed and avowed in the King’s palace above : while every individual, whose affection and dependence have been singly placetl on Christ, shall be admitted as a guest at these nuptials, and likewise share for ever in the joy and honour of this sacred union. (Marg. Ref. Notes, Matthew 25:1-13.)

V. 16. While the church forgets and renounces all worldly connexions, interests, and affections, in order to her espousnl to Christ, a spiritual progeny, a numerous succession of converts, arises from this new and sacred relation. (notes, Psalms 22:30-31. Genesis 12:1-3. Matthew 19:29-30. 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. Philippians 3:8-11.) These are kings and priests to our God, and reign even on earth," as in reality the most honouiable persons in every land. (Notes, 1 Peter 2:4-6; 1 Peter 2:9-10. Revelation 1:16; Revelation 5:8-10.) Many of them have been raised to great authority and possessed great influence in their several couniries : and, however the church has hitherto been generally despised and persecuted, the time is coming when her sons shall be made kings and rulers through all nations, as well as heirs of an eternal kingdom in heaven. (Notes, Isaiah 49:18-23; Isaiah 54:1-5; Isaiah 60:1-7; Isaiah 65:13-16. Galatians 4:21-31.) Instead of Jewish ancestors or kindred, an illustrious race of gentile believers, ’ of whom were to be chosen Christian kings to govern the world, and Christian bishops to preside in the church.’ Bp. Home. But the church renounces none of the Jewish race, except unbelievers, in exactly the same way, , as she renounces unbelieving gentiles. Solomon had, as far as we know, no children by Pharaoh’s daughter : and nothing can be less applicable to any one, than the seventeenth verse is to her. So that if Solomon’s marriage to her were at all intended, this part of the prediction especially wholly failed of being accomplished. (Note, Hebrews 1:8-9.)

V. 17. This verse shews, that Christ and the church were immediately and expressly intended throughout the Psalm. The language is peculiarly emphatical ; and can mean nothing less, than all successive generations to the end of the world, and likewise eternal ages in heaven. Either the Father himself thus- declared his purpose of glorifying his beloved Son, and his people with him, for ever; or, as many explain it, the Psalmist foresaw, that this sacred poem would be used by the church through all generations, in celebrating the honour of the Redeemer, and in calling on others to do the same ; and that it would thus be useful in preparing the redeemed people of God, for the exalted adorations of the eternal world. There can be no doubt, that this will be verified by the event. (Notes,Psalms 71:17-18; Psalms 72:17-19.)


V. 1-8.

The difference of men’s characters, before God, greatly consists in the thoughts which habitually occupy their minds. The lively believer has his memory, imagination, and affections, so stored with heavenly things, that he has commonly some good matter to meditate on, in those hours of solitude and leisure, which others waste in vanity, or employ in wicked and polluting speculations. (Note, Psalms 119:113.) But no subject is so congenial to the neaven-born soul, or so replete with comfort and instruction, as the contemplation of the excellences of Christ our King.

Lively thoughts of his Person, character, and grace, springing up in the heart, inspire a heavenly savour into the discourse : and without the gift of prophecy, our tongues in this case become as the pen of a ready writer, simply and promptly declaring to all around us the truths originally revealed by the Spirit of God. In the Redeemer, the enlightened soul perceives unutterable goodness and beauty, which eclipse all the dim excellences, that it was wont to admire in the children of men. The gracious words which he speaks to sinners, are replete with divine harmony, and excite ineffable comfort in the broken heart : and Christ himself rejoices in his exaltation, and in the power and glory which the Father has conferred on him ; because he delights in bestowing on his people the blessings, which he obtained for them on the cross. All, who have seen his glory and tasted his grace, greatly desire to promote his cause : they rejoice in his former victories, and long to see him "ride forth in his majesty" to extend his conquests ; and by his word and Spirit, to reduce enemies and strangers to a willing submission to his truth, and righteousness, and gentle dominion. But, while he delights in salvation, his powerful right hand will teach him to execute dreadful vengeance on all impenitent opposers : his sharp arrows will penetrate their souls ; and all must either yield to this almighty King, or be crushed by him. For his throne is established for ever ; his name is Emmanuel ; his sceptre is swayed in justice and mercy; " he " loveth righteousness and hateth iniquity : " and while his Spirit leads believers to look unto him, as " bearing our " sins in his own body on the cross," and to rest all their hopes on his atonement ; the views which they receive of this great transaction, especially impress them with a sense of the odiousness and desert of every transgression, shew them the reasonableness of obedience, and teach them the beauty of holiness ; so that, not one of them can possibly abuse his grace for an encouragement to continue in sin. In proportion as we are conformed to his holy image, we may expect the gladdening influence of the Comforter, which is communicated from his fulness : and while his name is to us, " as ointment poured forth ; " the fragrancy of heavenly affections will recommend our conversation to the spiritually minded, and render us meet for his palace above. (Notes, Song of Solomon 1:3. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17.)

V. 9-17.

Next to the Redeemer’s excellences, those of his espoused church are most worthy to be celebrated : not for what she was in herself ; but for what he has made her, in consequence of his love and choice. (Notes, Song of Solomon 4:1-15; Song of Solomon 6:4-10; Song of Solomon 7:6-8 . Ezekiel 16:9-14.) If we desire to share these blessings, we must hearken to his word, consider his proposals, and incline our ears and our hearts to seek a union with him : we must renounce, and even forget, our carnal and sinful attachments, pursuits, and connexions, if we would be pleasing in his eyes, or admitted into this honourable relation. Other lords must be disavowed; for he must be our Lord, as well as our Saviour : and all idols must be thrown away, that we may give him our whole heart, and render him unreserved worship, as well as seek all our happiness from him alone. (Note, Genesis 2:24. P. O. Genesis 24:33-67.) Indeed, the true believer’s privileges, as well as the most estimable parts of his character, are internal, and undiscerned by an ungodly world : yet the holiness of his conversation proves the inward adorning of his soul, and that he is arrayed with the robe of righteousness and salvation/’ No wonder that the prosperity of the Redeemer’s cause, and the conversion of sinners to him, delight all those on earth, who are pure and upright in heart; seeing angels, who never sinned, " rejoice over one sinner that repenteth : " (Notes, and P. O. Luke 15:1-10:) what then will be the joy, and mutual congratulations, and harmonious praises, which shall attend the final admission of all the redeemed to the full possession of their purchased inheritance ! Those who are taught of God, however great in the world, will count it their honour to attend on Christ our King, and to employ their wealth and influence for the good of his church. And such as leave all for him, shall be abundantly compensated even in this world, m new and spiritual relations, friends, and honours. To be a child of God, to be espoused to Christ, and made an heir of heaven, are the highest of all possible distinctions : this honourable race shall he continued and multiplie until the end of time, and at length shall possess and fill the earth ; and thus shall the name of the Redeemer be remembered in all generations, and his people praise him for ever and ever. Amen, and Amen .

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 45". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-45.html. 1804.
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