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Print Version Main Index : Commentaries : Wesley's Notes : Psalms Index : Chapter 45

Psalms, Chapter 45
Chapter 44 | Chapter 46
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Matthew Henry
JFB Commentary
Wesley's Notes
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View Psalms 45 in the note window.

This psalm is an illustrious prophecy of the Messiah, and points at him only, as a bridegroom espousing the church to himself, and as a king ruling in it. And our Saviour probably alludes to this, where he compares the kingdom of heaven to a royal marriage. We have no reason to think, it has any reference to Solomon's marriage with Pharaoh's daughter. It is meant purely of Christ, and no other, and to him it is applied in the New Testament. After the preface, it speaks of the person and victories of the royal bridegroom, ver. 1 - 5. The righteousness of his government, ver. 6, 7. The splendor of his court, ver. 8, 9. Of the royal bride, the church, her consent gained, ver. 10, 11. The nuptials solemnized, ver. 12 - 15. The issue of this marriage, ver. 16, 17. To the chief musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil. A song of loves.

Title of the psalm. Shoshannim - Is supposed to mean, an instrument of six strings. This is a song of loves, of the holy love which is between Christ and his church.

1: Enditing - Heb. boileth, or bubbleth up like water over the fire. This denotes that the workings of his heart, were fervent and vehement, kindled by God's grace, and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. Made - Have composed. Pen - He was only the pen or instrument in uttering this song; it was the spirit of God, by whose hand this pen was guided.

2: Fairer - Than all other men: which is most true of Christ; but not of Solomon; whom many have excelled, in holiness and righteousness, which is the chief part of the beauty celebrated in this psalm. Grace - God hath plentifully poured into thy mind and tongue the gift of speaking wisely, eloquently, and acceptably. Therefore - And because God hath so eminently qualified thee for rule, therefore he hath blessed thee with an everlasting kingdom.

3: Thy sword - To smite thine enemies. And the sword is here put for all his arms, as it is in many other places.

4: And - Being thus magnificently girt and armed. Ride - March on speedily and successfully against thine enemies. The word - That is, the gospel: which is called the word of truth, (Eph 1:13), and may no less truly be called the word of meekness, because it is not delivered with terror, as the law was at Sinai, but meekly and sweetly; and the word of righteousness, because it brings in everlasting righteousness, and strongly excites all men to the practice of righteousness and holiness. And so the gospel is compared, to an horse or chariot, upon which Christ is said to ride, when the gospel is preached, and carried about from place to place. Teach thee - Thou shalt do exploits, which shall be terrible to thine enemies. But the phrase, thy right hand shall teach thee, is not to be taken properly; the meaning is, his hand should shew him, discover and work before him.

5: Arrows - The same with the sword, and this is no other than his word, which is sharp and powerful, and pierceth the hearts of men. The kings - Of thine enemies. Fall - Prostrate at thy feet, after the manner of conquered persons.

6: O God - It is evident, that the speech is still continued to the same person whom he calls king, ver.(Ps 45:1,11), and here God, to assure us that he doth not speak of Solomon, but a far greater king, who is not only a man, but the mighty God, (Isa 9:6). A right scepter - Thou rulest with exact righteousness and equity.

7: Therefore - Therefore God hath exalted thee far above all men and angels, to a state of joy and endless glory at his right hand; which is fitly compared by the oil of gladness. Thy God - According to thy human nature, (Joh 20:17), though in respect of thy Divine nature, thou art his fellow, (Zec 13:7), and his equal, (Php 2:6), and one with him, (Joh 10:30). Oil - So called, because it was a token of gladness, and used in feasts, and other solemn occasions of rejoicing. Fellows - Above all them who partake with thee in this unction: above all that ever were anointed for priests or prophets, or kings.

8: Myrrh - Wherewith they used to perfume their garments: this may denote those glorious and sweet smelling virtues, which, as they were treasured up in Christ's heart, so did they manifest themselves outwardly, and give forth a grateful smell, in the whole course of his life and actions. Palaces - The king is here supposed to reside in his ivory palaces, and his garments are so fragrant, that they not only perfume the whole palace in which he is; but the sweet favour is perceived by those that pass by them, all which is poetically said, and with allusion to Solomon's glorious garments and palaces. The heavenly mansions, may not unfitly be called ivory palaces, as elsewhere in the same figurative manner they are said to be adorned with gold and precious stones, from which mansions Christ came into the world, into which Christ went, and where he settled his abode after he went out of the world, and from whence he poured forth all the fragrant gifts and graces of his spirit, although there is no necessity to strain every particular circumstance in such poetical descriptions; for some expressions may be used, only as ornaments, as they are in parables; and it may suffice to know, that the excellencies of the king Christ are described by things which earthly potentates place their glory. Whereby - By the sweet smell of thy garments out of those ivory palaces, or the effusion of the gifts and graces of thy spirit from heaven; which as it is a great blessing to those who receive them, so doth it rejoice the heart of Christ, both as it is a demonstration of his own power and glory, and as it is the instrument of bringing souls to God. Made thee - Thou art made glad.

9: Among - Among them that attend upon thy spouse, as the manner was in nuptial solemnities. As the queen is the church in general, and so these honourable women are particular believers, who are daily added to the church, (Ac 2:47). And although the church is made up of particular believers, yet she is distinguished from them, for the decency of the parable. And these believers may be said to be Kings daughters, because among others, many persons of royal race embraced the faith, and because they are in a spiritual sense, Kings unto God, (Re 1:6). Right hand - The most honourable place. Ophir - Clothed in garments made of the choicest gold. By which he designs the graces wherewith the church is accomplished.

10: Hearken - The prophet having hitherto spoken to the bridegroom, now addresseth his speech to the bride. O daughter - He speaks like an elder person, and as her spiritual father and counsellor. Incline - He uses several words, signifying the same thing, to shew his vehement desire of her good. Forget - Comparatively.

11: So - So thou shalt be acceptable to thy husband; which will abundantly recompence thee, for the loss of thy father's house. Thy Lord - As he is thy husband, and also as he is thy king, and God.

12: The daughter - The people of Tyre; as the daughter of Zion or Jerusalem, are put for their inhabitants: he mentions the Tyrians; because they among others, and before many others, were to be converted to Christ, but they are here put for all the Gentiles, whom that city fitly represents, as being the mart of the nations. A gift - To testify their homage. The rich - Of other nations.

13: Daughter - The spouse; so called, because she was the daughter of one king, and the wife of another. Within - In her soul. Her cloathing - She is outwardly adorned with virtuous and honourable actions.

14: Brought - He alludes to the custom of conducting the bride to the bride - groom's house. Companions - Her bride - maidens attending upon her.

16: Instead - Having directed his speech to the bride, he now returns to the bridegroom, as may be gathered both from the Hebrew words, which are of the masculine gender; and from the next verse, which unquestionably belongs unto him, and therefore this cannot be understood of Solomon, and his marriage with Pharaoh's daughter, because he had no children by her, and but very few by all his wives and concubines; and his children were so far from being made Princes in all the earth, that they enjoyed but a small part of their father's dominions, but this was fully accomplished in Christ: who instead of his fathers of the Jewish nation, had a numerous posterity of Christians of all the nations of the earth, which here and elsewhere are called princes and kings, because of their great power with God and with men.

17: Remembered - As he began the psalm with the celebration of the king's praises, so now he ends with it, and adds this important circumstance, that this nuptial song should not only serve for the present solemnity, but should be remembered and sung in all successive generations.

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