This psalm is an illustrious prophecy of the Messiah. It points at Him only, as a bridegroom to the church and to Himself and as the King ruling in it and ruling for it. It is probable that our Saviour had reference to this psalm when He compares the Kingdom of heaven, more than once, to a sacred royal marriage, Matt. 22:2; 25:1. The Wedding Song.
The psalm speaks of the excellency of the royal bridegroom, who is Christ. And of the royal bride, which is the church. It teaches us to fill our hearts with high thoughts of Christ and with complete submission find satisfaction in His government. Let it cause us to have an earnest desire for the enlarging of His church in the world.
Psalm 45 – A Psalm of David
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skilful writer. You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendour and majesty. In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. Cause your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. Your throne, O God will last forever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom.
You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad. Daughters of kings are among your honoured women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir. Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house. Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honour him, for he is your lord.
The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favour. All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her—those brought to be with her. Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king. Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land. I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you forever and ever.
They sing a new song
Henry says – This is a song of loves, concerning the holy love that is between Christ and His church. It is a song of the well-beloved, the virgins, the companions of the bride (Ps. 45:14), to be sung by them. The virgin-company who attend the Lamb on Mount Zion are said to sing a new song, Rev. 14:3-4.
The first verse speaks of the dignity of the subject. It is a good matter and a pity that such a moving art as poetry should ever be dismissed. It is touching the King, King Jesus, and His Kingdom and government. Those who speak of Christ, speak of a good matter, no subject so noble, so copious, so fruitful, so profitable, and so well-becoming us. It is a shame that this good matter is not spoken of more in our discourse.
This song was a confession with the mouth of faith concerning Christ and His church. It is applicable to King David’s devout meditations and affections in his heart, out of which his mouth spoke. Things concerning Christ ought to be thought of by us with all possible seriousness, with fixedness of thought and a fire of holy love. We should never be rash in speaking of the things of Christ, but weigh well beforehand what we have to say, lest we speak amiss. See Eccl. 5:2.
What God has wrought in our souls we must be willing to declare to others, Ps. 66:16. Declaring with all possible cheerfulness, freedom and fluency: “My tongue is as the pen of a ready writer, guided by my heart.” We call the prophets the penmen of scripture, whereas really they were but the pen. The tongue of the most eloquent orator, is but the pen with which God writes what He pleases.
You are fairer
David not only spoke what he thought of Christ, but wrote it, that it might spread further and last longer. His tongue was as the pen of a ready writer, that lets nothing slip. When the heart is dictating a good matter, then the tongue should be as the pen of a ready writer, to leave it upon record. In these verses the Lord Jesus is represented, as most beautiful and amiable in Himself. (Ps. 45:2): You are fairer than the children of men, than any of them.
Those who have an admiration and affection for Christ love to go to Him and tell him so. Jesus Christ is in Himself, and in the eyes of all believers, more amiable and lovely than any man. The beauties of the Lord Jesus, as God, as Mediator, far surpass those of human nature. Our beloved is more than any other beloved. The beauties of this lower world, and its charms, are in danger of drawing away our hearts from Christ, and therefore we are concerned to understand how much He excels them all, and how much more worthy He is of our love.
Yet Christ is also the great favourite of heaven. God has done more for Him than for any of the children of men, and all His kindness to the children of men is for His sake, and passes through His hands. He has grace, and He has it for us – Grace is poured into Your lips. By His Word, His promise and His gospel, the good-will of God is made known to us. Begun and continued on in us is His good work. He received all grace from God to qualify Him for His work and office as Mediator and that from His fullness we might receive, John 1:16.
He has the words of eternal life
It was not only poured into His heart, for His own strength and encouragement, but poured into His lips, that by the words and kisses of His mouth to particular believers, He might communicate both holiness and comfort. From this grace poured into Him proceeded those gracious words which all admired, Luke 4:22. The gospel of grace is poured into His lips, for it began to be spoken by the Lord, and from Him we receive it. He has the words of eternal life.
The spirit of prophecy is put into Your lips. He has the blessing, and He has it for us. “Therefore, because You are the great trustee of Divine grace for the use and benefit of the children of men, therefore God has blessed You forever. He has made You an everlasting blessing, in You all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” Where God gives His grace He will give His blessing. We are blessed with spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus, Eph. 1:3.
The royal bridegroom is a man of war, and His nuptials do not excuse him from the field of battle (as was allowed by the law, Deut. 24:5). They actually bring Him to the field of battle, for He is to rescue His spouse by dint of sword from out of her captivity, to conquer her, and to conquer for her, and then to marry her.
Our Redeemer girds His sword
In verse 3 we have His preparations for war (Ps. 45:3): Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O Most Mighty! The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit. By the promises of that word, and the grace contained in those promises, souls are made willing to submit to Jesus Christ and become His loyal subjects. Conversely by the threatenings of that Word, and the judgments executed according to them, those who stand against Christ will, in due time, be brought down and ruined.
Through the gospel of Christ many Jews and Gentiles were converted. And in time the Jewish nation was destroyed, according to the prophesies for their implacable enmity to that gospel. The sword here girded on Christ’s thigh is the same which is said to proceed out of His mouth, Rev. 19:15. When the gospel was sent forth to be preached to all nations, then our Redeemer girded His sword upon His thigh.
Christ goes forth with His glory and His majesty, as a great king takes the field with abundance of pomp and magnificence—His sword, His glory, and majesty. In His gospel He appears transcendently great and excellent, bright and blessed, in the honour and majesty which the Father had laid upon Him. Christ, both in His person and in His gospel, had nothing of external glory or majesty, nothing to charm men (for He had no form nor comeliness). He took upon Himself the form of a servant; it was wholly spiritual glory and spiritual majesty. There is so much grace, and therefore glory, in that Word, He who believes shall be saved. Yet so much terror, and therefore majesty, in that Word, He who believes shall not be damned.
Prosper and Ride
In Your majesty ride prosperously, Ps. 45:4. Prosper and ride. This speaks of the promise of His Father, that He should prosper according to the good pleasure of the Lord. Those cannot but prosper to whom God says, ‘Prosper’, Isa. 52:10-12. It denotes God’s good wishes toward His friends, and the destruction of all the powers of darkness that rebel against Him.
He is engaged—because of truth, meekness and righteousness, which were lost among men, and which Christ came to retrieve and rescue. The gospel itself is truth, meekness and righteousness. Christianity is a gospel of power and yet it is to be promoted by meekness and gentleness, 1 Cor 4:12, 13; 2 Tim 2:25.
Christ appears in His truth, meekness, and righteousness, and these are His glory and majesty, and because of these He prospers.
Men are brought to believe on Him because He is true and to learn from Him because He is meek, Matt. 11:29 (the gentleness of Christ is of mighty force, 2 Cor. 10:1), and to submit to Him because He is righteous and rules with equity. The gospel rectifies men’s mistakes by the light of truth. It controls their passions by the power of meekness, and governs their hearts and lives by the laws of righteousness. Christ came to restore those glories to a degenerate world.
“Your right hand shall teach you terrible things. You shall experience a wonderful Divine power making it victorious, and the effects of it will be terrible things.” In order for the conversion of souls to Him, there are terrible things to be done. The heart must be pricked, conscience must be startled, and the terrors of the Lord must make way for His consolations. This is done by the right hand of Christ, John 16:8.
Your throne is forever
The Comforter shall continue in the conquest of the gates of hell and its supporters and in the destruction of Judaism and Paganism. Terrible things will be done, which will make men’s hearts fail them for fear (Luke 21:26). Great men and chief captains call to the rocks and mountains to fall on them, Rev. 6:15. The next verse describes these terrible things (Ps. 45:5): Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies.
First, those who were by nature enemies are wounded, in order to their being subdued and reconciled. Convictions are like the arrows of the bow, which are sharp in the heart on which they fasten. They bring people to fall under Christ, in subjection to His laws and government. Those who thus fall on this stone shall by broken, Matt. 21:44.
Secondly, Those who persist in their enmity are thus wounded, in order to their being ruined. The arrows of God’s terrors are sharp in their hearts, whereby they shall fall under Him, so as to be made His footstool, Ps. 110:1. Those who would not have Him to reign over them shall be brought forth and slain before Him (Luke 19:27). Those who would not submit to His golden sceptre shall be broken to pieces by His iron rod.
It is God the Father who says to the Son here, Your throne is forever and ever, as appears in Heb. 1:8-9. This is quoted here to prove that He is God and has a more excellent name than the angels. The Mediator is God, or else He would not have been able to do the Mediator’s work nor been fit to wear the Mediator’s crown. His government is forever and ever. It shall continue on earth throughout all the ages of time, in despite of all the opposition of the gates of hell.
God has anointed You with gladness
Perhaps even then the glory of the Redeemer, and the blessedness of the redeemed, shall be in a continual infinite progression. For it is promised that not only of His government, but of the increase of His government and peace, there shall be no end (Isa. 9:7). Even when the Kingdom shall be delivered up to God the Father (1 Cor. 15:24) the throne of the Redeemer will continue.
The sceptre of Your Kingdom, the administration of Your government, is right, according to the eternal counsel and will of God. Whatever Christ does He does none of His subjects any wrong, but gives redress to those who do suffer wrong: He loves righteousness and hates wickedness, Ps. 45:7. He Himself loves to do righteousness, and hates to do wickedness. He loves those who do righteousness, and hates those who do wickedness.
By the holiness of His life, the merit of His death, and the great design of His gospel, He has made it clear that He loves righteousness (for by His example and His precepts He has brought in an everlasting righteousness). Never did God’s hatred of sin appear so strikingly as it did in the sufferings of Christ. Therefore God, even Your God (Christ, as Mediator, called God His God, John 20:17 and of those who are taken into covenant with Him), has anointed you with the oil of gladness. Therefore, “God has given you His Spirit, that Divine unction, to qualify You for Your undertaking,” Isa. 61:1. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because He has anointed Me.
He shall see and be satisfied
What God called Him to, He fitted Him for, Isa. 11:2. The Spirit is called the oil of gladness because of the delight which Christ was filled with in fulfilling His undertaking. He was anointed with the Spirit above all His fellows, above all those who were anointed, whether priests or kings. “In recompence of what You have done and suffered for the advancement of righteousness and the destruction of sin, God has anointed You with the oil of gladness. He has brought You to all the honours and all the joys of Your exalted state.”
Because He humbled Himself, God has highly exalted Him, Phil. 2:8, 9. ‘God anointing Him’ denotes the power and glory to which Christ is exalted. He is invested in all the dignities and authorities of the Messiah. And His anointing Him with the oil of gladness denotes the joy that was set before Him (expressed in Heb. 12:2). This was in light of His Father’s countenance (Acts 2:28) and in the success of His undertaking, which He shall see, and be satisfied, Isa. 53:11. And so He is anointed above all His fellows, above all believers, who are His brethren, and who partake of the anointing. They are by measure, He without measure. The apostle brings it to prove His pre-eminence above the angels, Heb. 1:4, 9. The salvation of sinners is the joy of angels (Luke 15:10), but much more of the Son.
Christ keeps His court with splendour and magnificence. His robes of state are taken notice of for their pleasantness of the odours with which they were perfumed. (Ps. 45:8): They smell of myrrh, aloes and cassia (the oil of gladness with which He and His garments were anointed). These were some of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil which God appointed, which was not to be made up for any common use (Exod. 30:23, 24).
All who are His, shall be with Him
This oil was typical of the salve of the Spirit which Christ, the great high priest of our profession, received. It is the scent of these good ointments, His graces and comforts, that draws souls to Him (Song 1:3, 4) and makes Him precious to believers, 1 Pet. 2:7. His royal palaces are said to be ivory ones, such as were then reckoned to be the most magnificent. We read of an ivory house that Ahab made, 1 Kgs. 22:39. The mansions of light above are the ivory palaces, from where all the joys of Christ and believers come, and where they will be forever in perfection.
By them He is made glad, and all who are His will be with Him, for they shall enter into the joy of their Lord. The beauties of His court shine very brightly. In public appearances at court, when the pomp of it is shown, nothing is supposed to contribute so much to it as the splendour of the ladies, which is alluded to here, Ps. 45:9. In particular believers are here compared to the ladies at court, richly dressed in honour of the sovereign: Kings’ daughters are among Your honourable women, whose looks and demeanour excel all others.
All true believers are born from above, they are the children of the King of kings. These attend the throne of the Lord Jesus daily with their prayers and praises, which is really their honour, and He is pleased to reckon them as His. The church in general, constituted of these particular believers, is here compared to the queen herself—the queen-consort, whom, by an everlasting covenant, He hath betrothed to Himself.
He calls her His daughter
She stands at His right hand, near to Him, and receives honour from Him, in the richest array, in gold of Ophir, in robes woven with golden thread or with a gold chain and other ornaments of gold. This is the bride, the Lamb’s wife, whose graces, which are her ornaments, are compared to fine linen, clean and white (Rev. 19:8), for their purity. For their worth they are compared to the gold of Ophir. We owe our redemption and so our adorning, not to corruptible things, but to the precious blood of the Son of God.
This latter part of the psalm is addressed to the royal bride, standing on the right hand of the royal bridegroom. God, who said to the Son, Your throne is forever and ever, says this to the church, which, upon her espousals to the Son, He here calls her His daughter.
He tells her of the duties expected from her, which ought to be considered by all those who come into relation to the Lord Jesus: “Listen and consider this, and incline Your ear, that is, submit to those conditions of Your espousals, and bring Your will to comply with them.” This is the method of profiting by the Word of God. He who has ears, let Him hear, let Him listen diligently. Let them incline and yield to the force of what is laid before them. And what is it that is required?
Forget your people
She must renounce all others, “Forget Your own people and Your father’s house, according to the law of marriage. Do not retain the affection you have had for them, nor yearn to return to them again. Banish all such remembrance that may persuade you to look back, as Lot’s wife did to Sodom.” When Abraham, in obedience to God’s call left his native soil, he was not even mindful of the country from which he came out. This shows how necessary it was for those who were converted from Judaism or paganism to the faith of Christ to wholly cast out the old leaven. How necessary it is for us all, when we surrender to Jesus Christ, to hate all that is dear to us in this world, in comparison, that is, to love them less than Christ and His honour, and our interest in Him, Luke 14:26.
So shall the king greatly desire Your beauty. This is the good encouragement given to the royal bride to entirely break off from her former alliances. The mixing of her old customs with her faith would blemish her beauty and would be a hazard to her interest in the affections of the royal bridegroom. But if she would entirely conform to His will, He would delight in her. The beauty of holiness, both on the church and on particular believers, is in the sight of Christ of great price and very amiable. On which He says, This is my rest forever, here will I dwell, for I have desired it. Among the golden candlesticks He walks with pleasure, Rev. 2:1.
He is your Lord, so worship Him
She must reverence Him, love, honour and obey Him: He is Your Lord, so worship Him. The church is to be subject to Christ as the wife to the husband (Eph. 5:24. She is to call Him Lord, as Sarah called Abraham, and to obey Him (1 Pet. 3:6). To not only submit to His government, but to give Him divine honours. We must worship Him as our God and our Lord. For this is the will of God, that all men should honour the Son even as they honour the Father. In so doing it is surmised that they honour the Father.
If we confess that Christ is Lord, and pay our homage to Him accordingly, it is to the glory of God the Father, Phil. 2:11.
He tells her of the honours designed for her. Rich presents would be brought her (Ps. 45:12): “The daughter of Tyre,” a rich and splendid city, “the daughter of the King of Tyre shall be there with a gift. Every royal family round about her shall seek your favour and to make an interest in you. Even the rich among the people, shall entreat your favour for the sake of Him to whom you are espoused, that by you they may make Him their friend.”
The Jews who are rich shall come and worship before the church’s feet and shall know that Christ has loved her, Rev. 3:9. When the Gentiles, being converted to the faith of Christ, join themselves to the church, they then come with a gift, 2 Cor. 8:5; Rom. 15:16. When they devote all they have to the honour of Christ, and the service of His kingdom, they then come with a gift.
Hidden with Christ
She shall be very splendid, and highly esteemed in the eyes of all. (Ps. 45:13): The king’s daughter is all glorious within. The glory of the church is spiritual glory. It is the glory of the soul in God’s sight, and it is a foretaste of eternal glory. As their life is, so is their glory. It is hidden with Christ in God, neither can the natural man know it, for it is spiritually discerned. But those who do so discern it highly value it.
Here is that true glory which we should be ambitious of, that which is in the hidden man of the heart, that which is not corruptible (1 Pet. 3:4), whose praise is not of men, but of God, Rom. 2:29. Yet her clothing also is of wrought gold. The conversation of Christians, in which they appear in the world, must be enriched with good works, substantially good, like gold. They must be accurate and exact, like wrought gold, which is worked with a great deal of care and caution.
Her nuptials shall be celebrated with a great deal of honour and joy. (Ps. 45:14, 15): She shall be brought to the king, as the Lord God brought the woman to the man (Gen. 2:22), which was a type of this mystical marriage between Christ and His church. None are brought to Christ but whom the Father brings, and He has undertaken to do it. So also non are brought to the king (Ps. 45:14) unless they enter into the king’s palace, Ps. 45:15.
They shall be called in and called home
This intimates a two-fold bringing of the spouse to Christ. In the conversion of souls to Christ; then they are espoused to Him, privately contracted, as chaste virgins, 2 Cor. 11:2; Rom. 7:4. In the completion of the mystical body at the end of time, then the bride, the Lamb’s wife, shall be made completely ready. All who belong to the election of grace shall be called in and called home, and all gathered together to Christ, 2 Thess. 2:1. Then will come the marriage of the Lamb (Rev. 19:7; 21:2), and the virgins will go forth to meet the bridegroom, Matt. 25:1. They shall enter into the king’s palaces, into the heavenly mansions, to be forever with the Lord.
In both these espousals observe the honour of the royal bride. Her wedding clothes—raiment of needle-work, are the righteousness of Christ and the graces of the Spirit, both remarkably fashioned by Divine wisdom. Her bridesmaids—the virgins her companions, the wise virgins who have oil in their vessels as well as in their lamps.
Those who being joined to the church, cleave to it and follow it, these shall go in to the marriage. With gladness and rejoicing the nuptials will be celebrated. When the prodigal is brought home to His father, it is fitting that we should make merry and be glad (Luke 15:32). When the marriage of the Lamb has come let us be glad and rejoice (Rev. 19:7), for the day of His espousals is the day of the gladness of His heart, Song 3:11.
He shall see His seed
(Ps. 45:16): Instead of Your fathers shall be Your children. The Old-Testament church had waxed old, and was ready to vanish away (Heb. 8:13). As the fathers are leaving there shall be a New-Testament church, a Gentile-church, that shall be grafted into the same olive and partake of its root and fatness (Rom. 11:17).
More and more esteemed shall be the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, Isa. 54:1. This promise to Christ is of the same construction with that Isa. 53:10; He shall see His seed and these shall be made princes in all the earth. There shall be some of all nations brought into subjection to Christ, and so made princes, made to our God kings and priests, Rev. 1:6.
The praise of this marriage shall be perpetual (Ps. 45:17): I will make Your name to be remembered. His Father has given Him a name above every name, and here promises to make it ceaseless, by keeping up a succession of ministers and Christians in every age, that shall bear up His name, which shall endure forever (Ps. 72:17). It shall be remembered in all the generations of time for the requirements of Christianity shall never be cut off. “Therefore, because they shall remember You in all generations, they shall praise You forever and ever.”
Those who help to support the honour of Christ on earth shall in heaven see His glory, and share in it, and be forever praising Him. In the believing hope of our everlasting happiness in the other world, let us always keep up the remembrance of Christ, as our only way to Him. Let us transmit the remembrance of Him to succeeding generations, that His name may endure forever and be as the days of heaven. For we have the assurance of the preservation of the kingdom of the Redeemer in the world.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Poem of the Day
Your Love to Share I look at the world. I can see so much that is wrong. No it’s not to this world That I desire to belong. I would like to live In total seclusion Away from the world And its unwanted intrusion. But that’s not the way You would have it to be. I am to live and work down here To help set Your people free. Heaven on earth Is only by Your grace Living or dying You are my resting place. The world can offer nothing That can remotely compare With the love You have given me That I long to share. If I can look at the world And see only You, Then I can share that love As You would have me to do. By the late Andrew Feakin (passed away 16th March 2019)
Prayer for the Day
Prayer: Father, I come to You. May my heart be filled with high thoughts of Christ and with complete submission may I find satisfaction in His government. Let my heart have an earnest desire for the enlarging of His church in the world.
May I be one who speaks of Christ more and more in my conversations. Cause my thoughts to be with all seriousness concerning Christ and be fixed on Him with a fire of holy love. May I never be rash in speaking of the things of Christ, but weigh well beforehand what I am about to say, so I do not speak amiss. What You have wrought in my soul may I be willing to declare to others. Remind me to keep a record of all the good You have done that I may pass it on to the next generation.
The Lord Jesus is the most beautiful and amiable above all. Cause my adoration of Christ to be perpetually increasing and never decreasing and may His praise be always on my lips. My beloved is more than any other beloved. May the beauties of this lower world, and its charms, never draw away my heart from Christ. Let my concern be to understand how much He excels them all, and how much more worthy He is of my love. For You have the words of eternal life.
Cause my soul to always be made willing to submit to Jesus Christ and be His loyal subject. May truth, meekness and righteousness be forever promoted through me. Cause my heart to be forever pricked and my conscience startled that I remain in Your favour and prevented from Your terrors. May I always be willing to submit to Your golden sceptre.
Oil of gladness
I pray for the oil of gladness to be poured out upon me. That I be a joy bringing to those around me. Cause the salve of Your Spirit and Your graces and comforts, draw souls to You. May I attend the throne of the Lord Jesus daily with my prayers and praises. For I owe my redemption, not to corruptible things, but to the precious blood of the Son of God.
May I be one who listens and considers and inclines my ear, in submission to the conditions of my espousals to You. cause me to renounce all others. To not retain any affections I have had for them, nor yearn to return to them again. That I may truly surrender to Jesus Christ and hate all that is dear to me in this world, in comparison. To love them less than Christ and His honour, and my interest in Him.
Conformed to Your will
May I be entirely conformed to Your will, that You would delight in me. Cause the beauty of holiness to be upon me that You may dwell with me. Cause me to reverence You, love, honour and obey You. For You are my Lord and so I worship You. May I submit to Your government and give You divine honours. My life is hidden with Christ in God, neither can the natural man know it, for it is spiritually discerned. May I be one who so discerns it and so highly values it. May my life be enriched with good works, substantially good, like gold. Cause my life to help to support the honour of Christ on earth and so shall I in heaven see His glory, and share in it, and be forever praising Him.
May I have a believing hope of my everlasting happiness in the other world, and always keep up the remembrance of Christ, as my only way to Him. Let me transmit the remembrance of Him to succeeding generations, that His name may endure forever and be as the days of heaven. For I have the assurance of the preservation of the kingdom of the Redeemer in this world. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.