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Psalms 45:1

Psalms 45:1

My heart is inditing a good matter
What is valuable and excellent, concerning the excellency of Christ's person, of his kingdom, of his love to the church, and of the church itself; what is pleasant and delightful, comfortable, useful, and profitable: this his heart was inditing; which shows that it was under the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, and denotes the fervour of it; it "boiling up", as the word F24 signifies; being heated by the fire of the divine Spirit, whereby it was hot within him, and caused him to speak with his tongue; and also the abundance that was in it, it "bubbling up" F25, as some choose to render it: from whence this good matter flowed like water out of a fountain;

I speak of the things which I have made touching the King;
the King Messiah; the King of the whole world, and of the kings of it, and of the saints in it; over whom he reigns in a spiritual manner, and in righteousness; concerning whom this psalm or poem was composed by David under divine inspiration, and which he here delivers:

my tongue [is] the pen of a ready writer;
or as F26 one; such an one as Ezra was, ( Ezra 7:6 ) , that writes swiftly and compendiously; suggesting, that as he was; full of matter, he freely communicated it, being moved by the Holy Spirit, who spake by him, and whose word was in his tongue; which made him so ready and expert in this work. The allusion is to scribes and notaries, and such like persons, that are extremely ready and swift in the use of the pen. The word for "pen" is derived either from (jwe) , which signifies "to fly" F1, and from whence is a word used for a "flying fowl"; yet we are not to imagine that here it signifies a pen made of a bird's quill, as now in common use with us: for this did not obtain until many hundred years after David's time. It seems that Isidore of Seville, who lived in the seventh century, is the first person that makes mention of "penna", a "pen", as made of the quill of a bird F2, but rather the pen has its name in Hebrew, if from the above root, from the velocity of it, as in the hand of a ready writer; or rather it may be derived from (hje) , "to sharpen", in which sense it seems to be used, ( Ezekiel 21:15 ) ; and so a pen has its name from the sharp point of it: for when the ancients wrote, or rather engraved, on stone, brass, lead, and wood, they used a style or pen of iron; see ( Job 19:24 ) ( Jeremiah 17:1 ) ; so when they wrote on tables of wood covered with wax, they used a kind of bodkin made of iron, brass, or bone; (See Gill on Habakkuk 2:2); and when upon the rind and leaves of trees, and on papyrus and parchment, they made use of reeds, particularly the Egyptian calamus or reed; and the word here is translated calamus or reed by the Targum, Septuagint, and all the Oriental versions. Now as the Jews had occasion frequently to copy out the book of the law, and other writings of theirs, their scribes, at least some of them, were very expert and dexterous at it; but whether the art of "shorthand" was to any degree in use among them is not certain, as it was in later times among the Romans, when they used marks, signs, and abbreviations, which seems to have laid the foundation of the above art, and had its rise, as is said, from Cicero himself, though some ascribe it to Mecaenas {c}: and in Martial's time it was brought to such perfection, that, according to him, the hand could write swifter than a man could speak F4.


FOOTNOTES:

F24 (vxr) "ebullit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ainsworth.
F25 "Eructavit", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Munster.
F26 So the Targum, Tigurine version, Gejerus, & Michaelis.
F1 Vid. Kimchi Sepher Shorash. rad. (je) .
F2 Origin. l. 6. c. 13.
F3 Vid. Kipping. Antiqu. Roman. l. 2. c. 4. p. 554.
F4 "Currant verba licet, manus est velociter illis; nondum lingua suum, dextra peregit opus", Martial. Epigr. l. 14. ep. 189. of the origin of shorthand with the Romans, and among us, with other curious things concerning writing, and the matter and instruments of it, see a learned treatise of Mr. Massey's, called, "The Origin and Progress of Letters", p. 144. printed 1763.
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