Psalm 45:2

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 2. Thou. As though the King himself had suddenly appeared before him, the psalmist lost in admiration of his person, turns from his preface to address his Lord. A loving heart has the power to realise its object. The eyes of a true heart see more than the eyes of the head. Moreover, Jesus reveals himself when we are pouring forth our affections towards him. It is usually the case that when we are ready Christ appears. If our heart is warm it is an index that the sun is shining, and when we enjoy his heat we shall soon behold his light. Thou art fairer than the children of men. In person, but especially in mind and character, the King of saints is peerless in beauty. The Hebrew word is doubled, "Beautiful, beautiful art thou." Jesus is so emphatically lovely that words must be doubled, strained, yea, exhausted before he can be described. Among the children of men many have through grace been lovely in character, yet they have each had a flaw; but in Jesus we behold every feature of a perfect character in harmonious proportion. He is lovely everywhere, and from every point of view, but never more so than when we view him in conjugal union with his church; then love gives a ravishing flush of glory to his loveliness. Grace is poured into thy lips. Beauty and eloquence make a man majestic when they are united; they both dwell in perfection in the all fair, all eloquent Lord Jesus. Grace of person and grace of speech reach their highest point in him. Grace has in the most copious manner been poured upon Christ, for it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell, and now grace is in superabundance, poured forth from his lips to cheer and enrich his people. The testimony, the promises, the invitations, the consolations of our King pour forth from him in such volumes of meaning that we cannot but contrast those cataracts of grace with the speech of Moses which did but drop as the rain, and distil as the dew. Whoever in personal communion with the Wellbeloved has listened to his voice will feel that "never man spake like this man." Well did the bride say of him, "his lips are like lilies dropping sweet smelling myrrh." One word from himself dissolved the heart of Saul of Tarsus, and turned him into an apostle, another word raised up John the Divine when fainting in the Isle of Patmos. Oftentimes a sentence from his lips has turned our own midnight into morning, our winter into spring. Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. Calvin reads it, Because God hath blessed thee for ever. Christ is blessed of God, blessed for ever, and this is to us one great reason for his beauty, and the source of the gracious words which proceed out of his lips. The rare endowments of the man Christ Jesus are given him of the Father, that by them his people may be blessed with all spiritual blessings in union with himself. But if we take our own translation, we read that the Father has blessed the Mediator as a reward for all his gracious labours; and right well does he deserve the recompense. Whom God blesses we should bless, and the more so because all his blessedness is communicated to us.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 2. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips. Thus he begins to set forth his beauty, wherein is the delightfulness of any person; so is it with the soul when God hath made known to man his own filthiness and uncomeliness through sin, and that only by Jesus sin is taken away; oh, how beautiful is this face, the first sight of him! Secondly, Full of grace are thy lips: here is the second commendation; which is, when Jesus hath opened his lips to us, from them he pours out grace into our soul, when he makes known the Father to us, and speaks peace to all that are far off and near; when he calls, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you:" and all this is because God hath blessed him for ever; we are assured he comes from God, and that he and his works are eternal, and therefore all his grace poured out upon us shall remain with us, and make us blessed for ever; for he is the Word of God, and he speaks the mind of God, for he speaks nothing but what he hath heard from the Father; and when he speaks to our souls with his Word, the Spirit is given, a certain testimony to our soul that we are the sons of God, and a pledge of our inheritance; for the Spirit and the Word cannot be separated. Richard Coore, in "Christ set forth."

Verse 2. Thou art fairer than the children of men, etc. Nothing can be more beautiful than this abrupt way of discourse. The prophet sets out with a professed design to speak of the king. But as if in the moment he had so intended, the glorious Person of whom he was going to speak appeared to his view, he instantly leaves every other consideration to speak to him himself. And what a rapturous address he makes! He first describes the glories, the beauties, the astonishing loveliness, of his person. Though to a carnal eye there was no beauty to desire him, his visage was marred more than any man's, and his form more than the sons on men, yet to an eye truly enlightened, he is the king in his beauty, fairer, as the glorious Mediator, the Head, the Bridegroom of his Church and people, than all the children of men. And, in the Father's view, so greatly beloved, so truly glorious, that grace was poured into his lips. Reader, observe the expression; not simply grace put into his heart, for the holiness and purity of his person, but poured into his lips, that, like the honey, it might drop upon his people, and be for ever communicated to all his redeemed, in an endless perpetuity of all suited blessings here, and glory hereafter. Robert Hawker, D.D.

Verse 2. Thou art fairer than the children of men. Are you for beauty? That takes with most: for this none like Christ. For beauty and comeliness he infinitely surpasses both men and angels. We read of Moses, that he was exceeding fair; and of David, that he was ruddy, and of a beautiful countenance; and Josephus reports of the one of them, that all that saw him were amazed at and enamoured of his beauty. Oh, but what was their beauty to Christ's? Were their beauty, and with theirs the beauty of men and angels put together, it would all be nothing to the beauty of Christ; not so much as the light of a farthing candle is to the light of the sun at noonday. Edward Pearse in "The Best Match." 1673.

Verse 2. Thou art fairer, etc. Fair he was

  1. in his conception, conceived in purity, and a fair angel brought the news. Fair
  2. in his nativity: wraioz is the word in the Septuagint, tempustivus, in time, that is, all things are beautiful in their time, Ecclesiastes 3:11 . And in the fulness of time it was that he was born, and a fair star pointed to him. Fair
  3. in his childhood; he grew up in grace and favour, Luke 2:52 . The doctors were much taken with him. Fair
  4. in his manhood; had he not been so, says S. Jerome, had there not been something admirable in his countenance and presence, some heavenly beauty, the apostles and the whole world (as the Pharisees themselves confess) would not so suddenly have gone after him. Fair
  5. in his transfiguration, white as the light, or as the snow, his face glittering as the sun Matthew 17:2 , even to the ravishing the very soul of S. Peter, that "he knew not what he said," could let his eyes dwell upon that face for ever, and never come down the mount again. Fair
  6. in his passion. Nihil indecorum, no uncomeliness, in his nakedness; his very wounds, and the bloody prints of the whips and scourges drew an ecce from the mouth of Pilate: "Behold, the man!" the sweetness of his countenance and carriage in the midst of filth and spittle, whips and buffets. His very comeliness upon the cross, and his giving up the ghost, made the centurion cry out, he "was the Son of God:" there appeared so sweet a majesty, so heavenly a lustre in him through that very darkness that encompassed him. Fair
  7. in his resurrection; so subtle a beauty, that mortal eyes, even the eyes of his own disciples, were not able to see or apprehend it, but when he veiled it from them. Fair
  8. in his ascension; made his disciples stand gazing after him so long (as if they never could look long enough upon him), till an angel is sent from heaven to rebuke them, to look home, Acts 1:2 . Mark Frank.

Verse 2. O fair sun, and fair moon, and fair stars, and fair flowers, and fair roses, and fair lilies; but O ten thousand thousand times fairer Lord Jesus! Alas! I have wronged him in making the comparison this way. O black sun and moon! but O fair Lord Jesus! O black flowers, and black lilies, and roses! but O fair, fair, ever fair, Lord Jesus! O black heaven! but O fair Christ! O black angels! but O surpassingly fair Lord Jesus! Samuel Rutherford.

Verse 2. In one Christ we may contemplate and must confess all the beauty and loveliness both of heaven and earth; the beauty of heaven is God, the beauty of earth is man; the beauty of heaven and earth together is this God man. Edward Hyde, D.D., 1658.

Verse 2. Thou. "I have a passion," observed Count Zinzendorf in one of his discourses to the congregation at Herrnhut, "and it is He -- He only."

Verse 2. Thou art fairer. Hebrew, thou art double fairer; the Hebrew word is doubled, ad corroborandum, saith Kimchi. John Trapp.

Verse 2. Grace is poured into thy lips. This is said as if this grace were a gift, and not something inherent in our Lord himself. And is not this exactly what we learn from the histories of the evangelists? Before Jesus went forth to the work of his public mission, the Holy Ghost descended from heaven like a dove, and lit upon him. The Spirit who imparts all its graces to the church of Christ, imparted his graces to Christ himself. Not that the Son of God needed the anointing of the Spirit of God, but he suffered it to be so that he might be in all things like his brethren. If he was to be their example, he must show them wherein their great strength lay. They see in him the fruits of the Holy Ghost who is promised to themselves. All that Christ ever did as the Head and Representative of his people, he did by that very Spirit which is still resident in his church. George Harpur.

Verse 2. Grace is poured into thy lips. Full of grace are thy lips. Full of grace for the matter, and full of grace for the manner.

  1. For the matter, he delivered acceptable doctrine: "The law was given by Moses, but grace came by Jesus Christ." John 1:17 . Moses had harsh and hard words in his law; "Cursed is he that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them;" but Christ on the contrary speaks better things, the first words in his first sermon are, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3 . He cometh unto his people, cum verbo gratiae, cum osculo gratae, saith Augustine: his lips are full of grace, that is, pouring out gracious words abundantly. Matthew 11:28 John 3:16 Lu 4:18. "His lips are like lilies dropping down myrrh" Song of Solomon 5:13 ; all that heard him wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, Luke 4:22 .
    1. For the manner, he taught not as the scribes; he spake so sweetly that the very catch poll officers, astonished at his words, gave this testimony, "Never man spake like this man," John 7:46 . He spake so graciously that the apostles forsook all things and followed him; at his call Andrew left his nets straightway, James and John their father without tarrying, Matthew from the receipt of custom, Zacchaeus from the like worldly course came hastily to receive him joyfully. Mark 10:28 Matthew 4:20-21 9:9 Luke 19:6 . Nay, beloved, he was so powerful an orator, that the very winds and waves obeyed his word, Mark 4:39 . It is reported in Holy Writ that all princes and people were desirous of hearing Solomon's eloquence; the Queen of Sheba wondering at the same, cried out, "Happy are these thy servants which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom," 1 Kings 10:8 . Solomon is type here, but Christ is the truth; and this showeth evidently that Christ is not a tyrant, but a mild prince, persuading obedience plausibly, not compelling his people violently; his sayings are his sceptre and his sword: his piercing exhortations are, as it were, his sharp arrows by which his followers are subdued unto him.

To conclude this argument, his fair words (as the Scripture speaks) "are as an honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones" Proverbs 16:24 : "an honeycomb," and what more toothsome? "sweetness to the soul and health to the bones;" and what, I pray, more wholesome? The good man's soul is Christ's own spouse, to which he speaks a great many ways graciously; sometimes correcting, and what stronger argument of love? for "whom he loveth he chasteneth" Hebrews 12:6 ; sometimes instructing, and his gospel is able to make "the man of God perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works" 2 Timothy 3:17 ; sometimes wooing in amorous terms, as in his love song everywhere: "my beloved," "my sister," "my spouse," "the fairest among women," "my love," "my dove." etc.; sometimes promising, and that both the blessings of this life present. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: etc., Isa 41:10, and of that life which is to come. John 17:21 John 17:24 . But Christ's excellent intercession every day to God the Father, appearing in the court of heaven, and as an advocate pleading for us, is yet fuller of grace; for if Caleb easily granted his daughter's request, and bestowed on her "the springs above and the springs beneath" Judges 1:15 , how shall Almighty God (whose mercies are above all his works) deny the suits of such a Son in whom he is well pleased? John Boys.

Verse 2. Grace is poured into thy lips. The former clause noted his inward perfections; and this signifies his ability and readiness to communicate them to others. Matthew Poole.

Verse 2. (second clause). Never were there such words of love and sweetness spoken by any man as by him: never was there such a loving and tender heart as the heart of Jesus Christ: Grace was poured into his lips. Certainly never were there such words of love, sweetness, and tenderness spoken here upon this earth as those last words of his which were uttered a little before his sufferings, and are recorded in the 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th and 17th chapters of John. Read over all the books of love and friendship that were ever written by any of the sons of men, they do all come far short of these melting strains of love that are there expressed. So sweet and amiable was the conversation of Jesus Christ, that it is reported of the apostle Peter in the Ecclesiastical History, that after Christ's ascension he wept so abundantly, that he was always seen wiping his face from the tears; and being asked why he wept so, he answered, He could not choose but weep as often as he thought of that most sweet conversation of Jesus Christ. John Row.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 2. In what respects Jesus is fairer than the best of men.

Verse 2. Jesus -- his person, his gospel, his fulness of blessing.

Verse 2.

  • We may and ought to praise Christ. Angels do, God
    does, Scripture does, Old Testament saints and New, so
    should we. It is the work of heaven begun on earth.
  • For what should we praise him?
  • For his beauty. Is wisdom beauty? Is righteousness? Is love? Is meekness? All are found in him supremely --

    "All human beauties, all divine, In our Redeemer meet and shine."

    1. For his grace. Grace of God treasured up in him.
    2. For his blessedness -- of God and for ever. G.R.

    Verse 2-5. In these verses the Lord Jesus is presented,

    1. As most amiable in himself.
    2. As the great favourite of heaven.
    3. As victorious over his enemies. Matthew Henry.