Psalms 45

For the director of music. To the tune of “Lilies.” Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song.

1 [a][b]My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
2 You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.
3 Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.
4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice; let your right hand achieve awesome deeds.
5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet.
6 Your throne, O God,[c] will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.
8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad.
9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.
10 Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention: Forget your people and your father’s house.
11 Let the king be enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.
12 The city of Tyre will come with a gift,[d]people of wealth will seek your favor.
13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold.
14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her— those brought to be with her.
15 Led in with joy and gladness, they enter the palace of the king.
16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land.
17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.

Psalms 45 Commentary

Chapter 45

This psalm is a prophecy of Messiah the Prince, and points to him as a Bridegroom espousing the church to himself, and as a King ruling in it, and for it.

Verses 1-5 The psalmist's tongue was guided by the Spirit of God, as the pen is by the hand of a ready writer. This psalm is touching the King Jesus, his kingdom and government. It is a shame that this good matter is not more the subject of our discourse. There is more in Christ to engage our love, than there is or can be in any creature. This world and its charms are ready to draw away our hearts from Christ; therefore we are concerned to understand how much more worthy he is of our love. By his word, his promise, his gospel, the good will of God is made known to us, and the good work of God is begun and carried on in us. The psalmist, ver. ( 3-5 ) , joyfully foretells the progress and success of the Messiah. The arrows of conviction are very terrible in the hearts of sinners, till they are humbled and reconciled; but the arrows of vengeance will be more so to his enemies who refuse to submit. All who have seen his glory and tasted his grace, rejoice to see him, by his word and Spirit, bring enemies and strangers under his dominion.

Verses 6-9 The throne of this almighty King is established for ever. While the Holy Spirit leads Christ's people to look to his cross, he teaches them to see the evil of sin and the beauty of holiness; so that none of them can feel encouragement to continue in sin. The Mediator is God, else he had been neither able to do the Mediator's work, nor fit to wear the Mediator's crown. God the Father, as his God in respect to his human nature and mediatorial offices, has given to him the Holy Spirit without measure. Thus anointed to be a Prophet, Priest, and King, Christ has pre-eminence in the gladdening gifts and graces of the spirit, and from his fulness communicates them to his brethren in human nature. The Spirit is called the oil of gladness, because of the delight wherewith Christ was filled, in carrying on his undertakings. The salvation of sinners is the joy of angels, much more of the Son. And in proportion as we are conformed to his holy image, we may expect the gladdening gifts influences of the Comforter. The excellences of the Messiah, the suitableness of his offices, and the sufficiency of his grace, seem to be intended by the fragrance of his garments. The church formed of true believers, is here compared to the queen, whom, by an everlasting covenant, the Lord Jesus has betrothed to himself. This is the bride, the Lamb's wife, whose graces are compared to fine linen, for their purity; to gold, for their costliness: for as we owe our redemption, so we owe our adorning, to the precious blood of the Son of God.

Verses 10-17 If we desire to share these blessings, we must hearken to Christ's word. We must forget our carnal and sinful attachments and pursuits. He must be our Lord as well as our Saviour; all idols must be thrown away, that we may give him our whole heart. And here is good encouragement, thus to break off from former alliances. The beauty of holiness, both on the church and on particular believers, is, in the sight of Christ, of great price, and very amiable. The work of grace is the workmanship of the Spirit, it is the image of Christ upon the soul, a partaking of the Divine nature. It is clear of all sin, there is none in it, nor any comes from it. There is nothing glorious in the old man or corrupt nature; but in the new man, or work of grace upon the soul, every thing is glorious. The robe of Christ's righteousness, which he has wrought out for his church, the Father imputes unto her, and bestows upon her. None are brought to Christ, but those whom the Father brings. This notes the conversion of souls to him. The robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation, the change of raiment Christ has put upon her. Such as strictly cleave to Christ, loving him in singleness of heart, are companions of the bride, who partake of the very same grace, enjoy the same privileges, and share in one common salvation. These, every one, shall be brought to the King; not one lost or left behind. Instead of the Old Testament church, there shall be a New Testament church, a Gentile church. 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 thither; and transmit the remembrance of him to succeeding generations, that his name may endure for ever.

Cross References 45

  • 1. Luke 4:22
  • 2. Psalms 21:6
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 32:41; Psalms 149:6; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:16
  • 4. S 2 Samuel 1:19; Isaiah 9:6
  • 5. S Job 40:10; S Psalms 21:5
  • 6. Revelation 6:2
  • 7. Zephaniah 2:3
  • 8. Psalms 21:8
  • 9. S Deuteronomy 4:34; Psalms 65:5; Psalms 66:3
  • 10. S Deuteronomy 32:23
  • 11. S Numbers 24:8
  • 12. Psalms 9:13; Psalms 92:9
  • 13. S Genesis 21:33; Lamentations 5:19; Psalms 93:2; Psalms 98:9
  • 14. Psalms 33:5
  • 15. S Psalms 11:5
  • 16. Psalms 2:2; Isaiah 45:1; Isaiah 61:1; Zechariah 4:14
  • 17. S Psalms 23:5; Psalms 21:6; Hebrews 1:8-9*
  • 18. Proverbs 27:9; Song of Songs 1:3; Song of Songs 4:10
  • 19. S Genesis 37:25
  • 20. S Numbers 24:6; John 19:39
  • 21. S Exodus 30:24
  • 22. S 1 Kings 22:39
  • 23. Psalms 144:9; Psalms 150:4; Isaiah 38:20
  • 24. Song of Songs 6:8
  • 25. 1 Kings 2:19
  • 26. Isaiah 62:5
  • 27. S Genesis 10:29
  • 28. Ruth 1:11
  • 29. Jeremiah 5:1
  • 30. Ruth 1:16; Deuteronomy 21:13
  • 31. S Esther 1:11; S Lamentations 2:15
  • 32. Ephesians 5:33; Psalms 95:6
  • 33. 1 Peter 3:6; Isaiah 54:5
  • 34. S Joshua 19:29
  • 35. S 1 Kings 9:16; S 2 Chronicles 9:24; Psalms 22:29; Isaiah 49:23
  • 36. Isaiah 61:10
  • 37. Exodus 39:3
  • 38. S Judges 5:30
  • 39. Esther 2:15; Song of Songs 1:4
  • 40. Song of Songs 1:3
  • 41. S Esther 8:17
  • 42. 1 Samuel 2:8; Psalms 68:27; Psalms 113:8
  • 43. S Exodus 3:15; Psalms 33:11; Psalms 119:90; Psalms 135:13; Malachi 1:11
  • 44. Psalms 138:4
  • 45. S Psalms 21:4; Revelation 22:5

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 45:1-17 is numbered 45:2-18.
  • [b]. Title: Probably a literary or musical term
  • [c]. Here the king is addressed as God’s representative.
  • [d]. Or "A Tyrian robe is among the gifts"

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves.

There are some things in this title we have met with already in other psalms; as the direction, "to the chief Musician, for the sons of Korah"; and one of its names, "Maschil." The word "shoshannim," according to Kimchi and Ben Melech, is the name of a musical instrument, on which this psalm was sung; an instrument of six strings, as Junius: but Aben Ezra thinks it was the first word of a song, to the tune of which it was sunny; though others are of opinion that it points at the persons, the subjects of this psalm, and may be rendered, "concerning Shoshannim"; that is, as the Targum interprets it, "concerning those that sit in the sanhedrim of Moses": and Jarchi's note is, "for the glory of the disciples of the wise men," comparable to lilies; for so this word signifies, and may be translated, "concerning the lilies" {t}; that is, concerning Christ and his church, who are manifestly the subject of this psalm, and are compared to lilies, Song of Solomon 2:1. This psalm is called "a song of loves," an epithalamium, or marriage song, setting forth the mutual love of Christ and his church; or "a song of the beloved ones" {u} or "friends"; of Christ, who is the beloved and friend of his church; and the church, who is the beloved and friend of Christ; see Isaiah 5:1; and the word here used being in the feminine gender, some have supplied the word "virgins," and render it thus, "a song of the beloved virgins" {w}; sung by them on account of the marriage between Christ and his church, who are the companions of the bride, mentioned in Psalm 45:14, and friends and lovers of the bridegroom; see Song of Solomon 1:3. The writer of this psalm is not mentioned; it was not written by the sons of Korah, as say the Targum and Syriac version; but most probably by David, though not concerning his son Solomon, as some have thought, who, though wiser than all men, is never said to be fairer; nor was he a warrior, as the person is represented; nor was his throne and kingdom for ever and ever; nor he the object of worship; nor was his marriage with Pharaoh's daughter so commendable a thing; nor is she ever praised, as the queen herein mentioned is: but the person who is spoken of is the Messiah, as is owned by several Jewish writers: the Targum interprets Psalm 45:2 of the King Messiah; and Ben Melech says, he is meant by the King in Psalm 45:1. Aben Ezra observes, that this psalm is said concerning David, or concerning the Messiah his son, for so is his name, Ezekiel 37:26; and Kimchi expressly says, it is spoken concerning the Messiah; and Arama affirms, that all agree that it treats of him.

{t} Mynvv le "de liliis," Tigurine version. {u} tdydy ryv "canticum amicarum," Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "amatarum," Cocceius. {w} "Dilectarum sen de dilectis Christo virginibus," Michaelis; "a song of the well beloved virgins," Ainsworth.

Psalms 45 Commentaries

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