Psalm 45 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Psalm 45)

Verse 1

[1] My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

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.

Verse 2

[2] Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

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.

Verse 3

[3] Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

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

Verse 4

[4] And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

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, Ephesians 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.

Verse 5

[5] Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

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.

Verse 6

[6] Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.

O God — It is evident, that the speech is still continued to the same person whom he calls king, verse 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, Isaiah 9:6.

A right scepter — Thou rulest with exact righteousness and equity.

Verse 7

[7] Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

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, John 20:17, though in respect of thy Divine nature, thou art his fellow, Zechariah 13:7, and his equal, Philemon 2:6, and one with him, John 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.

Verse 8

[8] All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

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.

Verse 9

[9] Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

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, Acts 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, Revelation 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.

Verse 10

[10] Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;

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.

Verse 11

[11] So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

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.

Verse 12

[12] And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.

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.

Verse 13

[13] The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

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.

Verse 14

[14] She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

Brought — He alludes to the custom of conducting the bride to the bride-groom's house.

Companions — Her bride-maidens attending upon her.

Verse 16

[16] Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

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.

Verse 17

[17] I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

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.