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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Psalms 45

 

 

Verses 1-9

The lily psalm — a psalm of loves. Oh! that our hearts might be full of love tonight, and, while we read, may our hearts be singing to the praise of the Well Beloved.

Psalms 45:1. 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.

Sometimes the heart could speak if it could move the tongue; but it is a blessed time with us when, first of all, the heart is fully warmed with love, and then the fire within burns the strings that tie the tongue, and the tongue begins to move right joyously in expressing the heart’s love. May it be so with us tonight who have to preach. May it be so with all our brethren who have, in public, either to preach or to pray.

Psalms 45:2. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

No sooner does he begin to write about Christ than he sees him. A warm heart soon kindles the imagination. The eye of faith is soon opened when once the heart is right. We feel the presence of Christ. We begin to speak of him and to him. “Thou art fairer than the children of men.” Oh! I would tonight that Christ would but lift the corner of his vail and show you but one of his eyes. Your hearts would be ravished with his infinite beauty. “Thou art fairer than the children of men.” Would God he would but speak half a word into our weary ear, and we should say, “Grace is poured into thy lips.” Oh! for some sense and sight of him! Do not our hearts hunger after this tonight?

Psalms 45:3-4. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

The heart never glows with love to Christ unless, in consequence, there is a longing that his kingdom may be extended. It is an instinct of a loving heart, that it desires the honour of its object. We long for Christ to rule and reign, simply because we love him. Oh! that he would lay his right hand to his work in these slow times. How little is being done, comparatively! Oh! for an hour of the right arm of Jesus. If he would but come himself to the battle, and the shout of a king were heard in our camps, what victories would be won. Cry unto him, O you that love him. He will come to your call.

Psalms 45:5. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies, whereby the people fall under thee.

Christ has not only power near at hand, with his right hand, but far off he darts the arrows of his bow and heathens are made to feel that the gospel is mighty. Would God it were so now. Cry for it.

Psalms 45:6. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.

And this we know to be spoken concerning Jesus Christ for this was quoted by the apostle, “Thy throne, O God.” Let those who will, deny his Deity. It shall be the joy of our heart to worship him, and, in express terms, to address him who is our brother as “very God of very God.” “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever. The scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.”

Psalms 45:7. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Fellow with us and yet equal with God. Man anointed, the Christ, yet still the reigning God. Glory be to his name.

Psalms 45:8. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

Not only is Christ precious, but everything that touches him. There is not a garment that hangs upon his shoulder but becomes sweet by contact with him. “All thy garments smell of myrrh.” There is myrrh about the priestly robe that falls down to his feet, and about the golden girdle of his faithfulness that is girt about his waist. There are myrrh, and aloes, and cassia about his crown, though it be of thorns. About every garment that he puts on there is a sweet perfume.

Psalms 45:9. Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

Blessed queen of Christ, — his church. Let us never think little of her. There are some that are always crying up “the church,” “the church,” “the church”; but that is not the true church that tries to take the place of Christ. It is anti-Christ. The true church has her place, however, and that is at her husband’s own right hand, where she sitteth in the best of the best, — in gold, and that the gold of Ophir, for he spares nothing for her beauty and her glory.


Verses 1-14

It is a Psalm of instruction, and yet it is a song of love, for the science of love to Christ is the most excellent of all the sciences. To know Christ is to love him, and we are best instructed who love him most, and the Psalm is most of all a Maschil, a Psalm of instruction, when we are taught to love. Hence the Psalm is a song of love.

Psalms 45:1. My heart is inditing a good matter:

A good instrument — the heart refined and sanctified — a good subject, for, says he: —

Psalms 45:1. I speak of the things which I have made touching the king:

Oh! it is a loyal subject concerning King Jesus. The original has it, “My heart boileth up with a good matter” — bubbleth up — as if each verse of this Psalm were, so to speak, the bubbling up of a boiling heart that is heated with the love of Christ; and all is concerning him — concerning him the king. “I speak of the things which I have made.” That is experience —things made my own; and there is no matter like that. Theoretical theology is of little value. We must have it in the heart, and have it in our own.

Psalms 45:1. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

As though it were moved by another hand, as a pen might be. So the Psalmist feels as if his tongue were under divine influence, and he were about to utter things his own, yet not his own; — things which he has made, yet which the Spirit indicts.

Psalms 45:2. Thou art fairer than the children of men:

And then he sees him. He does see him by faith; and he speaks, not so much about him, as to him. “Thou art fairer than the children of men.” Oh! it is sweet meditating upon Christ, when Christ himself is present. It is blessed work to speak about Christ when you can speak to Christ at the same time. Thou art fairer than the children of men — the very fairest of them. Whatever beauty, excellence, and worth there may be about mankind, thou hast all, and more than all that they possess.

Psalms 45:2. Grace is poured into thy lips:

It comes, therefore, pouring from them. It comes swelling up from thy mouth. Every word that thou speakest is full of grace and truth.

Psalms 45:2. Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

The Mediator, the God-man, Christ Jesus, is blessed of God. The blessing of the Most High rests upon him, because he is so infinitely lovely. His words are unspeakably gracious; and if God blesses him, shall not we bless him? If God himself praises him, shall not we praise him? Oh! let us not be silent, but where God leads the way, let us joyfully follow.

Psalms 45:3. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

He loves the fighting Christ — Christ with the sword on his thigh. Oh! but it is sweet to see the Prince of peace — to know that he comes to our heart bearing unspeakably precious blessings; but yet the terrible side of Christ is precious to his saints. They ask him to gird his sword upon his thigh. An armed Christ can only be armed for the defense of his people, and for the deliverance of them from captivity. Therefore, O thou loveliest of the lovely, be the mightiest of the mighty too.

Psalms 45:4. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

There are three things that are much put to it in this world, and have a hard time of it; truth, which is beset with error, like the hunted hind pursued by dogs. O God, defend thy truth! O Christ of God, lay upon thy sword to smite down error! The next thing is meekness. A gentle spirit has a hard time of it amongst the hard-hearted sons of men. They do not understand meekness. They call the meek man a milksop. They make mirth out of his gentleness. O sword of the Lord, defend the meek ones of the earthy And there is a third thing that has a hard time of it, and that is righteousness amongst a godless generation, that put bitter fox sweet, and sweet for bitter —darkness for light, and light for darkness. Righteousness has to run the gauntlet. But, O thou who art truth, and meekness, and righteousness embodied, come forth with thy sharp sword, and fight on the behalf of these things! We do not ask the Lord to come into the world for the sake of pomp, and pride, and power. We only want his battles to be battles of love. We only ask him to extend the kingdom of truth, and meekness, and righteousness.

Psalms 45:5. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

Christ has far-reaching power. He can not only smite with the sword, but he has skill with the bow, and he can dart an arrow to those that are far off, that they may feel his power. Oh! that he would do so now, that those who are leagues away from him may, to their own surprise, find a shaft come right into their heart, that they may fall under the power of Christ, and cry out to him to come and heal the wound that his own arrow has made. He will do it, for it is written, “I wound, and I heal”; and wherever Christ wounds in mercy, he heals in mercy too.

Psalms 45:6. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.

Notice that the more you look at Christ the more there is to see. Here the songster first said, “Thou art fairer than the children of men”; and now he cries, “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” That man has not seen much of Christ who has not perceived him to be God — God on the throne, God on an everlasting throne. Oh! if any of you have not yet believed in Christ as God, I pray you may do so; for you do not know the Christ of the Scriptures at all, however much you may value his moral character as supreme in wisdom, unless you can say, “My Lord and My God,” as Thomas did when he saw his wounds. “Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever. The scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.” There is the joy of it! Christ has absolute sovereignty, but that absolute sovereignty never goes beyond the realm of right. “The scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.”

Psalms 45:7. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Christ is no neutral. He loves righteousness, and hates wickedness. He is like fire in all that he does. There is about him a certain strength of heart, both to love and to hate; and it is for this reason that God loves him, for God hates lukewarmness. “So then, because thou art neither cold nor hot,” says he, “I will spue thee out of my mouth.” But Christ is never neutral about those matters. He loves righteousness. He hates wickedness. “Therefore, God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” And if you want to have the oil of gladness, dear friends, you must not be neutral. You that live betwixt and between — that are neither very good nor very bad — that are not decided worldlings, nor yet decided Christians, you never have any joy at all. You see, you do not go enough into the world to get its joy, bad and base as it is; and you do not go enough into Christ’s kingdom to get its joy; so you get no comfort either way. Oh! to be cast into the kingdom altogether — thrown into it as a man into the deep sea, and swallowed up in it! In its lowest depths are the sweetest waters.

Psalms 45:8. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

The very clothes of Christ are precious to believers. “Unto you that believe he is preciousness.” But even his very garments are savoured with it, whether he puts on his priestly robes, or his royal garniture, or his prophetic mantle. Each one of these has in it a sweet savour of all manner of choice perfumes, myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Bitter sweets all of them. Oh! in Christ there is a wonderful bitter sweetness — the pangs of death that breed our life: the pangs of sorrow that bring us joy: his downcasting for our uplifting.

Psalms 45:9. Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

No one is so honoured as the one who waits upon the Saviour. They are honourable women that minister to him of their substance, that are often found in his temple, like Anna of old. These are kings’ daughters, every one of them. And, as for his Church as a whole, she is a queen. She takes no low mean rank, and her apparel is like her dignity. She is clothed in the gold of Ophir — the, best of metals, and the best kind of that metal — the gold of Ophir; and “strangely, my soul, art thou arrayed by the great Sacred Three.” All manner of royal apparel is put upon the Church of God, and upon every member of it.

Psalms 45:10. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house;

We cannot know Christ thoroughly unless we leave off knowing the world. There must be a forgetting as well as a remembering. We are to forget our father’s house come right out from it. If Christ is to love his Church, it must be a nonconforming church in the deepest sense of that word. I mean not conformed to this world, but transformed by the renewing of its mind. Not only are we not to love the world, but we are not to think of it. “Forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house.”

Psalms 45:11. So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty:

We were thinking of his beauty. But see: when once we see the beauty of Christ, Christ puts a beauty upon us; and when we learn the beauties of Christ, we soon see beauties in his Church. I find that those who at the Church of God have not any very high esteem of the Church’s Head; but when he is beloved, his people are beloved for his sake. Why, there is an old proverb that says, “Love me, love my dog.” Much more may we say, “Love Christ, love his Church.”

Psalms 45:11. For he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

This is the great business of the Church — to carry on the worship of her Lord; and I believe that, met together as we are tonight, we are met for the noblest purpose under heaven. When the people of God come together for worship, they are doing that which angels do before the throne — an occupation from which they never cease day or night!

Psalms 45:12. And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift;

Well, but she is a heathen; she is a trafficker. What does she know about the king of Israel? Ah! but when Israel owns her king — when the Church of Christ delights in Christ, and dotes upon him, she shall have converts in plenty, from the least likely places.

Psalms 45:12. Even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favour.

They are generally taken up with other things, but then they shall know, when once the Church is right with her King.

Psalms 45:13. The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.

Who has wrought it but her King, whose own right hand has hammered out the precious fabric, and then has taken every golden thread and, with his own bleeding hand, has wrought it into a sacred vesture that shall outlast the stars. “Her clothing is of wrought gold.”

Psalms 45:14. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

Happy are those pure virgin spirits that hardly dare think themselves fit to be called a part of the bride, but yet follow her and keep close to her. They are really a part of her, and they “shall be brought unto thee.”


Verses 1-17

To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, (or, upon the lilies,) for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves. We may look upon the 45th Psalm as being a sort of compendium of the Song of Solomon. It is written, too, upon the same subject, and that is not the marriage of Solomon with Pharaoh’s daughter; — only the strangest and most whimsical fancy could ever have found Pharaoh’s daughter either in this Psalm or in the Book of the Canticles. It is a description of Christ and his Church; a song of love between that pair for ever affianced, and soon to sit down together at the marriage supper in glory.

Psalms 45:1. My heart is inditing a good matter:

Or, as the margin has it, “My heart boileth or bubbleth up with good matter.” It is said of Origen, one of the ancient fathers of the Church, that whenever he preached, he preached with great earnestness and fervor; but that, when he spoke of Christ, he seemed to be all on fire. So, whenever our hearts speak of the good matter which concerns Christ, our souls should be all on fire, we should be boiling over with love to him.

Psalms 45:1. I speak of the things which I have made touching the king:

A man can never speak so well of the things which he has learned, or heard, as of the things which he has made, that is, the things which he has experienced. Indeed, this is your life-work and mine, beloved, to tell to others the things which we have made our own touching the king.

Psalms 45:1. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.

A ready writer writes what he has thought of beforehand, what he has well meditated upon, and digested; so the psalmist declares that this rapturous song is as certainly true as the verba scripta of a thoughtful accomplished penman.

Psalms 45:2. Thou art fairer than the children of men:

The Hebrew word here is doubled, as much as to say, “Thou art doubly fair; thou art fair, fair; twice fairer than the children of men.” Both in outward appearance — although his visage was so sadly marred while he was here, — and in personal character, our Lord Jesus Christ is “fairer than the children of men.”

Psalms 45:2. Grace is poured into thy lips:

Grace has, in the most copious manner, been poured upon Christ, and now there pours from his lips a very cataract of grace; — floods of love, and tenderness, and holy eloquence stream from his lips.

Psalms 45:2-3. Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.

Put thy sword where it will be ready for use; come forth, and let us see thee appear in thy strength, O most Mighty! For this is one of the names of Christ: “I have laid help upon One that is mighty; I have exalted One chosen out of the people.”

Psalms 45:4-5. And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.

You may see, on some of the ancient slabs, representations of Oriental monarchs riding in their chariots, perhaps engaged in hunting, or pursuing their enemies, with their bow and arrow in their hands, and their sword upon their thigh. So is our Saviour thus graphically described. His Word is his sword, and the testimony of his ministers he makes to be like sharp arrows sticking in the hearts of his enemies. May it be so this day, and everyday may Christ thus ride prosperously!

Psalms 45:6. Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the scepter of thy kingdom is a right scepter.

This could not have been said of Solomon; for he was never called God. It refers to none other than Christ the King, whose throne is for ever and ever.

Psalms 45:7-9. Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. Kings’ daughters were among thy honourable women:

Thy maids of honour, for all those who truly wait on Christ become at once the King’s daughters. It is more noble to serve God than to sit as king upon a throne. The day shall come when all the honour of earthly kings’ daughters will have passed away, but the glory of those who are in Christ’s court as honourable women shall abide for ever.

Psalms 45:9. Upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.

In the best and purest gold. Every member of the Church of Christ may well say, with Dr. Watts, —

“Strangely, my soul, art thou array’d

By the great Sacred Three”

Psalms 45:10-11. Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father’s house; so shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.

Though the Church has been brought up in the world, she is to be separated from it. The more distinction there can be between Christians and worldlings, the better will it be for both. Christ greatly admires the beauty of his Church when she is separated from the world, and it is nothing but an adulterous alliance when the church becomes united to the State. We never can expect any great and permanent blessing to any church which thus degrades and dishonours itself. If a church cannot stand without the support of the civil power, let it fall; but happy is that Church which relies alone upon the King himself, and is content with the dowry which he gives her.

Psalms 45:12. And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favour.

The day is coming when the Church of Christ shall be honoured by all men. The merchant princes, who now esteem her as a thing of naught, shall come with their tribute to her, and those who once despised her shall entreat her favor.

Psalms 45:13-14. The king’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.

Happy was John the Baptist to be “the friend of the Bridegroom” to Christ, and happy are the hearts of those who are the bridesmaids to his Church: “the virgins her companions that follow her” — you, whose pure hearts are set upon the Lord alone, and who follow whithersoever he doth lead, you, too, “shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework” with his Church.

Psalms 45:15-16. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

There is such a thing as an apostolical succession, though not the fiction which usually goes by that name. The Lord is constantly raising up fresh disciples, fresh preachers, and fresh teachers, whom he makes to be princes in his earthly courts, and who shall be princes in his heavenly courts for ever and ever.

Psalms 45:17. I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

“Jesus shall reign where’er the sun

Does his successive journeys run;

His kingdom stretch from shore to shore

Till moons shall wax and wane no more.”

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 45:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/psalms-45.html. 2011.

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