Psalm 45:3
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
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(3) Gird thy sword . . . O most mighty.—Or, perhaps, Gird on thy sword in hero guise; or, Gird on thy hero’s sword. The object of the poet’s praise is as heroic in war as he is beautiful in person.

With thy glory and thy majesty.—This adverbial use of the accusatives may be right, but it seems better to take them in apposition with sword. His weapon was the monarch’s glory and pride. Some commentators see here a reference to the custom of girding on the sword said to be still observed at the elevation to the throne of a Persian or Ottoman prince. But the next verse shows that we have rather an ideal picture of the royal bridegroom’s prowess in war.

Psalm 45:3-4. Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most Mighty — “Having described the beauty and eloquence of the king, the prophet now proceeds to set forth his power, and to arm him as a warrior for the battle.” The sword of the Messiah, which is here put, by a synecdoche, for all his arms, is his Word, which, in the language of St. Paul, is said to be quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and is represented by St. John as a sharp two-edged sword coming out of his mouth, Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:19. With this he smites his enemies, and with this he subdues the nations, and enlarges and establishes his kingdom, both in the earth and in the hearts of his people. With thy glory and thy majesty — Or, which is thy glory and thy majesty; that is, which sword or word is the great instrument of maintaining and spreading thy honour, glory, and kingdom. Or, as Bishop Patrick paraphrases the clause, “Appear like thyself in such splendour and majesty, as may serve for an emblem of that most illustrious power and sovereign authority, wherein the omnipotent Lord of all the world shall show himself among men.” And in thy majesty — Being thus magnificently girt and armed; ride prosperously — March on speedily and successfully against thine enemies; because of truth, &c. — Hebrew, על דבר אמת, gnal debar emeth, upon the word of truth, 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 a horse or chariot, upon which Christ is said to ride, when the gospel is preached, and carried about from place to place. And this may be here added, to show the great difference between the kingdoms of the world, which are managed and governed with outward pomp and glory, and the kingdom of Christ, which is a spiritual kingdom, not of this world, and like the spouse, mentioned Psalm 45:13 : all glorious within, as consisting in spiritual graces and virtues, truth, meekness, and righteousness. And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things — Thou shalt do great and glorious exploits, which shall be terrible to thine enemies, as the next verse explains it, and this not by great forces, and the assistance of others, but by thine own single power, Isaiah 63:3. But the phrase, thy right hand shall teach thee, is not to be taken properly, for so he taught his hand, not his hand him; but the meaning is, that his hand should show him, discover, and work before him. The LXX. render it, οδηγησει σε θαυμαστως, thy right hand shall guide, or direct thee wonderfully.

45:1-5 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.Gird thy sword upon thy thigh - That is, Arm or prepare thyself for battle and conquest. The Messiah is introduced here as a conquering king; as about to go forward to subdue the nations to himself; as about to set up a permanent kingdom.

O most mighty - That is, Hero; Warrior; Conqueror.

With thy glory and thy majesty - With the glory and majesty appropriate to thee; or which properly belong to thee. This is at the same time the expression of a wish on the part of the author of the psalm, and a prophetic description. The psalmist desired that he would thus go forth to the conquest of the world; and saw that he would do it. Compare Psalm 45:5-6. It is needless to remark that this is easily and naturally applicable to the Messiah - the Lord Jesus - as going forth for the subjugation of the world to the authority of God. Compare 1 Corinthians 15:25, 1 Corinthians 15:28. See also, in reference to the figure used here, Isaiah 49:2; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 1:16; Revelation 19:15.

3, 4. The king is addressed as ready to go forth to battle.

sword—(Compare Re 1:16; 19:15).

mighty—(Compare Isa 9:6).

glory and … majesty—generally used as divine attributes (Ps 96:6; 104:1; 111:3), or as specially conferred on mortals (Ps 21:5), perhaps these typically.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Psalm 45:3

"Gird thy sword upon thy thigh." Loving spirits jealous of the Redeemer's glory long to see him putting forth his power to vindicate his own most holy cause. Why should the sword of the Spirit lie still, like a weapon hung up in an armoury; it is sharp and strong, both for cutting and piercing: O that the divine power of Jesus were put forth to use it against error. The words before us represent our great King as urged to arm himself for battle, by placing his sword where it is ready for use. Christ is the true champion of the church, others are but underlings who must borrow strength from him; the single arm of Immanuel is the sole hope of the faithful. Our prayer should be that of this verse. There is at this moment an apparent suspension of our Lord's former power, we must by importunate prayer call him to the conflict, for like the Greeks without Achilles we are soon overcome by our enemies, and we are but dead men if Jesus be not in our midst. "O most mighty." A title well deserved, and not given from empty courtesy like the serenities, excellencies, and highnesses of our fellow mortals - titles, which are but sops for vain glory. Jesus is the truest of heroes. Hero worship in his case alone is commendable. He is mighty to save, mighty in love. "With thy glory and thy majesty." Let thy sword both win thee renown and dominion, or as it may mean, gird on with thy sword thy robes which indicate thy royal splendour. Love delights to see the Beloved arrayed as beseemeth his excellency; she weeps as she sees him in the garments of humiliation, she rejoices to behold him in the vestments of his exaltation. Our precious Christ can never be made too much of. Heaven itself is but just good enough for him. All the pomp that angels and archangels, and thrones, and dominions, and principalities, and powers can pour at his feet is too little for him. Only his own essential glory is such as fully answers to the desire of his people, who can never enough extol him.

Psalm 45:4

"And in thy majesty ride prosperously." The hero-monarch armed and apparelled is now entreated to ascend his triumphal car. Would to God that our Immanuel would come forth in the chariot of love to conquer our spiritual foes and seize by power the souls whom he has bought with blood. "Because of truth and meekness and righteousness." These words may be rendered, "ride forth upon truth and meekness and righteousness" - three noble chargers to draw the war-chariot of the gospel. In the sense of our translation it is a most potent argument to urge with our Lord that the cause of the true, the humble and the good, calls for his advocacy. Truth will be ridiculed, meekness will be oppressed, and righteousness slain, unless the God, the Man in whom these precious things are incarnated, shall arise for their vindication. Our earnest petition ought ever to be that Jesus would lay his almighty arm to the work of grace lest the good cause languish and wickedness prevail. "And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things." Foreseeing the result of divine working, the Psalmist prophesies that the uplifted arm of Messiah will reveal to the King's own eyes the terrible overthrow of his foes. Jesus needs no guide but his own right hand, no teacher but his own might; may he instruct us all in what he can perform, by achieving it speedily before our gladdened eyes.

Psalm 45:5

"Thine arrows." Our King is master of all weapons: he can strike those who are near and those afar off with equal force. "Are sharp." Nothing that Jesus does is ill done, he uses no blunted shafts, no pointless darts. "In the heart of the King's enemies." Our Captain aims at men's hearts rather than their heads, and he hits them too; point-blank are his shots, and they enter deep into the vital part of man's nature. Whether for love or vengeance, Christ never misses aim, and when his arrows stick, they cause a smart not soon forgotten, a wound which only he can heal. Jesus' arrows of conviction are sharp in the quiver of his word, and sharp when on the bow of his ministers, but they are most known to be so when they find a way into careless hearts. They are his arrows, he made them, he shoots them. He makes them sharp, and he makes them enter the heart. May none of us ever fall under the darts of his judgment, for none kill so surely as they. "Whereby the people fall under thee." On either side the slain of the Lord are many when Jesus leads on the war. Nations tremble and turn to him when he shoots abroad his truth. Under his power and presence, men are stricken down as though pricked in the heart. There is no standing against the Son of God when his bow of might is in his hands. Terrible will be that hour when his bow shall be made quite naked, and bolts of devouring fire shall be hurled upon his adversaries: then shall princes fall and nations perish.

Psalm 45:6


Gird thy sword upon thy thigh; either,

1. As an ensign of royal majesty. But that is usually and much better expressed in Scripture by putting a crown upon his head. Or rather,

2. As an instrument for war and battle, to smite his enemies, as it is declared, Psalm 45:4,5. And the sword is here put synecdochically for all his arms, as it is in many other places, as appears from Psalm 45:5, where we read also of his arrows. And this sword of the Messias is nothing else but the word of God coming out of his mouth; which is fitly compared to a sword, as may appear from Isaiah 49:2 Ephesians 6:17 Hebrews 4:12 Revelation 1:16, which is elsewhere called the rod of his mouth, Isaiah 11:4, and the rod of his power, Psalm 110:2.

With thy glory and thy majesty; or, which is thy glory and thy majesty; or, magnificence or beauty; for these words are joined with the sword, by way of apposition; which sword or word is the great instrument of maintaining and propagating thy honour, and glory, and kingdom.

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty,.... As Christ is, the mighty God, even the Almighty, and which appears by his works of creation and providence; by the redemption of his people; by his care and government of them; by succouring them under all their temptations and afflictions; by strengthening them for every service, duty, and suffering; by pleading their cause, and supplying their wants; by preserving them to his kingdom and glory; by raising them from the dead at the last day, and by introducing them into the possession of the heavenly inheritance. This mighty One is called upon to "gird on his sword": by which is meant either the sword of the Spirit, the word of God; which is sharp in convincing of sin, reproving for it, and threatening on account of it, as well as in refuting error and heresy; and a twoedged one, consisting of law and Gospel, and which Christ made use of to great purpose, against Satan in the wilderness, and against the Scribes and Pharisees; and which he will make further use of in the latter day, against the man of sin, and his followers: or else the power of Christ, which, as the Leader and Commander of his people, and the Captain of their salvation, is called upon to exert, by preparing to engage with, and by destroying his and their enemies; and which he did put forth when the year of the redeemed was come, which was the day of vengeance in his heart; when he combated with and destroyed Satan, and spoiled his principalities and powers; when he abolished death itself, and took away sin the sting of it, and the law, the strength of sin; overcame the world, and delivered his people from it, and out of the hand of every enemy. It is added,

with thy glory and thy majesty; which may be connected either with the phrase "and most mighty", and so be expressive of the glory and majesty of Christ, as the mighty God; or with his sword, as an emblem of his authority and majesty as a King, and may denote the glory of his Gospel and of his power; or may point at the end of his girding his sword upon his thigh, which was to show forth the glory of his majesty, or to obtain honour and glory: though the word "gird" may be supplied and repeated, and so make a distinct proposition, "gird with thy glory and thy majesty"; which was done when he was raised from the dead, and had glory given him; was crowned with it, and had the glory put upon him he had with his Father before the world was.

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
3. Instead of praising the king’s strength and courage in the abstract, the Psalmist bids him use them in the cause of truth and right.

O most mighty] O mighty hero.

with thy glory and thy majesty] It is better to repeat the verb: (gird on) thy honour and thy majesty. Honour and majesty are Divine attributes, reflected in the person of the victorious King who is Jehovah’s representative. Cp. Psalm 96:6; Psalm 104:1; Psalm 145:5; with Psalm 21:5.

Verse 3. - Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty; i.e. array thyself as a warrior, for thou wilt have enemies to conquer, and wilt need a sword against them (see vers. 4, 5). With thy glory and thy majesty. There is no "with" in the original. Some think his sword is called Messiah's "glory and majesty." Others supply "put on," as implied in the "gird" of the first clause, and translate, "Put on thy glory and thy majesty;" i.e. show thyself in all the majesty and glory that naturally belong to thee. This is quite in accordance with the context. Psalm 45:3(Heb.: 44:4-6) In the ever blessed one the greatest strength and vigour are combined with the highest beauty. He is a hero. The praise of his heroic strength takes the form of a summons to exert it and aid the good in obtaining the victory over evil. Brightness and majesty, as the objects to חגור, alternating with the sword, are not in apposition to this which is their instrument and symbol (Hengstenberg), but permutatives, inasmuch as חגור is zeugmatically referable to both objects: the king is (1) to gird himself with his sword, and (2) to surround himself with his kingly, God-like doxa. הוד והדר is the brilliancy of the divine glory (Psalm 96:6), of which the glory of the Davidic kingship is a reflection (Psalm 21:6); mentioned side by side with the sword, it is, as it were, the panoply that surrounds the king as bright armour. In Psalm 45:5 והדרך, written accidentally a second time, is probably to be struck out, as Olshausen and Hupfeld are of opinion. Hitzig points it והדרך, "and step forth;" but this is not Hebrew. As the text runs, wa-hadārcha (with Legarme preceded by Illuj, vid., Accentsystem xiii. 8c, 9) looks as though it were repeated out of Psalm 45:4 in the echo-like and interlinked style that we frequently find in the songs of degrees, e.g., Psalm 121:1-2; and in fact repeated as an accusative of more exact definition (in the same bold manner as in Psalm 17:13-14) to צלח, which, like Arab. ṣlḥ, starting from the primary notion of cleaving, breaking through, pressing forward, comes to have the notion of carrying anything through prosperously, of being successful, pervadere et bene procedere (cf. the corresponding development of signification in Arab. flḥ, 'flḥ), and, according to Ges. 142, rem. 1, gives to רכב the adverbial notion of that which is effectual (victorious) or effective and successful. We cannot determine whether רכב is here intended to say vehi curru or vehi equo; but certainly not upon a mule or an ass (1 Kings 1:33; Zechariah 9:9), which are the beasts ridden in a time of peace. The king going forth to battle either rides in a war-chariot (like Ahab and Jehoshaphat, 1 Kings 22), or upon a war-horse, as in Revelation 19:11 the Logos of God is borne upon a white horse. That which he is to accomplish as he rides forth in majesty is introduced by על־דּבר (for the sake of, on account of), which is used just as in Psalm 79:9, 2 Samuel 18:5. The combination ענוה־צדק-is very similar to עריה־בשׁת, Micah 1:11 (nakedness - ignominy equals ignominious nakedness), if ענוה equals ענוה is to be taken as the name of a virtue. The two words are then the names of virtues, like אמת (truth equals veracity, which loves and practises that which is true and which is hostile to lying, falseness, and dissimulation); and whereas צדק ענוה would signify meek righteousness, and צדק ענות, righteousness meekness, this conjunction standing in the middle between an addition and an asyndeton denotes meekness and righteousness as twin-sisters and reciprocally pervasive. The virtues named, however, stand for those who exemplify them and who are in need of help, on whose behalf the king is called upon to enter the strife: the righteous, if they are at the same time ענוים (עניּים), are doubly worthy and in need of his help. Nevertheless another explanation of ענוה presents itself, and one that is all the more probable as occurring just in this Psalm which has such a North-Palestinian colouring. The observation, that North-Palestinian writers do not always point the construct state with ath, in favour of which Hitzig, on Psalm 68:29, wrongly appeals to Hosea 10:6; Job 39:13, but rightly to Judges 7:8; Judges 8:32 (cf. Deuteronomy 33:4, Deuteronomy 33:27), is perfectly correct. Accordingly ענוה may possibly be equivalent to ענות, but not in the signification business, affair equals ענין, parallel with דּבר, but in the signification afflictio (after the form ראוה, Ezekiel 28:17); so that it may be rendered: in order to put a stop to the oppression of righteousness or the suffering of innocence. The jussive ותורך, like ויתאו in Psalm 45:12, begins the apodosis of a hypothetical protasis that is virtually there (Ew. 347, b): so shall thy right hand teach thee, i.e., lead thee forth and cause thee to see terrible things, i.e., awe-inspiring deeds.

But in Psalm 45:6 both summons and desire pass over into the expression of a sure and hopeful prospect and a vision, in which that which is to be is present to the mind: thine arrows are sharpened, and therefore deadly to those whom they hit; peoples shall fall (יפּלוּ)

(Note: It is not יפּלוּ; for the pause falls upon שׁנוּנים, and the Athnach of יפלו stands merely in the place of Zekaph (Numbers 6:12). The Athnach after Olewejored does not produce any pausal effect; vid., Psalm 50:23; Psalm 68:9, Psalm 68:14; Psalm 69:4; Psalm 129:1, and cf. supra, p. 56, note 2.)

under thee, i.e., so that thou passest over them as they lie upon the ground; in the heart of the enemies of the king, viz., they (i.e., the arrows) will stick. The harsh ellipse is explained by the fact of the poet having the scene of battle before his mind as though he were an eye-witness of it. The words "in the heart of the king's enemies" are an exclamation accompanied by a pointing with the finger. Thither, he means to say, those sharp arrows fly and smite. Crusius' explanation is similar, but it goes further than is required: apostrophe per prosopopaeiam directa ad sagittas quasi jubens, quo tendere debeant. We are here reminded of Psalm 110:2, where a similar בּקרב occurs in a prophetico-messianic connection. Moreover, even according to its reference to contemporary history the whole of this strophe sounds Messianic. The poet desires that the king whom he celebrates may rule and triumph after the manner of the Messiah; that he may succour truth and that which is truly good, and overcome the enmity of the world, or, as Psalm 2:1-12 expresses it, that the God-anointed King of Zion may shatter everything that rises up in opposition with an iron sceptre. This anointed One, however, is not only the Son of David, but also of God. He is called absolutely בּר, ὁ υἱὸς. Isaiah calls Him, even in the cradle, אל גּבּור, Isaiah 9:5, cf. Isaiah 10:21. We shall not, therefore, find it to be altogether intolerable, if the poet now addresses him as אלהים, although the picture thus far sketched is thoroughly human in all its ideality.

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