Verse 1. - My heart is inditing a good matter; literally, bubbleth with a good matter - is so full of it that the matter will burst forth. I speak of the things which I have made touching the king; or, I utter that which I have composed concerning the king. My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. It is noted that only "psalms of high and solemn import" have formal exordia of this kind, announcing the intention of the writer.
Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.
Verse 2. - Thou art fairer than the children of men. It has been argued that a description of the Messiah would not lay stress on his personal beauty. But in the Song of Songs the personal beauty of the bridegroom, whom so many critics regard as the Messiah, is a main point (Song of Solomon 5:10-16). A perfect man, such as Messiah was to be, must needs be beautiful, at any rate with a beauty of expression. In calling his bridegroom "fair beyond the sons of men," the writer at once gives us to understand that he is not a mere man. Grace is poured into thy lips; rather, grace is poured out on thy lips (Hengstenberg, Cheyne, Kay). The gift of gracious expression and gracious speech has been poured upon him from on high (comp. Song of Solomon 5:16, "His mouth is most sweet"). Therefore God hath blessed thee for ever. The gifts bestowed upon him show the Divine favor and blessing, which, once granted, are not capriciously withdrawn.
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.
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.
And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
Verse 4. - And in thy majesty ride prosperously; literally, and in thy majesty go forth, ride. The riding intended is probably riding in a chariot. Because of truth and meekness and righteousness; rather, because of truth and meek-tempered righteoushess (Kay); i.e. for the purpose of vindicating truth and righteousness in the case of those who outrage them. Righteousness, however, to be really righteousness, must be combined with meekness (comp. Zephaniah 2:3). And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. It is the right hand wherewith the warrior strikes; and at each blow it opens to the striker terrible experiences, and thus may be said to "teach him terrible things."
Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
Verse 5. - Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. The original is more graphic. It runs, "Thy arrows are sharp - the peoples fall under thee - (they are) in the heart of the king's enemies." All the enemies of Messiah shall one day be chastised, and fall before him.
Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
Verse 6. - Thy throne, O God. So the LXX., the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 1:8), the Chaldee paraphrase, and, among critics, Rosenmuller, Hengstenberg, Kay, Professor Alexander, and Canon Cook. The renderings proposed by Gesenius, Ewald, and the anti-Messianic school generally are wholly untenable, as Hengstenberg has clearly shown. The psalmist's intention is to address the King, whom he has already declared to be more than man (ver. 2), as "God." Is for ever and ever. A dominion to which there will never be any end. This is never said, and could not be truly said, of any earthly kingdom. When perpetuity is promised to the throne of David (2 Samuel 7:13-16; Psalm 89:4, 36, 37), it is to that throne as continued in the reign of David's Son, Messiah. The sceptre of thy kingdom is a right sceptre; literally, a sceptre of rectitude (comp. Psalm 67:4; Psalm 96:10).
Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
Verse 7. - Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness, therefore, etc. God will only commit rule and authority over his Church to one who will rule justly - one who loves righteousness and hates iniquity. Messiah is alone perfect in righteousness, and therefore entitled to rule. Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Some moderns translate, "Therefore, O God, thy God hath anointed thee," etc.; but the rendering of the Authorized Version is maintained by Dr. Kay, Professor Alexander, and our Revisers. The anointing intended is that outpouring of glory and blessedness on Messiah which followed upon his voluntary humiliation and suffering (comp. Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 2:9).
All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.
Verse 8. - All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia; literally, myrrh and aloes [and] cassia are thy garments. The "and" before "cassia" appears in four manuscripts, and in all the ancient versions. The garments are so impregnated with spices as to seem made of them. Out of the ivory palaces. "Ivory palaces" are mentioned in 1 Kings 22:39 and Amos 3:15. We must understand "palaces adorned with ivory." Whereby they have made thee glad. So Hengstenberg, Kay, Professor Alexander, and others. But most moderns render, "Out of the ivory palaces stringed instruments have made thee glad."
Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
Verse 9. - King's daughters were (rather, are) among thy honourable women. The marriage scene now begins to open upon us. The bridegroom has been depicted in all his glorious majesty. The bride has now to be brought forward. She comes, accompanied by a train of attendants - "honourable women," or, noble ladies" (Kay), many of whom are "kings' daughters" (comp. 1 Kings 7:3). It must not be expected that all the details of the scene shall have exact equivalents in the spiritual marriage which it represents. Upon thy right hand did stand (rather, stands) the queen in gold of Ophir; i.e. in a vesture richly embroidered with gold thread (comp. Exodus 28:5-8). "Gold of Ophir" was known, not merely to David (1 Chronicles 29:4), but even to Job (Job 28:16). The "right hand" of the king was the place of honour. We find it assigned by Solomon to the queen-mother, Bathsheba (1 Kings 2:19).
Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house;
Verse 10. - Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear. The psalmist, having introduced the bride to our notice in ver. 9, proceeds to address her, and to describe the glories of her person and of her entourage. First of all, he bids her "hearken," "consider," and "incline her ear," i.e. reflect deeply on the new relation in which she is about to be placed, the new sphere which she is entering, the new duties which she will have to discharge. She must give herself wholly to her Lord and Spouse; she must have no thought for any one but him. Forget also thine own people, and thy father's house. She must break with all associations and bends and relationships that would separate between her and her King, forget the past in the present, cease to Judaize, and be wholly Christ's.
So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty: for he is thy Lord; and worship thou him.
Verse 11. - So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty. Devotion to her Lord will win her his tender regard, and make her other charms and graces please and delight him. For he is thy Lord; i.e. thy Lord and Master, entitled to thy utmost love and obedience, nay, to thy "worship " - therefore, Worship thou him. Worship, in a certain sense, is due from every wife to every husband; but the Church's worship of Christ is worship in the absolutely highest sense (Revelation 5:6-14).
And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.
Verse 12. - And the daughter of Tyro shall be there with a gift. Heathen nations shall be attracted to Christ and his Church, shall bring their offerings, and make submission, and humbly sue for favour. Tyro is taken as a type of heathen states and cities generally (comp. Isaiah 49:18-23; Isaiah 56:6-8; Isaiah 60:3-14). Even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour. (On the wealth of Tyre, see Isaiah 23:2-8; Ezekiel 26:12, 16; Ezekiel 27:3-33; Ezekiel 28:13, etc.)
The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
Verse 13. - The King's daughter is all glorious within. The "King's daughter "of this passage can be no other than the bride herself - the" queen" of ver. 9. As among her attendants some were "kings' daughters" (ver. 9), so she could be no less. She is "glorious," not only without, in her robe of" gold of Ophir," but also and especially within - in the inner chamber of the heart - where she is indeed "glorious," through the sanctifying presence of God's Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:26, 27). Her clothing is of wrought gold (comp. ver. 9, and the comment ad lee.).
She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee.
Verse 14. - She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework; i.e. in garments richly embroidered. Such were known to the Hebrews from the time of the Exodus (Exodus 28:4, 39), and were worn by princeases in David's day (2 Samuel 13:18). Brides were commonly "led" into the presence of the bridegroom. The virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee (comp. ver. 9). A virgin train follows the bride as she is led to the palace of the bridegroom, for a royal bride necessarily had her attendants. These symbolize the Gentile converts that should attach themselves to the original Church, and follow that Church into Christ's presence.
With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king's palace.
Verse 15. - With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought. A bridal train could not but be a festive one. Joy and gladness naturally characterize the procession of the nations out of darkness into God's marvellous light. They shall enter into the king's palace; i.e. be received into the heavenly dwelling-place.
Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
Verse 16. - Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children. In conclusion, the psalmist once more addresses the bridegroom. "Instead of thy fathers" according to the flesh - the princes of the royal house of David" thou shalt have children" sons still more conspicuous - apostles, martyrs, confessors - a glorious and goodly company. Whom thou mayest make princes; i.e. rulers and governors of the Church - in all the earth (comp. 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:6).
I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations: therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.
Verse 17. - I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations. I, the psalmist, with my "pen of a ready writer," will so sing thy praise that thy name shall always he had in remembrance; and therefore - because of my words - shall the peoples - i.e. all the nations of the earth - praise thee for ever and ever. There is here, mixed with the praise of Messiah, a certain amount of self-glorification; but perhaps the "son of Korah," who had composed so noble a poem, may be excused for somewhat "vaunting himself."