W W Fereday
From the Bible Treasury Vol. 19, page 227.
The theme of Psalm 45 is the King; yet not viewed as in Ps. 21, when He has experienced a great salvation, but shewn as coming forth with His sword girded upon His thigh for the establishment of His kingdom. This psalm is the divine answer to the cry of the distressed remnant in the preceding: they own Him as "King" (Ps. 44:4), imploring Him to arise and "command deliverances for Jacob" (vers. 23-26), and to show favour as of old. The experience of the remnant meanwhile is (in language quoted by the apostle Paul in Rom. 8:36), "For Thy sake are we killed all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter" (Ps. 44:22).
The Spirit of God is at His accustomed work in the Psalm. He is our ready writer when it is a question of the glories of Christ. The departing Lord said of Him, "He shall glorify Me." And herein is a test for our souls: anything that tends to the dishonour of the One at God's right hand is not of the Spirit; and the glory of Christ is His great theme and sacred charge.
But though the Spirit is inspiring here (as in all other scripture), the Psalmist's own affections are engaged: he tells us that his heart is overflowing with a good matter, and to him it is a source of delight that the Spirit should use his tongue as His pen. And so full is he of his theme that in ver. 2, etc., he seems to see the Blessed One before him and bursts out rapturously, "Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into Thy lips: Therefore God has blessed Thee for ever." (See Isa. 33:17.) The grace of His lips came out throughout His wondrous path here: He was full of grace and truth, and even enemies had to confess, "Never man spake like this man"; while others marvelled at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth.
It is a question here of the Kingdom and of putting down foes, and that is by power and by judgment. Therefore is He seen coming forth, as in Rev. 19, the girded One; not indeed with the towel as now to serve His saints, but with His sword upon His thigh that His right hand may teach Him terrible things. Strange that any should suppose that His kingdom will be introduced by the quiet means of His gospel: the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms (and surely the N.T. also) render their united testimony of judgment, and judgment only, as His path to His throne. Israel were not willing in the days of His flesh that He should reign over them; man was not willing, nor will they be willing until His power is established in the earth as in the heavens. He will not wait for a message from men such as the trees in Jotham's parable said to the bramble, "Come thou and reign over us" (Judges 9): man's heart is such, He would wait in vain for that.
David sets Him forth as the warrior King. David's day was one of warfare and subjugation of enemies, as Solomon's day, on the other hand, was one of peace and joy for Israel, the throne being firmly established. The Davidic type is seen in our Psalm in verses 3-5; the Solomonic in ver. 6, etc. (the latter phase being more fully declared in Psalm 72). Having established His kingdom by judgment, He takes His seat upon this throne; not then His Father's throne as now, but His own throne as King in Zion. The Spirit uses this in Heb. 1 to demonstrate His divine glory, showing there that the One through whom God has now spoken is "Son," "God," "Jehovah." I suppose "thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity" would refer particularly to the days of His flesh. He was ever this in the midst of a godless and God-hating world. He obeyed then; in Psalm 45 He rules.
He has "companions" in His kingdom; but He exceeds them all. Grace may raise high its objects, whether heavenly or earthly: but in all things He must have the pre-eminence. We do well to remind our hearts of this. His grace may bring us into a wondrous place of relationship and association with Himself, but reverence and godly fear become us in the presence of it. Some such thought seems implied in verse 11, "He is thy Lord, and worship thou Him." Whatever grace may do, still He is the Lord. (Compare John 10:23, 24, and note the Lord's important transition from "Father" to "God").
The Queen is here seen by his side, sharing His earthly glories, and such will Jerusalem be in the day that is approaching. "As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee." For that day He will "make Jerusalem a praise in the earth" (Isa. 62:5-7.) We must not confound the Queen here with the Bride, the Lamb's wife, in Rev. 19. There are heavenly things, and there are earthly: the vision of John sets us in the heavens, our Psalm directs us to Judea.
The Queen stands at His right hand "in gold of Ophir." Gold is typically expressive of divine righteousness, and Israel shall yet know the blessing of this. The apostle's sorrow of heart concerning God's people after the flesh was that they were going about to establish their own righteousness, and not submitting themselves to the righteousness of God. But in the coming day of glory all will be changed; the filthy rags of human righteousness shall be abandoned; and she shall say, "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God! for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation. He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels" (Isa. 61:10). Zech. 3 gives us a picture of this: Joshua the high priest is seen standing before the angel of Jehovah clothed in filthy garments, picture of Israel's condition before God. The filthy garments are removed, a change of raiment is given, and a fair mitre is put upon his head. Now Joshua and his fellows are distinctly said to be men of sign (Zech. 3:8.); and here we have a picture of how (after the glory) Israel shall be given to know the blessing of full justification standing before God, not in human righteousness, but in that which is of God by faith. In Jer. 23:6 the King is called "the Lord our righteousness" (Jehovah Tsidkenu); and in Jer. 33:16, Jerusalem is called by the same name. Does not the wife bear the husband's name?
On that day she shall forget her own people and her father's house, all that in which flesh might glory in no more. One in Phil. 3 had much in which he might glory after the flesh. It was no mean thing to be a circumcised man of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, but he had learned to count all things but Christ "loss" and "dung." Verse 16 seems to show the same thing — the fathers and all fleshly advantages gloried in no more; but grace and its work for them the alone subject of boast. "Mercy" will be their glad theme in that day (Rom. 11:32). Then shall down-trodden Jerusalem be an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations, and sought after by all the ends of the earth. "The daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift, even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour." "The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts." "Therefore thy gates shall be open continually; they shall not be shut day nor night; that men may bring to thee the forces or wealth of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought." "They shall call thee the city of the Lord, the Zion of the Holy One of Israel." "Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only does wondrous things. And blessed be His glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with His glory; Amen and Amen." (Ps 45:12; Isa. 60:11, 14; Ps. 72:18, 19). W. W. F.