By Henry Mahan
v. 1. From the very first words, the Psalmist leaves no doubt as to the subject of this Psalm. 'I speak of things pertaining to the king.' This song has 'the King,' the Lord Jesus Christ, for its only subject. Therefore, it is indeed a 'good matter;' good because 'only God is good,' and he speaks of Christ, who is the chief good; good for us because the gospel of Christ is good news to sinners (Luke 2:10-11). He says, 'My heart is bubbling up,' full and running over with his glory; therefore, My tongue is ready to put in words my love for him, his love for me, and the truth concerning his person and work.
v. 2. As though the king himself had appeared before him, the Psalmist, full of admiration and devotion, addresses his Lord. 'Thou art fairer than the children of men.' We are born; Thou art the only begotten Son. We are children of dust; Thou art the Lord from heaven. We are darkness; Thou art light. We are empty; in thee dwelleth all fullness. 'Grace is poured into thy lips.' Grace is treasured up in him, and he is the fountain of all grace (Col. 2:9-10). Outside of Christ, there is no grace. Also, it can be said, 'Grace is poured from thy lips' (Heb. 1:1-2). When Christ, the Word of God, opens his lips as our surety, prophet, priest, and king, grace is poured into our souls, living, saving, abundant grace. One word from him turned Saul of Tarsus into an apostle, a harlot into a repentant believer, and a publican into a prince. 'Therefore God hath blessed thee forever.' Calvin writes, 'Because God hath blessed thee.' It is true that God has blessed our Mediator as a reward for his love and labor, and he deserves the recompense; but the great reason for his beauty, his grace, and his salvation is that he is blessed forever of the Father, Who put all things in him (John 3:35; Eph. 1:3; 1 Cor. 1:30).
vv. 3-4. What is 'thy sword'? It is his word (Heb. 4:12; Eph. 6:17). By his word the worlds were created and are governed.
By his word sinners are slain and conquered. By his word his enemies are defeated. 'O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty.' Thou art almighty and so, able to make good on all that thou speakest, and to make your word of precept, promise, and condemnation effectual in all that it is sent to do (Isa. 46:10- 11; Num. 23:19). The holy war in which he is engaged is the cause of 'truth, meekness, and righteousness;' and his gospel (his sword) will turn our error to truth, our pride to meekness, and our sinfulness to his righteousness! Are these not 'terrible,' or a better word, 'tremendous' things? (Psalm 65:1-5.)
v. 5. 'Thine arrows are sharp.' Our Lord uses no blunted sword nor pointless darts. His word is always effectual and can strike those near or far with equal success. He aims for the heart of his enemies, not just their heads, so they are brought to fall at his feet in worship and love (Rom. 5: 10; Eph. 2:16; Col. 1:21).
The arrows of his judicial wrath are sharp, but the arrows of subduing grace are the sharpest of all (John 6:37; John 10:16).
vv. 6-7. The Apostle Paul chose these words to identify and magnify our great prophet and priest. To the Son, Jesus Christ, the Father says, 'thy throne, O God, is forever.' Christ is God (John 1:1; John 10:30; Acts 20:28). The reason why his throne is forever and the sceptre of his kingdom is righteousness, justice, and truth is because he is God. 'Thou lovest righteousness.' He showed this in casting Adam from the garden, in all his dealings with Israel and the Old Testament people, and in working out a perfect righteousness for his people (Rom. 3:19-26); and he will show it at the last day in wrath. Because of who Christ is and what he has done, he is anointed above all (Col. 1:14-18; Phil. 2:9-11).
v. 8. 'The garments' are Christ's offices, his honors, his righteousness. He is clothed with righteousness, honor, and majesty (Isa. 59:17; Psalm 104:1) and his garments smell not of blood and battle but of sweet perfume 'in them that are saved,' but that holy odor is offensive to those who perish (2 Cor. 2:14- 16). The 'ivory palaces' are his heavenly abode, where he is made glad in the presence of the Father and by the faith of his saints (Isa. 53:11; Luke 15:7).
vv. 9-12. The church of the Lord Jesus shares his honor and happiness. He sets her in the place of dignity 'upon thy right hand' and clothes her with the best, the priceless, and the beautiful. Though some may have been paupers or princesses, yet all are in his bride at his right hand. They 'forget their own people and houses' and look not back to Sodom or Jerusalem because 'he is their Lord and they worship him.' Her beauty is his comeliness (Ezek. 16:11-14).
(1) The bride's new name is 'the king's daughter' because she is born of God and she is espoused to the Son of God.
(2) The bride's character is 'all glorious within' because of Christ who dwells in her.
(3) The bride's 'clothing and raiment' is wrought of gold of holiness and the needlework of his perfect righteousness, his atoning death and perfect obedience.
(4) The bride's 'companions' are all the redeemed of all ages.
(5) The bride's home going is 'to be brought into the king's palace' (John 14:1-3).
(6) The bride's reception shall be 'with gladness and rejoicing,' no secret entrance but a triumphant and joyful acclaim (Psalm 24:7-10).
vv. 16-17. The ancient fathers, such as Moses, Abraham, and Isaac, are all gone; but their children and grandchildren are made kings and priests. And the name of Christ is remembered, exalted, and magnified in all generations and among all nations. 'Therefore, shall thy people praise thee forever and ever.'
'Let him be crowned with majesty
Who bowed his head in death,
And be his honors sounded forth
By all things that have breath.'