By Henry Law
This hymn is fitly termed a song of loves. It is a prelude to the Song of songs. The spiritual Bridegroom is rapturously commended. The Spouse is shown in lovely features. The extension of Christ's kingdom, and due praise is promised.
1. "My heart is inditing a good matter; I speak of the things which I have made concerning the king; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer."
One object ever sits supreme in the believer's heart. Christ is the noble theme which claims his fervent commendation. Praises break forth as water bubbling from a heated caldron. They cannot be repressed. When Jesus is thus the subject in all the majesty and glory of His kingly office, the fluency cannot be checked. As a skilled writer quickly moves his pen, so the believer's tongue is prompt and ready to express due praise. Boundless is the subject, commensurate is the utterance.
2. "You are the most handsome of all. Gracious words stream from your lips. God himself has blessed you forever."
The Church, taught by the Spirit, warmly cries, "Behold you are beautiful, my love; behold you are beautiful." Christ is indeed the chief among ten thousand, the altogether lovely One. What eloquence can show His beauty? He is the brightness of His Father's glory, the express image of His person. Every charm which wins admiring gaze dwelt resplendently in Him. Wisdom in the highest flowed from His lips, and such power attended His words that the blessing of enlightening grace and saving impression touched His hearers.
3, 4. "Put on your sword, O mighty warrior! You are so glorious, so majestic! In your majesty, ride out to victory, defending truth, humility, and justice. Go forth to perform awe-inspiring deeds!"
Faith in prophetic terms calls on the Lord to equip Himself for glorious triumphs, and to ascend the chariot of His majestic course. He is most mighty. Who can withstand Him? His weapons secure prosperous result. His truth lays error low in the dust of shame. His meekness sweetly allures sinners to receive Him. His righteousness conceals all guilt, and is a glorious robe for all who surrender to His sway. Who can contemplate without awe the exploits of His matchless might? Let our souls mark and tremble and adore.
5. "Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under You."
Sharp indeed are the arrows of conviction, when directed by the Spirit. The contrite sinner feels the grievous wound, and humbly mourns his miserable state. He who inflicts the wound alone can cure. The blood alone can ease the rankling misery.
6, 7. "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; the scepter of Your kingdom is a right scepter. You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your fellows."
The glorious truth that Jesus is eternal God is here proclaimed. The Spirit speaks from heaven, and His voice addresses Him as God. His essential Deity is the foundation of salvation. This gives infinite efficacy to His atoning blood, indisputable perfection to His justifying righteousness, and enables Him to satisfy the claims of every attribute of Jehovah. Let the true believer constantly address Him, my Lord and my God. His throne is forever established, and His scepter rules over all, on principles most just and equitable. Righteousness is the government of His subjects. Holiness is happiness. Therefore happiness is the atmosphere of His happy kingdom. God gives the spirit of joy without measure unto the King, and His blessed subjects are joint-heirs with Him of all the gifts of righteousness and grace.
8, 9. "All Your garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made You glad. Kings' daughters were among Your honorable women; upon Your right hand stood the queen in gold of Ophir."
The image of royal pre-eminence is still continued. The King is pictured as coming forth from his beautiful palace arrayed in all the splendor of regal attire. The perfumes of his robes spread fragrance around. Upon his right hand is the Queen, the type of His believing people, arrayed in the splendor of the purest gold, the figure of that glorious righteousness which He bestows. The allegoric picture adds a circle of attendants to complete the group. No special lesson is conveyed by this company. But ardent feeling cannot be restrained that we may have a place in this gathering, and pay homage to the King in His beauty.
10, 11. "Listen, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear; forget also your own people, and your father's house; so shall the King greatly desire your beauty; for He is your Lord; and worship Him."
The Holy Spirit, speaking from heaven, invites attention to His words. It is sad that such exhortation should be needed. It is more sad that it should ever issue forth in vain. Not only should the ears be open, but the heart should diligently ponder. Words from above should be a perpetual feast. The Spirit here exhorts the bride to cast away remembrance of her first estate, the home of her birth and her native companions. By nature we are born in sin--the children of wrath, the inheritors of corrupt affections, the companions of aliens and outcasts. When the Spirit reveals Jesus, all tenderness and love, a marvelous change ensues, all things are counted less than dross in comparison of Him. In His loveliness we become lovely. Our cry is, You are our Lord--we love, we worship, and adore.
12. "And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat your favor."
It sometimes happens that those who receive honor from the Lord receive honor from men also. There is an inward recognition that respect is due to them and outward reverence is duly paid.
13. "The King's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold."
This is a lovely picture of the true believer. His inward state is glorious. He is adorned with every grace, and grace is the seed of glory. The Spirit, by His power, rules throughout the inward man, and implants faith, and hope, and love, and every holy principle, affection, and desire. All that is vile, corrupt, base, and earthly, is cast out; that which is sown is glory in the bud, and soon will be glory in full flower.
But, though thus glorious, the believer cannot inherit glory, unless every sinful spot is hidden. Christ works for His people a righteousness which He imputes. It is His perfect obedience with which He invests His every member. It is pure, and perfect, and without one stain of blemish. Wrought gold depicts it. Brightly they shine on whom it is bestowed.
14, 15. "She shall be brought to the King in clothing of needlework; the virgins, her companions that follow her, shall be brought to You. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought; they shall enter into the King's palace."
The bridal allegory is continued. The bride is seen in clothing beautified by art's elaborate skill. Attendant maidens swell the procession. All sounds of joy give notice of the glad approach. The royal residence is reached, and gates are opened to give welcome.
The happy emblems aptly picture the triumphant scene, when the marriage of the Lamb shall have come, and His wife shall have made herself ready. Let all who love the Lord, and have in faith and truth devoted themselves to Him, rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory. The day is coming when they shall be publicly recognized, and, clad in the perfect robe of righteousness, they shall enter heaven with all manifestations of joy and pure delight. With such bright prospects who will not sing, We bless You, we praise You, we adore You, O Lord, our God?
16. "Your sons will become kings like their father. You will make them rulers over many lands."
Scripture is the exceeding joy of faith, because of the enchanting pictures which in ever-varying form it presents. We have seen the widespread family of the redeemed. In every climate, in every age, they live and flourish. High, also, is their dignity. Wherever they appear they excel as princes. They rule over sin and all the poor attractions of the world, while others yield, and toil as slaves beneath the lash of Satan.
17. "I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; therefore shall the people praise You forever and ever."
It is the duty of the Church--it is, also, her most happy work--to celebrate the praises of the Lord, and to tell aloud of His love and goodness, of His majesty and glory. Thus, from age to age, and in earth's utmost range, the name of Jesus is magnified and glorified. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let all saints prolong the song of thankful praise!