|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
My heart is inditing a good matter,.... What is valuable and excellent, concerning the excellency of Christ's person, of his kingdom, of his love to the church, and of the church itself; what is pleasant and delightful, comfortable, useful, and profitable: this his heart was inditing; which shows that it was under the sanctifying influences of the Holy Spirit, and denotes the fervour of it; it "boiling up", as the word (x) signifies; being heated by the fire of the divine Spirit, whereby it was hot within him, and caused him to speak with his tongue; and also the abundance that was in it, it "bubbling up" (y), as some choose to render it: from whence this good matter flowed like water out of a fountain;
I speak of the things which I have made touching the King; the King Messiah; the King of the whole world, and of the kings of it, and of the saints in it; over whom he reigns in a spiritual manner, and in righteousness; concerning whom this psalm or poem was composed by David under divine inspiration, and which he here delivers:
my tongue is the pen of a ready writer; or as (z) one; such an one as Ezra was, Ezra 7:6, that writes swiftly and compendiously; suggesting, that as he was; full of matter, he freely communicated it, being moved by the Holy Spirit, who spake by him, and whose word was in his tongue; which made him so ready and expert in this work. The allusion is to scribes and notaries, and such like persons, that are extremely ready and swift in the use of the pen. The word for "pen" is derived either from which signifies "to fly" (a), and from whence is a word used for a "flying fowl"; yet we are not to imagine that here it signifies a pen made of a bird's quill, as now in common use with us: for this did not obtain until many hundred years after David's time. It seems that Isidore of Seville, who lived in the seventh century, is the first person that makes mention of "penna", a "pen", as made of the quill of a bird (b), but rather the pen has its name in Hebrew, if from the above root, from the velocity of it, as in the hand of a ready writer; or rather it may be derived from "to sharpen", in which sense it seems to be used, Ezekiel 21:15; and so a pen has its name from the sharp point of it: for when the ancients wrote, or rather engraved, on stone, brass, lead, and wood, they used a style or pen of iron; see Job 19:24; so when they wrote on tables of wood covered with wax, they used a kind of bodkin made of iron, brass, or bone; See Gill on Habakkuk 2:2; and when upon the rind and leaves of trees, and on papyrus and parchment, they made use of reeds, particularly the Egyptian calamus or reed; and the word here is translated calamus or reed by the Targum, Septuagint, and all the Oriental versions. Now as the Jews had occasion frequently to copy out the book of the law, and other writings of theirs, their scribes, at least some of them, were very expert and dexterous at it; but whether the art of "shorthand" was to any degree in use among them is not certain, as it was in later times among the Romans, when they used marks, signs, and abbreviations, which seems to have laid the foundation of the above art, and had its rise, as is said, from Cicero himself, though some ascribe it to Mecaenas (c): and in Martial's time it was brought to such perfection, that, according to him, the hand could write swifter than a man could speak (d).
(x) "ebullit", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ainsworth. (y) "Eructavit", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Munster. (z) So the Targum, Tigurine version, Gejerus, & Michaelis. (a) Vid. Kimchi Sepher Shorash. rad. (b) Origin. l. 6. c. 13. (c) Vid. Kipping. Antiqu. Roman. l. 2. c. 4. p. 554. (d) "Currant verba licet, manus est velociter illis; nondum lingua suum, dextra peregit opus", Martial. Epigr. l. 14. ep. 189. of the origin of shorthand with the Romans, and among us, with other curious things concerning writing, and the matter and instruments of it, see a learned treatise of Mr. Massey's, called, "The Origin and Progress of Letters", p. 144. printed 1763.
The Treasury of David
1 My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the King: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
"My heart." There is no writing like that dictated by the heart. Heartless hymns are insults to heaven. "Is inditing a good matter." A good heart will only be content with good thoughts. Where the fountain is good good streams will flow forth. The learned tell us that the word may be read overfloweth, or as others, boileth or bubbleth up, denoting the warmth of the writer's love, the fulness of his heart, and the consequent richness and glory of his utterance, as though it were the ebullition of his inmost soul, when most full of affection. We have here no single cold expression; the writer is not one who frigidly studies the elegancies and proprieties of poetry, his stanzas are the natural outburst of his soul, comparable to the boiling jets of the geysers of Hecla. As the corn offered in sacrifice was parched in the pan, so is this tribute of love hot with sincere devotion. It is a sad thing when the heart is cold with a good matter, and worse when it is warm with a bad matter, but incomparably well when a warm heart and a good matter meet together. O that we may often offer to God an acceptable minchah, a sweet oblation fresh from the pen of hearts warmed with gratitude and admiration. "I speak of the things which I have made touching the King." This song has "the King" for its only subject, and for the King's honour alone was it composed, well might its writer call it a good matter. The Psalmist did not write carelessly; he calls his poem his works, or things which he had made. We are not to offer to the Lord that which cost us nothing. Good material deserves good workmanship. We should well digest in our heart's affections and our mind's meditations any discourse or poem in which we speak of one so great and glorious as our Royal Lord. As our version reads it, the Psalmist wrote experimentally things which he had made his own, and personally tasted and handled concerning the King. "My tongue is the pen of a ready writer," not so much for rapidity, for there the tongue always has the preference, but for exactness, elaboration, deliberation, and skilfulness of expression. Seldom are the excited utterances of the mouth equal in real weight and accuracy to the verba scripta of a thoughtful accomplished penman; but here the writer, though filled with enthusiasm, speaks as correctly as a practised writer; his utterances therefore are no ephemeral sentences, but such as fall from men who sit down calmly to write for eternity. It is not always that the best of men are in such a key, and when they are they should not restrain the gush of their hallowed feelings. Such a condition of heart in a gifted mind creates that auspicious hour in which poetry pours forth her tuneful numbers to enrich the service of song in the house of the Lord.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ps 45:1-17. Shoshannim—literally, "Lilies," either descriptive of an instrument so shaped, or denoting some tune or air so called, after which the Psalm was to be sung (see on Ps 8:1, title). A song of loves, or, of beloved ones (plural and feminine)—a conjugal song. Maschil—(See on Ps 32:1, title, and Ps 42:1, title) denotes the didactic character of the Psalm; that it gives instruction, the song being of allegorical, and not literal, import. The union and glories of Christ and his Church are described. He is addressed as a king possessed of all essential graces, as a conqueror exalted on the throne of a righteous and eternal government, and as a bridegroom arrayed in nuptial splendor. The Church is portrayed in the purity and loveliness of a royally adorned and attended bride, invited to forsake her home and share the honors of her affianced lord. The picture of an Oriental wedding thus opened is filled up by representing the complimentary gifts of the wealthy with which the occasion is honored, the procession of the bride clothed in splendid raiment, attended by her virgin companions, and the entrance of the joyous throng into the palace of the king. A prediction of a numerous and distinguished progeny, instead of the complimentary wish for it usually expressed (compare Ge 24:60; Ru 4:11, 12), and an assurance of a perpetual fame, closes the Psalm. All ancient Jewish and Christian interpreters regarded this Psalm as an allegory of the purport above named. In the Song of Songs the allegory is carried out more fully. Hosea (Ho 1:1-3:5) treats the relation of God and His people under the same figure, and its use to set forth the relation of Christ and His Church runs through both parts of the Bible (compare Isa 54:5; 62:4, 5; Mt 22:3; 25:1; Joh 3:29; Eph 5:25-32, &c.). Other methods of exposition have been suggested. Several Jewish monarchs, from Solomon to the wicked Ahab, and various foreign princes, have been named as the hero of the song. But to none of them can the terms here used be shown to apply, and it is hardly probable that any mere nuptial song, especially of a heathen king, would be permitted a place in the sacred songs of the Jews. The advocates for any other than the Messianic interpretation have generally silenced each other in succession, while the application of the most rigorous rules of a fair system of interpretation has but strengthened the evidences in its favor. The scope of the Psalm above given is easy and sustained by the explication of its details. The quotation of Ps 45:6, 7 by Paul (Heb 1:8, 9), as applicable to Christ, ought to be conclusive, and their special exposition shows the propriety of such an application.
1. An animated preface indicative of strong emotion. Literally, "My heart overflows: a good matter I speak; the things which I have made," &c.
inditing—literally, "boiling up," as a fountain overflows.
my tongue is the pen—a mere instrument of God's use.
of a ready writer—that is, it is fluent. The theme is inspiring and language flows fast.
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