Psalm 45:16
Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.
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(16) Whom thou mayest make princes.—Historical illustrations have been found in 1Kings 22:26, where Joash, David’s son, appears as a governor or a prince of a city (comp. Zephaniah 1:8), and in the division of his realm into principalities by Solomon. (1Kings 4:7.)

Psalm 45:16. Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, &c. — Having directed his speech to the bride, he now returns to the bridegroom, as may be gathered both from the Hebrew words, which are of the masculine gender, and from the next verse, which unquestionably belongs unto him. And therefore this cannot be understood of Solomon, and his marriage with Pharaoh’s daughter, because he had no children by her, and but very few by all his wives and concubines; and his children were so far from being made princes in all the earth, that they enjoyed but a small part of their father’s dominions, but this was fully accomplished in Christ; who, instead of his fathers of the Jewish nation, had a numerous posterity of Christians of all the nations of the earth, which here and elsewhere are called princes and kings, because of their great power with God and with men.

45:10-17 If we desire to share these blessings, we must hearken to Christ's word. We must forget our carnal and sinful attachments and pursuits. He must be our Lord as well as our Saviour; all idols must be thrown away, that we may give him our whole heart. And here is good encouragement, thus to break off from former alliances. The beauty of holiness, both on the church and on particular believers, is, in the sight of Christ, of great price, and very amiable. The work of grace is the workmanship of the Spirit, it is the image of Christ upon the soul, a partaking of the Divine nature. It is clear of all sin, there is none in it, nor any comes from it. There is nothing glorious in the old man or corrupt nature; but in the new man, or work of grace upon the soul, every thing is glorious. The robe of Christ's righteousness, which he has wrought out for his church, the Father imputes unto her, and bestows upon her. None are brought to Christ, but those whom the Father brings. This notes the conversion of souls to him. The robe of righteousness, and garments of salvation, the change of raiment Christ has put upon her. Such as strictly cleave to Christ, loving him in singleness of heart, are companions of the bride, who partake of the very same grace, enjoy the same privileges, and share in one common salvation. These, every one, shall be brought to the King; not one lost or left behind. Instead of the Old Testament church, there shall be a New Testament church, a Gentile church. In the believing hope of our everlasting happiness in the other world, let us always keep up the remembrance of Christ, as our only way thither; and transmit the remembrance of him to succeeding generations, that his name may endure for ever.Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children - Instead of thy fame - thy celebrity - thy distinction - being derived from thine illustrious predecessors, it will be derived hereafter rather from thy sons; from the fact that they will be made princes and rulers in the earth. In our translation, this would seem to be an address to the bridal-queen, as if to console her for leaving the home of her illustrious ancestors, by the assurance that she would have children of her own, who would be still more illustrious. The connection, however, and the original; at least, in the Masoretic pointing, demands that this should be understood as an address to the king himself - the main subject in the poem, as in Psalm 45:2-9. The idea is, that he would derive his dignity and honor ultimately, not so much from his ancestors as his descendants; that those who would be born unto him would be more illustrious, and would have a wider dominion, than any who had gone before him in the line in which he was descended. It is not easy or practicable to apply this to Solomon, or to any other Hebrew prince; it is not difficult to apply it to the Messiah, and to the fact that those who would be descended spiritually from him, and who would ultimately be regarded as deriving true rank and honor from him, would far surpass in dignity all those who, in the line of kings, had been his predecessors.

Whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth - Not merely assigning to them provinces, to be governed as a part of the, empire, but in all lands, or where thy dominion shall be acknowledged all over the world. The image here is derived, undoubtedly, from the custom prevailing among kings of assigning portions of an empire as provinces to their sons. The meaning, however, considered as referring to the Messiah, is, that his luster and dignity on earth would not be derived from a distinguished earthly ancestry, or from an illustrious line of kings from whom he was descended, but from the fact that those who would derive their authority from him would yet possess the world, and that this their authority under him would extend to all lands. Compare the notes at Daniel 7:14, notes at Daniel 7:27.

16. As earthly monarchs govern widely extended empires by viceroys, this glorious king is represented as supplying all the principalities of earth with princes of his own numerous progeny.16 Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.

17 I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations; therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever.

Psalm 45:16

"Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children." The ancient saints who stood as fathers in the service of the Great King have all passed away; but a spiritual seed is found to fill their places. The veterans depart, but volunteers fill up the vacant places. The line of grace never becomes extinct. As long as time shall last, the true apostolical succession will be maintained. "Whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth." Servants of Christ are kings. Where a man has preached successfully, and evangelised a tribe or nation, he gets to himself more than regal honours, and his name is like the name of the great men that be upon the earth. Jesus is the king-maker. Ambition of the noblest kind shall win her desire in the army of Christ; immortal crowns are distributed to his faithful soldiers. The whole earth shall yet be subdued for Christ, and honoured are they, who shall, through grace, have a share in the conquest - these shall reign with Christ at his coming.

Psalm 45:17

"I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations." Jehovah by the prophet's mouth promises to the Prince of Peace eternal fame as well as a continuous progeny. His name is his fame, his character, his person; these are dear to his people now - they never can forget them; and it shall be so as long as men exist. Names renowned in one generation have been unknown to the next era, but the laurels of Jesus shall ever be fresh, his renown ever new. God will see to this; his providence and his grace shall make it so. The fame of Messiah is not left to human guardianship; the Eternal guarantees it, and his promise never fails. All down the ages the memories of Gethsemane and Calvary shall glow with unextinguishable light; nor shall the lapse of time, the smoke of error, or the malice of hell be able to dim the glory of the Redeemer's fame. "Therefore shall the people praise thee for ever and ever." They shall confess thee to be what thou art, and shall render to thee in perpetuity the homage due. Praise is due from every heart to him who loved us, and redeemed us by his blood; this praise will never be fully paid, but will be ever a standing and growing debt. His daily benefits enlarge our obligations, let them increase the number of our songs. Age to age reveals more of his love, let every year swell the volume of the music of earth and heaven, and let thunders of song roll up in full diapason to the throne of him that liveth, and was dead, and is alive for evermore, and hath the keys of hell and of death.

"Let him be crowned with majesty

Who bowed his head to death,

And be his honours sounded high

By all things that have breath."

Having directed his speech to the bride, he now returns to the bridegroom, as may be gathered both from the Hebrew words, which are of the masculine gender; and from the next verse, which unquestionably belongs unto him; yet so that he supposeth the bride to be concerned and partaker with him in the privilege here mentioned, and the children to be common to them both. And therefore this verse and Psalm cannot be understood of Solomon, and his marriage with Pharaoh’s daughter, because he had no children by her, and but very few by all his wives and concubines; and his children were so far from exceeding their parents in the largeness of their dominions, or being made princes in al the earth, as is here said, that they enjoyed but a small part of their father’s dominions, and that with many tribulations, and but for a short time. But this was most truly and fully accomplished in Christ; who instead of his fathers of the Jewish nation; from whom he descended, and by whom he was forsaken and rejected, (which here seems to be implied, and elsewhere is expressly affirmed,) had a numerous posterity of Gentile Christians of all the nations of the earth, which here and elsewhere are called princes and kings, because of their great power with God and with men, because they subdued a very great part of the world to the obedience of Christ, and ruled them in his name and stead.

Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children,.... This is an address, not to the church, the queen, the King's daughter, spoken to and of in the preceding verses, but to the King Messiah himself, who was of the Jewish fathers, according to the flesh, Romans 9:4; and though he was rejected by that people, yet he had children; not only the apostles, who are sometimes so called, whom he set on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel, in a doctrinal way, and sent into all the world to preach his Gospel; and which being attended with his mighty power, made them triumphant conquerors everywhere; but also a numerous progeny among the Gentiles: all the elect of God are his children, and he stands in the revelation of the everlasting Father to them, they being given unto him as such; and he being concerned in their adoption, by which they become children, and in their regeneration by which they appear to be such. Here the children of God, scattered abroad in the Gentile world, as distinct from the Jews, seem to be meant;

whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth; these children are princes, being the sons of a King; they look like princes, and have the spirit of such; they are treated as princes, fed, clothed, and attended on as such; and are, as princes, heirs of a kingdom: but then, they are not so originally, they are "made princes"; not by themselves, but by Christ, and who even makes them kings and priests unto God and his father: and that "in all the earth"; not with respect to earthly things: they are not made the princes of this world; but while they are on earth they are translated into the kingdom of Christ, and have a kingdom which never can be moved; and besides, they shall reign with Christ on earth a thousand years: moreover, this may have respect to the several parts of the world where they shall be, even in all parts of the world, especially in the latter day; see Isaiah 43:5.

Instead of thy fathers shall be thy {m} children, whom thou mayest make princes {n} in all the earth.

(m) They will have greater graces than their fathers.

(n) He signifies the great compass of Christ's kingdom, which will be sufficient to enrich all his members.

16. Instead of thy fathers &c.] The wish does not, as is sometimes said, imply a long line of royal ancestors, and therefore exclude the reference of the Psalm to Solomon, but rather the reverse. If he cannot boast of a long ancestry, may he at least be famous for a numerous and distinguished posterity.

whom thou mayest &c.] Better, whom thou shalt make princes in all the earth (R.V.). We might render in all the land, and compare Solomon’s governors (1 Kings 4:7 ff.), and the ‘princes of the provinces’ in the Northern Kingdom (1 Kings 20:14-15), and Rehoboam’s settlement of his sons in different fortified cities (2 Chronicles 11:23). But the reference to subject and allied peoples (Psalm 45:5; Psalm 45:17) makes it probable that in all the earth is right. Cp. Psalm 2:8; Psalm 72:8 ff.

16, 17. Concluding wishes and anticipations addressed to the king.

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). Psalm 45:16(Heb.: 45:17-18) All this has its first and most natural meaning in relation to contemporary history but without being at variance with the reference of the Psalm to the King Messiah, as used by the church. Just as the kings of Judah and of Israel allowed their sons to share in their dominion (2 Samuel 8:18; 1 Kings 4:7, cf. 2 Chronicles 11:23; 1 Kings 20:15), so out of the loving relationship of the daughter of Zion and of the virgins of her train to the King Messiah there spring up children, to whom the regal glory of the house of David which culminates in Him is transferred, - a royal race among which He divides the dominion of the earth (vid., Psalm 149:1-9); for He makes His own people "kings and priests, and they shall reign on the earth" (Revelation 5:10). Those children are to be understood here which, according to Psalm 110:1-7, are born to Him as the dew out of the womb of the morning's dawn - the every-youthful nation, by which He conquers and rules the world. When, therefore, the poet says that he will remember the name of the king throughout all generations, this is based upon the twofold assumption, that he regards himself as a member of an imperishable church (Sir. 37:25), and that he regards the king as a person worthy to be praised by the church of every age. Elsewhere Jahve's praise is called a praise that lives through all generations (Psalm 102:13; Psalm 135:13); here the king is the object of the everlasting praise of the church, and, beginning with the church, of the nations also. First of all Israel, whom the psalmist represents, is called upon to declare with praise the name of the Messiah from generation to generation. But it does not rest with Israel alone. The nations are thereby roused up to do the same thing. The end of the covenant history is that Israel and the nations together praise this love-worthy, heroic, and divine King: "His name shall endure for ever; as long as the sun shall His name bud, and all nations shall be blessed in Him (and) shall praise Him" (Psalm 72:17).
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