Psalm 45:4
And in thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.
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(4) And in thy majesty.—The repetition of this word from the last verse (conjunction included) is suspicious, especially as the LXX., followed by the Vulg., render, “Direct (thine arrows or thine aim”).

Ride prosperously . . .—Literally, proceed, ride; expressing, according to a common Hebrew usage, by two verbs what we express by adverb and verb.

Because of . . .—Better, In behalf of. So LXX. and Vulg. There is a difficulty from the absence of the conjunction in the Hebrew before the last of the triad of virtues. The LXX. have it, but may have supplied it, as the Authorised Version does. Some render, “meek righteousness,” or, slightly changing the pointing, “the afflicted righteous.”

And thy right hand shall teach . . .—If we keep this rendering, we must picture the warrior with his right hand extended, pointing to the foe whom he is about to strike with his deadly arrows. But even this seems somewhat tame; and as the verb rendered “teach” is in 1Samuel 20:20 used for “shooting arrows,” and “arrows” are mentioned immediately in the next verse, it seems obvious to render: And thy right hand shall shoot terrors, or, terribly. (Comp. Psalm 65:5.)

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.And in thy majesty ride prosperously - Margin, "Prosper thou, ride thou." The majesty here referred to is the glory or magnificence which became a prince of such rank, and going forth to such deeds. The prayer is, that he would go forth with the pomp and glory becoming one in that station. The word used here, rendered in the margin, "prosper thou," means properly to go over or through, to pass over, and may be correctly rendered here, pass on; that is, move forward to conquest. The word "ride" refers to the way in which warriors usually went forth to conquest in a chariot of war. The idea is that of one caparisoned for war, and with the glory appropriate to his rank as king, going forth to victory. This language is such as is often employed in the Scriptures to describe the Messiah as a conquering king.

Because of truth - On account of truth; or in the cause of truth. That is, the great purpose of his conquests would be to establish a kingdom based on truth, in contradistinction from the existing kingdom of darkness as based on error and falsehood. The "object" of his conquests was to secure the reign of truth over the minds of people. Compare John 18:37.

And meekness and righteousness - literally, "humility-righteousness;" or, humble right. It would be a kingdom or a conquest of righteousness," not" established, as most kingdoms are, by pride and arrogance and mere power, but a dominion where humility, meekness, gentleness would be at the foundation - that on which the whole superstructure would be reared. Its characteristic would be righteousness or justice - a righteousness and justice, however, not asserted and established by mere power, or by the pride of conquest, but which would be established and maintained by meekness or gentleness: a kingdom not of outward pomp and power, but the reign of the gentle virtues in the heart.

And thy right hand - The instrument of martial power and success; that which, in war, wields the sword and the spear. "Shall teach thee." Shall guide thee, or lead thee to the performance of terrible things.

Terrible things - Fearful deeds; things that are suited to excite astonishment or wonder. They were such things as would be regarded as distinguished achievements in war, indicating extraordinary valor; such conquests as would strike the world with amazement. We have here, therefore, a description of the Messiah as going forth to the great conquest of the world; and at the same time we have this intimation of the nature of his kingdom, that however great the "power" which would be exerted in securing its conquests, it would be founded on "truth:" it would be a kingdom where righteousness would prevail, and whose essential characteristic would be gentleness and peace.

4. ride prosperously—or conduct a successful war.

because of—for the interests of truth, &c.

meekness … righteousness—without any connection—that is, a righteousness or equity of government, distinguished by meekness or condescension (Ps 18:35).

right hand—or power, as its organ.

shall teach thee—point the way to terrible things; that is, in conquest of enemies.

In thy majesty; being thus gloriously or magnificently girt and armed. Ride prosperously; march on speedily (which is signified by riding) and successfully against thine enemies, i.e. thou shalt do so, as it is in the last clause,

shall teach thee. So imperatives are oft put for futures, and predictions are expressed in the form of commands or exhortations.

Because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; or, because of thy truth, &c., i.e. because thou art worthy of this dominion and success; for thou neither didst obtain nor wilt manage thy kingdom by deceit or violence and unrighteousness, as the princes of the earth frequently do, but with truth and faithfulness, with meekness and gentleness towards thy people, and to all that shall submit to thee; with impartial justice and equity, whereby thy throne will be established, Proverbs 16:12 20:28. Or, as it is in the Hebrew, word for word, upon the word of truth, &c.; which may seem best to suit with the foregoing words, which according to the Hebrew are, prosper thou, ride thou, and then immediately follows, upon the Word of truth, &c., to wit, the gospel; which is oft called truth, as John 8:32 Colossians 1:5, &c., and the word of truth, Ephesians 1:13; and may no less truly be called the word of meekness, because it is not delivered with terror, as the law was at Sinai, but meekly and sweetly by Christ, and by his ministers, Matthew 21:5 2 Timothy 2:25; and the word of righteousness, because it brings in everlasting righteousness, Daniel 9:24, and strongly obligeth and exciteth all men to the practice of righteousness and holiness. And so the gospel is compared to a horse or chariot, upon which Christ is said to ride, when the gospel is preached, and carried about from place to place, Revelation 19:11. And this may be here added, to show the great difference between the kingdoms of the world, that are managed with outward pomp and glory, and the kingdom of Christ, which is a spiritual kingdom, and, like a spouse, Psalm 45:13, all glorious wi&in, as consisting in spiritual virtues and graces, truth, meekness, and righteousness. Thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things, i.e. thou shalt do great and glorious exploits, which shall be grievous and terrible to thine enemies, as the next verse explains it, and this not by great forces, and the assistance of others, but by thine own single power; compare Isaiah 63:3; which doth by no means agree to Solomon, who was a man of peace, and not engaged in any martial actions against his enemies; and if he had done any thing considerable in that kind, he could not do it by his own right hand, but by the help of his soldiers. But this doth excellently agree to the Messias, and to him only.

Object. The things which were done by the Messias at his first coming were rather comfortable than terrible.

Answ. They were indeed comfortable to all good men, but withal they were terrible to the ungodly, and particularly to the body of the Jewish nation, to whom Christ was a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence, and an occasion of their utter destruction. And upon that and other accounts, not only Christ’s second, but even his first coming, is represented as dreadful, as Joel 2:30 Malachi 3:2, and elsewhere. For the phrase, thy right hand shall teach thee, it is not to be taken properly, for so he taught his hand, and not his hand him; but the meaning is, that his hand should show him, i.e. discover and work before him; for verbal words are oft understood really; as calling is put for being, as Isaiah 1:26 9:6; so teaching or showing is put for doing, as Psalm 16:11 60:3.

And in thy majesty ride prosperously,.... Not literally, as was prophesied of him he should, and as he did, Zechariah 9:9; but mystically and spiritually, either in the chariots of angels up to heaven, Psalm 68:17; or on the white horse of the Gospel, with his bow and arrows after mentioned, conquering and to conquer, Revelation 6:2; and where he rides "in his majesty", showing forth his glory both as a divine Person and as Mediator; and which is very conspicuous in the Gospel, and the ministry of it; and also "prosperously", as he did in the first preaching of the word by the apostles, when it was made the power of God to salvation to multitudes, and the Lord caused them to triumph in Christ everywhere; and as he will in the latter day, when the Jews will be converted, and the fulness of the Gentiles brought in;

because of truth, and meekness, and righteousness; either because he himself is "truth", the truth of all types, promises, prophecies, and doctrines; or because of the Gospel of truth which comes by him; or on account of his truth and faithfulness in fulfilling his own engagements, and the promises of his father: and because of the "meekness" which was so apparent in him, in taking upon him the form of a servant; in his marriage to sinners, and conversation with them; in ministering: to his disciples; in his conduct towards his enemies; and in seeking not his own glory, but his Father's: and because of "righteousness", the holiness of his nature, the purity of his life and actions; and because of the righteousness he is the author of to his people, and of his righteous administration of his offices, especially as a King;

and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things; or thy power, which the right hand is a symbol of, shall perform terrible things; as it did in the work of redemption, by conquering and destroying the enemies of his people, and of himself; and as it does in the conversion of men, which makes terrible work in their consciences, as the instances of the three thousand, of Saul, and of the jailer show; and as it has in his judgments on his enemies the Jews, in the utter ruin of their nation, city, and temple; and will do on all the antichristian powers in the latter day. The Targum paraphrases it,

"the Lord shall teach thee to do terrible things with thy right hand (f).''

(f) "Dextra mihi Deus", &c. Virgil. Aeneid. 10. prope finem.

And in thy majesty {d} ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness; and thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things.

(d) He alludes to them, who ride in chariots in their triumphs, showing that the quiet state of a kingdom stands in truth, meekness and justice, and not in worldly pomp and vanity.

4. And in thy majesty] The single word of the original is an exact repetition of the last word of Psalm 45:3. Such repetitions are a common poetical figure; but the construction is harsh, the prep. in not being expressed; the word is omitted by the Syr. (probably) and Jer. (ed. Lagarde); and may be due to an early error of transcription. The consonants are recognised by the LXX, but differently vocalised and rendered, and bend [thy bow]. This rendering however involves a doubtful ellipse, and the mention of the bow is hardly in place here.

ride prosperously] Ride on victoriously, on warhorse or in chariot, forcing a way irresistibly through the ranks of the enemy.

because of truth] Better, in the cause of truth: in defence and furtherance of virtues which are trampled under foot in evil times and under bad rulers. (Isaiah 59:14-15). Truth and righteousness are the constant attributes of the true king: meekness is the characteristic of the true people of God; and it is the king’s work to see that the meek have justice done them. Cp. Isaiah 11:1-5; Isaiah 29:19; Zephaniah 2:3; Psalm 37:11; Psalm 76:9; &c.

shall teach thee] Or, and let thy right hand teach thee terrible things, an epithet applied to the marvellous works of God for His people, inspiring them with a holy awe, and their foes with a panic terror (Deuteronomy 10:21; 2 Samuel 7:23; Isaiah 64:3; Psalm 65:5; Psalm 106:22; Psalm 145:6). By a bold figure the king’s right hand, i. e. his strength and courage, is said to teach or shew him terrible things, as his success in battle reveals the divine energy with which he has been endowed.

Verse 4. - And in thy majesty ride prosperously; literally, and in thy majesty go forth, ride. The riding intended is probably riding in a chariot. Because of truth and meekness and righteousness; rather, because of truth and meek-tempered righteoushess (Kay); i.e. for the purpose of vindicating truth and righteousness in the case of those who outrage them. Righteousness, however, to be really righteousness, must be combined with meekness (comp. Zephaniah 2:3). And thy right hand shall teach thee terrible things. It is the right hand wherewith the warrior strikes; and at each blow it opens to the striker terrible experiences, and thus may be said to "teach him terrible things." Psalm 45:4(Heb.: 44:4-6) In the ever blessed one the greatest strength and vigour are combined with the highest beauty. He is a hero. The praise of his heroic strength takes the form of a summons to exert it and aid the good in obtaining the victory over evil. Brightness and majesty, as the objects to חגור, alternating with the sword, are not in apposition to this which is their instrument and symbol (Hengstenberg), but permutatives, inasmuch as חגור is zeugmatically referable to both objects: the king is (1) to gird himself with his sword, and (2) to surround himself with his kingly, God-like doxa. הוד והדר is the brilliancy of the divine glory (Psalm 96:6), of which the glory of the Davidic kingship is a reflection (Psalm 21:6); mentioned side by side with the sword, it is, as it were, the panoply that surrounds the king as bright armour. In Psalm 45:5 והדרך, written accidentally a second time, is probably to be struck out, as Olshausen and Hupfeld are of opinion. Hitzig points it והדרך, "and step forth;" but this is not Hebrew. As the text runs, wa-hadārcha (with Legarme preceded by Illuj, vid., Accentsystem xiii. 8c, 9) looks as though it were repeated out of Psalm 45:4 in the echo-like and interlinked style that we frequently find in the songs of degrees, e.g., Psalm 121:1-2; and in fact repeated as an accusative of more exact definition (in the same bold manner as in Psalm 17:13-14) to צלח, which, like Arab. ṣlḥ, starting from the primary notion of cleaving, breaking through, pressing forward, comes to have the notion of carrying anything through prosperously, of being successful, pervadere et bene procedere (cf. the corresponding development of signification in Arab. flḥ, 'flḥ), and, according to Ges. 142, rem. 1, gives to רכב the adverbial notion of that which is effectual (victorious) or effective and successful. We cannot determine whether רכב is here intended to say vehi curru or vehi equo; but certainly not upon a mule or an ass (1 Kings 1:33; Zechariah 9:9), which are the beasts ridden in a time of peace. The king going forth to battle either rides in a war-chariot (like Ahab and Jehoshaphat, 1 Kings 22), or upon a war-horse, as in Revelation 19:11 the Logos of God is borne upon a white horse. That which he is to accomplish as he rides forth in majesty is introduced by על־דּבר (for the sake of, on account of), which is used just as in Psalm 79:9, 2 Samuel 18:5. The combination ענוה־צדק-is very similar to עריה־בשׁת, Micah 1:11 (nakedness - ignominy equals ignominious nakedness), if ענוה equals ענוה is to be taken as the name of a virtue. The two words are then the names of virtues, like אמת (truth equals veracity, which loves and practises that which is true and which is hostile to lying, falseness, and dissimulation); and whereas צדק ענוה would signify meek righteousness, and צדק ענות, righteousness meekness, this conjunction standing in the middle between an addition and an asyndeton denotes meekness and righteousness as twin-sisters and reciprocally pervasive. The virtues named, however, stand for those who exemplify them and who are in need of help, on whose behalf the king is called upon to enter the strife: the righteous, if they are at the same time ענוים (עניּים), are doubly worthy and in need of his help. Nevertheless another explanation of ענוה presents itself, and one that is all the more probable as occurring just in this Psalm which has such a North-Palestinian colouring. The observation, that North-Palestinian writers do not always point the construct state with ath, in favour of which Hitzig, on Psalm 68:29, wrongly appeals to Hosea 10:6; Job 39:13, but rightly to Judges 7:8; Judges 8:32 (cf. Deuteronomy 33:4, Deuteronomy 33:27), is perfectly correct. Accordingly ענוה may possibly be equivalent to ענות, but not in the signification business, affair equals ענין, parallel with דּבר, but in the signification afflictio (after the form ראוה, Ezekiel 28:17); so that it may be rendered: in order to put a stop to the oppression of righteousness or the suffering of innocence. The jussive ותורך, like ויתאו in Psalm 45:12, begins the apodosis of a hypothetical protasis that is virtually there (Ew. 347, b): so shall thy right hand teach thee, i.e., lead thee forth and cause thee to see terrible things, i.e., awe-inspiring deeds.

But in Psalm 45:6 both summons and desire pass over into the expression of a sure and hopeful prospect and a vision, in which that which is to be is present to the mind: thine arrows are sharpened, and therefore deadly to those whom they hit; peoples shall fall (יפּלוּ)

(Note: It is not יפּלוּ; for the pause falls upon שׁנוּנים, and the Athnach of יפלו stands merely in the place of Zekaph (Numbers 6:12). The Athnach after Olewejored does not produce any pausal effect; vid., Psalm 50:23; Psalm 68:9, Psalm 68:14; Psalm 69:4; Psalm 129:1, and cf. supra, p. 56, note 2.)

under thee, i.e., so that thou passest over them as they lie upon the ground; in the heart of the enemies of the king, viz., they (i.e., the arrows) will stick. The harsh ellipse is explained by the fact of the poet having the scene of battle before his mind as though he were an eye-witness of it. The words "in the heart of the king's enemies" are an exclamation accompanied by a pointing with the finger. Thither, he means to say, those sharp arrows fly and smite. Crusius' explanation is similar, but it goes further than is required: apostrophe per prosopopaeiam directa ad sagittas quasi jubens, quo tendere debeant. We are here reminded of Psalm 110:2, where a similar בּקרב occurs in a prophetico-messianic connection. Moreover, even according to its reference to contemporary history the whole of this strophe sounds Messianic. The poet desires that the king whom he celebrates may rule and triumph after the manner of the Messiah; that he may succour truth and that which is truly good, and overcome the enmity of the world, or, as Psalm 2:1-12 expresses it, that the God-anointed King of Zion may shatter everything that rises up in opposition with an iron sceptre. This anointed One, however, is not only the Son of David, but also of God. He is called absolutely בּר, ὁ υἱὸς. Isaiah calls Him, even in the cradle, אל גּבּור, Isaiah 9:5, cf. Isaiah 10:21. We shall not, therefore, find it to be altogether intolerable, if the poet now addresses him as אלהים, although the picture thus far sketched is thoroughly human in all its ideality.

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