To the chief Musician upon Shoshannim, for the sons of Korah, Maschil, A Song of loves
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.
2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into Thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee for ever.
3 Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty.
4 And in Thy majesty ride prosperously because of truth and meekness and righteousness: and Thy right hand shall teach Thee terrible things.
5 Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king’s enemies: whereby the people fall under Thee.
6 Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of Thy kingdom is a right sceptre.
7 Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.
8 All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad.
9 Kings’ daughters were among Thy honourable women: upon Thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir.
10 Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline Thine ear: forget also Thine own people, and Thy father’s house:
11 So shall the King greatly desire thy beauty: for He is thy Lord: and worship thou Him.
12 And the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift: even the rich among the people shall intreat thy favour.
13 The King’s daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold.
14 She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto Thee.
15 With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the King’s palace.
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.
Jesus our King conquers His enemies, and He reigns in perfect and glorious beauty forever and ever.
This is a song of love for a glorious King—who has to be our Lord Jesus Christ. Such hero worship is familiar to some and uncomfortable to others. But we have good reason to worship our Hero. We are deeply impressed with our King. In the recitation of this psalm, we are loving, honoring, and praising the King of kings and Lord of lords. Even as a godly wife thinks the world of her husband, we the church stand in awe of our Bridegroom. Our hearts are consumed with a desire to glory in Jesus Christ.
Verse 1. When you write about somebody you love, it is not hard to think of what to say. It would be hard to find a lover suffering from writer’s block when writing love letters to his beloved. Love expresses itself with fluidity. As the lover looks into the eyes of his beloved, he is pressed to say something. He expresses his love with natural ease. The Psalmist here is no exception. He speaks of One who is due great honor. He speaks of the King.
But how do we know that this psalm speaks of Jesus? Remember that the covenant God made with David promised a Seed that would sit on the throne forever. There is only one King who rules forever and that is the Son of David, Jesus Christ.
Verse 2. Democratic and republican forms of government in modern nations removed the institution of the monarchy, so we might find it strange and uncomfortable to praise a king. But there are still nations like England that admire their monarchs, flawed though they may be. But we have far more reason to praise our King than any other people that have ever lived.
This psalm boasts of Christ’s perfect beauty. You can find a flaw in every single person on earth. But Jesus, though He took human nature upon Himself, is still perfect in every way— worthy of our honor and praise. We are impressed by the words of His mouth which we find in Scripture. Even His enemies were awed by His authority, and some said, “Never a man spoke like this man.” Why is this King so perfect in beauty, both in appearance and speech? It is because He is the beloved, only begotten Son of God, blessed of God the Father forever and ever.
Verses 3–7. Now the psalm speaks of the King riding into battle to conquer His enemies. You ask, “What enemies?” Anyone who opposes the King and embraces wickedness is the enemy. Another characteristic added to the litany of all that is praiseworthy in this King is His power. Wherever He rides, this King works powerfully in the hearts and institutions of men. His arsenal of weapons is filled with truth, meekness, and righteousness. He conquers by humility. When Jesus submitted himself to the lowest humiliation at the cross, He conquered principalities and powers there. As some have said, “He stooped to conquer.” His other weapons are truth and righteousness—that is, God’s law taught, obeyed, and executed in family, church, and state.
His arrows are sharp and no one can stop these weapons of war. For there are only two possible scenarios in this war— there are those who fall upon Jesus and are broken, and then there are those upon whom Jesus falls and they are ground into powder.
Verse 6 is an acknowledgement of Jesus’ deity. This King is God, and this renders just cause for the highest praise of all. This King, who is a man like us, is also King of kings and God of gods, and His reign shall never end. Though other kings may have held the position for as long as fifty years, there has still never been an empire or dynasty that lasted more than a few hundred years. But the kingdom of our Lord has no end. The boundaries of this kingdom extend into every corner of the world and continually grow with each succeeding century of world history. Here is a King worth praising!
The sides in this battle are well defined in this kingdom conquest. Anyone who takes the side of our King loves righteousness and hates wickedness, as defined by the law of this King. While we may love righteousness a little bit and hate wickedness a little, Jesus is the greatest lover and hater of all. Because of His commitment to righteousness, God the Father has chosen Jesus and anointed him as King above all the men who have ever lived.
Verses 8–9. Now the psalm moves from the military context back to the relationship that this King has with His people. We actually delight in our King. Is Jesus the one that we love? The lover is drawn to the one he loves. He is drawn by her voice, by the smell of her perfume, and by her looks. Being in the presence of the one he loves is a pleasant experience for him. In like manner, we find great joy in the presence of our King. Everything about Him is delightful. We are drawn to His words, His righteousness, His wisdom, and His life.
Everything about our King is glorious, for even His palaces are made out of ivory. Do you know how hard it is to obtain one piece of ivory? Imagine a palace made of ivory! There is no expense to be spared in the service of the King. Even those that assist Him in His courts are not twelve-dollar-per-hour servants. For the daughters of kings do not think it beneath them to wait on this King.
Verses 10–17. The reference to the princess decked out in royal garment appears to be as a bride for the King. In passages like Ephesians 5 and Revelation 20, we find this bride of the King to be the church of Christ. Even as a woman must leave her father’s household when she gets married, those of us who make up the church of Jesus Christ must leave the world to come into relationship with Him. No greater analogy of joy can be found than that of the bride who enters the palace or the church sanctuary on her wedding day to be joined in matrimony with her groom. This is the gladness and rejoicing spoken of in verse 15.
Verse 11 presents a comforting word concerning the love our King has for His church. He desires the beauty of the church. Of course, we know that He loved the church and gave His life for it, that He might present it to Himself “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing” (Eph. 5:27). Our Lord makes His church beautiful. Through the fire of trials and by the power of the Spirit of God, brothers and sisters in the church learn to love one another and give their lives for each other. It is the beauty of joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, and faith that clothes this bride of Christ. These are the sparkling robes of gold that God has woven for His beautiful bride.
In time, the church will begin to attract others, including pagan nations (like Tyre) or worldly institutions. What used to be wicked governments and cannibalistic tribes eventually come to pay homage to the bride of Christ, the church. We are seeing this happen in our time.
The victory of the church is promised in verse 16. Although God’s people have been marginalized, persecuted, despised, and even reduced to living in caves during some periods in history, the posterity of these faithful men will be princes in the earth. As time progresses, more influence will flow into the church of Jesus Christ.
Finally, the psalm ends with a promise from Jehovah concerning the King. Jesus’ name will be remembered in all generations, and He will be praised forever and ever.
We must learn Hero worship. The world is accomplished at such things as idolizing pop stars or even material things made out of rocks and oil. But Christians must learn to worship and adore One who is exalted far above all rock stars and movie stars and earthly kings. We must find Jesus more attractive than all others, including our own parents, spouses, and children.
Our worship must include an expression of honor, love, and admiration for Jesus Christ our King and our Bridegroom. This psalm sings of Christ’s beauty, Christ’s powerful strength, the relationship of Christ with His church, and Christ’s praise. Without this hero worship of Jesus Christ—our conquering King—worship would be impoverished.
1. Who is the King?
2. How do we know this is Jesus?
3. What does the Psalmist admire about Jesus in this psalm?
4. Who is the daughter of the king mentioned in this psalm?
5. Give several examples of Messianic psalms.
1. Do we admire our King as much as worldly people admire their little gods? What would it look like if we were really impressed with our King Jesus?
2. What sorts of things encourage you to honor and praise Jesus your King?