Psalms 110

PSALM CX

The Messiah sits in his kingdom at the right hand of God, his

enemies being subdued under him, 1, 2.

The nature and extent of his government, 3.

His everlasting priesthood, 4.

His execution of justice and judgment, 5, 6.

The reason on which all this is founded, his passion and

exaltation, 7.

NOTES ON PSALM CX

The Hebrew, and all the Versions, except the Arabic, attribute

this Psalm to David: nor can this be doubted, as it is thus

attributed in the New Testament; see the places in the margin. We

have in it the celebration of some great potentates accession to

the crown; but the subject is so grand, the expressions so noble,

and the object raised so far above what can be called human, that

no history has ever mentioned a prince to whom a literal

application of this Psalm can be made. To Jesus Christ alone, to

his everlasting priesthood and government, as King of kings and

Lord of lords, can it be applied.

The Jews, aware of the advantage which the Christian religion

must derive from this Psalm, have laboured hard and in vain to

give it a contrary sense. Some have attributed it to Eliezer, the

servant or steward of Abraham; and state that he composed it on

the occasion of his master's victory over the four kings at the

valley of Shaveh, Ge 14:14-17. Others say it was done by

David, in commemoration of his victory over the Philistines.

Others make Solomon the author. Some refer it to Hezekiah, and

others to Zerubbabel, &c.: but the bare reading of the Psalm will

show the vanity of these pretensions. A King is described here who

is David's Lord, and sits at the right hand of God; a conqueror,

reigning at Jerusalem, King from all eternity-having an

everlasting priesthood, Judge of all nations, triumphing over all

potentates, indefatigable in all his operations, and successful in

all his enterprises. Where has there ever appeared a prince in

whom all these characters met? There never was one, nor is it

possible that there ever can be one such, the Person excepted to

whom the Psalm is applied by the authority of the Holy Spirit

himself. That the Jews who lived in the time of our Lord believed

this Psalm to have been written by David, and that it spoke of the

Messiah alone, is evident from this, that when our Lord quoted it,

and drew arguments from it in favour of his mission, Mt 22:42,

they did not attempt to gainsay it. St. Peter, Ac 2:34, and St.

Paul, 1Co 15:25; Heb 1:13; 5:6, 10; 7:17; 10:12, 13, apply it

to show that Jesus is the Messiah. Nor was there any attempt to

contradict them; not even an intimation that they had misapplied

it, or mistaken its meaning. Many of the later Jews also have

granted that it applied to the Messiah, though they dispute its

application to Jesus of Nazareth. All the critics and commentators

whom I have consulted apply it to our Lord; nor does it appear to

me to be capable of interpretation on any other ground. Before I

proceed to take a general view of it, I shall set down the chief

of the various readings found in the MSS. on this Psalm.

Ver. 1. Said unto my Lord. Instead of ladoni, "my Lord,"

one MS. seems to have read layhovah, "Jehovah said unto

Jehovah, 'Sit thou on my right hand,'" &c. See De Rossi.

Thy footstool. hadom leragleycha, "the footstool to

thy feet." But eight MSS. drop the prefix le; and read the

word in the genitive case, with the Septuagint, Vulgate, and

Arabic. Many also read the word in the singular number.

Ver. 3. Instead of behadrey kodesh, "in the beauties

of holiness," beharerey kodesh, "in the mountains of

holiness," is the reading of thirty-four of Kennicott's MSS., and

fifty-three of those of De Rossi, and also of several printed

editions.

Instead of yaldutheca, "of thy youth,"

yaladticha, "I have begotten thee," is the reading, as to the

consonants, of sixty-two of Kennicott's and twenty-three of

De Rossi's MSS., and of some ancient editions, with the

Septuagint, Arabic, and Anglo-Saxon.

Ver. 4. After the order, al dibrathi,

dibratho, "HIS order," is the reading of twelve of Kennicott's

and De Rossi's MSS.

Ver. 5. The Lord, adonai: but Yehovah is the

reading of a great number of the MSS. in the above collections.

Ver. 6. Instead of baggoyim, "among the heathens" or

nations, goyim, "he shall judge the heathen," is the

reading of one ancient MS.

Instead of rosh, "the head," rashey, "the heads,"

is the reading of one MS., with the Chaldee, Septuagint, Vulgate,

and Anglo-Saxon.

Ver. 7. For yarim, "he shall lift up," yarom,

"shall be lifted up," is the reading of six MSS. and the Syriac.

Instead of rosh, "THE head," rosho, "HIS head,"

is the reading of two MSS. and the Syriac.

A few add halelu Yah, "Praise ye Jehovah;" but this was

probably taken from the beginning of the following Psalm.

The learned Venema has taken great pains to expound this Psalm:

he considers it a Divine oracle, partly relating to David's Lord,

and partly to David himself.

1. David's Lord is here inducted to the highest honour, regal

and sacerdotal, with the promise of a most flourishing kingdom,

founded in Zion, but extending every where, till every enemy

should be subdued.

2. David is here promised God's protection; that his enemies

shall never prevail against him; but he must go through many

sufferings in order to reach a state of glory.

3. The time in which this oracle or prophecy was delivered was

probably a little after the time when David had brought home the

ark, and before he had his wars with the neighbouring idolatrous

nations. The kingdom was confirmed in his hand; but it was not yet

extended over the neighbouring nations.

Verse 1. The Lord said unto my Lord] Jehovah said unto my Adonai.

That David's Lord is the Messiah, is confirmed by our Lord himself

and by the apostles Peter and Paul, as we have already seen.

Sit thou at my right hand] This implies the possession of the

utmost confidence, power, and preeminence.

Until I make thine enemies] Jesus shall reign till all his

enemies are subdued under him. Jesus Christ, as GOD, ever dwelt in

the fulness of the Godhead; but it was as God-man that, after his

resurrection, he was raised to the right hand of the Majesty on

high, ever to appear in the presence of God for us.

Verse 2. The rod of thy strength] The Gospel-the doctrine of

Christ crucified; which is the powerful sceptre of the Lord that

bought us; is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged

sword; and is the power of God to salvation to all them that

believe.

The kingdom of our Lord was to be founded in Zion, and thence,

by gradual conquests, to be extended over the whole earth. It was

in Zion the preaching of the Gospel first began; and it is by the

Gospel that Christ rules, even in the midst of his enemies; for

the Gospel extends a moralizing influence over multitudes who do

not receive it to their salvation.

Verse 3. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power]

This verse has been wofully perverted. It has been supposed to

point out the irresistible operation of the grace of God on the

souls of the elect, thereby making them willing to receive Christ

as their Saviour. Now, whether this doctrine be true or false, it

is not in this text, nor can it receive the smallest countenance

from it. There has been much spoken against the doctrine of what

is called free will by persons who seem not to have understood the

term. Will is a free principle. Free will is as absurd as bound

will, it is not will if it be not free; and if it be bound it

is no will. Volition is essential to the being of the soul, and to

all rational and intellectual beings. This is the most essential

discrimination between matter and spirit. MATTER can have no

choice; SPIRIT has. Ratiocination is essential to intellect; and

from these volition is inseparable. God uniformly treats man as a

free agent; and on this principle the whole of Divine revelation

is constructed, as is also the doctrine of future rewards and

punishments. If man be forced to believe, he believes not at all;

it is the forcing power that believes, not the machine forced. If

he be forced to obey, it is the forcing power that obeys; and he,

as a machine, shows only the effect of this irresistible force. If

man be incapable of willing good, and nilling evil, he is

incapable of being saved as a rational being; and if he acts only

under an overwhelming compulsion, he is as incapable of being

damned. In short, this doctrine reduces him either to a punctum

stans, which by the vis inertiae is incapable of being moved but

as acted upon by foreign influence; or, as an intellectual being,

to nonentity. "But if the text supports the doctrine laid upon it,

vain are all these reasonings." Granted. Let us examine the text.

The Hebrew words are the following: ammecha

nedaboth beyom cheylecha, which literally translated are, Thy

princely people, or free people, in the day of thy power; and are

thus paraphrased by the Chaldee: "Thy people, O house of Israel,

who willingly labour in the law, thou shalt be helped by them in

the day that thou goest to battle."

The Syriac has: "This praiseworthy people in the day of thy

power."

The Vulgate: "With thee is the principle or origin (principium)

in the day of thy power." And this is referred, by its

interpreters, to the Godhead of Christ; and they illustrate it by

Joh 1:1:

In principio erat Verbum, "In the beginning was the Word."

The Septuagint is the same; and they use the word as St. John

has it in the Greek text: μετασουηαρχηενημερατηςδυναμεως

σου "With thee is the Arche, or principle, in the day of thy

power."

The AEthiopic is the same; and the Arabic nearly so, but rather

more express: "The government, [Arabic] riasat, exists with thee

in the day of thy power."

The Anglo-Saxon, [A.S.]. With thee the principle in day of thy

greatness."

The old Psalter, With the begynnyngs in day of thi vertu. Which

it thus paraphrases: "I, the fader begynnyng with the, begynnyng I

and thou, an begynnyng of al thyng in day of thi vertu."

Coverdale thus: "In the day of thy power shal my people offre

the free-will offeringes with a holy worship." So Tindal,

Cardmarden, Beck, and the Liturgic Version.

The Bible printed by Barker, the king's printer, 4to. Lond.

1615, renders the whole verse thus: "Thy people shall come

willingly at the time of assembling thine army in the holy beauty;

the youth of thy womb shall be as the morning dew."

By the authors of the Universal History, vol. iii., p. 223, the

whole passage is thus explained: "The Lord shall send the rod, or

sceptre, of thy power out of Sion," i.e., out of the tribe of

Judah: compare Ge 49:20, and Ps 78:68. "Rule thou over thy

free-will people;" for none, but such are fit to be Christ's

subjects: see Mt 11:29. "In the midst of thine enemies," Jews and

heathens; or, in a spiritual sense, the world, the flesh, and the

devil. "In the day of thy power," i.e., when all power shall be

given him, both in heaven and earth; Mt 28:18. "In the beauties

of holiness," which is the peculiar characteristic of Christ's

reign, and of his religion.

None of the ancient Versions, nor of our modern translations,

give any sense to the words that countenances the doctrine above

referred to; it merely expresses the character of the people who

shall constitute the kingdom of Christ. nadab signifies to be

free, liberal, willing, noble; and especially liberality in

bringing offerings to the Lord, Ex 25:2; 35:21, 29. And

nadib signifies a nobleman, a prince, Job 21:8; and also

liberality. nedabah signifies a free-will offering-an

offering made by superabundant gratitude; one not commanded: see

Ex 36:3; Le 7:16, and elsewhere. Now the

am nedaboth is the people of liberality-the princely, noble, and

generous people; Christ's real subjects; his own children, who

form his Church, and are the salt of the world; the bountiful

people, who live only to get good from God that they may do good

to man. Is there, has there ever been, any religion under heaven

that has produced the liberality, the kindness, the charity,

that characterize Christianity? Well may the followers of Christ

be termed the am nedaboth-the cheerfully beneficent people. They

hear his call, come freely, stay willingly, act nobly, live

purely, and obey cheerfully.

The day of Christ's power is the time of the Gospel, the reign

of the Holy Spirit in the souls of his people. Whenever and

wherever the Gospel is preached in sincerity and purity, then

and there is the day or time of Christ's power. It is the time of

his exaltation. The days of his flesh were the days of his

weakness; the time of his exaltation is the day of his power.

In the beauties of holiness] behadrey kodesh, "In

the splendid garments of holiness." An allusion to the beautiful

garments of the high priest. Whatever is intended or expressed by

superb garments, they possess, in holiness of heart and life,

indicative of their Divine birth, noble dispositions, courage, &c.

Their garb is such as becomes the children of so great a King. Or,

They shall appear on the mountains of holiness, bringing glad

tidings to Zion.

From the womb of the morning] As the dew flows from the womb of

the morning, so shall all the godly from thee. They are the dew of

thy youth; they are the offspring of thy own nativity. As the

human nature of our Lord was begotten by the creative energy of

God in the womb of the Virgin; so the followers of God are born,

not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, but by the Divine

Spirit.

Youth may be put here, not only for young men, but for

soldiers;-so the Trojana juventus "the Trojan troops," or

soldiers, in Virgil, AEn. i. ver. 467;-and for persons,

courageous, heroic, strong, active, and vigorous. Such were the

apostles, and first preachers of the Gospel; and, indeed, all

genuine Christians. They may be fully compared to dew, for the

following reasons:-

1. Like dew, they had their origin from heaven.

2. Like dew, they fructified the earth.

3. Like dew, they were innumerable.

4. Like dew, they were diffused over the earth.

5. Like dew, they came from the morning; the dawn, the beginning

of the Gospel day of salvation.

1. As the morning arises in the EAST, and the sun, which

produces it, proceeds to the WEST; so was the coming of the Son of

man, and of his disciples and apostles.

2. They began in the EAST-Asia Proper and Asia Minor; and shone

unto the WEST-Europe, America, &c. Scarcely any part of the world

has been hidden from the bright and enlivening power of the Sun of

Righteousness; and now this glorious sun is walking in the

greatness of its strength.

Saw ye not the cloud arise,

Little as a human hand?

Now it spreads along the skies,

Hangs o'er all the thirsty land.

Lo, the promise of a shower

Drops already from above;

But the Lord will shortly pour

All the spirit of his love.

The heavenly dew is dropping every where from the womb of the

morning; and all the ends of the earth are about to see the

salvation of God.

Verse 4. The Lord hath sworn] Has most firmly purposed, and will

most certainly perform it, feeling himself bound by his purpose,

as an honest man would by his oath.

And will not repent] Will never change this purpose; it is

perfectly without condition, and without contingency. Nothing is

left here to the will of man or angel. Christ shall be incarnated,

and the Gospel of his salvation shall be preached over the whole

earth. This is an irresistible decree of that God who loves

mankind.

Thou art a priest for ever] The word cohen signifies,

not only a priest, but also a prince; as, in the patriarchal

times, most heads of families had and exercised both political and

sacerdotal authority over all their descendants. Every priest had

a threefold office: 1. He was an instructor of the family or tribe

over which he presided. 2. He offered sacrifices for the sins of

the people, to reconcile them to God, and give them access to his

presence. 3. He was their mediator, and interceded for them. So is

Christ, the grand, the universal Instructor, by his word and

Spirit; the Lamb of God, who, by his sacrificial offering of

himself, takes away the sin of the world, and still continues to

exhibit himself before the throne in his sacrificial character;

and also the great Mediator between God and man: and in these

characters he is a PRIEST for ever. He will instruct, apply the

sacrificial offering, and intercede for man, till time shall be no

more.

After the order of Melchizedek.] For the elucidation of this

point, the reader is requested to refer to the notes on

Ge 14:18, 19, See Clarke on Ge 14:18; "Ge 14:19"

and to the observations at the end of that chapter,

See Clarke on Ge 14:24, where the subject,

relative to the person, name, and office of this ancient king, is

fully discussed; and it will be necessary to read that note, &c.,

as if appended to this place.

Melchizedek was king of Salem, that is, king of Jerusalem; for

Salem was its ancient name: but salem signifies peace,

and tsedek, righteousness. Christ is styled the Prince of

peace; and he is the king that rules in the empire of

righteousness; and all peace and righteousness proceed from him,

Heb 7:2.

He is priest after the order of Melchizedek-after his pattern;

in the same kind or manner of way in which this ancient king was

priest.

Calmet properly observes that there were three orders of

priesthood. 1. That of royalty. All ancient kings being, in

virtue of their office, priests also. This seems to have been

considered as the natural right of royalty, as it obtained in

almost every nation of the earth, from the beginning of the world

down to the end of the Roman empire. 2. That of the first-born.

This right appertained naturally to Reuben, as the first-born in

the family of Jacob. 3. That of the Levites, instituted by God

himself, and taken from Reuben, because of his transgression. The

Levitical priesthood ended with the Jewish polity; and that also

of the first-born, which had been absorbed in it. This order,

therefore, was not perpetual; it was intended to last only for a

time. But that of royalty is perpetual, though not now in general

use, because founded in what is called natural right. It is,

therefore, according to this most ancient order, that Christ is a

Priest for ever. The kings of England as heads of the Church

appointing all bishops, continue to assume, in a certain way, this

original right.

Melchizedek is said to be "without father without mother,

without beginning of days, or end of life." We have no account of

his parents; nothing of his birth; nothing of his death. Christ,

as to his Divine nature, is without father or mother, and without

beginning of days; nor can he have any end. Other priests could

not continue by reason of death; but he is the Eternal, he cannot

die, and therefore can have no successor: "He is a priest FOR

EVER." Therefore, as Melchizedek was a priest and a king, and

had no successor, so shall Christ be: of the increase and

government of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Melchizedek was priest of the Most High God; and consequently

not of one people or nation, but of the universe. Aaron was

priest of one people, and for a time only; JESUS is priest of all

mankind, and for ever. He tasted death for every man; he is the

King eternal; he has the keys of hell and of death. As God is the

King and Governor of all human beings, Christ, being the priest of

the Most High God, must also be the priest for and over all whom

this most high God made and governs; and therefore he is the

priest, the atoning sacrifice, of the whole human race. In this

the main similitude consists between the order of Melchizedek and

that of Christ.

Verse 5. The Lord at thy right hand] Here Venema thinks the

Psalm speaks of David. As Jesus is at the right hand of God, so he

will be at thy hand, giving thee all the support and comfort

requisite.

Shall strike through kings] As he did in the case of Abraham,

Ge 14:1-16, (for to this there seems to be an allusion,) where

he smote four kings, and filled the pits with the dead bodies of

their troops. That the allusion is to the above transaction seems

the most probable; because in the same chapter, where the defeat

of the four kings is mentioned, we have the account of Melchizedek

coming to meet Abraham, and receiving the tenth of the spoils.

Verse 6. He shall judge among the heathen] David shall greatly

extend his dominion, and rule over the Idumeans, Moabites,

Philistines, &c.

He shall fill-with the dead bodies] He shall fill pits-make

heaps of slain; there shall be an immense slaughter among his

enemies.

He shall wound the heads] He shall so bring down the power of

all the neighbouring kings, as to cause them to acknowledge him as

their lord, and pay him tribute.

Verse 7. He shall drink of the brook in the way] He shall have

sore travail, and but little ease and refreshment: but he shall

still go on from conquering to conquer.

Therefore shall he lift up the head.] Or his head. He shall

succeed in all his enterprises, and at last be peaceably settled

in his ample dominions.

But these verses, as well as the former, may be applied to our

Lord. The fifth verse may be an address to Jehovah: Adonai at thy

right hand, O Jehovah, shall smite kings-bring down all powers

hostile to his empire, in the day of his wrath-when, after having

borne long, he arises and shakes terribly the rulers of the earth.

Ver. 6. He shall judge, give laws, among the heathen-send his

Gospel to the whole Gentile world. He shall fill the field of

battle with the dead bodies of the slain, who had resisted his

empire, and would not have him to reign over them.

He shall wound the heads over many countries.-This must be

spoken against some person possessing a very extensive sway.

Perhaps Antichrist is meant; he who has so many countries under

his spiritual domination. Christ shall destroy every person, and

every thing, which opposes the universal spread of his own empire.

He will be a King, as well as a Priest for ever.

Ver. 7. He shall drink of the brook-he shall suffer sorely, and

even die in the struggle: but in that death his enemies shall all

perish; and he shall lift up the head-he shall rise again from the

dead, possessing all power in heaven and earth, ascend to the

throne of glory, and reign till time shall be no more. He must

suffer and die, in order to have the triumphs already mentioned.

While all have acknowledged that this Psalm is of the utmost

importance, and that it speaks of Christ's priesthood and

victories, it is amazing how various the interpretations are

which are given of different passages. I have endeavoured to give

the general sense in the preceding notes, and to explain all the

particular expressions that have been thought most difficult: and

by giving the various readings from the MSS., have left it to the

learned reader to make farther improvements.

It has, however, long appeared to me that there is a key by

which all the difficulties in the Psalm may be unlocked. As this

has not been suggested by any other, as far as I know, I shall

without apology lay it before the reader:-

The hundred and tenth Psalm is a WAR SONG, and every phrase and

term in it is MILITARY.

1. In the first place may be considered here the proclamation of

the Divine purpose relative to the sacerdotal, prophetic, and

regal offices of the LORD JESUS CHRIST: "Jehovah said unto my

Lord, SIT THOU ON MY RIGHT HAND."

2. A grievous battle, and consequent victory over the enemy,

foretold: I WILL MAKE THINE ENEMIES THE FOOTSTOOL TO THY FEET,

Ps 110:1.

3. The ensign displayed: "THE LORD SHALL SEND FORTH THE ROD OF

THY STRENGTH; the pole on which the banner shall be displayed, at

the head of his strength-his numerous and powerful forces.

4. The inscription, device, or motto on this ensign: "RULE

THOU IN THE MIDST OF THINE ENEMIES," Ps 110:2.

5. The muster of the troops. A host of bold, spirited

volunteers; not mercenaries, neither kidnapped nor impressed;

but am nedaboth, a volunteer people; high-born, loyal

subjects; veteran soldiers; every man bringing gifts to his

General and King.

6. The regimentals or uniform in which they shall appear: "THE

BEAUTIES OF HOLINESS; hadrey kodesh, the splendid

garments of holiness. The apparel showing the richness of the

King, and the worth and order of the soldiers; every man

being determined to do his duty, and feeling assured of conquest.

The Lacedaemonian soldiers were clothed in scarlet; and never went

to battle without crowns and garlands upon their heads, being

always sure of victory. Potter's Ant., vol. ii., p. 55.

7. The number of the troops: THEY SHALL BE AS THE DROPS OF DEW

AT BREAK OF DAY:-innumerable; and this shall be in consequence

yalduthecha, of thy nativity-the manifestation of Jesus.

THOU shalt be born unto men; THEY shall be born of thy Spirit,

Ps 110:3.

8. The title of the commander: "THOU ART A PRIEST," cohen,

a Priest and a Prince. So was Agamemnon in Homer, and

AEneas in Virgil. Both were princes; both were priests and

both were heroes.

9. The perpetuity of this office: "FOR EVER;" leolam,

for futurity-for all time-till the earth and the heavens are no

more.

10. The resolution of setting up such a Priest and King,

and levying such an army: ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.

The Commander, muster, and establishment of the corps shall be

according to the plan of that ancient king and priest; or,

translating the words literally, al dabarti

malki tsedek, all shall be executed as I have spoken to my

righteous king; I have sworn, and will not change my purpose. All

my purposes shall be fulfilled. This speaking may refer to the

purpose, Ps 110:1, confirmed by an

oath, Ps 110:4.

11. Victory gained: ADONAI AT THY RIGHT HAND HATH TRANSFIXED

( machats) KINGS IN THE DAY OF HIS WRATH, i.e., of battle and

victory. Jesus, the Almighty King and Conqueror, fights and gains

his battles, while sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on

high, Ps 110:5.

12. Judgment instituted and executed: "HE SHALL JUDGE AMONG THE

HEATHEN," baggoyim, among the nations. He shall bring forth,

judge, and condemn his enemies; and he shall fill pits with the

bodies of executed criminals, Ps 110:6.

13. False religion, supporting itself by the secular arm, under

the name of true religion, shall be destroyed.

machats rosh al erets rabbah; "He smites the head that is over

an extensive land" or country. The priesthood that is not

according to the order of Melchizedek shall be destroyed; and all

government that is not according to him who is the eternal King

and Priest, shall be brought down and annihilated. Who is this

great HEAD? this usurping power? this antichristian authority? Let

the Italian archbishop answer, Ps 110:6.

14. Refreshment and rest, the fruits of the victories which have

been gained: "HE SHALL DRINK OF THE BROOK IN THE WAY; THEREFORE,

SHALL HE LIFT UP THE HEAD." He and his victorious army, having

defeated and pursued his enemies, and being spent with fatigue and

thirst, are refreshed by drinking from a rivulet providentially

met with in the way. But the rout being now complete and final,

15. The emperor is proclaimed and triumphs: God lifts up the

HEAD,- rosh, the CHIEF, the CAPTAIN; as the word often means.

Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, has a complete triumph;

eternal peace and tranquillity are established. The Messiah is all

in all-the last enemy, Death, is destroyed. Jesus, having

overcome, has sat down with the Father upon his throne; and his

soldiers, having also overcome through the blood of the Lamb,

seated with him on the same throne, are for ever with the Lord.

They see him as he is; and eternally contemplate and enjoy his

glory:-

"Far from a world of grief and sin,

With God eternally shut in."

Hallelujah! The Lord God Omnipotent reigneth! Amen, Amen.

ANALYSIS OF THE ONE HUNDRED AND TENTH PSALM

This Psalm is short in appearance, but deep and copious in

mysteries. The subject, without doubt, is Christ; since both St.

Peter (Ac 2:34) and

St. Paul (Heb 1:13) expound it of Christ; and in Mt 22:44,

Christ applies it to himself.

In this Psalm Christ is described as a Priest and a King.

I. Christ's kingdom, in the three first verses.

II. His priesthood, from the fourth to the seventh.

I. In reference to his kingdom the prophet acquaints us, 1. With

his person; 2. With his power, and the acquisition of it; 3. The

continuance of it; 4. The execution of it-First, Over his enemies;

Secondly, Over his own people, which is the sum of the three first

verses.

1. The person who was to reign was David's Lord; his son

according to the flesh, but his Lord as equal to God; Php 2:6, 7.

As made flesh, and born of a virgin, the son of David; but as

Immanuel, the Lord of David, which the Jews not understanding

could not reply to Christ's question, Mt 22:45.

2. As to his power, the Author of it was God: "The Lord said to

my Lord," &c. Decreed it from everlasting. And again, "The Seed of

the woman," &c.

3. And of his kingdom. He took possession, when the Lord said

unto him, "Sit thou on my right hand." Christ, as the Son of God,

was ever at God's right hand, equal to him in might and majesty;

but, as man, was exalted to honour, not before his glorious

ascension, Ac 2:34; Eph 1:20; Php 2:9.

4. For the continuance of it. It is to be UNTIL, which notes,

not a portion of time, but a perpetuity. "Sit TILL I make, &c.

Sit at God's right hand, that is, in power and glory, till he

shall say to all the wicked, "Depart from me," Mt 25:41, but not

so as to be then dethroned. But when once all his enemies shall be

made his footstool, then he shall visibly rule, "sitting at his

Father's right hand for evermore;" go on to reign, neither desist

to propagate and enlarge thy kingdom, till all men bow the knee to

thy name, till all opponents be overthrown.

The beginning of this kingdom was in Zion: "The Lord shall

send." &c.

1. The rod of his power was his sceptre; that is, "His word, the

Gospel, the wisdom of God," 1Th 2:13; "The sword of the Spirit,"

Eph 6:17; "The mighty power of God," &c., Ro 1:16.

2. And this was to be sent out of Zion, Isa 2:3. "It behoved

Christ to suffer," &c., Lu 24:46. The sound of the apostle's

words went into all lands; but Zion must first hear, Ac 13:46.

And now the prophet comes to the execution of his power: "Rule

thou in the midst," &c. Converting all such as believe his Gospel,

and confounding those who will not have him to reign over them.

Now these enemies are the most in number; for the Church however

greatly increased, is still surrounded by Turks, Jews, &c. Rule

thou; be thou Ruler; go on, and set up thy standard universally;

for believers are easily dealt with; they love thy government.

1. "For thy people shall be willing." Not forced by compulsion;

"they shall flow together as water," Isa 2:3.

2. But not before thy grace has brought down their hearts: "In

the day of thy power," that is, in the days of thy solemn

assemblies, when the Gospel light shall be sent forth, and the

apostles and messengers go abroad to preach thy truth.

3. The third quality of this good people is, "that they be

holy." For some read the words thus: "They shall offer

freewill-offerings with a holy worship." Our last translators

point it, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."

Here they pause, and read on thus: "In the beauty of holiness from

the womb of the morning." The Vulgate, In splendoribus sanctorum,

"In the splendour of the saints," and stops there; but let the

reading be as it will, all expositors are agreed that holiness

must be the ornament of Christ's Church:-

4. Which sanctity these good people have not from themselves,

but by the influence of the Holy Spirit, for "they shall worship

in the beauty," &c. This is a very difficult place, and the

rendering of it is so various, so perplexed by the several modes

of pointing it, that the difficulty is increased. But see the

notes. The fathers expound this passage of Christ himself, and the

later divines, of his people, which is most probable. By their

youth they understand their regeneration; by the dews, the

graces bestowed on them; which come immediately from God. The

prophet phrases it, "From the womb of the morning." As if the Holy

Ghost had said, "The preaching of thy word shall bring forth a

great and good people, plentiful as the drops of the morning dew.

As the secret and refreshing dews come from heaven to refresh the

earth, so thy power, regenerating the hearts of men by the secret

operation of thy Holy Spirit, shall produce an immortal seed,

children begotten to God. 'Thou hast the dew,' the grace of God,

to beautify thy youth, and to make them holy by the direct

influence of thy Spirit, to produce entire regeneration."

II. The prophet, having foretold Christ's kingdom, now predicts

his priesthood, under which his prophetical office may be implied.

That Messiah was to be a priest at his coming, God sware:-

1. "The Lord sware." His word of assurance was given with his

oath. In the priesthood of Christ lies the main weight of our

redemption; therefore God swears that he shall be a priest to

offer himself, and to intercede for us, without which he had in

vain been our Prophet and our King.

2. "And will not repent." This is also added for our greater

assurance. God is sometimes represented as repenting, as in the

case of Nineveh; but now that he was to save the world by this

Priest, his Son, he takes an oath to do it, and he will not

repent. His sentence for judgment is ever conditional; but his

decree for mercy is absolute. "He will not repent," &c.

The matter of the oath follows: "Thou art a priest for ever,

after the order of Melchizedek."

1. Thou is emphatical: Thou-David's Lord, art a Priest, and none

such a Priest as thou.

2. Art; for this priest was the I am; therefore, justly said,

Thou art.

3. A Priest; whose office the apostle describes, Heb 5:1.

4. For ever-Not as Aaron and his successors, who were priests,

&c., Heb 7:23, 24.

5. After the order-The right, the law, the custom, the rites.

See the notes.

6. Of Melchizedek.-Which is opposed to the order of Aaron. He

was not then to be a priest after the order of Aaron but by a

former and higher order.

The difference lies in this:-

1. In the constitution of him to the priesthood. He was made

with an oath; and so were not any of Aaron's order, Heb 7:20, 21.

2. In the succession. In Aaron's priesthood, the high priest,

being mortal, died, and another succeeded; but this priest, as

Melchizedek, "had neither beginning of days nor end of life,"

Heb 7:3.

3. Melchizedek was priest and king: so was Christ. Aaron was

only a priest.

4. "Aaron and his sons offered up oxen," &c., Le 16:6. "But

Christ, being holy," &c., offered no sacrifice for himself, but

for our sins, Isa 53:9.

5. "Aaron was a local priest; but Christ an universal priest,"

Joh 4:22.

6. "Aaron was anointed with material oil; Christ, with the Holy

Ghost," Lu 4:18, 21.

7. "Aaron's priesthood was temporary; Christ's for ever."

A priest is to be,-

1. A person taken from among men, but select, fit for the

office; thus was Christ a perfect man.

2. A priest must be ordained by God: "For no man," &c. "So

Christ glorified not himself to be made a high priest." "Thou art

my Son," &c.

3. The high priest was ordained of men in things pertaining to

God, to be their advocate, mediator, interpreter, and reconciler,

in all those things in which men make their addresses to God, or

God is to signify his will to them; and so was Christ, for he is

the Advocate, the Mediator for his people; he reconciles them to

God, he interprets his will to us by preaching his Gospel to the

poor.

4. The high priest was ordained that he might offer gifts and

sacrifices for sin. Their sacrifices were the blood of bulls, &c.;

but Christ was most infinitely precious, even his own blood,

Eph 5:2; Heb 9:26; 10:10-12.

5. The high priest must have compassion on the ignorant, and

those who are out of the way; such was Christ: "For we have not,"

&c., Heb 4:15.

6. Lastly, the high priest was compassed with infirmities; and

so was Christ: "In all things it became him," &c. "He took our

infirmities," &c.

It remains now to show,-

1. How he is "a priest for ever?"

2. How a priest "after the order of Melchizedek?"

He is "a priest for ever," in respect to his person, office, and

effect.

1. In respect of his person and office. For he succeeded no

priest, his vocation being immediate. Neither is any to succeed

him in this priesthood; "for he lives for ever," and therefore

needs not, as the priests under the old law, any successor to

continue his priesthood.

2. A priest he is for ever in respect of the effect: because by

that sacrifice which he once offered on the cross he purchased the

inestimable effects of redemption and eternal salvation, in which

sense the priesthood is eternal.

"That Christ is a priest for ever" is evident; but it remains to

be shown how he is a priest after the order-the rite, the manner,

the word, and power given and prescribed to Melchizedek.

1. This Melchizedek was king of Salem, and priest of the most

high God, Ge 14:18; so was Christ a King of

Jerusalem above, God's own city, and a priest, "offering himself

a sacrifice for sin."

2. Melchizedek is by interpretation king of righteousness; so is

Christ the Lord our righteousness, Jer 23:6; 1Co 1:30.

3. Melchizedek is king of Salem, i.e., peace; so Christ is the

Prince of peace, Isa 9:6.

4. "Melchizedek was without father or mother;" so was this our

priest, as revealed by God to us, "without beginning of days or

end of life," as touching his Godhead.

5. "Melchizedek blessed Abraham;" so Christ us "in turning every

one of us away from his iniquities."

6. "Melchizedek brought forth bread and wine to refresh

Abraham's army;" so Christ instituted the sacrament, set forth in

bread and wine, to refresh the hungry and thirsty souls of his

genuine followers.

After the prophet had said "that the Messiah shall be a priest,"

&c., he intimates in this verse that, notwithstanding all

opposition that shall be made against him, yet his priesthood

should be eternal; for,

1. "The Lord is on thy right hand." Giving thee power in defence

of his Church.

2. "And this thy Lord shall strike through kings," &c. The

greatest of thy enemies.

3. "In the day of his wrath." For such a day there is, and it

will come, when the proudest tyrant shall not escape.

In the following verse Christ is described as a valiant

conqueror.

1. "He shall rule and judge." Not only the Jews, but all people.

2. "He shall fill the places," &c. Make such a slaughter among

his enemies, as enraged soldiers do in the storming of a city,

when they fill the trenches with the dead bodies.

"He shall wound the heads," &c. Even kings and monarchs, those

in the greatest power and authority.

The prophet, through the whole of the Psalm, had spoken of

Christ's exaltation: that he was set at God's right hand; by oath

was made a priest; and that, in defence of his kingdom and

priesthood, he would subdue, conquer, and break to pieces his

enemies. In this last verse he tells us by what means he came to

this honour: his cross was the way to the crown; his passion and

humiliation, to his exaltation: "He," saith David, "shall drink of

the brook by the way; therefore, shall he lift up his head;" as if

he had said, with the apostle: "He humbled himself, and became

obedient to death," &c.

1. "He shall drink." To drink, is to be afflicted, Jer 49:12.

2. "He shall drink of the brook," nachal, of the torrent;

and that is more than of the cup, for a cup contains but a certain

portion of sorrows, but a torrent, a whole flood of miseries. In a

cup, that which is drunk may be clear and clean; but in a torrent,

a man can expect nothing but muddy and troubled water. Thus the

prophet intimates here that the drink offered him should be much

and troubled. And in his passion he descended into the depth of

the torrent, and drank deep of it.

3. "In the way." On his journey that preceded his resurrection

and ascension.

But claritas humilitatis praemium, "glory is the reward of

humility." Because he thus humbled himself and willingly underwent

his death and passion, for the glory of his Father, and the

salvation of man; therefore shall God "lift up his head." He shall

ascend into heaven; sit on his right hand, and be constituted the

Judge of quick and dead. He shall rise from the dead and have all

power committed to him in heaven and earth.

Copyright information for Clarke