â€œAll thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.â€ (Psalm 45:8)
Psalm 45 is one of the Messianic psalms, quoted as such in Hebrews 1:8-9. The section so quoted (vv. 6-7), which immediately precedes our text, begins with one Person of the Godhead addressing the Messiah also as â€œGod,â€ whose throne is eternal. Then, He says, â€œOh God, . . . thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.â€ The â€œoil of gladnessâ€ was the holy oil used for the anointing of priests and kings and was compounded of a mixture of spices which included myrrh and cassia (Exodus 30:22-25). Since the Messiah had been anointed to be â€œabove his fellowsâ€ (first as High Priest, then as King of kings), â€œall his garmentsâ€ would bear the sweet aroma of the holy ointment.
At the birth of Christ, His garments were â€œswaddling clothes,â€ and the gifts of the eastern wise men included a supply of myrrh and frankincense (Luke 2:7; Matthew 2:11). At His death, they gave Him to drink â€œwine mingled with myrrh [and] . . . parted his garmentsâ€ (Mark 15:23-24). Then once again His body was wrapped in linen clothes and anointed with myrrh and aloes (John 19:39-40) for His burial.
The psalmist sees Christ (i.e., â€œMessiah,â€ both Greek and Hebrew titles meaning â€œthe Anointed Oneâ€) emerging triumphantly from the â€œivory palaces.â€ These mansions with their ivory walls and pearly gates are of shimmering white beauty in the distant heavenly city which will someday descend to Earth (Revelation 21:2, 10-21).
The Lord descended once from these ivory palaces to take on human flesh in Maryâ€™s womb, thence to a burial in Josephâ€™s tomb. But someday He will again come forth, anointed as eternal King, and then â€œshall the people praise thee for ever and everâ€ (Psalm 45:17). HMM