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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 72

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-20

The Hebrew doctors have transmitted this psalm as the last that David composed. It was sung at the inauguration of Solomon to the throne, when Zadok had anointed him to be king over Israel, and when the trumpets proclaimed him to the people. 1 Kings 1:39. That this psalm refers to Christ, of whom Solomon was a type, is apparent,

( 1) From the several expressions, which are evidently too strong for a man whose life was short; as the eternity of his kingdom, its extent over the whole earth, and the universal peace which should follow.

(2) The new-testament writers have so understood it. Matthew 21:8. John 5:22. Luke 2:13-14. Zechariah 9:9. Compared with Matthew 21:5.

(3) The rabbins themselves have so expounded it, as will presently appear.

Psalms 72:1 . Give the king thy judgments. The priest was required to furnish the king with a copy of the law; but here the sire prays that the son might be divinely taught, that God would endow him with wisdom from above.

Psalms 72:3 . The mountains shall bring peace, all kinds of plenty to the land; the feet of evangelists shall be beautiful on the hills. And the little hills by righteousness. The last word belongs to the next verse. The LXX correct the transposition thus: Psalms 72:3, the mountains and the hills shall bring peace to thy people: Psalms 72:4, in righteousness shall he judge the poor.

Psalms 72:7 . So long as the moon endureth, or till the moon shall be removed. This is the Hebrew idiom for designating the eternity of the Messiah’s kingdom. By the moon, the allegorizing fathers, understood the cessation of all changes and wanings in the church.

Psalms 72:9 . His enemies shall lick the dust. Referring to the convulsions of the body in some cases, as when a soldier has received a mortal wound. Solomon had no war; but the true Solomon caused the Hebrew figtree to wither; and the Roman figtree he shook till it cast its untimely fruit, as when shaken of a violent gale. Revelation 6:13.

Psalms 72:10 . The kings of Tarshish, the coasts of Europe. 1 Kings 10:22. Sheba, Ethiopia; Seba, Arabia. This form of speech is to be understood in unison with all the prophecies, that all nations shall receive the gospel, and every knee bow to Christ.

Psalms 72:17 . His name shall be continued. In the old testament Christ is frequently called the name, the name of the Lord. Leviticus 24:11; Leviticus 24:16. This seems to be a prophetic intimation, that the gospel of the kingdom should be preached in his name, and that in his name should the gentiles trust. Matthew 12:21. Romans 15:12.

Psalms 72:20 . The prayers of David are ended. This is the end of the second book of psalms. The Jews divided the psalms into five books; but very many of the subsequent psalms were written by David, as the hundred and tenth, which our Saviour cites as David’s. Matthew 22:45.


We see here the expiring prophet, dying like Jacob and others of his fathers, uttering the predictive effusion of his heart. Glancing on Solomon, as a typical harbinger, he loses his soul in the unfurling glory of Christ, the eternal king. He had prayed in the preseding psalm, that God would not forsake him in old age. Here we have proof that he did not forsake him. Heaven often reserves the best wine to the last. Only a little before his death, full of good wishes to his son, and to Israel, and full of breathings after the Messiah and his kingdom, futurity opens her prospects to the eye of faith. The grace was so abundant that it overflowed his heart, and was more than language could convey. Happy the children who have a father thus to bless them in old age. Here he first prays, that Solomon might be distinguished by equity and justice, and that righteousness and peace might abound in his reign. And then, joining the kingdom of his son to that of the Messiah, he declares that he should chastise his enemies, and be revered as long as the sun and moon endure. The blessings he would shed on his kingdom were to be as the rain on the mown grass, and as the gentle showers of spring most luminous prediction of the grace of the Holy Spirit. All kingdoms shall be tributary to him, and happy under the shadow of his wings. But at the sixteenth verse, David seeing the smiling aspects of Judea, says, there shall be a handful of corn in the earth, the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon. This is a most happy prediction of the encrease of God’s word, when sown in the good soil of a broken and a contrite heart, So the handful of seed flourished in the days of the apostles, and so it shall ever flourish when delivered in a right spirit. Yea, the glory of the Messiah and his kingdom shall remain for ever. Solomon may fall away; but Christ is the eternal rock, in whom the gentiles shall trust. Blessed therefore be the Lord God of Israel who doeth wonders, and blessed be his glorious name for ever. Amen.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 72". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-72.html. 1835.
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