Psalms 72:1. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.
“Give the king thy judgments, O God.” The right to reign was transmitted by descent from David to Solomon, but not by that means alone: Israel was a theocracy, and the kings were but the viceroys of the greater King; hence the prayer that the new king might be enthroned by divine right, and then endowed with divine wisdom. Our glorious King in Zion hath all judgment committed unto him. He rules in the name of God over all lands. He is King “Dei Gratia” as well as by right of inheritance. “And thy righteousness unto the king’s son.” Solomon was both king and king’s son; so also is our Lord. He has power and authority in himself, and also royal dignity given him of his Father. He is the righteous King; in a word, he is “the Lord our righteousness.” We are waiting till he shall be manifested among men as the ever-righteous Judge. May the Lord hasten in his own time the long-looked-for day! Now wars and fightings are even in Israel itself, but soon the dispensation will change, and David, the type of Jesus warring with our enemies, shall be displaced by Solomon the prince of peace.
Psalms 72:2. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment,
“He shall judge thy people with righteousness.” Clothed with divine authority, he shall use it on the behalf of the favoured nation, for whom he shall show himself strong, that they be not misjudged, slandered, or in any way treated maliciously. His sentence shall put their accusers to silence, and award the saints their true position as the accepted of the Lord. What a consolation to feel that none can suffer wrong in Christ’s kingdom; he sits upon the great white throne, unspotted by a single deed of injustice, or even mistake of judgment: reputations are safe enough with him. “And thy poor with judgment.” True wisdom is manifest in all the decisions of Zion’s King. We do not always understand his doings, but they are always right. Partiality has been too often shown to rich and great men, but the King of the last and best of monarchy deals out even-handed justice, to the delight of the poor and despised. Here we have the poor mentioned side by side with their King. The sovereignty of God is a delightful theme to the poor in spirit; they love to see the Lord exalted, and have no quarrel with him for exercising the prerogatives of his crown. It is the fictitious wealth, which labours to conceal real poverty, which makes men cavil at the reigning Lord, but a deep sense of spiritual need prepares the heart loyally to worship the Redeemer King. On the other hand, the King has a special delight in the humbled hearts of his contrite ones, and exercises all his power and wisdom on their behalf, even as Joseph in Egypt ruled for the welfare of his brethren.
Psalms 72:3. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
“The mountains shall bring peace to the people.” Thence, aforetime, rushed the robber bands which infested the country; but now the forts there erected are the guardians of the land, and the watchmen publish far and near the tidings that no foe is to be seen. Where Jesus is, there is peace, lasting, deep, eternal. Even those things, which were once our dread, lose all terror when Jesus is owned as Monarch of the heart: death itself, that dark mountain, loses all its gloom. Trials and afflictions, when the Lord is with us, bring us an increase rather than a diminution of peace. “And the little hills, by righteousness.” Seeing that the rule of the monarch was just, every little hill seemed clothed with peace. Injustice has made Palestine a desert; if the Turk and Bedouin were gone, the land would smile again; for even in the most literal sense, justice is the fertilizer of lands, and men are diligent to plough and raise harvests when they have the prospects of eating the fruit of their labours. In a spiritual sense, peace is given to the heart by the righteousness of Christ; and all the powers and passions of the soul are filled with a holy calm, when the way of salvation, by a divine righteousness, is revealed. Then do we go forth with joy, and are led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills break forth before us into singing.
Psalms 72:4. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
“He shall judge the poor of the people.” He will do them justice, yea, and blessed be his name, more than justice, for he will delight to do them good. “He shall save the children of the needy.” Poor, helpless things, they were packhorses for others, and paupers themselves, but their King would be their Protector. Happy are God’s poor and needy ones; they are safe under the wing of the Prince of peace, for he will save them from all their enemies, “And shall break in pieces the oppressor.” He is strong to smite the foes of his people, Oppressors have been great breakers, but their time of retribution shall come, and they shall be broken themselves, Sin, Satan, and all our enemies must be crushed by the iron rod of King Jesus, We have, therefore, no cause to fear; but abundant reason to sing, —
“All hail the power of Jesus’ name!
Let angels prostrate fall,
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown him Lord of all.”
It is much better to be poor than to be an oppressor; for both the needy and their children find an Advocate in the heavenly Solomon, who aims all his blows at haughty ones, and rests not till they are utterly destroyed.
“A Psalm for Solomon” — much more for one who is greater than Solomon, the true Prince of Peace.
Psalms 72:1. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.
So it is decreed, and so it has been accomplished, that Jesus, who is both a King and a King’s son, should have all judgment delivered into his hand. And now at this time Christ is the judge. It is he who discerns between the precious and the vile. He sits as King in the midst of Zion.
Psalms 72:2. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
The kingdom of Christ has a special eye to the poor. They are generally passed by and forgotten in the scope of legislature among men, but Christ makes even his poor people — the poor in spirit also — to be the objects of his judgment.
Psalms 72:3-4. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness. He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
In the reign of Christ there shall be no treading down of the little by great — no pressure put upon the feeble by the strong, but his right hand shall get to the weakest cause the victory.
Psalms 72:5. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
For the kingdom of Christ renews itself. It is never broken in pieces by the power of the enemy, but every piece becomes a new root, and it springs up again. There are some plants of which they may that the more you tread upon them the more they will spread, and certainly it is the case with the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. As long as there is a sun in the heavens, and a moon to gladden the night, so shall the kingdom of Christ endure.
Psalms 72:6. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.
Christ shall not come like fire to burn up and to destroy, but his kingdom is one of mercy and grace. When the grass has just been wounded with the scythe, he shall come down to bring it refreshment, that it may spring up again. In plenteous showers of grace shall he visit wounded spirits.
Psalms 72:7. In his days shall the righteous flourish: and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
There have been empires which have been propitious to the flourishing of great wrongs. Some of the worst and vilest of men have flourished under certain empires, which have but lately passed away; but in the empire of Christ the righteous alone shall flourish. Everything about him and about his power shall make it go well for them, and his empire is peace the most truly — “abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.”
Psalms 72:8. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
Universal monarchy is to be the monarchy of Christ. This is the fifth great monarchy, and there shall never be another. No king or potentate that shall ever rise can possibly have universal dominion again. We need not fear that, for the fifth empire is that of the Christ of God, and behold he cometh to claim it.
Psalms 72:9. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
The most distant tribes — those that wander and have no settled dwelling-place — shall, nevertheless, bow before him. The Arab boasts that he never knew a master — that even Caesar could not penetrate into his deserts and subdue him; but Christ shall be his Lord, and he will be glad to own him.
Psalms 72:10. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
We need not be afraid if this Psalm refers to Christ, and we do not doubt that it does. He must reign. The end of the world is not coming until there shall be a conquest for him. He may come before that time, but certainly there shall be no winding up of history until this shall be literally true. “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents.”
Psalms 72:11-12. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.
The Psalmist seems glad to dwell upon that. It seems to be the joy note in his mind — that the great King — the greatest of all kings — will care for the lowly and the humble. Let us rejoice in this, dear friends. Christ is chosen out of the people and exalted by God; and he is the Christ not only ready to save the highest, but to save the lowest. From his kingdom we may say: —
“None are excluded hence but those
Who do themselves exclude;
Welcome the learned and polite,
The ignorant and rude.”
Psalms 72:13-15. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight. And he shall live, They say,
“O king, live for ever.” It can never happen to their kings, but to our King it will happen. “He shall live.”
Psalms 72:15. And to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba:
He shall have the best the world can find willingly given to him. I am sure that we who know his love think that we have nothing good enough for him. We would render to him all that we have.
Psalms 72:15. Prayer also shall be made for him continually;
With the gold shall come the golden prayer — the prayer for Christ. But how can we pray for him? Why, that he may have the reward of his sufferings, may see of the travail of his soul — that his kingdom may come, and that his name may be dear in the hearts of men.
Psalms 72:15. And daily shall he be praised.
He shall have praise as well as prayer and gold.
Psalms 72:16. There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.
It was corn — good seed corn, but there was only a handful of it. So there were saints in the world, but there were very few of them. And where were they? On the tops of the mountains. A strange place for corn; not a likely place for a harvest. So have God’s servants been pushed into the corners of the earth. There they were in the valleys of Piedmont for many a year fighting for dear life. And, in all lands, those that have been faithful to God have been put away into the corners — driven, as it were, to the mountain-tops. But what has come of it, and what will come of it? Why, the fruit shall shake like Lebanon. The golden corn, standing upright in its strength, adorned with its ear, shall wave in the breeze as pleasing a sight even as the cedar of Lebanon.
A Psalm for Solomon.
This was David’s dying bequest to his son Solomon, but a greater than Solomon is here, for this Psalm concerns the reign, triumph, and everlasting dominion of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalms 72:1-2 Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
It is the distinguishing mark of Christ’s kingdom that he cares so much for the poor, whereas in other kingdoms they are generally pushed to the wall, and men of great estate and consequence get all the good positions. In Christ’s kingdom the poor are exalted.
Psalms 72:3. The mountains shall bring peace to thee people and the little hills, by righteousness.
Those mountains, in whose caves robbers lurked, and from whose heights enemies often came down, and swept away the little estates of the lowlanders, even these shall bring peace and comfort. “No strife shall vex Messiah’s reign.” When Jesus Christ comes a second time to this earth, we shall see these prophecies literally fulfilled; and until then we delight to know that the reign of Christ is a reign of peace.
Psalms 72:4-6. He shall judge the poor of the people shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.
After being mown the grass is tender; should there be a long period of burning sunshine, the roots left exposed might soon be dried up, and the lower portion of the stem, bereft of moisture, might become hard. Never does rain seem so refreshing to the grass as just after the mowing; so is it in Christ’s kingdom. Upon you whose broken hearts are like mown grass, upon you who have been cut down by the sharp scythe of affliction, and who have seen your hopes withered before your eyes, Jesus shall come on gently like rain upon the mown grass; and as the showers fertilize the barren earth, so shall the presence of Christ make your hearts to be fertile and fruitful. If any of us are like the parched earth or the mown grass, may we have this gracious promise fulfilled to us.
Psalms 72:7. In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
Under other kings sinners have flourished, and great oppressors have walked in public, but in Christ’s days the righteous shall flourish; “and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.” There have been some times of truce, there have been some periods when the temple of Janus has been shut; but when Christ comes, the Lord shall break the bow, and cut the spear in sunder; not lay them by in store for days of warfare in the future, but break them up as there will be no further use for them.
Psalms 72:8-9. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
The Arabs, the wandering Bedouin tribes, unconquered and untamable, “shall bow before him;” and his enemies shall not merely be beaten once or twice, but they “shall lick the dust,” they shall be so entirely broken that there shall be no fear of their rebelling in the future.
Psalms 72:10. The Kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents:
Britain and some of her sister islands shall do homage to this great Solomon.
Psalms 72:10. The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
Ethiopia shall stretch out her hands unto God, and men of swarthy skin shall own the King of the Jews as Lord over all.
Psalms 72:11. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
There is a great future for you, Christians, a glorious future for our holy religion. The handful by the side of the lake shall yet become an all conquering host. As it was when that cake of barley bread fell into the midst of the camp of Midian, and overthrew the tent, so that it lay along, and as it was when the shout was heard, “The sword of the Lord, and of Gideon,” so shall it be with us ere long. God’s people having no strength of their own, shall nevertheless break the power of their enemy, when the war- cry shall be heard, “The sword of Christ and of the Lord of Hosts !”.
Psalms 72:12-13. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
Now, needy one, here is a promise for thee. Is there one here that hath no helper? Then let that one know that Christ is the Friend of the friendless, and the Helper of the helpless.
Psalms 72:14-16. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight. And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised.
There shall be an handful of corn on the earth- Only a handful! O ye birds of the air, how ye long to eat it all up! O ye thorns, how soon would ye choke it to death! It is only a handful of corn.
Psalms 72:16. Upon the top of the mountains;
That is a bad place for corn; surely it will die there; the winter snows will chill it; and, exposed to every stormy blast it will never fill the arm of the reaper. But is it so? Listen: —
Psalms 72:16. The fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon:
Just as there are peculiar noises heard in a great forest when the wind sweeps through it, — there is an allusion to this in the Hebrew, — there should be such an abundance of fruit from this handful of corn that, as when the forest bows its head before the whirlwind, so shall there be heard a sound as of God rushing among the multitude of his saints.
Psalms 72:16. And they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.
They shall be so many that one might as well attempt to count the blades of grass as to reckon the number of God’s saints.
Psalms 72:17-20. His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed. Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.
He had nothing more to pray for. He had his heart’s highest and best wish, and therefore he closes his prayer where God had given him all that he could ask.
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Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Psalms 72". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
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