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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 72

 

 

Verse 1

Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son.

Psalms 72:1-20.- God grants righteousness to His king in answer to prayer; whence righteousness and peace result among the people (Psalms 72:1-5); his reign of righteousness and peace reviving the world, as the showers do the grass, shall extend throughout the earth (Psalms 72:6-10); the reason why all kings serve Him is because He saves the souls of the needy, when they cry, from violence and deceit (Psalms 72:11-15); blessings shall abound on earth under Him, and His name be blessed by all nations forever (Psalms 72:16-17); Doxology concluding Books 1 (Psalms 1:1-6; Psalms 2:1-12; Psalms 3:1-8; Psalms 4:1-8; Psalms 5:1-12; Psalms 6:1-10; Psalms 7:1-17; Psalms 8:1-9; Psalms 9:1-20; Psalms 10:1-18; Psalms 11:1-7; Psalms 12:1-8; Psalms 13:1-6; Psalms 14:1-7; Psalms 15:1-5; Psalms 16:1-11; Psalms 17:1-15; Psalms 18:1-50; Psalms 19:1-14; Psalms 20:1-9; Psalms 21:1-13; Psalms 22:1-31; Psalms 23:1-6; Psalms 24:1-10; Psalms 25:1-22; Psalms 26:1-12; Psalms 27:1-14; Psalms 28:1-9; Psalms 29:1-11; Psalms 30:1-12; Psalms 31:1-24; Psalms 32:1-11; Psalms 33:1-22; Psalms 34:1-22; Psalms 35:1-28; Psalms 36:1-12; Psalms 37:1-40; Psalms 38:1-22; Psalms 39:1-13; Psalms 40:1-17; Psalms 41:1-13) and 2 (Psalms 42:1-11; Psalms 43:1-5; Psalms 44:1-26; Psalms 45:1-17; Psalms 46:1-11; Psalms 47:1-9; Psalms 48:1-14; Psalms 49:1-20; Psalms 50:1-23; Psalms 51:1-19; Psalms 52:1-9; Psalms 53:1-6; Psalms 54:1-7; Psalms 55:1-23; Psalms 56:1-13; Psalms 57:1-11; Psalms 58:1-11; Psalms 59:1-17; Psalms 60:1-12; Psalms 61:1-8; Psalms 62:1-12; Psalms 63:1-11; Psalms 64:1-10; Psalms 65:1-13; Psalms 66:1-20; Psalms 67:1-7; Psalms 68:1-35; Psalms 69:1-36; Psalms 70:1-5; Psalms 71:1-24; Psalms 72:1-20).

The Title - For Solomon - rather 'Of' [li-] Solomon, indicating him as the author. Solomon's authorship is confirmed by the objective character of the psalm-a feature observable in the other writings of Solomon, as contrasted with the subjective feeling which characterizes the psalms of David. The relations of Solomon's time form the groundwork of the psalm, delineating Messiah's antitypical reign. The Nile, the Mediterranean, and the Euphrates were then the bounds of Israel (1 Kings 4:21; 2 Chronicles 9:26), as promised in Genesis 15:18; Deuteronomy 11:24. From these starting points Messiah is to reign to the end of the earth (Psalms 72:8; Isaiah 9:5-6; Isaiah 11:1-16; Zechariah 9:10; Micah 5:4). The fundamental passage is Numbers 24:19. The Chaldaic, the Midrash Tehillim, Yarchi, Kimchi, and most ancient Jewish writers, apply the psalm to the Messiah.

Give the king thy judgments, O God - i:e., legal sentences or decisions emanating from God (cf. Deuteronomy 1:17; 2 Chronicles 19:6; Proverbs 8:15). The essence of all justice lies in the conformity of the earthly judge to the decisions of the heavenly Lord of Justice; this is so when there rests upon the former 'the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear, of the Lord' (Hengstenberg). The prayer "Give" is that of confident anticipation (James 1:6). Therefore the future of certainty follows, "He shall judge

... with righteousness" (Psalms 72:2). Solomon obtained the gift of the spirit of right judgment in measure, as the answer to his prayer at Gibeon, for 'an understanding heart to judge God's people,' 1 Kings 3:9; 1 Kings 3:28, "the wisdom of God was in him to do judgment." The antitypical King Messiah received the gift without measure (Isaiah 11:1-16; John 3:34).


Verse 2

He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.

He shall judge ... thy poor with judgment - the afflicted ones among the people of God.


Verse 3

The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

The mountains shall bring peace to the people. "Shall bring" - literally, shall lift up, in the sense publish, or proclaim (Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 52:7-8). "The mountains," as the prominent feature, represent the whole country; everywhere shall "peace" prevail (Joel 3:18). "Peace" is the characteristic, of Messiah's coming reign (Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 9:5-6; Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 65:25; Micah 4:3; Zechariah 9:10).

And the little hills, by righteousness - "and the little hills (shall bring peace obtained) by righteousness" (Psalms 85:11; Isaiah 45:8). Peace shall not be the product of a compromise with falsehood and wrong, but the result of righteousness (cf. Leviticus 26:3-6, the promise under the law). The name Solomon, meaning peaceful, is alluded to here (cf. 2 Kings 5:4).


Verse 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 - He shall vindicate the cause of the afflicted. This verse expands Psalms 72:2, and introduces Psalms 72:5; Isaiah 11:4 is drawn from this passage. Contrast, Isaiah 1:17; Isaiah 1:23. The children of the needy. The "needy" is an ideal person; and all who are needy are regarded as his "children."


Verse 5

They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.

They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure - literally, 'with, the sun and before (in the presence of) the moon.' The pious fear of God shall be the consequence of the righteous rule, salvation, and destruction of oppressive foes, described in Psalms 72:4, as accompanying Messiah's reign. The fear of God, eternally continuing as the result of His dominion, implies necessarily the eternity of His dominion itself (cf. Psalms 72:17; Psalms 89:36; Psalms 89:38). Though the sun and moon are to pass away in their present form, yet it is at a most remote time; and probably they will pass into new and brighter forms (Psalms 102:26; 2 Peter 3:12-13).


Verse 6

He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.

He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass. So David foretold that Messiah would revive the world, as the rain refreshes the grass (2 Samuel 23:5).


Verse 7

In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth - Hebrew, 'until the moon is no more' ( `ad (Hebrew #5704) b


Verses 8-10

He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. - Psalms 72:6-7 repeat in substance Psalms 72:1-5 - the showers of righteousness and peace under Messiah shall bless the earth; this is followed by the consequent extension of His dominion universally (Psalms 72:8-10).

Verse 8. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea - (Numbers 24:19.) Whereas Israel was in its utmost limits bounded by the Red Sea, the Sea of the Philistines or the Mediterranean, and the Euphrates (Exodus 23:31), Messiah's dominion is to be "from (one) sea to (the) sea," most remote, and "from the river unto the ends of the earth." Zechariah 9:10 quotes this verse (cf. Psalms 2:8).

Verse 9. They that dwell in the wilderness - the beasts (Psalms 74:14; Isaiah 34:14) (Hengstenberg). Rather, the wandering peoples of the desert, such as the Arabs, and the Chaldeans (Isaiah 23:13).

Shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. A token of abject submission to Oriental kings was to kiss and even lick the dust, as L. Piso did (Valerian, 'Max.' 8: 50: 6; Isaiah 49:23).

Verse 10. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba - the kings of the wealthy and distant west, and of the south. The historical basis which suggested the prophecy is in 1 Kings 4:21, 'Solomon reigned over all the kingdoms from the river of the Philistines; and unto the border of Egypt they brought presents, and served Solomon all the days of his life.' Also 1 Kings 10:10; 1 Kings 10:24-25. Compare Psalms 68:29; Psalms 45:12; Isaiah 60:6-9. The visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon with a large present is made the typical picture of the spontaneous subjection of all nations hereafter to King Messiah. "Bring presents" - literally, 'give gifts in return,' or by way of recompense: to 'render tributary presents' (2 Kings 3:4; 2 Kings 17:3); in gratitude, when the conqueror becomes reconciled to the conquered, and shows kindness to them. The thank-offering to the Messiah of the converted pagan nations shall be in return for His favours experienced (Psalms 72:12-16). "The isles" are all the maritime regions, representing the distant, Gentiles in general. Thus Isaiah 42:4, "the isles," is explained in Matthew 12:21; "the Gentiles." "Sheba" is a region the same as Yemen in Arabia Felix; "Seba," in Ethiopia (Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14). Subsequently, this island, which lay between the Astaboras, the Atbara, the most northern tributary of the Nile, and the Astapus, the 'blue river,' the eastern of its two great confluents was called Meroe, from the Egyptian Meru, an 'island.' Shebek, or Sabaco, founder the Ethiopian dynasty, which for a time ruled Egypt itself. Seba, too, represents a Cushite settlement on the Persian Gulf.


Verses 11-15

Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.

-All kings shall serve, Him because He is the Saviour of the needy. 'True love conquers; men feel it at last, weep bitterly, and fall down at its knees like children' (Hengstenberg).

Verse 12. For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth. Compare Job 29:12. He will not suffer might to trample down right, or the weaker to be the prey of the strong. This wins all hearts to Him.

Verse 13. He shall spare the poor - i:e., He will not allow them to be oppressed Messiah is the poor man's king, like the Father (Psalms 68:5). And shall save the souls of the needy. The right of saving them was established at His first coming (Matthew 1:21; Matthew 5:3), That right shall be manifested in full exercise at His second coming (Hebrews 9:28).

Verse 14. He shall redeem their soul from deceit - or oppression (Psalms 10:7, note; 55:11).

And precious shall their blood be in his sight - He shall value their lives so dearly as to use His infinite resources to shield them from hurt (Psalms 116:15; 1 Samuel 26:21).

Verse 15. He shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba. The formula of loyal devotion is, Long live the king! (2 Samuel 16:16, margin) Frequent changes of the reigning monarch is an evil (Proverbs 28:2). This evil shall never be under Messiah; because He shall reign forever and ever (1 Kings 1:31; Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 53:8-10).

And to him shall be given, of the gold of Sheba - literally, '(one) shall give him,' impersonally. He shall have given to Him. Not as Hengstenberg, '(the needy) shall live, and shall give the king of the gold,' etc. For the king is the subject throughout. Nor as Maurer, 'the king shall live, and shall give to the needy of the gold,' etc. For Psalms 72:10 shows that the king is the receiver, not the giver of the gold.

Prayer also shall be made for him continually. As intercessions are made for an earthly king, as Solomon (Psalms 20:1-9; 1 Timothy 2:1-2) and as in Psalms 72:1 a prayer is offered that God's judgments may be given to the king; so prayer is continually offered for Messiah, that He may come clothed with all the grace and glory foretold. This praying for Him is not derogatory, but honouring to Christ. The prayer is concerning, on account of [ ba`


Verse 16-17

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.

-Blessings shall abound on earth in consequence of His reign: all nations shall bless Him, and His name shall endure forever.

Verse 16. There shall be an handful of grain in the earth upon the top of the mountains - i:e., Though there were but an handful, such shall be the fertility then, it shall yield a most abundant produce [ picat (Hebrew #6451): akin to the Chaldee pac (Hebrew #6446), part of a hand (Daniel 5:5; Daniel 5:24). But Hengstenberg, etc., after Rabbi Solomon, translates it 'abundance,' from the Chaldee p


Verses 18-20

Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.

-Doxology concluding this whole division of Psalms 1:1-6; Psalms 2:1-12; Psalms 3:1-8; Psalms 4:1-8; Psalms 5:1-12; Psalms 6:1-10; Psalms 7:1-17; Psalms 8:1-9; Psalms 9:1-20; Psalms 10:1-18; Psalms 11:1-7; Psalms 12:1-8; Psalms 13:1-6; Psalms 14:1-7; Psalms 15:1-5; Psalms 16:1-11; Psalms 17:1-15; Psalms 18:1-50; Psalms 19:1-14; Psalms 20:1-9; Psalms 21:1-13; Psalms 22:1-31; Psalms 23:1-6; Psalms 24:1-10; Psalms 25:1-22; Psalms 26:1-12; Psalms 27:1-14; Psalms 28:1-9; Psalms 29:1-11; Psalms 30:1-12; Psalms 31:1-24; Psalms 32:1-11; Psalms 33:1-22; Psalms 34:1-22; Psalms 35:1-28; Psalms 36:1-12; Psalms 37:1-40; Psalms 38:1-22; Psalms 39:1-13; Psalms 40:1-17; Psalms 41:1-13; Psalms 42:1-11; Psalms 43:1-5; Psalms 44:1-26; Psalms 45:1-17; Psalms 46:1-11; Psalms 47:1-9; Psalms 48:1-14; Psalms 49:1-20; Psalms 50:1-23; Psalms 51:1-19; Psalms 52:1-9; Psalms 53:1-6; Psalms 54:1-7; Psalms 55:1-23; Psalms 56:1-13; Psalms 57:1-11; Psalms 58:1-11; Psalms 59:1-17; Psalms 60:1-12; Psalms 61:1-8; Psalms 62:1-12; Psalms 63:1-11; Psalms 64:1-10; Psalms 65:1-13; Psalms 66:1-20; Psalms 67:1-7; Psalms 68:1-35; Psalms 69:1-36; Psalms 70:1-5; Psalms 71:1-24; Psalms 72:1-20, comprising the 1James 2:1-26 nd Books. A shorter Doxology closes the 1st Book (Ps. 41:14 ).

Verse 19. Let the whole earth be filled with his glory - let thine own promise, O Lord, come to pass (Numbers 14:21).

Verse 20. The prayers of David ... are ended - not implying that all the previous psalms are prayers, or that David composed them all, but that most have the nature of prayers, and that David was the principal author.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 72:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-72.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, November 22nd, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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