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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Psalms 72

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 72.

David praying for Solomon, sheweth the goodness and glory of his kingdom in type, and in truth of Christ's kingdom: he blesseth God.

A Psalm for Solomon.

Title. לשׁלמה lishlomoh, For Solomon This psalm was composed by David when he placed Solomon on the throne, and caused his subjects to acknowledge him as their sovereign, 1 Chronicles 29:24. The sight of this raised the spirits of the good old king, and he indited this poem upon the occasion; when the Spirit of God directed him to use some expressions in it, which are properly applicable to the Messiah only, of whom Solomon was a type. Many of the Jewish rabbies themselves interpret these expressions of the Messiah.

Psalms 72:1. Give the king thy judgments, &c.— I do not apprehend, says Dr. Chandler, with the generality of interpreters, that by the king, and the king's son, David means himself and his son; but Solomon only, to whom both the titles agree. As he was David's son, and anointed by him king during his life-time; and as the first part of the psalm is precatory, the verbs in general should be rendered in that form throughout, except where the sense and connection require a different translation.


Verse 3

Psalms 72:3. The mountains shall bring peace Peace is here used for that prosperity, ease, and plenty, which are the effects of peace; when the mountains and hills are cultivated and tilled, and so made capable of producing an abundance of grain. Chandler: who renders the verse, Let the mountains and hills produce the plenteous fruits of peace; and begins the 4th verse, because of righteousness, [or through the prevalence of righteousness in the land] let him judge, &c.


Verse 5

Psalms 72:5. They shall fear thee Let both high and low equally reverence him throughout all generations; whilst the sun and moon shall endure. Chandler. The meaning is, that all posterity shall revere Solomon continually, and esteem him as the wisest and justest prince: But the more sublime sense is, that all generations shall adore the Messiah.


Verse 6

Psalms 72:6. He shall come down, &c.— Dr. Chandler explains this verse thus, "Let his government be gentle and refreshing, as the rain that descends on the mown grass, and as the plentiful showers that sweep through the earth."


Verse 8

Psalms 72:8. He shall have dominion, &c.— This may mean, "From the Sinus Arabicus to the Mediterranean sea;" or may relate more generally to the extent of Solomon's power by sea: From the river unto the ends of the earth, means, from the river Euphrates, which was the boundary of the promised land on the east side, to the tract of country along the Mediterranean sea, which was the boundary of the land on that side. The reader must observe in how much loftier a sense the words are understood when applied to Christ, whose kingdom was to spread itself over the whole world. The same may be said of the following verses.


Verse 9

Psalms 72:9. In the wilderness ציים ziim, is derived from a root, which signifies to be dry or thirsty, and is applied to barren grounds or desarts, parched up for want of springs and rains; and it means here, and in the next verse, where it is rendered isles, the inhabitants of those desert countries, and particularly the people and kings of Arabia Deserta. The kings of Arabia are expressly said to bring gifts, or pay tribute to Solomon, 1 Kings 10:15. Sheba and Seba are also countries of Arabia. The queen of Sheba brought him the most valuable presents. To lick the dust, signifies to prostrate themselves before the king, and kiss the ground, in token of reverence towards him; as was, and still is the custom of the eastern nations. D'Herbelot informs us, that kissing the feet, and lying prostrate in the dust before a person, were very ancient customs in the east; and it appears that they were not mere expressions of reverence, but (which is not well known) of vassalage; and kissing the earth, of the most abject vassalage, sometimes arising from the low rank of those who paid their homage, and sometimes from dejectedness and adulation. When, therefore, the Psalmist says, He shall have dominion, &c. he marks out extent of empire: When he adds, they that dwell in the wilderness shall bow, &c. it would be extremely wrong to suppose that he is only specifying one particular part of that extensive authority, which he had before expressed in general terms; for he greatly enlarges the thought. It is equivalent to saying, that those wild Arabs, whom the greatest conquerors could never tame, shall bow before him, or become his vassals; nay, his enemies, and consequently these Arabs, among the rest, shall lick the dust, or court him with the most abject subjection. See Observations, p. 254 and Isaiah 49:23. It is added in the 11th verse, that all kings shall fall down before him; which, in the highest sense, can relate only to Christ, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. See Matthew 1:11; Matthew 12:42.


Verse 14

Psalms 72:14. And precious shall their blood be in his sight That is, "he shall look upon the life of the poor to be as really valuable as that of others, and not suffer their blood to be shed with impunity."


Verse 16

Psalms 72:16. There shall be an handful, &c.— "Let there be, or, though there be but an handful of corn thrown into the ground on the top of the mountains, in stony and barren ground, it shall produce an abundant increase; it shall spring up so plentifully, as that its waving and rustling on the hills shall resemble the shaking and noise made by the cedars on mount Lebanon." It is a strong figure, but well denotes the great increase and strength of the standing corn. It is prophetic of the vast plenty of Solomon's reign, but seems to have a further view to the miraculous increase of the Christian religion. Dr. Chandler reads the whole thus: "Let there be but a handful of corn thrown on the land, upon the top of the mountains, yet the produce of it shall arise with such plenty and strength, that it shall wave as the cedars of Lebanon; and the inhabitants of the city shall flourish and increase as the grass upon the ground."


Verse 17

Psalms 72:17. His name shall be continued Let his name be perpetuated by a numerous posterity while the sun shall last. Chandler. When we hear David singing the triumphs of his son, to whom the everlasting kingdom was promised, in such strains as these, can we give any tolerable account of these things, but by supposing David to understand that the son promised to him, in whose time righteousness and truth were to be established, was the very seed of the woman who should bruise the serpent's head. Of the same person David and the prophets foretel, that he should rule over all nations; that men should be blessed in him; that all nations should call him blessed; which is the distinguishing characteristic of the blessed Seed promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. See Bishop Sherlock on Prophesy, Dissert. 2.


Verse 20

Psalms 72:20. The prayers of David—are ended The whole book of Psalms is one continued proof that there is no regular order preserved in them. It is highly probable, that this is the last psalm which David composed, as he died soon after his son's coronation. But it by no means follows that there are no other psalms after this in the present collection composed by David. There are certainly many such; perhaps more than is generally thought; and it appears matter of great doubt, whether many of those which are inscribed, Psalms of, or for Asaph, were not written by David. The second book of psalms, according to the Hebrew division, ends here. Instead of The Prayers of David, the LXX read, The Psalms, or Hymns of David. The third book of Psalms contains seventeen.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, The psalm opens,

1. With a short prayer, which may be considered as David's request for his son Solomon, that he might be qualified for the work of governing his kingdom with equity and righteousness; or rather it is his prayer, in the person of all the faithful, for the Messiah, that he might appear, be exalted to his glorious throne, having all judgment in heaven and earth committed to him, and be qualified for the perfecting of the redemption of his faithful people, by such a fulness of gifts and graces, as might enable him to work out for them, and in them, an everlasting salvation.

2. He prophetically describes the excellence and glory of the Messiah's government, wherein, though some things may be applicable to Solomon, others are only true of him whom Solomon prefigured, and therefore to him the whole may be best referred.

(1.) He shall rule with righteousness, and be the protector of the poor or afflicted ones from their oppressors. When, sensible of their spiritual wants and wretchedness, they cry to him, under the strivings of Satan, their great enemy, or of wicked men who persecute them, being in themselves helpless and destitute, he will deliver and save them, redeeming their souls, and rescuing them by his grace from the snares of the wicked one, and the deceitfulness of sin. And if they suffer unto blood, he will keep a precious memorial of it, and reward their martyrdom with a crown of glory.

(2.) Under his government peace shall be diffused, abundance of peace; peace with a reconciled God, peace in our guilty consciences, peace in our dispositions renewed by Divine grace, peace within preserved, when all without is most threatening, and this effected by him who is the great meritorious cause of all our mercies.

(3.) His enemies shall feel his arm, and the rebels against his government be broken in pieces: whether Satan, the arch-rebel, or those antichristian powers which have long persecuted and harassed his church, their end will be to be destroyed for ever.

(4.) His government shall be most desirable and blessed. Like the rain on the new-mown grass, the graces and consolations of his Spirit shall descend on his people, to refresh them; and, flourishing under these heavenly influences, the souls of the righteous shall bring forth those fruits of holiness abundantly, which are to the praise and glory of God. Does it appear then that we are the subjects of his kingdom by these flourishing fruits of peace within, and piety without?

(5.) His dominion shall be universal, from sea to sea, from one end of the earth to the other. The inhabitants of the most desolate parts of the earth shall some time or other have his gospel preached to them, and yield obedience to the faith; and his enemies, whether Jews or Gentiles, be brought to lick the dust, laid low in deepest humiliation at his feet. The richest kings of the earth shall bring their presents, and the distant monarchs, in the farthest isles of the sea, offer their tribute, as a token of subjection. They shall worship before him, as their God and king, and all nations serve him, when the kingdoms of the world at last shall become the kingdoms of the Lord and his Christ.

(6.) All his subjects shall honour and praise him; he shall live the joy of his people; and the gold of Sheba, the most precious offerings, even the bodies, souls, and spirits, of his faithful people, infinitely more precious than gold that perisheth, shall be presented to him: prayer shall be made for him, for the prosperity and increase of his kingdom, or through him, as the mediator between God and man, through whom alone we can be accepted; and daily shall he be praised in his church, and by his faithful subjects, happy under his gracious sway.

(7.) His increase will be wonderful and great. There shall be a handful of corn, which may denote Christ himself, upon the top of the mountains, on Calvary, sown in his death as corn in the earth, or it may refer to the word of gospel-grace, which at first was but as a handful, and seemed as unlikely to flourish as seed sown on a mountain; but great was the effect; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon, inestimably rich and precious shall be the fruits which spring from the death of Christ; or it refers to the vast increase of converts which should be made to the truth, as soon as it was preached; and they of the city, the inhabitants of the spiritual Jerusalem, shall flourish as the grass of the earth.

(8.) His kingdom shall be everlasting. While sun and moon endure, he will have a people upon earth; and when sun and moon shall fade and fail, still he shall reign, his throne abiding as the days of eternity, blessing for ever his faithful people, and the subject of their everlasting praises.

2nd, The Psalmist concludes with enlarged praises, excited by the glorious prospect that he had before him.

1. He blesses the Lord God, the Redeemer, the God of his Israel, whose wonders of creation, providence, and especially of grace in his incarnation, death, and sufferings, were so stupendous, and deserving to be had in everlasting remembrance.

2. He prays for the manifestation of his glorious kingdom upon earth, when he shall take to him his great power, and reign; and, while he breathes the longings of his heart, professes his confident expectation of it in due time; Amen and amen, so let it be, so shall it be. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. In such a prayer, may every dying believer well desire to employ his parting breath, and, pouring forth his soul into the bosom of his Saviour, cry, Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 72:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-72.html. 1801-1803.

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