To contact us:
Psalm 72 -
The Coming Kingdom, part 2
1Endow the king with Your justice, O God,
the royal son with Your righteousness.
2 He will judge Your people in righteousness,
Your afflicted ones with justice.
3The mountains will bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness.
4He will defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy;
He will crush the oppressor.
5He will endure as long as the sun,
as long as the moon, through all generations.
6He will be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.
7In his days the righteous will flourish;
prosperity will abound till the moon is no more.
8He will rule from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9The desert tribes will bow before him
and his enemies will lick the dust.
10The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
will bring tribute to him;
The kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts.
11All kings will bow down to him
and all nations will serve him.
12For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.
13He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.
14He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight.
15Long may he live!
May gold from Sheba be given him.
May people ever pray for him
and bless him all day long.
16Let grain abound throughout the land;
on the tops of the hills may it sway.
Let its fruit flourish like Lebanon;
let it thrive like the grass of the field.
17May his name endure forever;
may it continue as long as the sun.
All nations will be blessed through him,
and they will call him blessed.
18Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
19Praise be to His glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen.
20This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.
Here we continue a study in this psalm which, as we mentioned in the previous issue, is a prayer and prophecy about Solomon’s reign, with an eye toward the future reign of the Messiah. Most passages in this psalm are prophetic to both Solomon’s and Christ’s reigns, but there are some passages that could only apply to the future reign of Christ.
David continues in verse 8: “He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth” (vs. 8). This is an example of a passage that did not apply to Solomon. He never ruled “from the River to the ends of the earth.” But, Christ will. “It is hardly necessary to say that this did not occur under Solomon, and that it could not have been expected that it would occur under him, and especially as it was expected that his reign would be one of peace and not of conquest. It would find its complete fulfillment only under the Messiah” [Barnes]. In fact, Christ is the only one that this will apply to. Though many leaders throughout history have sought to rule the entire earth, only Christ will succeed. Thank God for that!
“The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him” (vss. 9–11). This passage was pretty much fulfilled in Solomon’s life. We read in the history of Solomon: “All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, and robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules” (II Chron. 9:23–24). I’m not sure that Solomon’s “enemies licked the dust”, for Solomon was a king of peace, not of might. Jesus, of course, will have all kings of the earth subject to Him, even His enemies. So, though this passage was fulfilled to some extent for Solomon, “surely it is not torturing the passage to say that its complete and glorious fulfillment can be found in Christ only” [Plumer, 704].
Next, the reason is given for the obeisance of the kings: “For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help. He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death. He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight” (vss. 12–14). “Here is an excellent reason for man’s submission to the Lord Christ; it is not because they dread His overwhelming power, but because they are won over by His just and condescending rule. Who would not fear so good a prince, who makes the needy His peculiar care, and pledges Himself to be their deliverer in times of need?” [Spurgeon]. By and large, it is not threatenings of hell and damnation that lead people to submission to Christ, but it is “God’s kindness that leads you toward repentance” (see Rom. 2:4). Speak of God’s love and kindness to others to bring them to repentance; speak of the love demonstrated by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
It seems to me that, in this psalm, David started the psalm as a prayer and blessing on Solomon’s reign, but then, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the psalm became not only that, but also a prophecy about the reign of Christ. Having finished the prophecy in verse 14, in verse 15, David pronounces a blessing on his son Solomon and Solomon’s reign: “Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long. Let grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. Let its fruit flourish like Lebanon; let it thrive like the grass of the field. May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed” (vss. 15–17). Many aspects of David’s blessing were fulfilled in Solomon’s reign: he lived a fairly long life (he reigned for forty years, see I Kings 11:42); gold from Sheba was given to him (see I Kings 10:2); his reign was prosperous (see I Kings 10:14ff); his name has endured down to this age; other nations were blessed by him as he imparted his wisdom to them (see I Kings 10:24).
By the way, just as David said of Solomon, “May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long”, so also, we should pray for our political leaders. “It is the duty of subjects to make prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, for kings and all in authority, not in compliment to them, as is too often done, but in concern for the public welfare” [Henry].
The psalm ends with praise, “Praise be to the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds. Praise be to His glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and amen. This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse” (vss. 18–20). These verses seem to have been added by the compilers of the psalms, with the intent of bringing Book 2 of the psalms to a conclusion (similar verses conclude Book 1 of the psalms, see Psalm 41:13). Not that we should ignore these verses. It is good for us to be reminded to praise God, who has done so much for us. May praise for our Lord and God be on our lips constantly.
(This ends book II of the Psalms. At this time, we will take a break from our study in Psalms. In the next issue, we will begin a reprint of a portion of
Joseph Caryl’s study in Job, D.V.)