Psalms 72:0 ¶ A Psalm for Solomon.
This would appear to be a psalm directed to Solomon but having obvious foreshadowing of the coming Messiah, the last King of the Davidic line that will reign for eternity. The last verse in the psalm indicates that it could have been written as a blessing from King David to his son.
After reading several commentaries, I liked Spurgeon’s synthesis the best. “The best linguists affirm that this should be rendered, of or by Solomon. There is not sufficient ground for the rendering for. It is pretty certain that the title declares Solomon to be the author of the Psalm, and yet from Ps. 72:20 it would seem that David uttered it in prayer before he died. With some diffidence we suggest that the spirit and matter of the Psalm are David's, but that he was too near his end to pen the words, or cast them into form: Solomon, therefore, caught his dying father's song, fashioned it in goodly verse, and, without robbing his father, made the Psalm his own. It is, we conjecture, the Prayer of David, but the Psalm of Solomon.”
Psalms 72:1 ¶ Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.
Psalms 72:2 ¶ He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
The prayer calls for God to bless Solomon with the ability to judge in His righteousness. The prayer is for Solomon to rightly represent God as he applies the law of God to make righteous judgments. This was how every king of Israel was supposed to rule---as God’s faithful representative before the people.
Point is made that King Solomon will be ruling over God’s people—all His people, including the poor. Every person was to benefit from righteous judgment—not just a chosen few.
Oh, that our governments today functioned in righteousness before God!
Psalms 72:3 The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
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.
The prayer is that the land will experience peace and prosperity (from the Hebrew) during his reign. The father calls for his son to treat the poor and needy with compassion and destroy those that defraud or harm them.
It is a sad commentary that mistreatment of the poor and needy is a common theme throughout history. In American politics today, the poor and needy are used as pawns towards achieving the personal agendas of those they are supposed to represent—often willing pawns because they have been taught to expect handouts and not taught a proper work ethic.
Psalms 72:5 They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
Psalms 72:6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.
Psalms 72:7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
These verses call for Solomon to be respected throughout coming generations. They call for his rule to be one of prosperity and peace.
In these verses one can begin to see application to the Messiah, the last king of the line of David, because His reign will truly last for eternity.
Spurgeon made the following beautiful application to Jesus: “Where Jesus reigns he is known as the true Melchizedek, king both of righteousness and peace. Peace based upon right is sure to be lasting, but no other will be. Many a so called Holy Alliance has come to the ground ere many moons have filled their horns, because craft formed the league, perjury established it, and oppression was the design of it; but when Jesus shall proclaim the great Truce of God, he will ordain perpetual peace, and men shall learn war no more.”
Psalms 72:8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
This verse calls for the kingdom to stretch from sea to sea, east to west, Dead Sea to Mediterranean Sea, and from “the river” (both the Euphrates and Nile are mentioned in the Hebrew), north to south or south to north, to the ends of the earth. I think that the reference is to the land God promised to Abraham.
Genesis 15:18 “In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates….”
Numbers 34:2–12 “Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:) Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward: And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea, and shall go on to Hazaraddar, and pass on to Azmon: And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea. And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border. And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor: From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad: And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazarenan: this shall be your north border. And ye shall point out your east border from Hazarenan to Shepham: And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward: And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about.”
Psalms 72:9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
Psalms 72:10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
Psalms 72:11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
In these verses the psalmist calls for all those in the surrounding kingdoms as well as those from afar (like Tarshish) to show deference to King Solomon by bringing gifts and serving him.
It’s interesting to note that Sheba is specifically mentioned since we know that the Queen of Sheba sought him out and gifted him lavishly. Note that the Hebrew for “kings” makes reference in general to royalty.
Psalms 72:12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.
Psalms 72:13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
Psalms 72:14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
Once again, the psalmist expresses confidence that Solomon will attend to the needs of the poor and helpless, that he will protect them from suffering deceit and violence from those who would oppress them, and that he will value all lives the same regardless of social standing.
Psalms 72:15 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.
The prayer of blessing again takes on a prophetic nature by expressing confidence that he will be given of the gold of Sheba. It also calls for him to be covered in prayer and praised daily by the people.
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.
The reference to a “handful” of grain is a reference to abundance (from the Hebrew). The prayer is that during Solomon’s reign the nation will be blessed with abundant harvests of both fruit and grain.
Psalms 72:17 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.
The prayer is that the name of Solomon will endure forever through his progeny.
This prayer will find its ultimate fulfillment in the Messiah, a descendant of David through Solomon. Truly, all men will be blessed in Him and all nations will call Him blessed for eternity.
Psalms 72:18 ¶ Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.
Psalms 72:19 And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.
The psalmist closes his prayer giving praise to the Lord God, the God of Israel—the only One who is a true worker of miracles. His name will be blessed for eternity and the whole earth will be filled with His glory.
Amen and Amen is like a double exclamation point to that truth.
Though God is truly the God of all people, He has by sovereign right set apart the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as favored among the nations. The beautiful truth is that as a child of the King in Jesus, I am a part of the spiritual family of Israel, as is every other true believer in Jesus.
Galatians 3:26–29 “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Psalms 72:20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.
The book of psalms is divided into five books:
This seems to be a statement identifying the end of Book 2 (noting the use of the plural “prayers”) as well as a possible statement of authorship of this psalm.
Guzik: “David authored most of the Psalms in Book Two, and Asaph composed the first 11 Psalms of Book Three, so this is a good marking point.”
Pastor Stephen Cole: “…the Book of Psalms as we have it today was the result of a process spanning about 1000 years. It began with individual psalms, the earliest being Psalm 90 by Moses (ca. 1400 B.C.). More than half were written by David (ca. 1000 B.C.). Then the individual psalms were grouped into collections of books for corporate worship, and finally the books were arranged into the final book, probably around 444 B.C. (Ezra’s time).”