Scriptures

Psalm 72

Introduction

This is the first of two psalms written by Solomon, Psalm 127, being the other. This psalm has an immediate historical application, but also relates to the Messiah in the future tense, Isaiah 11:1-5 / Isaiah 60-62.

The psalm speaks about an ideal earthly reign, such ideal social and economic environment, we must note that this didn’t happen during the reign of Solomon but did in the church of Jesus. In the kingdom of Christ, Christ reigns over all things, including His church, Philippians 2:5-11.

Heading

‘Of Solomon.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding about the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

The heading tells us that this was written by Solomon.

‘Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness. May he judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice. May the mountains bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness. May he defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; may he crush the oppressor. May he endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations. May he be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth. In his days may the righteous flourish and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.’ Psalm 72:1-7

Solomon begins by asking God to bless him as the king of Israel and to bless him with wise judgements and a reign which displays the righteousness of God, 1 Kings 3:5-9.

He knows that God will bless him with his requests and so, he reveals that he will rule with righteousness and ensure that justice is carried out, especially among those who were afflicted.

Mountains often represent human governments in the Bible, this is possibly what Solomon is speaking of here. The mountains may refer to the national government and the hills may represent the local governments. Both appear to rule with righteousness.

Solomon and his government are determined that they will defend the afflicted and save those children in need. Those who were afflicted were usually the ones who were denied justice and the children were the one who were usually neglected.

This is something which some rulers and judges of Israel totally ignored, and didn’t carry out, Jeremiah 5:28 / Isaiah 1:23 / Zechariah 7:10. Solomon and his government are determined that they will protect Israel from any oppressors, they will crush them.

As a result of Solomon’s reign, Solomon, his government and all the people would fear the Lord throughout all generations. God’s presence would be with His people, He would pour down His blessings upon Hid people just as the rain falls on a field and as showers water the earth, Isaiah 44:3 / Isaiah 55:10 / Hosea 14:5 / Hebrews 6:7.

God’s people will flourish and there will be prosperity, that is, peace till the moon is no more, that is, it will last beyond comprehension.

‘May he rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. May the desert tribes bow before him and his enemies lick the dust. May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores bring tribute to him. May the kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts. May all kings bow down to him and all nations serve him.’ Psalm 72:8-11

Solomon now looks beyond his own reign and looks forward to the reign of Christ who would have a far greater dominion than Solomon.

Coffman, in his commentary says the following.

‘It is true that Solomon ruled over all of the Mid-East from the Euphrates River to the Mediterranean Sea, but not to the ends of the earth. Furthermore, the expression ‘from sea to sea’, actually refers to the whole planet earth. The ancient idea was that the earth was set in the middle of a great ocean; thus ‘from sea to sea’ meant the whole earth. Zechariah applied the exact words of this verse to the Dominion of Messiah, Zechariah 9:10, of which dominion alone are they truly descriptive.’

The desert tribes would bow before him and his enemies would lick the dust, these words speak of certain defeat Genesis 3:14-15. The prophet Nathan foretold this when he spoke to David in 2 Samuel 7.

When he prophesied to David, he spoke about both David’s immediate son and successor, that is Solomon, and David’s ultimate Son and Successor, that is the Messiah, 2 Samuel 7:11-16. The fulfilment in Solomon’s day is described in 1 Kings 10:23-25.

Because Solomon had married many king’s daughters, he did get many tributes from them. bring many kings of the world into the border of his power. Tarshish was a Phoenician colony on the south coast of Spain, Psalm 48:7, but there’s no evidence that Solomon’s dominion ever extended to the westernmost nation of Europe.

Sheba and Seba might well have been under Solomon’s dominion. Sheba was in southern Arabia and Seba was in Ethiopia, Genesis 10:7 / Isaiah 43:3 Isaiah 45:14. We must note though that all of the places mentioned here, at one time or another, have paid tribute to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Because not all kings bowed down and served Solomon, he is obviously speaking about a greater King. In reference to the present reign of Jesus, all nations should serve Him, Philippians 2:5-11, but they don’t. Jesus now reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords, 1 Timothy 6:15.

He now reigns over all things, Ephesians 1:23. He upholds all things by the word of His power, Hebrews 1:3, but not all kings bowed down and served Christ either, so this must be speaking about a future time, Revelation 6:15-17.

‘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. Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long. May grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. May the crops flourish like Lebanon and thrive like the grass of the field. May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. Then all nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed. Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvellous 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.’ Psalm 72:12-20

Earlier, Solomon prayed for righteousness and justice for the needy and the afflicted, this would be perfectly fulfilled in the greater King, Christ. Jesus, the Messiah would not only rule with righteousness and justice, but He will also actually save the needy and afflicted.

Those who are oppressed and those who receive violence will be rescued, because their blood is precious. This is the picture of a redeeming King who would care for the needs of His people. He wouldn’t let His people be oppressed, 1 Samuel 26:21 / 2 Kings 1:14 / Psalm 116:15.

All human life is precious to Him and because of His benevolence toward those who are under the sovereignty of His reign, He would be praised.

Notice the words, ‘long may he live!’ Most commentary believe that this should read, ‘He shall live’, that is, the Christ shall live forever. As gold from Sheba was brought in order to give honour to Solomon, so the people of the world will bring themselves as gifts for the honour and glory of the redeeming King Jesus, Romans 12:1-2.

In return the King would bestow great blessings upon the earth, that is, grain, and He would bless His people. Solomon speaks of the greater King, Jesus, how His Name would endure for ever and ever and how the nations will be blessed through Him and call Him blessed.

The only One who ever lived on earth in whom men can be blessed is Jesus Christ the Messiah. All spiritual blessings in the heavenly places are only found in Christ, Ephesians 1:3.

Solomon appears to understand that this King wasn’t only the fulfilment of the promise made to David in 2 Samuel 7:11-16. He was also the fulfilment of the great promise made to Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3. No wonder Solomon is moved to praise God for His marvellous deeds.

The thought of God’s marvellous deeds motivates Solomon to the point where he wants all the earth to be filled with God’s glory, Numbers 14:21. Notice the double ‘amen’, this shows us how intense Solomon’s desire was for the whole earth to be filled with God’s glory.

We know that Solomon wrote this psalm but the words, ‘this concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse’, doesn’t mean that David wrote it, it simply means that this is the end of Book 2 of the Psalms.

The words simply mark the conclusion of this portion of David’s psalms in Books 1 and 2, for there are other psalms of David in the following Books. These words, conclude the second book of the five books of the psalms.

Conclusion

In this psalm Solomon made many references to a greater King than he was, that is the Christ. It has been said that there are more than 300 distinct prophecies in the Old Testament relating to the Messiah. The Jews in the time of Christ were earnestly looking for this deliverer.

When the apostles preached Christ to the Jews they proved by the prophecies that he was the Messiah or ‘anointed one.’ The Old Testament clearly foretells both the tribe and family from which the Messiah was to come, Genesis 49:10 / Hebrews 7:14.

The Christ was to come from the family of Jesse, the father of David, and was to be a descendant of King David himself, Psalm 89:3-4 / Isaiah 11:1 / Acts 13:23.

The very place of birth of the Messiah was foretold in the Old Testament, Micah 5:2 / Matthew 2:1. It was prophesied that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, Isaiah 7:14 / Matthew 1:20 / Matthew 1:23.

It was prophesied that the Messiah would be preceded by a forerunner who would prepare the way for him, Isaiah 40:3 / Malachi 3:1 / Malachi 4:5. The fulfilment of these prophecies is to be found in the life and work of John the Baptist, Matthew 3:1-3 / Luke 1:17.

Probably the finest and most complete description of the Messiah is found in Isaiah 53:3-7. It was from this chapter that Philip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch as they rode along the way between Jerusalem and Gaza, Acts 8:26-40.

There are many prophecies that relate to the last days of Christ upon the earth. The Messiah was to enter Jerusalem riding upon a donkey, Zechariah 9:9. The fulfilment of this is described in Matthew 21:9. As he was suspended on the cross ‘There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall.’ Matthew 27:34. This was a fulfilment of Psalm 69:21.

That Christ was to be buried with the rich was foretold by Isaiah, Isaiah 53:9. Matthew gives the fulfilment in detail, Matthew 27:57-60. But the Messiah was not to remain in the grave, Psalm 16:10.

What is the significance of the amazing correspondence between these prophecies and their fulfilment? First, they prove the inspiration of the Bible. Second, they show that the New Testament cannot be completely understood without a knowledge of the Old Testament. Third, they prove that Jesus is the Christ and that as the Christ, his commands must be obeyed, and his promises may be relied upon.

Go To Psalm 73

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me"

2 Corinthians 12:9

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