Psalm 72:20

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. What more could he ask? He has climbed the summit of the mount of God; he desires nothing more. With this upon his lip, he is content to die. He strips himself of his own royalty and becomes only the "son of Jesse," thrice happy to subside into nothing before the crowned Messiah. Before his believing eye the reign of Jesus, like the sun, filled all around with light, and the holy soul of the man after God's own heart exulted in it, and sung his "Nunc dimittis:" "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation!" We, too, will cease from all petitioning if it be granted to us to see the day of the Lord. Our blissful spirits will then have nothing further to do but for ever to praise the Lord our God.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. This announcement carries with it an intimation that other Psalms besides are to follow. It would have been superfluous, if the Psalms had not been to follow which bear on their front the name of David. To this, indeed, it must point, bearing the character of an enigma, that these additional Psalms stood in other relations than those given in the first two books. We shall attain perfect clearness and certainty by perceiving that all the Psalms of David in the last two books are inserted as component parts into the later cycles. The subscription at the end of the second book must have been designed to separate the free from the bound, the scattered and serial Psalms of David from each other. Analogous in some measure is the subscription, at an end are the speeches of Job, in Job 31:40 , which is not contradicted by the fact that Job appears again speaking in chapters 41 and 42; it should rather be regarded as serving to give us a right understanding of that formal conclusion. E. W. Hengstenberg.

Verse 20. At the conclusion of this Psalm, the Hebrew copies have, Here end the orisons of David, the son of Jesse. But, as several other Psalms of David follow, we must understand the note to mean either, "Here ends this book of the orisons of David," or, "Here ends the collection of hymns made by David himself;" additions being afterwards made to it, containing other hymns of David, by Asaph and others, and, lastly, by Esdras. Daniel Cresswell.

Verse 20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. So long as the fivefold division of the Psalter was neglected, this note gave nothing but perplexity to the commentators. Augustine, and his master, Ambrose of Milan, finding it standing in their Psalters, between the seventy-second and seventy-third Psalms, took it for part of the title of the latter, and tortured their ingenuity in divining its import. Calvin saw that the note is retrospective, but, not having observed its position at the end of a book, he thought it pertained exclusively to the Psalm immediately preceding, and took it to mean that the Psalm embalms the last prayers of the aged king. But he was at a loss to reconcile this with the two obvious facts, that the title of the Psalm ascribes it to Solomon, and that quite a different Psalm is elsewhere preserved as "the last words of David" (2Sa 23:1). And this perplexity of the great Reformer is shared by the older commentators generally. We get rid of it at once, by simply remarking the position of the note in question. It is set down after a doxology which marks the end of the Second Book. It has no special reference, therefore, to the seventy-second Psalm. It either refers to the Second Book, or, more probably, to both the First and Second. William Binnie.

Verse 20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. (Compared with) Psalm 86, title, A prayer of David. How can the prayers of David be said to be ended, when more begin? Answer: The end David had in making the Psalms, prayers, and praises, is one thing; but to make a final end of praying is another. Many several opinions have been given to reconcile this. Some that here end the prayers he made for Solomon. Some that here end the prayers he made in the days of his affliction. Some that here end the praises that he made, not the prayers, turning the word tepillahs into tehillahs. Some that here end David's, the rest that follow are Asaph's. Some that this Psalm was the last, the rest posthumes, found after his death. Some think it is spoken as the phrase is in Job 31:40 : "The words of Job are ended;" and yet he had some words after this, but not so many. But the soundest resolution is this: -- Here ends the prayers of David the son of Jesse; that is, here they are perfected. If any ask hereafter what or where lies the end that all these Psalms were made for? tell them here it lies in this Psalm, and, therefore, placed in the midst of all; as the centre in midst of a circle, all the lines meet here, and all the Psalms determine here; for it is only a prophetical treatise of the kingdom of Christ drawn out to the life, and it is dedicated to Solomon, because here is wisdom; other men had other ends, it may be, but the son of Jesse had no other end in the world but to set out Christ's kingdom in making of his Psalms. William Streat, in "The Dividing of the Hoof." 1654.

Verse 20. The son of Jesse. It is the note of true humility and sincere love to God to abase ourselves, and acknowledge our low condition, wherein God did find us when he did let forth his love to us, that thereby we may commend the riches of God's goodness and grace unto us, appeareth here in David. David Dickson.

Verse 20. Are ended. The sense is, that David, the son of Jesse, had nothing to pray for, or to wish, beyond the great things described in this Psalm. Nothing can be more animated than this conclusion. Having described the blessings of Messiah's reign, he closes the whole with this magnificent doxology: --

Blessed be Jehovah God,
God of Israel, alone performing wonders;
And blessed be his name of glory,
And let his glory fill the whole of the earth.
Amen, and Amen.
Finished are the prayers of David, the son of Jesse. Samuel Horsley.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 20.

  1. Prayer should be frequent: The prayers.
  2. Should be individual: Of David.
  3. Should be early commenced: the son of Jesse.
  4. Should be continued till they are no more needed.

HERE ENDETH THE SECOND BOOK OF THE PSALMS.