David begins with a prayer for Solomon. (1) He passes into a prophecy of the glories of his reign, and of Christ's kingdom. (2-17) Praise to God. (18-20)
Verse 1 This psalm belongs to Solomon in part, but to Christ more fully and clearly. Solomon was both the king and the king's son, and his pious father desired that the wisdom of God might be in him, that his reign might be a remembrance of the kingdom of the Messiah. It is the prayer of a father for his child; a dying blessing. The best we can ask of God for our children is, that God would give them wisdom and grace to know and to do their duty.
Verses 2-17 This is a prophecy of the kingdom of Christ; many passages in it cannot be applied to the reign of Solomon. There were righteousness and peace at first in the administration of his government; but, before the end of his reign, there were troubles and unrighteousness. The kingdom here spoken of is to last as long as the sun, but Solomon's was soon at an end. Even the Jewish expositors understood it of the kingdom of the Messiah. Observe many great and precious promises here made, which were to have full accomplishment only in the kingdom of Christ. As far as his kingdom is set up, discord and contentions cease, in families, churches, and nations. The law of Christ, written in the heart, disposes men to be honest and just, and to render to all their due; it likewise disposes men to live in love, and so produces abundance of peace. Holiness and love shall be lasting in Christ's kingdom. Through all the changes of the world, and all the changes of life, Christ's kingdom will support itself. And he shall, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, come down like rain upon the mown grass; not on that cut down, but that which is left growing, that it may spring again. His gospel has been, or shall be, preached to all nations. Though he needs not the services of any, yet he must be served with the best. Those that have the wealth of this world, must serve Christ with it, do good with it. Prayer shall be made through him, or for his sake; whatever we ask of the Father, should be in his name. Praises shall be offered to him: we are under the highest obligations to him. Christ only shall be feared throughout all generations. To the end of time, and to eternity, his name shall be praised. All nations shall call HIM blessed.
Verses 18-20 We are taught to bless God in Christ, for all he has done for us by him. David is earnest in prayer for the fulfilment of this prophecy and promise. It is sad to think how empty the earth is of the glory of God, how little service and honour he has from a world to which he is so bountiful. May we, like David, submit to Christ's authority, and partake of his righteousness and peace. May we bless him for the wonders of redeeming love. May we spend our days, and end our lives, praying for the spread of his gospel.
Psalms 72:1-19 . For, or literally, "of Solomon." The closing verse rather relates to the second book of Psalms, of which this is the last, and was perhaps added by some collector, to intimate that the collection, to which, as chief author, David's name was appended, was closed. In this view, these may consistently be the productions of others included, as of Asaph, sons of Korah, and Solomon; and a few of David's may be placed in the latter series. The fact that here the usual mode of denoting authorship is used, is strongly conclusive that Solomon was the author, especially as no stronger objection appears than what has been now set aside. The Psalm, in highly wrought figurative style, describes the reign of a king as "righteous, universal, beneficent, and perpetual." By the older Jewish and most modern Christian interpreters, it has been referred to Christ, whose reign, present and prospective, alone corresponds with its statements. As the imagery of the second Psalm was drawn from the martial character of David's reign, that of this is from the peaceful and prosperous state of Solomon's.
1. Give the king, &c.--a prayer which is equivalent to a prediction.
judgments--the acts, and (figuratively) the principles of a right government ( John 5:22 , 9:39 ).
righteousness--qualifications for conducting such a government.
king's son--same person as a king--a very proper title for Christ, as such in both natures.
2, &c. The effects of such a government by one thus endowed are detailed.
thy people . . . and thy poor--or, "meek," the pious subjects of his government.
3. As mountains and hills are not usually productive, they are here selected to show the abundance of peace, being represented as
bringing--or, literally, "bearing" it as a produce.
by righteousness--that is, by means of his eminently just and good methods of ruling.
4. That peace, including prosperity, as an eminent characteristic of Christ's reign ( Isaiah 2:4 , Isaiah 9:6 , 11:9 ), will be illustrated in the security provided for the helpless and needy, and the punishment inflicted on oppressors, whose power to injure or mar the peace of others will be destroyed (compare Isaiah 65:25 , Zechariah 9:10 ).
children of the needy--for the needy (compare sons of strangers, Psalms 18:45 [Margin]).
5. as long as . . . endure--literally, "with the sun," coeval with its existence, and before, or, in presence of the moon, while it lasts (compare Genesis 11:28 , "before Terah," literally, "in presence of," while he lived).
6. A beautiful figure expresses the grateful nature of His influence;
7, and, carrying out the figure, the results are described in an abundant production.
the righteous--literally, "righteousness."
flourish--literally, "sprout," or, "spring forth."
8. The foreign nations mentioned ( Psalms 72:9 Psalms 72:10 ) could not be included in the limits, if designed to indicate the boundaries of Solomon's kingdom. The terms, though derived from those used ( Exodus 23:31 , Deuteronomy 11:24 ) to denote the possessions of Israel, must have a wider sense. Thus, "ends of the earth" is never used of Palestine, but always of the world (compare Margin).
9-11. The extent of the conquests.
They that dwell in the wilderness--the wild, untutored tribes of deserts.
bow . . . dust--in profound submission. The remotest and wealthiest nations shall acknowledge Him (compare Psalms 45:12 ).
12-14. They are not the conquests of arms, but the influences of humane and peaceful principles (compare Isaiah 9:7 , 11:1-9 , Zechariah 9:9 Zechariah 9:10 ).
15. In his prolonged life he will continue to receive the honorable gifts of the rich, and the prayers of his people shall be made for him, and their praises given to him.
16. The spiritual blessings, as often in Scripture, are set forth by material, the abundance of which is described by a figure, in which a "handful" (or literally, "a piece," or small portion) of corn in the most unpropitious locality, shall produce a crop, waving in the wind in its luxuriant growth, like the forests of Lebanon.
they of the city . . . earth--This clause denotes the rapid and abundant increase of population--
the city--Jerusalem, the center and seat of the typical kingdom.
flourish--or, glitter as new grass--that is, bloom. This increase corresponds with the increased productiveness. So, as the gospel blessings are diffused, there shall arise increasing recipients of them, out of the Church in which Christ resides as head.
17. His name--or, "glorious perfections."
as long as the sun--(Compare Psalms 72:5 ).
men shall be blessed--( Genesis 12:3 , 18:18 ).
18, 19. These words close the Psalm in terms consistent with the style of the context, while Psalms 72:20 is evidently, from its prosaic style, an addition for the purpose above explained
20. ended--literally, "finished," or completed; the word never denotes fulfilment, except in a very late usage, as in Ezra 1:1 , Daniel 12:7 .