Psalms 72:9

9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.

Psalms 72:9 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 72:9

They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him
In token of subjection to him, reverence and worship of him, to whom every knee shall bow, ( Isaiah 45:23 ) . The Septuagint version, and others, render the word (Myyu) , "Ethiopians", who dwell in a dry land, parched and burnt with the sun; and so it is a prophecy of their conversion to Christ, as in ( Psalms 68:31 ) ( 87:4 ) ; of which there is an instance, ( Acts 8:27 ) ; the word is used of the wild beasts of the field, in ( Isaiah 13:21 ) ; to which wicked men, for the malignity of their nature, may be compared; as they are to the wild ass, to lions, leopards, and bears; and yet these are so tamed by the power of divine grace as to be made subject to Christ. Kimchi explains it as we do, of the inhabitants of the wilderness; and so the word is rendered in ( Psalms 74:14 ) ( Isaiah 23:13 ) ; and instances in the Kedarenes; and it may in particular design those that dwell in the deserts of Arabia; and in general the Gentiles, the wilderness of the people, who in Gospel times should be brought to the knowledge of Christ, and submission to him: and it fitly describes the people of God in an unregenerate state; when they are as barren and unfruitful as the dry and parched ground, and as the heath in the wilderness; are in want of provision, and have nothing but husks to feed upon; in perplexity of ways, and know not which to take, or whither they are going; and in very dangerous circumstances, destruction and misery being in all their ways: in this wilderness state the Lord finds them, as he did Israel of old, and leads them about, and brings them to Christ; when they submit to him as a Saviour, being willing to be saved by him, and him only, and to his righteousness, as their justifying righteousness before God, and to the sceptre of his kingdom, to his laws and commands, to his Gospel, and the ordinances of it; all which they do not by constraint, but willingly. The Targum and Jarchi interpret it, the one of governors of provinces; the other of companies of princes. The Syriac version is, "the isles shall bow before him"; the inhabitants of the islands: but this is expressed in ( Psalms 72:10 ) . Aben Ezra thinks masters of ships are meant;

and his enemies shall lick the dust;
of the earth; which is an instance of their great subjection to him; see ( Isaiah 49:23 ) ( Micah 7:17 ) ; the allusion is to the custom of the eastern people, and which continues to this day with the Turks, that as soon as an ambassador sees the sultan, whether at the window, or elsewhere, he immediately falls down on his knees, and kisses the ground F1. The Jews particularly are the enemies of Christ, who rejected him, and would not have him to reign over them; and yet some of these became obedient to the faith of Christ, and more of them, even the whole nation, will in the latter day: all that are Christ's are, before conversion, enemies to him, to his people, to his Gospel and ordinances, to him as a King, and to all his laws and commands; but when his arrows are sharp in their hearts, they fall under him, and submit to him; throw off the yoke of sin, Satan, and the world, and own him, and obey him, as their King and Lawgiver.


F1 Mandevil. Itinerar. c. 7.

Psalms 72:9 In-Context

7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
The King James Version is in the public domain.