Psa 72:1 Of Solomon. Endow the king with your justice, O God, the royal son with your righteousness.
Here is “A glowing description of the reign of Messiah as righteous, Ps 72:1-7; universal, Ps 72:8-11; beneficent, Ps 72:12-14; and perpetual, Ps 72:15-17; to which are added a doxology, Ps 72:18-19; and a postscript, Ps 72:20.” (Alexander)
This was one of the psalms which Isaac Watts (1674-1748) “christianised”. The resultant hymn was ‘Jesus shall reign’. Watts is, in fact, regarded as the father of modern hymnody in England. He first used psalms, the ‘made David Christian’ (see also Psa 148 – “I’ll praise my Maker”) and finally wrote hymns independent of the psalms (e.g. “When I survey”).
‘Hail to the Lord’s anointed’, by James Montgomery, is another Christian version of this psalm, In comparison to Watts’ work it is more this-worldly, and more political in orientation.
‘Psalm 72 is a prayer for a king who would protect the poor, a psalm that looks beyond Solomon to an ideal just king. The Old Testament goes on to predict that the Messiah will execute justice on God’s behalf (Isa 9:7; 11:3-4; 16:4b-5; 28:17). In the New Testament, Jesus already begins to carry out the Father’s justice while on earth (Matt 12:18-21; John 5:28-30), but it is in the future that he will execute God’s will over all (Acts 17:31; Rev 19:11).’ (EDBT)
Psa 72:2 He will judge your people in righteousness, your afflicted ones with justice.
Psa 72:3 The mountains will bring prosperity to the people, the hills the fruit of righteousness.
Psa 72:4 He will defend the afflicted among the people and save the children of the needy; he will crush the oppressor.
Psa 72:5 He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations.
Psa 72:6 He will be like rain falling on a mown field, like showers watering the earth.
Psa 72:7 In his days the righteous will flourish; prosperity will abound till the moon is no more.
Psa 72:8 He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Psa 72:9 The desert tribes will bow before him and his enemies will lick the dust.
Ps 72:10 The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts.
This verse has been used to support the conjecture that the Magi of Mt 2 were kings. Calvin mocks the ignorance of this: ‘Ingenious workmen, truly, who, in order to present those men in a new shape, have begun with turning the world from one side to another: for they have changed the south and west into the east! Beyond all doubt, they have been stupified by a righteous judgment of God, that all might laugh at the gross ignorance of those who have not scrupled to adulterate “and, change the truth of God into a lie,”.’ (Rom 1:25)
Psa 72:11 All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him.
Psa 72:12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out, the afflicted who have no one to help.
Psa 72:13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy and save the needy from death.
Psa 72:14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence, for precious is their blood in his sight.
Psa 72:15 Long may he live! May gold from Sheba be given him. May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long.
This prayer for the king ‘spreads as it proceeds’ (NBC): from king to people to creation to the whole world.
Psa 72:16 Let grain abound throughout the land; on the tops of the hills may it sway. Let its fruit flourish like Lebanon; let it thrive like the grass of the field.
Psa 72:17 May his name endure forever; may it continue as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.
May his name live forever – The eternity of the Messiah is witnessed in Psa 89:36; 110:4; Isa. 9:7.
All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed – Note the universalism of this, and its similarity to the promise to Abraham, Gen 12:3..
Psa 72:18 Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel, who alone does marvelous deeds.
Verses 18-20 form a conclusion to the second book of psalms, cf. 41:13.
Psa 72:19 Praise be to his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen and Amen.
Psa 72:20 This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.