The end of the prayers of David (Ps 72:20-72:20)

“The prayers of David,

Son of Jesse,

Are ended.”

This is a postscript to the second book of psalms. This seems to indicate that there will be no more psalms of David. In fact, there are many more psalms attributed to David in the next 3 books of psalms. Clearly it is David, the son of Jesse, rather than King David who made these prayers.

Blessed be Yahweh (Ps 72:18-72:19)

“Blessed be Yahweh!

The God of Israel!

He alone does wondrous things.

Blessed be his glorious name forever!

May his glory fill the whole earth!

Amen and Amen!”

This psalm naturally ends with a cry of blessing to Yahweh, the God of Israel. He alone has done wondrous things. Clearly Yahweh is superior to the king. The glory and name of Yahweh should last forever and fill the whole earth. This seems to add to the preceding verses that made the king seem almost divine. This was a reminder that Yahweh was the only God of Israel, not the king. This psalm ends with the rousing “Amen” twice.

The king and prosperity (Ps 72:15-72:17)

“Long may he live!

May gold of Sheba be given to him!

May prayer be made for him continually!

May blessings be invoked for him all day long!

May there be abundance of grain in the land!

May grain wave on the tops of the mountains!

May its fruit be like Lebanon!

May people blossom in the cities

Like the grass of the field!

May his name endure forever!

May his fame continue as long as the sun!

May all nations be blessed in him!

May they pronounce him happy!”

These are a series of wishes for the king. First, there is the one that he might have a long life. Thus the famous saying, “Long live the King.” Then the wish was for gold from Sheba, where of course, the famous Queen of Sheba had visited King Solomon. Every day in the great Temple prayers should be offered to the king who built the Temple. They also wished for an abundance of grain on the land and in the mountains. They wanted it to be like Lebanon to the north. The cities should also prosper like grass in the field. They wanted his name and his fame to endure as long as there was a sun in the sky. All nations were to be blessed by him in his happiness. Thus the king was like a mini-god in his great power.

Care for the poor (Ps 72:12-72:14)

“He delivers

The needy when they call.

He delivers

The poor.

He delivers

Those who have no helper.

He has pity on the weak.

He has pity on the needy.

He saves the lives of the needy.

From oppression and violence

He redeems their life.

Precious is their blood in his sight.”

This ideal king helps the needy when they ask for help. He delivers the poor and those who have no one to help them. He has pity on the weak and the needy. He saves them from oppression and violence as he redeems their lives. Their blood is precious in his sight.

The powerful successful king (Ps 72:8-72:11)

“May he have dominion

From sea to sea!

May he have dominion

From the river to the ends of the earth!

May his foes

Bow down before him!

May his enemies

Lick the dust!

May the kings of Tarshish

Render him tribute!

May the kings of the isles

Render him tribute!

May the kings of Sheba and Seba

Bring gifts!

May all kings

Fall down before him!

All nations

Give him service!”

Now we have the practical empire of the king. He will be king from sea to shining sea even to the ends of the earth. His foes will bow down before him, while his enemies will lick dust. What a nice thought! The kings of Tarshish and various islands will render him tribute. The kings of Sheba and Seba will also bring gifts and tribute. The river mentioned here is the Euphrates River, since that was a border area easily recognized. Tarshish maybe Spain and the other Mediterranean islands. Sheba and Seba are probably Arabian countries. There is no mention of the Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Egyptians, and other common enemies, suggesting maybe a post-exilic writing. King Solomon had been an idealist wise king that everyone respected. Thus all the kings and all the nations would bring gifts and give service to him.

Long live the king (Ps 72:5-72:7)

“May he live

While the sun endures!

May he live

As long as the moon,

Throughout all generations!

May he be

Like rain that falls on the mown grass!

May he be

Like showers that water the earth!

In his days

May righteousness flourish!

In his days

May peace abound,

Until the moon is no more!”

There is a hope that this king would live as long as there was a sun and a moon in the sky. They wanted the king to live through many generations, much like the English queens, Victoria and the 2 Elizabeth’s. This idealistic king was to be a gentile fertilizer, like rain on freshly cut grass or a shower on the dry earth. He was to flourish with peace until the moon went out of existence. He almost had divine powers, which led to the latter belief in the diving right of kings. They wanted a long life for the king.

Bless the king (Ps 72:1-72:4)

A psalm of Solomon

“Give the king your justice!

O God!

Give your righteousness

To a king’s son!

May he judge your people

With righteousness!

May he judge your poor

With justice!

May the mountains yield prosperity

For the people!

May the hills yield

In righteousness!

May he defend

The cause of the poor people!

May he give

Deliverance to the needy!

May he

Crush the oppressor!”

Psalm 72 is a long blessing for a king. The only name mentioned is King Solomon, so that it might have been on his coronation. This is more or less a portrait of an ideal king. In this first section there is an emphasis on just judgments, especially for the helpless and the weak. The king is to rule with the justice and the righteousness of God. The mountains and the hills were to bring prosperity to the people. However, the primary task of the king was to defend the poor and the needy so that they would be delivered from their oppressors.