Psalms 70-73 May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed

From Psalms 70-73

19 Psalms Fragment

This Psalm is the last David wrote. We will see others of David’s, but Psalms is not chronologically ordered. David possibly wrote it on his death bed for Solomon his son who would reign after him.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

‘It should seem, David penned this psalm for the use of the people, that they, in singing, might pray for Solomon.’ (Henry, M. (1994). Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible: complete and unabridged in one volume (p. 846). Peabody: Hendrickson).

It explores the relationship between God as king and his appointed human ruler.

1 Give the king your justice, O God,

and your righteousness to the royal son!

2 May he judge your people with righteousness,

and your poor with justice!

3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,

and the hills, in righteousness!

4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,

give deliverance to the children of the needy,

and crush the oppressor! (Ps 72.1-4)

A kingdom is made up of a king, his people and the land they reside in. Righteousness is a noun which can describe the kings reign in his kingdom. Here we see the kings righteous reign consists in judgment, bringing prosperity to his people, defending the cause of the poor and needy and crushing the wicked. As the extension of God’s reign the king (‘royal son’) is meant to perform these functions. David prays for the LORD’s anointed king, he is praying for the kings who follow him and perhaps a future king who will reign forever as the LORD has promised (2 Sam 7.12-13).

5 May they fear you while the sun endures,

and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!

6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,

like showers that water the earth!

7 In his days may the righteous flourish,

and peace abound, till the moon be no more! (Ps 72.5-7)

David’s hope is if God’s king rules as he ought people will fear God and they will prosper. David names the people of God and those under his reign as ‘the righteous’. A term which denotes their identity, but is not to far away from describing their character and behaviour as well. When the king rules as he ought, the righteous will flourish and have peace from their enemies.

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,

and from the River to the ends of the earth!

9 May desert tribes bow down before him,

and his enemies lick the dust!

10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands

render him tribute;

may the kings of Sheba and Seba

bring gifts!

11 May all kings fall down before him,

all nations serve him! (Ps 72.8-11)

The LORD’s anointed king is meant to rule over all other nations. He will have dominion over creation and all the other tribes and kings of the world. When his ‘enemies lick the dust’ it means they die, when kings ‘render him tribute’ it means they are subject under him and must continually offer him gifts. Some of this was experienced by David and Solomon when they ruled. But it was short lived when they sinned.

12 For he delivers the needy when he calls,

the poor and him who has no helper.

13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,

and saves the lives of the needy.

14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life,

and precious is their blood in his sight. (Ps 72.12-14)

A praiseworthy role of the king is to look after the poor and needy. He ‘delivers’, ‘saves’, ‘helps’ and ‘redeems’ them. As I have commented on before helping the poor and needy is a constant theme through the scriptures. They need help. God’s king considers their life precious, if they are killed he will be moved to act.

15 Long may he live;

may gold of Sheba be given to him!

May prayer be made for him continually,

and blessings invoked for him all the day!

16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;

on the tops of the mountains may it wave;

may its fruit be like Lebanon;

and may people blossom in the cities

like the grass of the field!

17 May his name endure forever,

his fame continue as long as the sun!

May people be blessed in him,

all nations call him blessed! (Ps 72.15-17)

David prays that this king may have a long life, that other land render him gifts, that people may pray for him. David asks that the righteous may prosper under his reign and his name be praised. Do you long for someone to rule over you like this?

18 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,

who alone does wondrous things.

19 Blessed be his glorious name forever;

may the whole earth be filled with his glory!

Amen and Amen!

20 The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended. (Ps 72.18-20)

David turns his attention to God. God is the one who can raise up a king like this. He ‘alone does wondrous things’. God’s plan is to have the ‘whole earth filled with his glory’ (Nu 14.21; Isa 6.3; Ps 57.5; 108.5; Hab 2.14). Amen means ‘so it is’, ‘let it be’ and is derived from a verb meaning ‘to be firm or sure’. Let it be that the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the LORD.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

As we have stepped through the books of Kings and Chronicles we can probably guess the line of kings following David did not live up to this Psalms expectations. If the people of Israel and Judah continued to sing this Psalm they would have looked forward to the fulfillment of this Psalm in a future king. So they waited for God to raise him up.

Story of Jesus

God did just that with Jesus. His chosen king, the promised Christ. He lived helping the poor and needy. He healed the sick, cast out demons, changed the law and replaced the temple. His own did not understand who he was and crucified him. God’s chosen king was crucified (Mk 15.24-32). But on the third day as predicted, God raised him from the dead. He ascended, but will return to complete the restoration of his kingdom. The book of revelation describes his kingdom in similar respects to what we have been looking at in Psalm 72.

21.1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.3 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Rev 22.1-4)

22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. (Rev 21.22-27)

22.1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Rev 22.1-5)

Keep praying for God’s chosen king Jesus to return.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.