Psalm 72 (New International Version)
The title of this Psalm is, A Psalm of Solomon. It is possible to translate the Hebrew here (and in almost all the Psalms which reference an author) as “A Psalm to Solomon,” and some have regarded it as David’s Psalm to and about his son Solomon and his Greater Son the Messiah. Yet, the most natural way to take the title is as it is given, A Psalm of Solomon and that the line about David in 72:20 refers to the collection of Book Two of the Psalms, which is heavy with David’s Psalms, separating it from Book Three, which begins with 11 Psalms authored by Asaph.
It is possible that Solomon complied this second book of the Psalms (Psalms 42-72) and composed this Psalm as a fitting conclusion for the collection of mostly David’s Psalms. It is a fitting conclusion, because it unexpectedly does not focus upon David himself, but on the Messiah – the King of Kings and the Son of David.
“The New Testament nowhere quotes it as Messianic, but this picture of the king and his realm is so close to the prophecies of Isaiah 11:1-5 and Isaiah 60-62 that if those passages are Messianic, so is this.”
The King and the King of Kings
1 Endow the king with your justice, O God,
the royal son with your righteousness.
Solomon began this Psalm asking God to bless him as the monarch of Israel, and to bless him with wise judgments and a reign displaying God’s righteousness. This was the same heart behind is great request to God in 1 Kings 3:5-9.
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.
2 May he judge your people in righteousness,
your afflicted ones with justice.
Psalm 36:6 (NLT)
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the ocean depths.
3 May the mountains bring prosperity to the people,
the hills the fruit of righteousness.
4 May he defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy;
may he crush the oppressor.
5 May he endure as long as the sun,
as long as the moon, through all generations.
6 May he be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.
7 In his days may the righteous flourish
and prosperity abound till the moon is no more.
Mark 13:31 (NLT)
Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
8 May he rule from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9 May the desert tribes bow before him
and his enemies lick the dust.
“Tongues which rail at the Redeemer deserve to lick the dust.”
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon (British “Prince of Preachers,” 1834-1892)
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
present him gifts.
11 May all kings bow down to him
and all nations serve him.
12 For he will deliver the needy who cry out,
the afflicted who have no one to help.
13 He will take pity on the weak and the needy
and save the needy from death.
14 He will rescue them from oppression and violence,
for precious is their blood in his sight.
15 Long may he live!
May gold from Sheba be given him.
Matthew 2:10-11 (NL)
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
May people ever pray for him
and bless him all day long.
16 May grain abound throughout the land;
on the tops of the hills may it sway.
May the crops flourish like Lebanon
and thrive like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure forever;
may it continue as long as the sun.
Philippians 2:6-11 (NLT)
Though he was God,
he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
he took the humble position of a slave
and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
he humbled himself in obedience to God
and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
and gave him the name above all other names,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Then all nations will be blessed through him,
and they will call him blessed.
18 Praise be to the LORD God, the God of Israel,
who alone does marvelous deeds.
19 Praise be to his glorious name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Amen and Amen.
Jude 1:24-25 (NLT)
Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.
20 This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.
The prayers of David: We take this as Solomon’s postscript on the collection of Psalms gathered into Book Two. David authored most of the Psalms in Book Two, and Asaph composed the first 11 Psalms of Book Three, so this is a good marking point. We also note that these are not only songs, but also prayers.
David the son of Jesse: Because this Psalm so exalts the King of Kings, Solomon properly did not refer to David with any royal title, though deserved. David happily takes the lower place before the Greater Son of David and is simply the son of Jesse, a simple farmer of Bethlehem.
The hymn “Jesus Shall Reign,” by Isaac Watts, is a lyrical adaptation of Psalm 72. HERE it is, performed by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Singers.