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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 72

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book PsalmsScott on the Psalms

Verses 1-20

Psalms 72:1-20. Title. David had ’ the satisfaction ’ to see all the great men do homage to Solomon, and ac’ knowledge him for their succeeding sovereign before he died : ... (1 Chronicles 29:24:) and thereupon, the spirit of ’ the holy man being transported with an extraordinary joy, he indited this psalm, in which he recommends Solomon to the divine benediction, and instructs him how ’ to make his people happy; ... which he carries on in so ’ high a strain, in some places, that the words had not a ’ full accomplishment, . . . till the appearing of that great ’ King, Christ, of whose . . . kingdom his father David here ’ prophesies.’ Bp. Patrick. ’

The aged monarch of Israel, ’ being about to resign the kingdom into the hands of his ’ son Solomon, makes unto God the request of a

wise ’ father for him. He asks such a portion of wisdom and ’ integrity from above, as might enable the young prince ’ to govern aright the people of God, and exhibit ... a fair ’ resemblance of the Messiah.’ Bp. Home.

(Notes, 1 Chronicles 22:11-13; 1 Chronicles 29:10-19; 1 Chronicles 29:21-25.) The prayer of Solomon, for wisdom to govern Israel, was evidently grounded on the instructions of this psalm, which shows how deeply he was impressed by it. (Notes, 1 Kings 3:5-14.)

V. 1,2. Solomon was both "king" and " the king’s " son," which no king of Israel had before been : and his pious father ardently desired, that " the wisdom of God " might be in him to do justice;" that he might understand the statutes and laws of God, und copy his righteousness in his administration ; especially in exercising his authority to defend and redress the wrongs, and relieve the distresses, of the poor. (Note, 2 Samuel 23:3-4. Proverbs 31:4-9.) Thus his reign would be an apt resemblance, as it was an evident type, of the kingdom of the Messiah ; of whom the whole psalm must be considered as a direct prophecy, and many of the expressions in it can be interpreted of no other.

V. 3. The peace and righteousness of Solomon’s reign were visible, in the mountains and hills, covered with vines, corn, and cattle; the people quietly gathering in their abundance, and enjoying it, without fear of invasion or oppression ; and the magistrates, both superior and inferior, being exact in administering justice. Thus the Redeemer’s kingdom, established in mercy, and governed in peace and righteousness, produces abundantly the fruits of holiness, in all places where it is truly established.

(Notes,Psalms 85:10-13. Psalms 96:10-13. Psalms 98:1-9.)

V. 4- 7. ’ As this is true in all godly kings, so it is chiefly verified in Christ, who, with his heavenly dew, makcth his cnurcn ever to flourish.’ ’ He sheweth wherefore the sword is committed to kings; to wit, to defend the innocent, and suppress the wicked.’ Solomon reigned only forty years, and his kingdom lost much of its splendor, when left to his descendants ; and even the ingdom of Judah as continued to them, terminated in a few centuries: but Christ shall reign through all generations to the end of time. Solomon’s peaceful and equitable administration was refreshing and beneficial, as the gentle showers upon the new mown grounds, or on the grass when parched by the burning sun. ’ He shall not endeavour to be formidable to them, like a tyrant, whose government imitates ’ the thunder, storms, and tempests : but condescend most ’ graciously to the meanest ; and rule them in so soft and ’ gentle a manner, as shall make his authority no less ac’ ceptable and beneficial, than the rain is to the after-grass, ’ or dripping showers, which fall in summer-heat, to re’ fresh the parched earth.’ Bp. Patrick.

(Notes, Deuteronomy 32:2. 2 Samuel 23:3-4.) But the effects of the gospel of Christ, accompanied by the influences of the Holy Spirit, and of his mediatorial kingdom, are thus most aptly described. By these the distressed conscience is comforted, the barren heart made fruitful, and the beauties of holiness communicated, where before vice and deformity alone were visible. If then the righteous flourished and were multiplied in Solomon’s peaceful reign; much more has this been, and will be, the effect of the setting up of the kingdom of our Prince of peace : and more especially in the latter ages of the world ; when it is foretold that men " shall learn war no more."

(Notes,Psalms 89:1-4. Isaiah 2:2-5; Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:2-9; Isaiah 32:16-20. Jeremiah 23:5-6. Luke 2:8-14. Hebrews 7:13. Revelation 20:4-6.) As long as the moon endureth. (7) " Till there be no moon." Marg

V. 8- 11. Solomon reigned from the river of Egypt, and the coast of the Mediterranean sea, to the Euphrates, and perhaps to the Persian gulph into which the Euphrates runs. (Not?, 1 Kings 4:21.) The inhabitants of the desert countries which lay between submitted to him ; and opposition, as it were, lay prostrate before him. The queen of Slieba came to Jerusalem with munificent presents, and all the kings round about brought tribute or gifts to him. (Notes, 1 Kings 10:1-15.) Yet this faintly shadowed forth the Redeemer’s kingdom. The prophet Zec’nariah uses these very words in foretelling the extent of it. (Zechariah 9:10.) Tin; wise mc n from the East, with their presents, first hailed the new-born King of the Jews (15). His kingdom has already been set up in many nations, and a full completion of these predictions will at length take place; when all " kings shall indeed fall down before him," as his worshippers, " all nations shall serve him." It is absurd to interpret this of the forced submission, which even the wicked will make to Christ at the day of judgment : for how will they " serve him " by " going away " into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his an"gels?" No doubt the millennium is here foretold. (Notes Psalms 86:9-10. Psalms 138:4-5. Revelation 11:15-18; Revelation 20:1-6.)

V. 12, 13. ’ Nor shall they be induced to these sub’ missions so much by the greatness of his power, ... as ’ by the fame of his justice, mercy, and compassion ; ’ (wherein he shall resemble the Lord Christ :) for no ’ sooner shall any miserable wretch, who hath no friend in ’ the world, implore his protection, but he shall instantly ’ succour . . . him.’ Bp. Patrick. The verses, however, far more properly express the spiritual blessings of Christ’s kingdom, than any temporal effects of the very best government on earth.

(Notes, Psalms 10:17-18; Psalms 82:2-4. Isaiah 41:17-20; Isaiah 57:15-16; Isaiah 61:1-3; Isaiah 66:1-2. Matthew 5:35; Matthew 11:26. James 2:5-7 Revelation 3:17-19.)

V. 14. Solomon, as a wise and good king, rescued, as a redeemer, the poor from fraud and violence ; and he was tender of the blood of his subjects : he put none to death by the sword of justice, when mercy could safely be exercised ; and he did not waste their blood in wars of any kind. But the Redeemer shed his own blood to redeem the souls of his people ; he does not expose them to unnecessary sufferings; and when they shed their blood for his sake, it is precious in his sight, and will be abundantly recompensed to them, and avenged on their persecutors.

(Notes, Psalms 116:15. Matthew 23:29-36. Revelation 2:10-11; Revelation 6:9-11.)

V. 15. During the course of a long and prosperous reign, Solomon received tribute from the Arabians and other nations ; and those who solicited his favour brought him presents. The continuance of his life was prayed for by his pious subjects; and numbers joined them in bestowing 16 "There shall be an handful of in, * sK: corn in the earth ’ upon the top of the mountains; "the fruit thereof shall !-. l & vi!: shake like Lebanon : and they of the i u. Psalms 2:2,s. city shall flourish like grass of the daily the highest commendations on him. But in these things he was no more than a type of the Messiah. The ancient church from the beginning prayed for his coming : his church now prays for the success of tus gospel : prayers are continually ascending through him for the blessings of his salvation : while praises and adorations are presented before him, by his people in every part of the world, yea, by all the inhabitants of heaven. The clause rendered, " Prayer also shall be made for him continually," is translated in the book of common prayer, " Prayer shall be " made ever unto him ; " and by the Septuagint, " they shall " pray continually concerning him." The original word (iira) may be rendered either through him, or, on account of him : and may therefore be understood, either of the prayers offered for his coming, and the success of his gospel ; or of those daily presented through Ins intercession, and on the ground of his merits and atonement. No doubt prayer as well as praise is daily offered to him, throughout the whole church ; but this does not appear to be the meaning of the words.

(Marg. Ref.) He shall live, &c.] Notes, John 14:18-20. Romans 5:7-10; Romans 8:32-34. Colossians 3:1-4.

V. 16. A handful of corn, sown on the ridge of a mountain, the least fertile part of the country ; yet producing a crop so strong and thick, that, when waving in the wind, it would resemble the forests of Lebanon ; is the allusion here used, to illustrate the fruitfulness of Canaan in this favoured reign. In consequence, the inhabitants of Jerusalem would become numerous as the blades of grass. The old translation of the last; ciause runs thus, " the children shall flourish out of the city, like the grass " of the earth." It is a prediction of a vastly increased population, and all abundantly provided for. The rapid promulgation of Christianity, from small beginnings, among the Gentiles as well as Jews ; the numerous converts raised up, strong in faith, holy in their lives, and filled with consolation ; and the continual increase of these inhabitants of the new Jerusalem, and the abundant provisions made for them, were thus, in a striking manner, typically predicted. When two or three missionaries are sent, with " the word of the truth of the gospel," to a heathen nation : a handful of seed corn is carried to be sown in a most unpromising situation : yet this, increasing by the special blessing of God ; and the increase being as it were sown again and again, from year to year ; a whole nation or continent may at length be covered with the abundant harvest, and the spiritual prosperity of populous cities

.imply provided for. (Notes, Psalms 67:6-7; Psalms 85:10-13. Isaiah 30:23-25; Isaiah 32:15-20. Matthew 13:31-32. John 15:12-16.)

V. 17-19. These verses contain a most extraordinary prediction of Christ and his kingdom ; and notwithstanding Solomon’s durable and extensive renown, they can scarcely be at all applied to him, without enervating their energy. " Behold, a greater than Solomon is here ! " The words rendered, " Men shall be, blessed in him ; all nations shall call "him blessed," seem to mean, "All "nations," while " blessing themselves in him," shall call him blessed, or celebrate his praises. (Notes, Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 18:18-19; Genesis 22:16-18.) Nearly the very words of the Lord to Abraham (Genesis 22:18) are here used. Thus God alone has done most wonderful things, in blessing the nations by Jesus Christ ; and he will do wonderful things. The last clause is future, and may be exactly rendered, " The whole earth shall be filled with his glory ; " being a prediction of the universal prevalence of the kingdom of Christ, and the display of the glory of God in him.

(Marg. Ref. Notes, lsa. 11: 6- 9. Habakkuk 2:12-14. Zechariah 14:6-9.) To this the Psalmist and all the people added, Amen, amen.

(Note, Psalms 41:11-13. Matthew 6:9; Matthew 10:13.) Be it so, be it so. ’ Let the whole earth be filled with the glory of God and of Christ.’ ’ Blessed, therefore, be thou, ’ O Lord Jesu, for thou art the Lord God, even the God ’ of Israel, who hast wrought such miracles of mercy for ’ the salvation of thy church : and blessed by the tongues ’ of men and angels be thy holy and glorious name ; and ’ let the whole earth be filled with . . . thy most excellent ’glory!... So be it, so be it.’ Bp. Home. Perhaps the eighteenth verse may be considered, as addressed to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus ; and the beginning of the nineteenth to the divine Saviour.

V. 20. The dying Psalmist, having thus prayed for, and foreseen, his son’s prosperous reign ; and having looked forward to the coming of the Redeemer, and viewed the whole earth filled with his glory ; had no more to ask or to do, but to lie down and rest in hope.

(Note, 2 Samuel 23:1-5.)


Pious parents will be the more earnest in prayer for their children, in proportion to the importance of those stations, which they are likely to occupy in society, and in the church of God : and those who have faithfully served their gem-ration, and are going to rest, will be equally attentive to the interests of posterity, especially with respect to true religion. As it is in every way so important to mankind. that rulers should be men of wisdom and righteousness, protectors of the industrious poor, and terrors to evil- doers of every degree ; it becomes the duty of every man, to pray that God would give the king, and his successor, and all legislators and magistrates, his judgments and righteousness, that " they may judge the people with " righteousness and the poor with judgment." And princes should be reminded by such as have access to them, especially the ministers of religion who are thus distinguished, that they are the vicegerents of God, to whom they must give an account of their authority, and that they ought to imitate him in their government. While we therefore meditate on the nature of the Redeemer’s kingdom, let it be observed, that in this respect he is especially an example to all rulers, and will be followed by all such as are wise and righteous. The wisdom and justice of God, as well as his authority, are in him. He is " the " King of righteousness, and of peace : " and, having once " made peace by the blood of his cross," he brings all spiritual blessings to sinners; and, by their conversion and salvation, renders them like a precious harvest springing forth in every part of the earth. The poor in spirit, the broken in heart, apply for and obtain from him peace of conscience, and that " peace of God which passeth all understanding ; " but he will crush the obstinate, the proud, and the impenitent. By the warnings and encouragements of his gospel, multitudes, through successive generations, are brought to fear, submit to, and worship God: and this shall be more and more the case, as long as the sun and moon endure. His gracious truths, attended by the influences of his Spirit, distil, like the refreshing and fructifying rain upon the parched earth ; and holiness, comfort, and usefulness are the never-failing effects. Thus " in his days the righteous flourish ; " and, while they enjoy abundance of peace, they are multiplied exceedingly. His people are taught to behave with such equity, truth, and love ; and so to bear with and forgive each other, and to follow peace with all men ; that as far as his kingdom is really set up, discords and contentions cease, in families, neighbourhoods, and nations : and he defends his harmless subjects, against those who would treat them with deceit and violence. He delivers the needy, perishing sinner, when he cries unto him, from the tyranny and oppression of Satan : he spares believers, though they deserve punishment, and saves their souls from destruction ; he redeems them from all their enemies, " and precious shall their blood be in his sight." Thus he becomes precious to their hearts, and love of him constrains them to live devoted to his service and glory. The good seed of his gospel being, as it were, but a handful, sown upon the before barren mountains of the Gentile world, has already produced an immense increase of believers, fruitful in good works, to the glory of God, and the benefit of mankind : and they shall still increase more and more. His dominion has already extended very widely; many kings and nations have become his subjects ; and many of his enemies have licked the dust. At length " all " kings shall fall down before him, all nations shall do " him service : " he shall crush the head of the great oppressor, and destroy all who withstand his cause : " his " name and glory shall endure as long as the sun ; " and " men shall be blessed in him," and with one consent shall call him blessed for evermore. May we then submit to his authority, and partake of his righteousness and peace : may we daily celebrate his praises, and bless the God of Israel for the wonders of his redeeming love : may we spend our days, and end our lives, praying and using all proper means in our power, for the success of the gospel, and longing for that time when " the whole earth " shall be filled with his glory ! Amen, and amen."

Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 72". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tsp/psalms-72.html. 1804.
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