“Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son!
May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!
Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness!
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!
May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations!
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth!
In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth!
May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust!
May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute;
may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!
May all kings fall down before him, all nations serve him!
For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.
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!
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!
May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory!
Amen and Amen!”

(Psalm 72)

We saw on Day 13 of this series that God promised to build the Throne of David, but that it would be his son who would build the House of God. And then in yesterday’s piece, we looked at Psalm 2 to see a bit more of the manner of the rule of the King – God’s Messiah – how his enemies would conspire to oppose him, how God would laugh at them, and how the decree would still stand that the Anointed one should rule, even to the ends of the earth.

In Psalm 72, we find out more about the king and his kingdom. There is some dispute about the authorship of this Psalm. Some believe it to be David, as the final verse says, “The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.” Others believe it to be written by Solomon, due to the inscription “of Solomon” at the top. Still others (including the great Reformer, John Calvin) believe that the prayer was David’s, but that it was finally written down by Solomon.

I would tend to agree with the third view. The language sounds to me like it is the royal father, David, praying for the royal son, Solomon, and the repeated use of the phrase “May he” do such and such, sounds far more plausibly like David asking God to enable his son to do all these things, than it does Solomon asking for these things for himself. And yet, the inscription at the top tends to indicate that it was indeed assembled by Solomon, perhaps after the death of his father.

What kind of king is Solomon to be? Having received justice and righteousness from God (verse 1), he is to reflect this in his government by judging with righteousness and justice (verse 2). He is to defend the cause of the poor and crush their oppressors (verse 4). He is to be feared – not the slavish fear given to a tyrant, but an awe and reverence (verse 5). He is to be like rain on the ground – that is, bringing refreshment and prosperity to the people (verse 6 and 16). He is to be the enabler of peace and the flourishing of the righteous (verse 7). He will have dominion to the ends of the earth (verse 8). He will draw those that are afar off to honour him, and he will triumph over those who oppose the kings righteous rule (verse 9-10). All rulers and nations will bow down to him and confess that he is king (verse 11). He will deliver the poor and needy (verse 12-14). His name will endure forever, and all nations will call him blessed (verse 17).

How much of this was fulfilled in Solomon? Much indeed. He famously prayed for wisdom, and was granted it, being given a “wise and discerning mind” (1 Kings 3:12), enabling him to rule with justice and righteousness. He defended the cause of the poor and needy, for instance famously judging between two women, one of whom had had her baby taken by the other (1 Kings 3:16-28). His kingdom was at peace, God having given him rest on every side (1 Kings 5:4). His people were many and enjoyed prosperity (2 Chronicles 9:21). His kingdom covered a vast area, encompassing “all the kingdoms from the Euphrates to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:21). And “all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon to hear his wisdom, which God had put into his mind” (2 Chronicles 9:23).

Yet as we shall see tomorrow, Solomon – like his father David – fails, and so the world must wait for the true Psalm 72 king – another son of David – to come forth.

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