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72. Psalm 72

Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.

2He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.

3The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

4He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.

5They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.

6He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.

7In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

8He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.

9They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.

10The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.

11Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.

12For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.

13He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.

14He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

15And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised.

16There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.

17His name shall endure for ever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.

18Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.

19And blessed be his glorious name for ever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.

20The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.

8 He shall have dominion from sea to sea. As the Lord, when he promised his people the land of Canaan for an inheritance, assigned to it these four boundaries, (Genesis 15:18,) David intimates, that so long as the kingdom shall continue to exist, the possession of the promised land will be entire, to teach the faithful that the blessing of God cannot be fully realised, except whilst this kingdom shall flourish. He therefore declares that he will exercise dominion from the Red Sea, or from that arm of the Egyptian sea to the sea of Syria, which is called the Sea of the Philistines, 134134     Or the Mediterranean. and also from the river Euphrates to the great wilderness. If it is objected that such narrow bounds do not correspond with the kingdom of Christ, which was to be extended from the rising of the sun to the going down thereof, we reply, that David obviously accommodates his language to his own time, the amplitude of the kingdom of Christ not having been, as yet, fully unfolded. He has therefore begun his description in phraseology well known, and in familiar use under the law and the prophets; and even Christ himself commenced his reign within the limits here marked out before he penetrated to the uttermost boundaries of the earth; as it is said in Psalm 110:2,

“The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion.”

But, soon after, the Psalmist proceeds to speak of the enlarged extent of the empire of this king, declaring that the kings beyond the sea shall also be tributaries to him; and also that the inhabitants of the desert shall receive his yoke. The word ציים, tsiim, 135135     ציים, tsiim, is from ציה, tsiyah, a dry and parched country, a desert Rosenmüller translates it, the rude nations “The word ציים,” says he, “seems to signify rude, barbarous tribes; the inhabitants of desert places, — of vast and unknown regions. This sense appears to be most suitable, both here and in Psalm 74:14. Hence it is used Isaiah 13:21; 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39, for the animals, — the wild beasts that inhabit jungles and deserts.” The LXX. translate it Αιθιοπες, “the Æthiopians;” and in like manner the Vulgate, Æthiopic, and Arabic versions. Boothroyd is of opinion that the wild Arabs may be intended. which we have translated inhabitants of the desert, is, I have no doubt, to be understood of those who, dwelling towards the south, were at a great distance from the land of Canaan. The Prophet immediately adds, that the enemies of the king shall lick the dust in token of their reverence. This, as is well known, was in ancient times a customary ceremony among the nations of the East; and Alexander the Great, after he had conquered the East, wished to compel his subjects to practice it, from which arose great dissatisfaction and contentions, the Macedonians disdainfully refusing to yield such a slavish and degrading mark of subjection. 136136     The kings of Persia never admitted any into their presence without exacting this act of adoration, and it was the Persian custom which Alexander wished to introduce among the Macedonians. — Rollins Ancient History, volume 4, p. 288. This custom is still extant among the Turks. As soon as an ambassador sees the Sultan, he falls on his knees and kisses the ground. The meaning then is, that the king chosen by God in Judea will obtain so complete a victory over all his enemies, far and wide, that they shall come humbly to pay him homage.


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