Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher
TITLE. A Psalm for Solomon. The best linguists affirm that this should be rendered, of or by Solomon. There is not sufficient ground for the rendering for. It is pretty certain that the title declares Solomon to be the author of the Psalm, and yet from Ps 72:20 it would seem that David uttered it in prayer before he died. With some diffidence we suggest that the spirit and matter of the Psalm are David's, but that he was too near his end to pen the words, or cast them into form: Solomon, therefore, caught his dying father's song, fashioned it in goodly verse, and, without robbing his father, made the Psalm his own. It is, we conjecture, the Prayer of David, but the Psalm of Solomon. Jesus is here, beyond all doubt, in the glory of his reign, both as he now is, and as he shall be revealed in the latter day glory.
DIVISION. We shall follow the division suggested by Alexander. "A glowing description of the reign of Messiah as righteous, Ps 72:1-7; universal, Ps 72:8-11; beneficent, Ps 72:12-14; and perpetual, Ps 72:15-17; to which are added a doxology, Ps 72:18-19; and a postscript, Ps 72:20."
Verse 1. Give the king thy judgments, O God. The right to reign was transmitted by descent from David to Solomon, but not by that means alone: Israel was a theocracy, and the kings were but the viceroys of the greater King; hence the prayer that the new king might be enthroned by divine right, and then endowed with divine wisdom. Our glorious King in Zion hath all judgment committed unto him. He rules in the name of God over all lands. He is king "Dei Gratia" as well as by right of inheritance. And thy righteousness unto the king's son. Solomon was both king and king's son; so also is our Lord. He has power and authority in himself, and also royal dignity given of his Father. He is the righteous king; in a word, he is "the Lord our righteousness." We are waiting till he shall be manifested among men as the ever righteous Judge. May the Lord hasten on his own time the long looked for day. Now wars and fightings are even in Israel itself, but soon the dispensation will change, and David, the type of Jesus warring with our enemies, shall be displaced by Solomon the prince of peace.
Verse 2. He shall judge thy people with righteousness. Clothed with divine authority, he shall use it on the behalf of the favoured nation, for whom he shall show himself strong, that they be not misjudged, slandered, or in any way treated maliciously. His sentence shall put their accusers to silence, and award the saints their true position as the accepted of the Lord. What a consolation to feel that none can suffer wrong in Christ's kingdom: he sits upon the great white throne, unspotted by a single deed of injustice, or even mistake of judgment: reputations are safe enough with him. And thy poor with judgment. True wisdom is manifest in all the decisions of Zion's King. We do not always understand his doings, but they are always right. Partiality has been too often shown to rich and great men, but the King of the last and best of monarchies deals out even handed justice, to the delight of the poor and despised. Here we have the poor mentioned side by side with the king. The sovereignty of God is a delightful theme to the poor in spirit; they love to see the Lord exalted, and have no quarrel with him for exercising the prerogatives of his crown. It is the fictitious wealth which labours to conceal real poverty, which makes men cavil at the reigning Lord, but a deep sense of spiritual need prepares the heart loyally to worship the Redeemer King. On the other hand, the King has a special delight in the humbled hearts of his contrite ones, and exercises all his power and wisdom on their behalf, even as Joseph in Egypt ruled for the welfare of his brethren.
Verse 3. The mountains shall bring peace to the people. Thence, aforetime, rushed the robber bands which infested the country; but now the forts there erected are the guardians of the land, and the watchmen publish far and near the tidings that no foe is to be seen. Where Jesus is there is peace, lasting, deep, eternal. Even those things which were once our dread, lose all terror when Jesus is owned as monarch of the heart: death itself, that dark mountain, loses all its gloom. Trials and afflictions, when the Lord is with us, bring us an increase rather than a diminution of peace. And the little hills, by righteousness. Seeing that the rule of the monarch was just, every little hill seemed clothed with peace. Injustice has made Palestine a desert; if the Turk and Bedouin were gone, the land would smile again; for even in the most literal sense, justice is the fertilizer of lands, and men are diligent to plough and raise harvests when they have the prospect of eating the fruit of their labours. In a spiritual sense, peace is given to the heart by the righteousness of Christ; and all the powers and passions of the soul are filled with a holy calm, when the way of salvation, by a divine righteousness, is revealed. Then do we go forth with joy, and are led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills break forth before us into singing.
Verse 4. He shall judge the poor of the people. He will do them justice, yea, and blessed be his name, more than justice, for he will delight to do them good. He shall save the children of the needy. Poor, helpless things, they were packhorses for others, and paupers themselves, but their King would be their protector. Happy are God's poor and needy ones; they are safe under the wing of the Prince of Peace, for he will save them from all their enemies. And shall break in pieces the oppressor. He is strong to smite the foes of his people. Oppressors have been great breakers, but their time of retribution shall come, and they shall be broken themselves. Sin, Satan, and all our enemies must be crushed by the iron rod of King Jesus. We have, therefore, no cause to fear; but abundant reason to sing
"All hail the power of Jesus' name!
It is much better to be poor than to be an oppressor; for both the needy and their children find an advocate in the heavenly Solomon, who aims all his blows at haughty ones, and rests not till they are utterly destroyed.
Verse 5. They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure. And well they may. Such righteousness wins the cheerful homage of the poor and the godly, and strikes dismay into the souls of unrighteous oppressors; so that all through the lands, both good and bad are filled with awe. Where Jesus reigns in power men must render obeisance of some sort. His kingdom, moreover, is no house of cards, or dynasty of days; it is as lasting as the lights of heaven; days and nights will cease before he abdicates his throne. Neither sun nor moon as yet manifest any failure in their radiance, nor are there any signs of decrepitude in the kingdom of Jesus; on the contrary, it is but in its youth, and is evidently the coming power, the rising sun. Would to God that fresh vigour were imparted to all its citizens to push at once the conquests of Immanuel to the uttermost ends of the earth. Throughout all generations shall the throne of the Redeemer stand. Humanity shall not wear out the religion of the Incarnate God. No infidelity shall wither it away, nor superstition smother it; it shall rise immortal from what seemed its grave; as the true phoenix, it shall revive from its ashes! As long as there are men on earth Christ shall have a throne among them. Instead of the fathers shall be the children. Each generation shall have a regeneration in its midst, let Pope and Devil do what they may. Even at this hour we have before us the tokens of his eternal power; since he ascended to his throne, eighteen hundred years ago, his dominion has not been overturned, though the mightiest of empires have gone like visions of the night. We see on the shore of time the wrecks of the Caesars, the relics of the Moguls, and the last remnants of the Ottomans. Charlemagne, Maximilian, Napoleon, how they flit like shadows before us! They were and are not; but Jesus for ever is. As for the houses of Hohenzollern, Guelph, or Hapsburg, they have their hour; but the Son of David has all hours and ages as his own.
Verse 6. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass. Blessings upon his gentle sway! Those great conquerors who have been the scourges of mankind have fallen like the fiery hail of Sodom, transforming fruitful lands into deserts; but he with mild, benignant influence softly refreshes the weary and wounded among men, and makes them spring up into newness of life. Pastures mown with the scythe, or shorn by the teeth of cattle, present, as it were, so many bleeding stems of grass, but when the rain falls it is balm to all these wounds, and it renews the verdure and beauty of the field; fit image of the visits and benedictions of "the consolation of Israel." My soul, how well it is for thee to be brought low, and to be even as the meadows eaten bare and trodden down by cattle, for then to thee shall the Lord have respect; he shall remember thy misery, and with his own most precious love restore thee to more than thy former glory. Welcome Jesus, thou true Bien-aime, the Well beloved, thou art far more than Titus ever wasthe Delight of Mankind. As showers that water the earth. Each crystal drop of rain tells of heavenly mercy, which forgets not the parched plains: Jesus is all grace, all that he does is love, and his presence among men is joy. We need to preach him more, for no shower can so refresh the nations. Philosophic preaching mocks men as with a dust shower, but the gospel meets the case of fallen humanity, and happiness flourishes beneath its genial power. Come down, O Lord, upon my soul, and my heart shall blossom with thy praise:
"He shall come down as still and light
Verse 7. In his days shall the righteous flourish. Beneath the deadly Upas of unrighteous rule no honest principles can be developed, and good men can scarcely live; but where truth and uprightness are on the throne, the best of men prosper most. A righteous king is the patron and producer of righteous subjects. None flourish under Nero but those who are monsters like himself: like will to like; and under the gentle Jesus the godly find a happy shelter. And abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth. Where Jesus reigns he is known as the true Melchizedek, king both of righteousness and peace. Peace based upon right is sure to be lasting, but no other will be. Many a so called Holy Alliance has come to the ground ere many moons have filled their horns, because craft formed the league, perjury established it, and oppression was the design of it; but when Jesus shall proclaim the great Truce of God, he will ordain perpetual peace, and men shall learn war no more. The peace which Jesus brings is not superficial or short lived; it is abundant in its depth and duration. Let all hearts and voices welcome the King of nations; Jesus the Good, the Great, the Just, the Ever blessed.
Verse 8. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea. Wide spread shall be the rule of Messiah; only the Land's End shall end his territory: to the Ultima Thule shall his sceptre be extended. From Pacific to Atlantic, and from Atlantic to Pacific, he shall be Lord, and the oceans which surround each pole shall be beneath his sway. All other power shall be subordinate to his; no rival nor antagonist shall he know. Men speak of the Emperor of all the Russias, but Jesus shall be Ruler of all mankind. And from the river unto the ends of the earth. Start where you will, by any river you choose, and Messiah's kingdom shall reach on to the utmost bounds of the round world. As Solomon's realm embraced all the land of promise, and left no unconquered margin; so shall the Son of David rule all lands given him in the better covenant, and leave no nation to pine beneath the tyranny of the prince of darkness. We are encouraged by such a passage as this to look for the Saviour's universal reign; whether before or after his personal advent we leave for the discussion of others. In this Psalm, at least, we see a personal monarch, and he is the central figure, the focus of all the glory; not his servant, but himself do we see possessing the dominion and dispensing the government. Personal pronouns referring to our great King are constantly occurring in this Psalm; he has dominion kings fall down before him, and serve him; for he delivers, he spares, he saves, he lives, and daily is he praised.
Verse 9. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him. Unconquered by arms, they shall be subdued by love. Wild and lawless as they have been, they shall gladly wear his easy yoke; then shall their deserts be made glad, yea, they shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. And his enemies shall lick the dust. If they will not be his friends, they shall be utterly broken and humbled. Dust shall be the serpent's meat; the seed of the serpent shall be filled therewith. Homage among Orientals is often rendered in the most abject manner, and truly no sign is too humiliating to denote the utter discomfiture and subjugation of Messiah's foes. Tongues which rail at the Redeemer deserve to lick the dust. Those who will not joyfully bow to such a prince richly merit to be hurled down and laid prostrate; the dust is too good for them, since they trampled on the blood of Christ.
Verse 10. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents. Trade shall be made subservient to the purposes of mediatorial rule; merchant princes, both far and near, shall joyfully contribute of their wealth to his throne. Seafaring places are good centres from which to spread the gospel; and seafaring men often make earnest heralds of the cross. Tarshish of old was so far away, that to the eastern mind it was lost in its remoteness, and seemed to be upon the verge of the universe; even so far as imagination itself can travel, shall the Son of David rule; across the blue sea shall his sceptre be stretched; the white cliffs of Britain already own him, the gems of the Southern Sea glitter for him, even Iceland's heart is warm with his love. Madagascar leaps to receive him; and if there be isles of the equatorial seas whose spices have as yet not been presented to him, even there shall he receive a revenue of glory. He has made many an islet to become a Holy Isle, and hence, a true Formosa. The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. Agriculture and pasturage shall contribute their share. Foreign princes from inland regions, as yet unexplored, shall own the all embracing monarchy of the King of kings; they shall be prompt to pay their reverential tribute. Religious offerings shall they bring, for their King is their God. Then shall Arabia Felix be happy indeed, and the Fortunate Isles be more than fortunate. Observe, that true religion leads to generous giving; we are not taxed in Christ's dominions, but we are delighted to offer freely to him. It will be a great day when kings will do this: the poor widow has long ago been before them, it is time that they followed; their subjects would be sure to imitate the royal example. This free will offering is all Christ and his church desire; they want no forced levies and distraints, let all men give of their own free will, kings as well as commoners; alas! the rule has been for kings to give their subjects' property to the church, and a wretched church has received this robbery for a burnt offering; it shall not be thus when Jesus more openly assumes the throne.
Verse 11. Yea, all kings shall fall down before him. Personally shall they pay their reverence, however mighty they may be. No matter how high their state, how ancient their dynasty, or far off their realms, they shall willingly accept him as their Imperial Lord. All nations shall serve him. The people shall be as obedient as the governors. The extent of the mediatorial rule is set forth by the two far reaching alls, all kings, and all nations: we see not as yet all things put under him, but since we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour in heaven, we are altogether without doubt as to his universal monarchy on earth. It is not to be imagined that an Alexander or a Caesar shall have wider sway than the Son of God. "Every knee shall bow to him, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Hasten it, O Lord, in thine own time.
Verse 12. For he shall deliver the needy. Here is an excellent reason for man's submission to the Lord Christ; it is not because they dread his overwhelming power, but because they are won over by his just and condescending rule. Who would not fear so good a Prince, who makes the needy his peculiar care, and pledges himself to be their deliverer in times of need? When he crieth. He permits them to be so needy as to be driven to cry bitterly for help, but then he hears them, and comes to their aid. A child's cry touches a father's heart, and our King is the Father of his people. If we can do no more than cry it will bring omnipotence to our aid. A cry is the native language of a spiritually needy soul; it has done with fine phrases and long orations, and it takes to sobs and moans; and so, indeed, it grasps the most potent of all weapons, for heaven always yields to such artillery. The poor also, and him that hath no helper. The proverb says, "God helps those that help themselves; "but it is yet more true that Jesus helps those who cannot help themselves, nor find help in others. All helpless ones are under the especial care of Zion's compassionate King; let them hasten to put themselves in fellowship with him. Let them look to him, for he is looking for them.
Verse 13. He shall spare the poor and needy. His pity shall be manifested to them; he will not allow their trials to overwhelm them; his rod of correction shall fall lightly; he will be sparing of his rebukes, and not sparing in his consolations. And shall save the souls of the needy. His is the dominion of souls, a spiritual and not a worldly empire; and the needy, that is to say, the consciously unworthy and weak, shall find that he will give them his salvation. Jesus calls not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. He does not attempt the superfluous work of aiding proud Pharisees to air their vanity; but he is careful of poor Publicans whose eyes dare not look up to heaven by reason of their sense of sin. We ought to be anxious to be among these needy ones whom the Great King so highly favours.
Verse 14. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence. These two things are the weapons with which the poor are assailed: both law and no law are employed to fleece them. The fox and the lion are combined against Christ's lambs, but the Shepherd will defeat them, and rescue the defenceless from their teeth. A soul hunted by the temptations of Satanic craft, and the insinuations of diabolical malice, will do well to fly to the throne of Jesus for shelter. And precious shall their blood be in his sight. He will not throw away his subjects in needless wars as tyrants have done, but will take every means for preserving the humblest of them. Conquerors have reckoned thousands of lives as small items; they have reddened fields with gore, as if blood were water, and flesh but manure for harvests; but Jesus, though he gave his own blood, is very chary of the blood of his servants, and if they must die for him as martyrs, he loves their memory, and counts their lives as his precious things.
Verse 15. And he shall live. Vive le Roi! O King! live for ever! He was slain, but is risen and ever liveth. And to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba. These are coronation gifts of the richest kind, cheerfully presented at his throne. How gladly would we give him all that we have and are, and count the tribute far too small. We may rejoice that Christ's cause will not stand still for want of funds; the silver and the gold are his, and if they are not to be found at home, far off lands shall hasten to make up the deficit. Would to God we had more faith and more generosity. Prayer also shall be made for him continually. May all blessings be upon his head; all his people desire that his cause may prosper, therefore do they hourly cry, "Thy kingdom come." Prayer for Jesus is a very sweet idea, and one which should be for evermore lovingly carried out; for the church is Christ's body, and the truth is his sceptre; therefore we pray for him when we plead for these. The verse may, however, be read as "through him, "for it is by Christ as our Mediator that prayer enters heaven and prevails. "Continue in prayer" is the standing precept of Messiah's reign, and it implies that the Lord will continue to bless. And daily shall he be praised. As he will perpetually show himself to be worthy of honour, so shall he be incessantly praised:
"For him shall constant prayer be made,
Verse 16. There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains. From small beginnings great results shall spring. A mere handful in a place naturally ungenial shall produce a matchless harvest. What a blessing that there is a handful; "except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah:" but now the faithful are a living seed, and shall multiply in the land. The fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon. The harvest shall be so great that the wind shall rustle through it, and sound like the cedars upon Lebanon:
"Like Lebanon, by soft winds fanned,
God's church is no mean thing; its beginnings are small, but its increase is of the most astonishing kind. As Lebanon is conspicuous and celebrated, so shall the church be. And they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. Another figure. Christ's subjects shall be as plentiful as blades of grass, and shall as suddenly appear as eastern verdure after a heavy shower. We need not fear for the cause of truth in the land; it is in good hands, where the pleasure of the Lord is sure to prosper. "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." When shall these words, which open up such a vista of delight, be fulfilled in the midst of the earth?
Verse 17. His name shall endure for ever. In its saving power, as the rallying point of believers, and as renowned and glorified, his name shall remain for ever the same. His name shall be continued as long as the sun. While time is measured out by days, Jesus shall be glorious among men. And men shall be blessed in him. There shall be cause for all this honour, for he shall really and truly be a benefactor to the race. He himself shall be earth's greatest blessing; when men wish to bless others they shall bless in his name. All nations shall call him blessed. The grateful nations shall echo his benedictions, and wish him happy who has made them happy. Not only shall some glorify the Lord, but all; no land shall remain in heathenism; all nations shall delight to do him honour.
Verses 18-19. As Quesnel well observes, these verses explain themselves. They call rather for profound gratitude, and emotion of heart, than for an exercise of the understanding; they are rather to be used for adoration than for exposition. It is, and ever will be, the acme of our desires, and the climax of our prayers, to behold Jesus exalted King of kings and Lord of lords. He has done great wonders such as none else can match, leaving all others so far behind, that he remains the sole and only wonder worker; but equal marvels yet remain, for which we look with joyful expectation. He is the Blessed God, and his name shall be blessed; his name is glorious, and that glory shall fill the whole earth. For so bright a consummation our heart yearns daily, and we cry Amen, and Amen.
Verse 20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. What more could he ask? He has climbed the summit of the mount of God; he desires nothing more. With this upon his lip, he is content to die. He strips himself of his own royalty and becomes only the "son of Jesse, "thrice happy to subside into nothing before the crowned Messiah. Before his believing eye the reign of Jesus, like the sun, filled all around with light, and the holy soul of the man after God's own heart exulted in it, and sung his "Nunc dimittis:" "Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation!" We, too, will cease from all petitioning if it be granted to us to see the day of the Lord. Our blissful spirits will then have nothing further to do but for ever to praise the Lord our God.
TITLE. For Solomon. I shall but mention a threefold analogy between Christ and Solomon.
1. In his personal wisdom (1Ki 4:29-30); so Christ (Col 2:3); "In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."
2. In the glorious peace and prosperity of his kingdom: the kingdom was peaceably settled in his hand. 1Ch 22:9 4:24-25. And so he fell to the work of building the temple, as Christ doth the church; so Christ (Isa 9:6); he is the Prince of Peace, the great Peacemaker. Eph 2:14.
3. In his marriage with Pharaoh's daughter. Some observe that the daughter of Pharaoh never seduced him: neither is there any mention made of the Egyptian idols. 1Ki 11:5,7. In his other outlandish marriages he did sin; but this is mentioned as by way of special exception (1Ki 11:1); for she was a proselyte, and so it was no sin to marry her: and the love between her and Solomon is made a type of the love between Christ and the church. So Christ hath taken us Gentiles to be spouse unto him. Psalm 45. Samuel Mather (1626-1671), in "The Figures or Types of the Old Testament."
Whole Psalm. The Seventy-second Psalm contains a description of an exalted king, and of the blessings of his reign. These blessings are of such a nature as to prove that the subject of the Psalm must be a divine person.
1. His kingdom is to be everlasting.
3. It secures perfect peace with God and goodwill among men.
4. All men are to be brought to submit to him through love.
5. In him all the nations of the earth are to be blessed; i.e., as we are distinctly taught in Ga 3:16, it is in him that all the blessings of redemption are to come upon the world. Charles Hodge, in "Systematic Theology." 1871.
Whole Psalm. This Psalm was penned by a king, it is dedicated to a king, and is chiefly intended concerning him who is "King of kings." Joseph Caryl, in a Sermon entitled "David's Prayer for Solomon."
Whole Psalm. Two Psalms bear Solomon's name in their titles. One of these is the Hundred and Twenty-seventh, the other is the Seventy-second; and here the traces of his pen are unequivocal. A mistaken interpretation of the note appended to it, "The prayers of David the Son of Jesse are ended, "led most of the old commentators to attribute the Psalm to David, and to suppose that it is a prayer offered in his old age "for Solomon, "as the peaceful prince who was to succeed him on the throne. However, it has long been known that the note in question refers to the whole of the preceding portion of the Psalter, much of which was written by Asaph and the sons of Korah; and there can be no doubt that the title can only be translated, "of Solomon." So clear are the traces of Solomon's pen that Calvin, whose sagacity in this kind of criticism has never been excelled, although he thought himself obliged, by the note at the end of the Psalm, to attribute the substance of it to David, felt Solomon's touch so sensibly, that he threw out the conjecture that the prayer was the father's, but that it was afterward thrown into the lyrical form by the son. This is not the place for detailed exposition; I will, therefore, content myself with remarking that, properly speaking, the Psalm is not "for Solomon" at all. If it refers to him and his peaceful reign, it does so only in as far as they were types of the Person and Kingdom of the Prince of Peace. The Psalm, from beginning to end, is not only capable of being applied to Christ, but great part is incapable of being fairly applied to any other. William Binnie.
Whole Psalm. This is the forth of those Psalms which predict the two natures of Christ. This Psalm admonishes us that we believe in Christ as perfect God, and perfect Man and King. Psalter of Peter Lombard(1164).
Whole Psalm. That under the type of Solomon (to whom it is inscribed) the Messiah is "The King" of whom this Psalm treats, we have the consent, not only of the most eminent divines of modern times, and of the Fathers of the early Christian church, but the ancient and most distinguished Jewish expositors; of which reference, indeed, it contains the most conclusive internal evidence. And, as under a new type, so is the kingdom here presented to us in a new aspect, in marked contradistinction to its character as foreshadowed by its other great type, the Davidic: for the character of David's reign was conquest. He was "a man of war" (1Ch 28:1-3); the appointed instrument for subjecting the enemies of God's people Israel, by whom they were put in undisturbed possession of the promised land. But the character of Solomon's reign was peace, the import of his name, succeeding to the throne after all enemies had been subdued, and governing the kingdom which David's wars had established (1Ki 2:12), the two types, respectively, of Christ as he is yet to be manifested at his next appearing; first revealed as David, as seen in the vision of that event (Re 19:11): "I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war, "etc., subduing the Antichristian confederacy (Re 19:19-21), as before predicted in the Second Psalm, of this same confederacy: "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." And then, as Solomon, taking his throne, and extending the blessings of his kingdom of peace to the ends of the earth. David in the Second Psalm; Solomon in this. William De Burgh.
Whole Psalm. The reader is reminded of James Montgomery's hymn, beginning, "Hail to the Lord's Anointed; "it is a very beautiful versification of this Psalm, and will be found in "Our Own Hymn Book, " No. 353.
Verse 1. Give the king thy judgments, O God. Right and authority to execute judgment and justice. The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son. John Fry.
Verse 1. The king... The king's son. I do not apprehend, with the generality of interpreters, that by The king, and The king's son, David means himself and his son, but Solomon only, to whom both the titles agree, as he was David's son, and anointed by him king during his lifetime. Samuel Chandler.
Verse 1. The king... The king's son. We see that our Lord is here termed both Klm, and Klm Nb, being king himself, and also the son of a king; both as respects his human origin, having come forth from the stock of David, and also as to his divine origin; for the Father of the universe may, of course, be properly denominated King. Agreeably to this designation, we find on the Turkish coins the inscription: Sultan, son of Sultan. George Phillips.
Verse 2. Thy judgments. From whom does he seek these? O God, he says, give them. Therefore is it the gift of God that kings should judge righteously and observe justice. Moreover, he does not simply say, O God, give judgment to the king, and righteousness to the king's son; but thy judgments and thy righteousness. Grant them this grace, that what is just in thy sight they may judge. The world has its own judgments and its own righteousness, but deals in such a way that true righteousness is more oppressed than approved. Not such are the judgments and righteousness of God. Musculus.
Verse 3. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, etc. Those who apply this Psalm to Solomon expound the distich thus; "That the steep mountains on the frontier, strongly garrisoned, shall secure the land from hostile invasion; and the hills, cleared of the banditti, which in the rude ages were accustomed to inhabit them, under the government of the king, intended in this Psalm, should be the peaceful seats of a useful, civilised peasantry." This sense is not ill expressed in Mr. Merrick's translation:
"Peace, from the fort clad mountain's brow,
But so little of the Psalm is at all applicable to Solomon, and the greater part of it so exclusively belongs to the Messiah, that I think these mountains and hills allude to the nature of the land of Judaea; and the general sense is, that, in the times of the great king, the inhabitants of that mountainous region shall live in a state of peace and tranquillity. The thing intended is the happy condition of the natural Israel, in the latter day restored to God's favour, and to the peaceful possession of their own land. It is a great confirmation of this sense, that righteousness is mentioned as the means of the peace which shall be enjoyed. Samuel Horsley.
Verse 3. The mountains shall bring peace to the people. It was, and still is, common in the East to announce good or bad news from the tops of mountains and other eminences. By this means acts of justice were speedily communicated to the remotest parts of the country. Thus, when Solomon decided the controversy between the two harlots, the decision was quickly known over all the land. See 1Ki 3:28. Alexander Geddes.
Verse 3. The mountains shall bring peace. The reference is to the fertility of the soil, which now is shown in an extraordinary way, when mountain summits, which are either oppressed with hopeless sterility or yield at a far inferior rate to the valleys, produce all things plentifully. And by this figure he signifies that this happiness of his kingdom shall not be the portion of a few only, but shall abound in all places and to all people, of every condition and of every age. No corner of the land, he affirms, shall be destitute of this fertility. Mollerus.
Verse 3. The mountains shall bring peace. You may be sure to have peace when your mountains shall bring forth peace; when those mountains, which heretofore were mountains of prey and hills of the robbers, shall be a quiet habitation; when peace shall not be walled up in cities, or fenced in by bulwarks, but the open fields and highways, the mountains and the hills shall yield it abundantly; under every hedge, and under every green tree, there shall you find it; when the cottagers and the mountaineers shall have their fill of it; when they shall eat and be satisfied, lie down and none shall make them afraid, then the blessing is universal: and this is the work of righteousness. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 3. The mountains and hills are not at all named as the most unfruitful places of the land, which they really were not, in Palestine, compare De 33:15 Ps 147:8, "Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains; " Ps 65:12,nor even because what is on them can be seen everywhere, and from all sides. (Tholuck), compare against this, Joe 3:18, "The mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, "Isa 55:12,but, as being the most prominent points and ornaments of the country, and, therefore, as representing it, well fitted to express the thought that the country shall be everywhere filled with peace. E. W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 4. The children of the needy. The phrase, the children of the afflicted, is put for the afflicted, an idiom quite common in Hebrew; and a similar from of expression is sometimes used by the Greeks, as when they say uiouv iatrwn, the sons of physicians for physicians. John Calvin.
The lofty glory of the Flavian family shall remain,
Verse 6. He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass, etc. This is spoken and promised of Christ, and serves to teach us that Christ coming to his church and people, by the gracious influences of his Holy Spirit, is most useful and refreshing to their souls, like showers of rain to the dry ground, or a meadow newly cut to make it spring again. Christless souls are like the dry ground; without the moisture of saving grace their hearts are hard; neither rods, mercies, nor sermons, make impression upon them. Why? They are without Christ, the fountain of grace and spiritual influences. Before the fall man's soul was like a well watered garden, beautiful, green, and fragrant; but by his apostasy from God, in Adam our first head, the springs of grace and holiness are quite dried up in his soul; and there is no curing of this drought but by the soul's union with a new head; to wit, Christ our second Adam, who has the Spirit given him without measure for the use of all his members. Now, when we are united by faith to Christ, our Head of influences, the dry land is turned into water springs; Christ "comes down as the rain" by his Spirit of regeneration, and brings the springs of grace into the soul. He is the first and immediate receptacle of the Holy Spirit, and all regenerating and sanctifying influences, and out of his fulness we must by faith receive them. And when at any time the springs of grace are interrupted in the soul by sin or unbelief, so as the ground turns dry, the plants wither, and the things which remain are ready to die, the soul hath need to look up to Jesus Christ to come down with new showers upon the thirsty ground and decayed plants.
1. As the rain is the free gift of God to the dry ground, it comes free and cheap to poor and rich, small and great, and cost them nothing: so Christ with his blessings is God's free gift to a dry and perishing world; for which we should be continually thankful.
2. As nothing can stop the falling of the rain; so nothing can hinder Christ's gracious influences, when he designs to awake, convince, or soften a hard heart. When those showers do fall on sinners, the most obstinate will must yield, and cry, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?
3. As the rain is most necessary and suitable to the dry ground, and to the various plants it produces, and also to the different parts of every plant or treesuch as the root, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruit; so Christ is absolutely necessary, and his influence most suitable to all his people's souls, and to every faculty of themthe understanding, will, memory, and affections; and to all their different graces, faith, love, repentance, etc.; to root and establish them, strengthen and confirm them, quicken and increase them, cherish and preserve them.
4. As the rain comes in diverse ways and manners to the earth, sometimes with cold winds and tempests, thunders and lightnings, and at other times with calmness and warmth; so Christ comes to sinners, sometimes with sharp convictions and legal terrors, and sometimes with alluring invitations and promises.
5. O how pleasant are the effects of rain to languishing plants, to make them green and beautiful, lively and strong, fragrant and beautiful! So the effects of Christ's influences are most desirable to drooping souls, for enlightening and enlivening them, for confirming and strengthening them, for comforting and enlarging them, for appetizing and satisfying them, transforming and beautifying them. A shower from Christ would soon make the church, though withered, turn green and beautiful, and to send forth a smell as of a field that the Lord hath blessed; and likewise some drops of this shower, falling down upon the languishing graces of communicants, would soon make them vigorous and lively in showing forth their Saviour's death at his table. John Willison.
Verse 6. There cannot be a more lively image of a flourishing condition than what is conveyed to us in these words. The grass which is forced by the heat of the sun, before the ground is well prepared by rains, is weak and languid, and of a faint complexion; but when clear shining succeeds the gentle showers of spring, the field puts forth its best strength, and is more beautifully arrayed than ever Solomon in all his glory. Thomas Sherlock. 1678.
Verse 6. He shall come down, dry There is a fourfold descending of Christ which the Scripture mentions.
1. His incarnation, the manifestation of himself in the flesh.
2. The abasing himself in condition; he did not only assume human flesh, but all the natural infirmities of our flesh.
3. The subjecting of himself to death.
4. The distillations of his grace and spiritual blessings upon his church. Ralph Robinson.
Verse 6. (first clause). Some render this "like dew on the fleece." The mysterious fleece of Gideon, which on being exposed to the air, is first of all filled with the dew of heaven, while all the ground around it is quite dry, and which afterwards becomes dry while the earth is watered, pictures to us, according to the old divines, that the dew of Heaven's grace was poured out upon Judaea at the time when all the rest of the world remained in barrenness and ignorance of God; but that now, by a strange alteration, this same Judaea lies in dryness and forgetfulness of God, while on the contrary, all the other nations of the earth are inundated with the dew of heavenly grace. Pasquier Quesnel.
Verse 6. Upon the mown grass. The Hebrew word used here hath a double signification. It signifies a shorn fleece of wool, and it signifies a meadow newly mown. This hath occasioned divers readings. Some read it, He shall come down like the rain into a fleece of wool: so the Septuagint. They that follow this reading make it an allusion unto the dew that fell upon Gideon's fleece (Jud 6:37-39), when all the land beside was dry, and, again, upon the rest of the land when the fleece was dry. Others read it according to our translation: He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass. This seems to me more agreeable to the meaning of the Holy Ghost; especially because of the clause following, which is added by way of explication: As showers that water the earth. As the showers, Mybybr Rain and showers differ only as less and more; rain signifies smaller showers, and showers signify greater rain. De 32:2. Rain falling in multitude of drops is called a shower. That water the earth. The word Pyzrz zarziph, which is here translated water, is only used in this place in all the Bible. It signifies to water by dispersion, to water by drops. The showers are dispersed in drops all over the face of the earth, in a very regular and artificial way. "God hath divided, "saith Job, "a watercourse for the overflowings of water." Job 38:25. The rain is from the cloud spouted out by drops after such a manner that every part hath its share. Ralph Robinson.
Verse 6. The mown grass; literally, that which is shorn, whether fleece or meadow. In the former sense it occurs Jud 6:37, and so the older translators all take it, (Aq epi kouran, LXX and others epi plokon, Jerome and Vulgate, in vellus, )probably with the idea that the reign of the monarch would be accompanied by signal tokens of the divine favour and blessing, like the dew upon Gideon's fleece; in the latter sense, the word is found Am 7:1; and this is indisputably its meaning here, as the parallel shows. The mown meadow is particularly mentioned, because the roots of the grass would be most exposed to the summer heat after the crop has been gathered in, and the effect would be most striking in the shooting of the young green blade after the shower. J. J. Stewart Perowne.
Verse 7. Righteous. Peace. Do you ask what he is individually? The answer is, "King of Righteousness:" a being loving righteousness, working righteousness, promoting righteousness, procuring righteousness, imparting righteousness to those whom he saves, perfectly sinless, and the enemy and abolisher of all sin. Do you ask what he is practically, and in relation to the effect of his reign? The answer is, "King of Peace:" a sovereign whose kingdom is a shelter for all who are miserable, a covert for all who are persecuted, a resting place for all who are weary, a home for the destitute, and a refuge for the lost. Charles Stanford.
Verse 7. Abundance of peace. Literally, multitude of peace; that is, the things which produce peace, or which indicate peace, will not be few, but numerous; they will abound everywhere. They will be found in towns and villages, and private dwellings; in the calm and just administration of the affairs of the State; in abundant harvests; in intelligence, in education, and in undisturbed industry; in the protection extended to the rights of all. Albert Barnes.
Verse 7. So long as the moon endureth. It does not necessarily follow from these words that the moon will ever cease to exist. The idea, commonly held, of the annihilation of the starry firmament is without foundation in Scripture. Such an idea has a pernicious influence on the human mind, inasmuch as it leads men to depreciate that which bears in such striking character the stamp and impress of the divine glory. Frederic Fysh.
Verse 8. From the river. There are many modern interpreters who, from the mention of the "river"namely, the river Euphratesin the other clause of the verse, think that the boundaries of the land of Palestine are here to be understood, that country being described as extending from the Red Sea to the Sea of Syria, otherwise called the Sea of the Philistines, and the Great Sea; and from the Euphrates to the Great Desert lying behind Palestine and Egypt. These are the limits of the Israelitish territory: the former, from the south to the west; the latter, from the north to the east. (Ge 15:18.) But, in this passage, there can scarcely be a doubt that by the riverto wit, the Euphratesis indicated the extreme boundary of the earth towards the east. In a highly poetical, magnificent description, such as is given in this song, of a king exalted above all others, nothing can be conceived more inappropriate than saying that the dominions of such a king should be bounded by the limits of Palestine. Ernest F. C. Rosenmueller (1768-1835), in "The Biblical Cabinet, " vol. 32.
Verse 9. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, etc. This is equivalent to saying, the wild Arabs, that the greatest conquerors could never tame, shall bow before him, or become his vassals; nay, his enemies, and, consequently, these Arabs among the rest, shall lick the dust, or court him with the most abject submissions. T. Harmer's Observations.
Verse 9. His enemies shall lick the dust. Bear in mind that it was a custom with many nations that, when individuals approached their kings, they kissed the earth, and prostrated their whole body before them. This was the custom especially throughout Asia. No one was allowed to address the Persian kings, unless he prostrated himself on the ground and kissed the footsteps of the king, as Xenophon records. Thomas Le Blanc.
Verses 9-10. Wilderness, Tarshish, Sheba. The most uncivilized, the most distant, and the most opulent nations shall pay their homage to him. Augustus F. Tholuck.
Verses 9-11. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. They shall humble themselves under the mighty hand of Christ; they shall acknowledge and receive him as their Lord; they shall fear and reverence him as their King; they shall veil and bow to his sceptre: they shall put themselves, and all that is theirs, under Christ; they shall give themselves to the exaltation and setting up of Christ. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. They shall consecrate their abilities to Christ's service; they shall communicate of their substance to the maintenance of Christ's church, and minister to the preservation and increase of Christ's kingdom. All kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. All shall adore and serve him as their king; all shall exalt and honour him, as loyal subjects, their heavenly sovereign; all persons, from the highest to the lowest, must serve the Lord Jesus, and study to make him glorious; grace works obedience in the hearts of princes, as well as in the hearts of beggars. The sun as well as the stars, did obeisance unto Christ, under his kingdom and gospel. Alexander Grosse(-1654), in "Sweet and Soul Persuading Inducements leading unto Christ." 1632.
Verses 9-11. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. See Psalms on "Ps 72:9" for further information.
Verse 10. Tarshish was an old, celebrated, opulent, cultivated, commercial city, which carried on trade in the Mediterranean, and with the seaports of Syria, especially Tyre and Joppa, and that it most probably lay on the extreme west of that sea. Was there, then, in ancient times, any city in these parts which corresponded with these clearly ascertained facts? There was. Such was Tartessus in Spain, said to have been a Phoenician colony; a fact which of itself would account for its intimate connection with Palestine and the Biblical narratives. As to the exact spot where Tartessis (so written originally) lay, authorities are not agreed, as the city had ceased to exist when geography began to receive attention; but it was not far from the Straits of Gibraltar, and near the mouth of the Guadalquivir, consequently at no great distance from the famous Granada of later days. The reader, however, must enlarge his notion beyond that of a mere city, which, how great soever, would scarcely correspond with the ideas of magnitude, affluence, and power, that the Scriptures suggest. The name, which is of Phoenician origin, seems to denote the district of south western Spain, comprising the several colonies which Tyre planted in that country, and so being equivalent to what we might designate Phoenician Spain. We are not, however, convinced that the opposite coast of Africa was not included, so that the word would denote to an inhabitant of Palestine the extreme western parts of the world. J. R. Beard, in "A Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature." 1866.
Verse 10. The isles. Myya, only in the Psalter besides, Ps 97:1, where, and uniformly, so rendered. The word, however, denotes all habitable land as opposed to water (see Ge 10:5, where first it occurs, with Isa 42:15), and so "maritime land, whether the sea coast of continent or island" (Gesenius); especially the countries washed by the Mediterranean, and the remote coasts to the west of Palestine. So in the parallel prophecy, Isa 60:9 11:11 41:1-2 Isa 42:10-12 49:1, etc. Accordingly, "The isles shall wait for his law, "(Isa 42:4) is expounded in Mt 12:22"In Him shall the Gentiles trust." William DeBurgh.
Verse 10. Sheba and Seba. There appear to have been two nations living in the same region, viz., Southern Arabia. One of these was descended from Cush, the son of Ham, and the other from Joktan, a descendant of Shem. These two people were often antagonistic in interests, despite the similarity of their names, but their divisions would be healed, and unitedly they would offer tribute to the Great King. It is an Arab proverb, "divided as the Sabaeans, "but Christ makes them one. "The Greek geographers usually couple Abyssinia with Yemen, in Arabia, and invariably represent the Abyssinian as an Arab or Sabaean race. Modern travellers, also, unanimously agree in recognising the Arab type among those Abyssinian populations which do not belong to the African stock." That the Sabaean nations were wealthy is clear from the Greek historian Agatharchides. "The Sabaeans, "says he, "have in their houses an incredible number of vases and utensils of all sorts, of gold and silver, beds and tripods of silver, and all the furniture of astonishing richness. Their buildings have porticoes with columns sheathed with gold, or surmounted by capitals of silver. On the friezes, ornaments, and the framework of the doors, they place plates of gold encrusted with precious stones. They spend immense sums in adorning these edifices, employing gold, silver, ivory, and precious stones, and materials of the greatest value." They appear, also, to have acquired great wealth by trading, both with India and Africa, their peninsula lying between those two regions. Rich would be their gifts if Lenormant and Chevallier's description of their commerce be correct. "The principal importations from India were gold, tin, precious stones, ivory, sandalwood, spices, pepper, cinnamon, and cotton. Besides these articles, the storehouses of southern Arabia received the products of the opposite coast of Africa, procured by the Sabaeans in the active coasting trade they carried on with this not far distant land, where Mosyton (now Ras Abourgabeh) was the principal port. These were, besides the spices that gave name to that coast, ebony, ostrich feathers, and more gold and ivory. With the addition of the products of the soil of southern Arabia itself, incense, myrrh, laudanum, precious stones, such as onyx and agates, lastly, aloes from the island of Socotra, and pearls from the fisheries of the Gulf of Ormus, we shall have the list of the articles comprised in the trade of this country with Egypt, and with those Asiatic countries bordering on the Mediterranean; and at the same time, by considering this activity of such a traffic." "Poor as God's people usually are, the era will surely arrive when the richest of the rich will count it all joy to lay their treasures at Jesus' feet." C. H. S.
Verses 9-11. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. See Psalms on "Ps 72:9" for further information.
Verse 12. He shall deliver the needy when he crieth. There needeth no mediator between him and his subjects; he heareth the needy when they cry. The man that hath nothing within him or without him to commend him to Christ, to assist, help, relieve, or comfort him in heaven or earth, is not despised by Christ, but delivered from that which he feareth. David Dickson.
Verse 13. He shall spare; more correctly, compassionate or comfort the poor and needy; and shall save their souls, or preserve the lives of the needy. William Henry Alexander, in "The Book of Praises: being the Book of Psalms... with Notes Original and Selected." 1867.
Verse 13. And shall save the souls of the needy. Scipio used to say, that he would rather save a single citizen than slay a thousand enemies. Of this mind ought all princes to be towards their subjects; but this affection and love rose to the highest excellence and power in the breast of Christ. So ardent is his love for his own, that he suffers not one of them to perish, but leads them to full salvation, and, opposing himself to both devils and tyrants who seek to destroy their souls, he constrains their fury and confounds their rage. Mollerus.
Verse 14. And precious shall their blood be in his sight. The Angolani so despised their slaves that they would sometimes give as many as twenty-two for one hunting dog... But Christ prefers the soul of one of his servants to the whole world, since he died that it might be made more capable of entering into eternal felicity. For breaking one goblet the Roman cast his slave into the pond to be devoured by the muraenae. But the Son of God came down from heaven to earth to deliver mankind, his vile, ungrateful, faithless servants, from the pangs of the serpent, like the golden fleece, and save them as Jonah from the whale. Is not their blood precious in his sight? Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 15. And he shall live; Hebrew, "So shall he live; "i.e., the poor man. Charles Carter.
Verse 15. And he shall live. There is a clear reference to the coronation of kings in the loud acclamations, Long live the King! and the bestowal of the customary gifts and presents, as is plain from 2Sa 16:16 1Ki 1:39 1Sa 10:27 2Ch 17:5. Hermann Venema.
Verse 15. He shall live. Alexander the Great acknowledged at death that he was a frail and feeble man. "Lo! I, "said he, "am dying, whom you falsely called a god." But Christ proved that he was God when, by his own death, he overcame, and, as I may say, slew death. Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 15. He shall live. It is a great consolation to soldiers imperilled amid many forms of death, that their king shall live. Whence one of the chief of these warriors, consoling himself, said, "I know that my Redeemer liveth, and at the last day I shall rise from the earth." Great is the consolation of the dying, that he for whom, or in whom, they die, shall live for evermore. With whom, if we die, we shall also live again, and share his riches equally with himself; for rich indeed is our Solomon, in whom are hidden all the treasures of the wisdom and knowledge of God. Gerhohus.
Verse 15. Prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. It might have been rendered, "Prayer also shall be made through him continually, and daily shall he be blessed." The word is rendered "blessed, "when speaking if an act of worship towards God; and the word translated "for" is sometimes used for "through, "as Jos 2:15, "Through the window." If we hold the translation "for him, "then it must be understood of the saints praying for the Father's accomplishment of his promises, made to the Son in the covenant of redemption, that his kingdom may come, his name be glorified, and that he may see his seed, and that the full reward may be given him for his sufferings, and so that he may receive the joy that was set before him. Jonathan Edwards.
Verse 15. Prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised. In all conquered countries, two things marked the subjection of the people:
1. Their money was stamped with the name of the conqueror.
2. They were obliged to pray for him in their acts of public worship. Adam Clarke.
Verse 16. An handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains. Not only would the soil be likely to lack depth of earth, but the seed itself would be apt to be blown away by the winds of heaven, or washed down by the teeming rain to the base beneath. Peter Grant. 1867.
Verse 16. An handful of corn, etc. Upon mature consideration, I am persuaded that the proper sense of the word Mk, or hmk, is "a patch" or "piece; "and that it is used here just as we use the same words in English, in such expressions as these,"a patch of wheat, a patch of barley, a piece of corn." Samuel Horsley.
Verse 16. An handful of corn. Doubtless it has been familiar to you to see corn merchants carrying small bags with them, containing just a handful of corn, which they exhibit as specimens of the store which they have for sale. Now, let me beg of every one of you to carry a small bag with this precious corn of the gospel. When you write a letter, drop in a word for Christ; it may be a seed that will take root... Speak a word for Christ wherever you go; it may be a seed productive of a great deal of fruit. Drop a tract on the counter, or in a house; it may be a seed productive of a plenteous harvest. The most difficult place, the steepest mountain, the spot where there is the least hope of producing fruit, is to be the first place of attack; and the more labour there is required, the more is to be given, in the distribution of the seeds. James Sherman.
Verse 16. Shall shake like Lebanon. With a plentiful ear, shall yield so large and strong a stalk that, with the motion of the wind, it shall shake cedar like. Joseph Hall.
Verse 16. Shall shake as Lebanon. That is to say, shall wave backwards and forwards with the wind, like the tall cedars of Lebanon. This implies that the corn will be lofty and luxuriant. French and Skinner.
Verse 16. Neither wave nor shake conveys the full force of the Hebrew verb, ver which suggests the additional idea of a rushing noise, like that of the wind among the cedars of Lebanon. This comparison is certainly more natural and obvious than that which some interpreters assume with the grain crops or harvest fields of Lebanon itself. This would be merely likening one harvest to another, nor is any such allusion ever made elsewhere to the mountain, though its circumjacent plains and valleys were productive. Joseph Addison Alexander.
Verse 16. Like Lebanon. By dint of skill and labour, they have compelled a rocky soil to become fertile. Sometimes, to avail themselves of the waters, they have made a channel for them, by means of a thousand windings on the declivities, or have arrested them in the valleys by embankments. At other times they have propped up the earth, that was ready to roll down, by means of terraces and walls. Almost all the mountains being thus husbanded, present the appearance of a staircase, or of an amphitheatre, each tier of which is a row of vines or mulberry trees. I have counted, upon one declivity, as many as a hundred, or a hundred and twenty, tiers from the bottom of the valley to the top of the hill. I forgot, for the moment, that I was in Turkey. Volney.
Verse 16. Like Lebanon. To understand the images taken from Mount Lebanon, it is necessary to remark that four enclosures of mountains are described, rising one upon another. The first and lowest of these is described as rich in grain and fruits. The second is barren, being covered only with thorns, rocks, and flints. The third, though higher still, is blessed with a perpetual spring; the trees are always green. There are innumerable orchards laden with fruit, and it forms, altogether, a terrestrial paradise,
"Where fruits and blossoms blush,
The fourth, or highest ridge of all, is the region of perpetual snow. Now, the imagery in the 72nd Psalm is evidently taken from the first of these ridges of Lebanon, where (most probably following the ancient mode of cultivating) the monks of Lebanon, for they were the chief cultivators of the terraced soil, industriously husband every particle of productive earth. In the expressive words of Burckhardt, "Every inch of ground is cultivated, "so that no image could have been more singularly expressive of the universal cultivation under Messiah's reign, than to say that His fruit shall shake like Lebanon; or, understanding the psalmist to speak figuratively, what moral landscape could be painted more richly than he does, when he intimates that those barren mountains of our world, which at present yield no fruit unto God, shall be cultivated in that day so industriously and so fully, that the fruit shall wave like the terraced heights of Lebanon. Robert Murray Macheyne. 1813-1843.
Verse 16. Shall flourish like grass. The peculiar characters of the grass, which adapt it especially for the service of man, are its apparent humility and cheerfulness. Its humility, in that it seems created only for lowest service,appointed to be trodden on and fed upon. Its cheerfulness, in that it seems to exult under all kinds of violence and suffering. You roll it, and it is stronger next day; you mow it, and it multiplies its shoots, as if it were grateful; you tread upon it, and it only sends up richer perfume. Spring comes, and it rejoices with all the earth,glowing with variegated flames of flowers,waving in soft depth of fruitful strength. Winter comes, and, though it will not mock its fellow plants by growing then, it will not pine and mourn, and turn colourless and leafless as they. It is always green; and is only the brighter and gayer for the hoar frost. John Ruskin.
Verse 17. His name shall be continued. Yinnon: The Kethiv, yanin, would be; "shall produce fresh progeny, "or "send forth new shoots." M. Renan was far from intending to supply a commentary on this verse, when he said of the Lord Jesus, "Son culte se rajeunira sans cesse." Yet it would not be easy to find a more forcible illustration of the meaning of yannin. William Kay.
Verse 17. (second clause). The version and sense which Gussetius gives seems best of all: His name shall generate, or beget children before the sun; that is, his name preached, as the gospel, which is his name (Ac 9:15), shall be the means of begetting many sons and daughters openly and publicly, in the face of the sun, and wherever that is. John Gill.
Verse 17. All nations shall call him blessed. It is sometimes inadvertently said that the Old Testament is narrow and exclusive, while the New Testament is broad and catholic in its spirit. This is a mistake. The Old and New Testaments are of one mind on this matter. Many are called, and few chosen. This is the common doctrine of the New as well as of the Old. They are both equally catholic in proclaiming the gospel to all. The covenant with Adam and with Noah is still valid, and sure to all who return to God; and the call of Abram is expressly said to be a means of extending blessing to all the families of man. The New Testament does not aim at anything more than this: it merely hails the approaching accomplishment of the same gracious end. James G. Murphy, in "A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Genesis." 1863.
Verse 19. Amen, and Amen. Rabbi Jehudah the Holy, said, "He that said Amen in this world is worthy to say it in the world to come. David, therefore, utters Amen twice in this Psalm, to show that one `Amen' belongs to this world, the other to that which is to come. He who saith `Amen' devoutly, is greater than he who uttereth the prayers, for the prayers are but the letter, and the Amen is the seal. The scribe writeth the letters, the prince alone seals them." Neale and Littledale.
Verse 19. Amen, and Amen. What is Amen in Mt 16:28 is alhywv or "verily" in Lu 9:27. Our Saviour hath this phrase peculiar to himself, "Amen, Amen, "to give confirmation to the doctrine, and to raise our attention and faith; or to show that not only truth is spoken, but by him who is truth itself... There is no need for a rubric by the men of the Great Synagogue, or a canon, to command a man to blush, when it only the natural passion that will command it; so, when the heart is warm in prayer with serious and earnest affections, a double Amen doth as naturally flow from us as milk from a mother's breast to her suckling. And Amen comes from Nma, aman, which signifies "to nurse; "as if it were, if not the mother, yet the faithful nurse, of lively devotion. Assent to repetitions is essential unto prayer, and it is not signified publicly but by one Amen. Thomas Woodcock(1695) in "Morning Exercises."
Verse 19. Amen is a short word, but marvellously pregnant, full of sense, full of spirit. It is a word that seals all the truths of God, that seals every particular promise of God. And it is never likely to arise in the soul, unless there be first an almighty power from heaven, to seize on the powers of the soul, to subdue them, and make it say, "Amen." There is such an inward rising of the heart, and an innate rebellion against the blessed truth of God, that unless God, by his strong arm, bring the heart down, it never will nor can say, "Amen." Richard Sibbes.
Verse 20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. This announcement carries with it an intimation that other Psalms besides are to follow. It would have been superfluous, if the Psalms had not been to follow which bear on their front the name of David. To this, indeed, it must point, bearing the character of an enigma, that these additional Psalms stood in other relations than those given in the first two books. We shall attain perfect clearness and certainty by perceiving that all the Psalms of David in the last two books are inserted as component parts into the later cycles. The subscription at the end of the second book must have been designed to separate the free from the bound, the scattered and serial Psalms of David from each other. Analogous in some measure is the subscription, at an end are the speeches of Job, in Job 31:40, which is not contradicted by the fact that Job appears again speaking in chapters 41 and 42; it should rather be regarded as serving to give us a right understanding of that formal conclusion. E. W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 20. At the conclusion of this Psalm, the Hebrew copies have, Here end the orisons of David, the son of Jesse. But, as several other Psalms of David follow, we must understand the note to mean either, "Here ends this book of the orisons of David, "or, "Here ends the collection of hymns made by David himself; "additions being afterwards made to it, containing other hymns of David, by Asaph and others, and, lastly, by Esdras. Daniel Cresswell.
Verse 20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. So long as the fivefold division of the Psalter was neglected, this note gave nothing but perplexity to the commentators. Augustine, and his master, Ambrose of Milan, finding it standing in their Psalters, between the seventy-second and seventy-third Psalms, took it for part of the title of the latter, and tortured their ingenuity in divining its import. Calvin saw that the note is retrospective, but, not having observed its position at the end of a book, he thought it pertained exclusively to the Psalm immediately preceding, and took it to mean that the Psalm embalms the last prayers of the aged king. But he was at a loss to reconcile this with the two obvious facts, that the title of the Psalm ascribes it to Solomon, and that quite a different Psalm is elsewhere preserved as "the last words of David" (2Sa 23:1). And this perplexity of the great Reformer is shared by the older commentators generally. We get rid of it at once, by simply remarking the position of the note in question. It is set down after a doxology which marks the end of the Second Book. It has no special reference, therefore, to the seventy-second Psalm. It either refers to the Second Book, or, more probably, to both the First and Second. William Binnie.
Verse 20. The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended. (Compared with) Psalm 86, title, A prayer of David. How can the prayers of David be said to be ended, when more begin? Answer: The end David had in making the Psalms, prayers, and praises, is one thing; but to make a final end of praying is another. Many several opinions have been given to reconcile this. Some that here end the prayers he made for Solomon. Some that here end the prayers he made in the days of his affliction. Some that here end the praises that he made, not the prayers, turning the word tepillahs into tehillahs. Some that here end David's, the rest that follow are Asaph's. Some that this Psalm was the last, the rest posthumes, found after his death. Some think it is spoken as the phrase is in Job 31:40: "The words of Job are ended; "and yet he had some words after this, but not so many. But the soundest resolution is this:Here ends the prayers of David the son of Jesse; that is, here they are perfected. If any ask hereafter what or where lies the end that all these Psalms were made for? tell them here it lies in this Psalm, and, therefore, placed in the midst of all; as the centre in midst of a circle, all the lines meet here, and all the Psalms determine here; for it is only a prophetical treatise of the kingdom of Christ drawn out to the life, and it is dedicated to Solomon, because here is wisdom; other men had other ends, it may be, but the son of Jesse had no other end in the world but to set out Christ's kingdom in making of his Psalms. William Streat, in "The Dividing of the Hoof." 1654.
Verse 20. The son of Jesse. It is the note of true humility and sincere love to God to abase ourselves, and acknowledge our low condition, wherein God did find us when he did let forth his love to us, that thereby we may commend the riches of God's goodness and grace unto us, appeareth here in David. David Dickson.
Verse 20. Are ended. The sense is, that David, the son of Jesse, had nothing to pray for, or to wish, beyond the great things described in this Psalm. Nothing can be more animated than this conclusion. Having described the blessings of Messiah's reign, he closes the whole with this magnificent doxology:
Blessed be Jehovah God,
1. He shall.
2. They shall. Ring the changes on these, as the Psalm does.
Verse 1. The prayer of the ancient church now fulfilled.
1. Our Lord's titles.
(a) King, by divine nature.
(b) King's Son, in both natures. Thus we see his power innate and derived.
2. Our Lord's authority: "Judgments."
(a) To rule his people.
3. Our Lord's character. He is righteous in rewarding and punishing, righteous towards God and man.
4. Our loyal prayer. This asks for his rule over ourselves and the universe.
Verse 2. The rule of Christ in his church.
1. The subjects.
(a) Thy people, the elect, called, etc.
2. The ruler. He, only, truly, constantly, etc.
3. The rule.Righteous, impartial, gentle, prudent, etc. Lesson. Desire this rule.
Verse 3. Mountains of divine decree, of immutable truth, of almighty power, of eternal grace, etc. These mountains of God are securities of peace.
Verse 4. The poor man's King, or the benefits derived by the poor from the reign of Jesus.
Verse 5. The perpetuity of the gospel, reasons for it, things which threaten it, and lessons derived from it.
Verse 6. The field, the shower, the result. This verse is easily enough handled in a variety of ways.
1. The righteous flourish more at one season than another.
2. They flourish most when Jesus is with them: in his days, etc.
3. The fruit of their growth is proportionately abundant: and abundance, etc. G. Rogers.
Verse 7. Abundance of peace. Abundant overtures of peace, abundant redemption making peace, abundant pardon conferring peace, abundant influences of the Spirit sealing peace, abundant promises guaranteeing peace, abundant love spreading peace, etc.
Verse 8. The universal spread of the gospel. Other theories as to the future overturned, and their evil influence exposed; while the benefit and certainty of this truth is vindicated.
Verse 9 (last clause). The ignoble end of Christ's enemies.
Verse 10. Christian finance; voluntary but abundant are the gifts presented to Jesus.
Verse 12. Christ's peculiar care of the poor.
1. Pitiable characters.
Verse 14. The martyr's hope in life and comfort in death. G. Rogers.
Verse 14 (last clause). The martyr's blood.
1. Seen of God when shed.
Verse 15. Prayer shall be made for him. We are to pray for Jesus Christ. Owing to the interest he has in certain objects, what is done for them is done for himself and so he esteems it. We, therefore, pray for him when we pray for his ministers, his ordinances, his gospel, his churchin a word, his cause. But what should we pray for on his behalf?
1. The degree of its resources; that there be always a sufficiency of suitable and able instruments to carry on the work.
2. The freedom of its administration; that whatever opposes or hinders its progress may be removed.
3. The diffusion of its principles; that they may become general and universal.
4. The increase of its glory, as well as its extent. W. Jay.
Verse 15. Prayer for Jesus, a suggestive topic. Daily praise, a Christian duty.
Verse 15. A living Saviour, a giving people; the connection between the two. Or, Christ in the church fills the exchequer, fosters the prayer meeting, and sanctifies the service of song.
1. A happy description of the gospel: it is a handful of corn.
2. The places where it is sown.
3. The blessed effects which this gospel, when thus sown, will produce in the world. J. Sherman.
1. What? Corn.
2. How much? A handful.
3. Where? In the earth upon the top of the mountains.
4. Will it grow? The fruits, etc.
5. What then? They of the city, etc.
1. Christ glorified in the Church: men shall be blessed, etc.
2. Glorified in the world: all nations, etc.
3. Glorified in worlds to come: endure, be continued, etc.
4. Glorified for ever. G. Rogers.
Verses 17-19. The Four Blesseds, their meaning and order.
1. Prayer should be frequent: The prayers.
2. Should be individual: Of David.
3. Should be early commenced: the son of Jesse.
4. Should be continued till they are no more needed.
HERE ENDETH THE SECOND BOOK OF THE PSALMS.
In CHANDLER'S Life of David, Vol. 2, pp. 440-44, there is an Exposition of this Psalm.
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