Exposition - Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher - Works Upon This Psalm
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
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
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!
Let angels prostrate fall,
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown him lord of all."
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 was--the
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
As scattered drops on genial field;
And in his time who loves the right,
Freely shall bloom, sweet peace her harvest yield."
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
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,
And praises throng to crown his head;
His name, like sweet perfume, shall rise
With every morning's sacrifice."
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,
Rustles the golden harvest far and wide."
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.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
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
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.
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
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
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.
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,
Descending, bless the plain below;
And justice from each rocky cell,
Shall violence and fraud expel."
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.
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
Verse 5. --
The lofty glory of the Flavian family shall remain,
Enduring like the sun and stars. Martial. --Bk. 9. Epig.
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 tree-- such 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 them--the 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
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
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
Verse 6. He shall come down, dry There is a fourfold descending of Christ which the Scripture
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.
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 Euphrates--in 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 river --to wit,
the Euphrates--is 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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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,
In social sweetness, on the self same bough."
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
Blessed be Jehovah God,
God of Israel, alone performing wonders;
And blessed be his name of glory,
And let his glory fill the whole of the earth.
Amen, and Amen.
Finished are the prayers of David, the son of Jesse.
HINTS TO THE VILLAGE PREACHER
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
2. Our Lord's authority: "Judgments."
(a) To rule his people.
(b) To rule the world for his people's benefit.
(c) To judge mankind.
(d) To judge devils.
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.
(b) Thy poor, through conviction and consciousness of sin.
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
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
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.
2. Abject conditions: "cry; ""no helper."
3. Natural resort: "crieth."
4. Glorious interposition. G. Rogers.
Verse 14. The martyr's hope in life and comfort in death.
Verse 14 (last clause). The martyr's blood.
1. Seen of God when shed.
2. Remembered by him.
3. Honoured by being a benefit to the church.
4. Rewarded especially in heaven.
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 church--in 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.
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.
WORK UPON THE SEVENTY-SECOND PSALM
In CHANDLER'S Life of David, Vol. 2, pp. 440-44, there
is an Exposition of this Psalm.