A King Big Enough for Everybody

 

PSALM 72

DECEMBER 2, 2018

FURTHER BACKGROUND…

  • The ascription of this psalm reads “Of Solomon.” This could mean that Solomon authored it, or that David (or someone else) wrote it in reference to Solomon.

  • The theme of blessing extending to all the nations (v. 17) is older than the monarchy. It is an outworking of God’s covenant with Abraham: “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Gen. 12:3; cf. 18:18; 22:18).

  • The requests of Psalm 72 (“May he…may he…”) are appropriate for any king of Israel. But some of the requests go beyond anything an Israelite king could achieve: “In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!” The psalm seems to envision not so much an eternal dynasty/lineage, as an eternal person.

  • “Tarshish” (v. 10) probably refers to part of modern-day Spain, which would have been the extreme west. “Sheba” is in the Arabian peninsula, and “Seba” the Horn of Africa.

  • Verse 20 marks the conclusion of an entire section: Book 2 of the Psalms (42-72).

DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO GET INTO…

Not just Christians have understood this psalm in terms of the Messiah. Some (not all) ancient Jewish interpretation has done the same. One of the greatest Jewish medieval scholars gives this comment about verse 16: “Our Sages…explained this as an expression of loaves of white bread during the messianic era…and the entire psalm as referring to the messianic era.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  • Why might this psalm have been difficult to hear for a Jew under Babylonian rule, or Roman? What sorts of things do we talk about and celebrate during Advent that might affect a discouraged Christian the same way?

  • What are wrongs (personal, local, or global) that you long to see Christ make right?

  • What is the primary source of oppression of the Church? (See Ephesians 6:12.)

  • The monarchy depicted here is very earthy! What does this tell us about eternal life?

Madison Searcy