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Psalms 72:1-3

Context
Psalm 72 1 

For 2  Solomon.

72:1 O God, grant the king the ability to make just decisions! 3 

Grant the king’s son 4  the ability to make fair decisions! 5 

72:2 Then he will judge 6  your people fairly,

and your oppressed ones 7  equitably.

72:3 The mountains will bring news of peace to the people,

and the hills will announce justice. 8 

1 sn Psalm 72. This royal psalm contains a prayer for the Davidic king (note the imperatival form in v. 1 and the jussive forms in vv. 16-17). It is not entirely clear if vv. 2-15 express a prayer or anticipate a future reign. The translation assumes a blend of petition and vision: (I) opening prayer (v. 1), followed by anticipated results if prayer is answered (vv. 2-7); (II) prayer (v. 8), followed by anticipated results if prayer is answered (vv. 9-14); (III) closing prayer (vv. 15-17). Whether a prayer, vision, or combination of the two, the psalm depicts the king’s universal rule of peace and prosperity. As such it is indirectly messianic, for the ideal it expresses will only be fully realized during the Messiah’s earthly reign. Verses 18-19 are a conclusion for Book 2 of the Psalter (Pss 42-72; cf. Ps 41:13, which contains a similar conclusion for Book 1), while v. 20 appears to be a remnant of an earlier collection of psalms or an earlier edition of the Psalter.

2 tn The preposition could be understood as indicating authorship (“Of Solomon”), but since the psalm is a prayer for a king, it may be that the superscription reflects a tradition that understood this as a prayer for Solomon.

3 tn Heb “O God, your judgments to [the] king give.”

4 sn Grant the king…Grant the king’s son. It is not entirely clear whether v. 1 envisions one individual or two. The phrase “the king’s son” in the second line may simply refer to “the king” of the first line, drawing attention to the fact that he has inherited his dynastic rule. Another option is that v. 1 envisions a co-regency between father and son (a common phenomenon in ancient Israel) or simply expresses a hope for a dynasty that champions justice.

5 tn Heb “and your justice to [the] son of [the] king.”

6 tn The prefixed verbal form appears to be an imperfect, not a jussive.

7 sn These people are called God’s oppressed ones because he is their defender (see Pss 9:12, 18; 10:12; 12:5).

8 tn Heb “[the] mountains will bear peace to the people, and [the] hills with justice.” The personified mountains and hills probably represent messengers who will sweep over the land announcing the king’s just decrees and policies. See Isa 52:7 and C. A. Briggs and E. G. Briggs, Psalms (ICC), 2:133.



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