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Psalms 72:2-15

Context

72:2 Then he will judge 1  your people fairly,

and your oppressed ones 2  equitably.

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

and the hills will announce justice. 3 

72:4 He will defend 4  the oppressed among the people;

he will deliver 5  the children 6  of the poor

and crush the oppressor.

72:5 People will fear 7  you 8  as long as the sun and moon remain in the sky,

for generation after generation. 9 

72:6 He 10  will descend like rain on the mown grass, 11 

like showers that drench 12  the earth. 13 

72:7 During his days the godly will flourish; 14 

peace will prevail as long as the moon remains in the sky. 15 

72:8 May he rule 16  from sea to sea, 17 

and from the Euphrates River 18  to the ends of the earth!

72:9 Before him the coastlands 19  will bow down,

and his enemies will lick the dust. 20 

72:10 The kings of Tarshish 21  and the coastlands will offer gifts;

the kings of Sheba 22  and Seba 23  will bring tribute.

72:11 All kings will bow down to him;

all nations will serve him.

72:12 For he will rescue the needy 24  when they cry out for help,

and the oppressed 25  who have no defender.

72:13 He will take pity 26  on the poor and needy;

the lives of the needy he will save.

72:14 From harm and violence he will defend them; 27 

he will value their lives. 28 

72:15 May he live! 29  May they offer him gold from Sheba! 30 

May they continually pray for him!

May they pronounce blessings on him all day long! 31 

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

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

3 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.

4 tn Heb “judge [for].”

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

6 tn Heb “sons.”

7 tn In this context “fear” probably means “to demonstrate respect for the Lord’s power and authority by worshiping him and obeying his commandments.” See Ps 33:8. Some interpreters, with the support of the LXX, prefer to read וְיַאֲרִיךְ (vÿaarikh, “and he [the king in this case] will prolong [days]”), that is, “will live a long time” (cf. NIV, NRSV).

8 tn God is the addressee (see vv. 1-2).

9 tn Heb “with [the] sun, and before [the] moon [for] a generation, generations.” The rare expression דּוֹר דּוֹרִים (dor dorim, “generation, generations”) occurs only here, in Ps 102:24, and in Isa 51:8.

10 tn That is, the king (see vv. 2, 4).

11 tn The rare term zg refers to a sheep’s fleece in Deut 18:4 and Job 31:20, but to “mown” grass or crops here and in Amos 7:1.

12 tc The form in the Hebrew text appears to be an otherwise unattested noun. Many prefer to emend the form to a verb from the root זָרַף (zaraf). BHS in textual note b on this verse suggests a Hiphil imperfect, third masculine plural יַזְרִיפוּ (yazrifu), while HALOT 283 s.v. *זרף prefers a Pilpel perfect, third masculine plural זִרְזְפוּ (zirzÿfu). The translation assumes the latter.

13 sn The imagery of this verse compares the blessings produced by the king’s reign to fructifying rains that cause the crops to grow.

14 tn Heb “sprout up,” like crops. This verse continues the metaphor of rain utilized in v. 6.

15 tn Heb “and [there will be an] abundance of peace until there is no more moon.”

16 tn The prefixed verbal form is a (shortened) jussive form, indicating this is a prayer of blessing.

17 sn From sea to sea. This may mean from the Mediterranean Sea in the west to the Dead Sea in the east. See Amos 8:12. The language of this and the following line also appears in Zech 9:10.

18 tn Heb “the river,” a reference to the Euphrates.

19 tn Or “islands.” The term here refers metonymically to those people who dwell in these regions.

20 sn As they bow down before him, it will appear that his enemies are licking the dust.

21 sn Tarshish was a distant western port, the precise location of which is uncertain.

22 sn Sheba was located in Arabia.

23 sn Seba was located in Africa.

24 tn The singular is representative. The typical needy individual here represents the entire group.

25 tn The singular is representative. The typical oppressed individual here represents the entire group.

26 tn The prefixed verb form is best understood as a defectively written imperfect (see Deut 7:16).

27 tn Or “redeem their lives.” The verb “redeem” casts the Lord in the role of a leader who protects members of his extended family in times of need and crisis (see Pss 19:14; 69:18).

28 tn Heb “their blood will be precious in his eyes.”

29 tn The prefixed verbal form is jussive, not imperfect. Because the form has the prefixed vav (ו), some subordinate it to what precedes as a purpose/result clause. In this case the representative poor individual might be the subject of this and the following verb, “so that he may live and give to him gold of Sheba.” But the idea of the poor offering gold is incongruous. It is better to take the jussive as a prayer with the king as subject of the verb. (Perhaps the initial vav is dittographic; note the vav at the end of the last form in v. 14.) The statement is probably an abbreviated version of the formula יְחִי הַמֶּלֶךְ (yÿkhiy hammelekh, “may the king live”; see 1 Sam 10:24; 2 Sam 16:16; 1 Kgs 1:25, 34, 39; 2 Kgs 11:12).

30 tn Heb “and he will give to him some gold of Sheba.” The prefixed verbal form is understood as a jussive with a grammatically indefinite subject (“and may one give”). Of course, the king’s subjects, mentioned in the preceding context, are the tribute bearers in view here.

31 tn As in the preceding line, the prefixed verbal forms are understood as jussives with a grammatically indefinite subject (“and may one pray…and may one bless”). Of course, the king’s subjects, mentioned in the preceding context, are in view here.



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