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scripture

 

PSALM 72*

A Prayer for the King

1Of Solomon.a

I

2O God, give your judgment to the king;

your justice to the king’s son;*

That he may govern your people with justice,

your oppressed with right judgment,b

3That the mountains may yield their bounty for the people,

and the hills great abundance,c

4That he may defend the oppressed among the people,

save the children of the poor and crush the oppressor.

II

5May they fear you with the sun,

and before the moon, through all generations.d

6May he be like rain coming down upon the fields,

like showers watering the earth,e

7That abundance may flourish in his days,

great bounty, till the moon be no more.

III

8*May he rule from sea to sea,

from the river to the ends of the earth.f

9May his foes kneel before him,

his enemies lick the dust.g

10May the kings of Tarshish and the islands* bring tribute,

the kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.h

11May all kings bow before him,

all nations serve him.i

12For he rescues the poor when they cry out,

the oppressed who have no one to help.

13He shows pity to the needy and the poorj

and saves the lives of the poor.

14From extortion and violence he redeems them,

for precious is their blood* in his sight.

IV

15Long may he live, receiving gold from Sheba,

prayed for without cease, blessed day by day.

16*May wheat abound in the land,

flourish even on the mountain heights.

May his fruit be like that of Lebanon,

and flourish in the city like the grasses of the land.k

17May his name be forever;

as long as the sun, may his name endure.l

May the tribes of the earth give blessings with his name;*

may all the nations regard him as favored.m

18*Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel,

who alone does wonderful deeds.n

19Blessed be his glorious name forever;

may he fill all the earth with his glory.o

Amen and amen.

20The end of the psalms of David, son of Jesse.

* [Psalm 72] A royal Psalm in which the Israelite king, as the representative of God, is the instrument of divine justice (Ps 72:14, 1214) and blessing (Ps 72:57, 1517) for the whole world. The king is human, giving only what he has received from God. Hence intercession must be made for him. The extravagant language is typical of oriental royal courts.

* [72:2] The king…the king’s son: the crown prince is the king’s son; the prayer envisages the dynasty.

* [72:8] From sea to sea…the ends of the earth: the boundaries of the civilized world known at the time: from the Mediterranean Sea (the western sea) to the Persian Gulf (the eastern sea), and from the Euphrates (the river) to the islands and lands of southwestern Europe, “the ends of the earth.” The words may also have a mythic nuance—the earth surrounded by cosmic waters, hence everywhere.

* [72:10] Tarshish and the islands: the far west (Ps 48:6); Arabia and Seba: the far south (1 Kgs 10:1).

* [72:14] Their blood: cf. Ps 116:15.

* [72:16] The translation of the difficult Hebrew is tentative.

* [72:17] May the tribes of the earth give blessings with his name: an echo of the promise to the ancestors (Gn 12:3; 26:4; 28:14), suggesting that the monarchy in Israel fulfilled the promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

* [72:1819] A doxology marking the end of Book II of the Psalter.

a. [72:1] Ps 99:4; Jer 23:5.

b. [72:2] Prv 31:89.

c. [72:3] Is 52:7; 55:12.

d. [72:5] Ps 89:3738; Jer 31:35.

e. [72:6] Dt 32:2; Is 45:8; Hos 6:3.

f. [72:8] Dt 11:24; Zec 9:10.

g. [72:9] Is 49:23; Mi 7:17.

h. [72:10] Ps 68:30; Is 60:56; 1 Kgs 10:1ff.

i. [72:11] Ps 47:8.

j. [72:13] Prv 31:9.

k. [72:16] Is 27:6; Hos 14:68; Am 9:13.

l. [72:17] Ps 21:7.

m. [72:17] Gn 12:3; 22:18; 26:4; Zec 8:13.

n. [72:18] Ps 41:14; 89:53; 106:48; 136:4.

o. [72:19] Ps 57:5; Nm 14:21.






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