The Righteous King: Lessons from Psalm 72

Psalm 72 is attributed to David and is written for Solomon.  The Psalm is called an Enthronement Psalm, one that would be recited at the enthronement of the King according to some scholars.   In Christian interpretation, the Psalm is all about Jesus.  In classical Judaism, it is ultimately about the Messiah.   There are things in the Psalm that cannot be true of a mere human King no matter how great.  At least we can say that some of the hopes have never been fulfilled by any King of Israel no matter how great, not even David and Solomon.    It can be hyperbole, but of the Messiah, it is literally true. There are some things in the Psalm that do not fit the Divine Messiah King.  

Here are things that cannot be true of mere human King or at least have not nearly been fulfilled by any King of Israel no matter how great, even David and Solomon.  

Let them fear You while the sun endures and while the moon lasts, throughout all generations. (v. 5) 

Let Shalom abound till the moon is no more.” (v. 7)

May he have dominion from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. (v. 8)

Let all kings bow down before him and all nations serve him. (v.10)

On the other hand, it does not say he will be everlasting in the following verse. 

Long may he live. (v. 15) 

Also, “Give to the king Your judgments, O God, and Your righteousness to the King’s son.” This is showing his human dependence on God.  

Solomon foreshadows the Messiah, and this Psalm as others (Ps. 2, 22, 45, 69) take us beyond the reality of the Israelite human King directs our hope to an everlasting Divine King.  The hyperbole points us to Yeshua.  

However, what is really remarkable to me is the description of the heart of the ideal King, his identification, and care for the needy, poor, and marginalized.  This produced a tradition in England that the King was to defend the weak over against the dukes and barons who would take advantage of them.  This Psalm as well as the prophets and the teaching of Yeshua tell us that though God loves all, his first priority is the poor. This is the heart of Yeshua, and we are called to share this heart.

May he vindicate the people, 

Save the children of the needy and crush the oppressor. (v. 4)

For he rescues the needy crying for help

Also the poor and the one with no helper, 

He will take pity on the poor and needy,

And the souls of the needy, he will save. 

From oppression and violence, he redeems their soul,

For precious is their blood in his sight. 

The Bible gives us this vision of the Messiah.  It shows itself to be the greatest social justice literature in the world, especially as applied in the teaching of Yeshua.   It is social justice based on the Biblical world view of God and his redemption through Yeshua.  That is why I wrote a book on Social Justice.