The King Who Rules
(H) Of Solomon. (1) Give to the king your justice, God, and your righteousness to the king’s son. (2) He will judge your people with righteousness and your poor with justice. (3) The mountains will bring prosperity (shalom) to the people, and the hills (will bring the benefits of) righteousness. (4) He will bring justice to the poor of the people. He will deliver the children of the needy and crush the oppressor. (5) They will fear you as long as the sun and the moon (endure) throughout all generations. (6) He will fall like rain on mown grass, as showers that water the earth. (7) In his days, the righteous will flourish and (there will be) an abundance of prosperity (shalom) until the moon is no more.
This is the first of two psalms authored by King Solomon (cf. Psalm 127). We should note that Solomon’s name was derived from the well known Hebrew word, “shalom,” used in everyday greetings and normally translated “peace.” One of the key repetitions found in this psalm is that very word, “shalom” (vss. 3 & 7), whose range of meanings can include “health...well-being...prosperity” as well as the idea of “becoming all that God intended.” In both occurrences, “shalom” speaks of Israel prospering under God’s appointed ruler.
Other repeated words include “justice” and “righteousness” (vss. 1 & 2), terms which speak first of God’s character (vs. 1) and then of the nature of the king’s rule (vs. 2). “Righteousness” occurs again, but this time describing the benefits which a godly monarch brings to his subjects (vs. 3). In a similar manner, “justice” is used again, this time regarding “the poor of the people” (vs. 4). The phrase, “the sun and the moon” (vs. 5), is partially repeated, but only the moon is specifically mentioned while the sun is assumed (vs. 7). In each case we gain a sense of how long the kingdom led by God’s “Prince of Peace” will last and how blessed that kingdom will be.
I. Request: may the king rule justly and righteously. (1 & 2)
II. Result: the nation will enjoy prosperity (shalom). (3-7)
The king who rules justly and righteously under God’s blessing will enjoy a long and prosperous reign.
Solomon in Psalm 72 expresses the desire that his kingdom might be characterized by justice and God’s righteousness. If such a kingdom had actually existed, it would have been a place of unparalleled peace and prosperity the likes of which the world had never yet seen. While Solomon’s reign in Israel three thousand years ago is considered by most historians to have been Israel’s golden age, it fell short of what the king envisioned in this psalm. Solomon proved to be a flawed ruler who, after beginning well, eventually wandered away from God. We read in I Kings: “He had seven hundred wives of royal birth and three hundred concubines, and his wives led him astray. As Solomon aged, his wives enticed him to worship pagan gods. His heart was not fully devoted to Yahweh as the heart of his father, David, had been” (1 Kings 11:3 & 4).
Solomon, while declaring his intent to govern righteously in these verses, was essentially anticipating a kingdom in the distant future ruled by Israel’s Messiah, the long awaited Prince of Peace. Isaiah also prophesied regarding that future monarch calling him the “child born...the son given,” upon whose shoulders the government would rest. His other names include “wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6 & 7). His kingdom will be a period when righteousness, justice, and “shalom” will prevail on the earth. His government will be one for which the world has long yearned but has never yet experienced. We, along with the saints of every generation, look forward to his appearing and earnestly pray, “Amen. Even so come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20).