Psalm 72 – Announcement of Reign of Peace & The Coronation of Ashurbanipal and

A Psalm for Solomon.

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1 Give the king thy Judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.

2 He shall Judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with Judgment.

3 The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

4 He shall Judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.

5 They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.

6 He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.

7 In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.

8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.

9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.

10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.4 356

11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.

12 For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.

13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.

14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

15 And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba: prayer also shall be made for him continually; and daily shall he be praised.

5 35616 There shall be a handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains; the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.

17 His name shall endure forever: his name shall be continued as long as the sun: and men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.

18 Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things.

19 And blessed be his glorious name forever: and let the whole earth be filled with his glory; Amen, and Amen.

20 The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended.

The temptation of the weak, upon seeing the prosperity of the wicked, is overcome by the consideration of the justice of God, who will quickly render to everyone according to His works.  A vision of the reigning of Christ over all His enemies.

The Coronation of Ashurbanipal 

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Colophon was an ancient city in Ionia.
Founded around the turn of the first millennium B.C., it was likely one of the oldest of the twelve cities of the Ionian League.

In ancient times it was located between Lebedos (120 stadia to the west) and Ephesus (70 stadia to its south).

Today the ruins of the city can be found south of the town Değirmendere Fev in the Menderes district of Izmir Province, Turkey.

The city’s name comes from the word κολοφών, “summit”, which is also the origin of the bibliographic term “colophon”, in the metaphorical sense of a ‘crowning touch’, as it was sited along a ridgeline.

The term “colophony” for rosin comes from the term colophonia resina, that is, resin from the pine trees of Colophon, which was highly valued for the strings of musical instruments.

Who wrote Psalm 72, David or Solomon?  This particular psalm is distinctive in that it contains both the superscript “Of Solomon” (which could be taken to mean “for Solomon,” “about Solomon” or “by Solomon) and the colophon “This concludes the prayers of David son of Jesse.”

The colophon suggests that the superscript here means “for Solomon” and that the author of the piece was David.  The psalm appears to be a prayer written by David for the occasion of the coronation of his son and successor, Solomon.

Hymns and prayers composed for the coronation of kings of other nations are also found among ancient Near Eastern texts. 

For example, one text contains a prayer or liturgy for the coronation of Ashurbanipal, an Assyrian king (r 668-627 B.C.).  The liturgy invokes a variety of blessings from the Assyrian gods, including the following:

That Ashurbanipal be granted long life and reign,

That he be given great eloquence and understanding,

7 Greek city of Colophon
Authentic Ancient Coin of: Greek city of Colophon in Ionia
Bronze 17mm (5.33 grams) Struck 350 B.C.
Laureate head of Apollo right.

Horseman prancing right, armored and holding spear couched; K – O – Λ in field.

Situated several miles inland, on the river Halesos, Colophon was an important city and claimed to be the birthplace of Homer.

The famous oracle of Apollo Klarios was within its territory.

That the scope of his rule might expand,

That the people of Asshur might be so prosperous that grain and oil could be purchased inexpensively, and

That the gods would provide abundant rain for the land.

Psalm includes striking parallels to the Ashurbanipal coronation liturgy.  The psalmist prayed for the Israelite king’s domain to be extended (vv 8-11) and for the land to prosper (vv 15-16).  

In addition, verse 1 appeals to God to grant the king wisdom, as does the Ashurbanipal text.

At the same time, Ps 72 is distinctive for its concern that the Israelite king should rule with righteousness and compassion (vv 2-7). 

In addition, the Biblical text sought for God’s name to be glorified through the king’s reign (v 5). 

Indeed, Psalm 72 was not seeking expanded political and military domination for Israel so much as it was looking for a fulfillment of the Messianic promises.  Behind this psalm stood the assurances that the Gentles would be blessed in Abraham (Gen 12:3) and that the reign for God would be established through the son of David (2 Sam 7).

Formally, then, Ps 72 is similar to the coronation prayer of Ashurbanipal, but the message and hope of the Old Testament have invested the Biblical text with a distinctive purpose and outlook.

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