Book 2 of the Psalter ends with Psalm 72, and brings to a close the collection of the “Prayers of David.” Scattered Psalms of David occur in Books 3-5 as well, but this concludes the organized arrangement of his Psalms in Books 1-2.
The Psalms at the Seams
The Psalms are not just a random assortment of songs, but an intentionally organized and structured set of songs, meant to communicate deep truths about who God is, and why we should worship Him. In particular, the Psalms at the “seams” of the Psalter, at the beginning and end of each book, are crucial in our understanding of the book as a whole.
These Psalms on the seams are where the themes of the Psalter are made the most clear, and we get to see the intent of those who, through the Holy Spirit, organized the Psalms. To see what I mean, read through the Psalms at the bounds of Book 1 (1-2, 41) and Book 2 (42-43, 72), and you’ll begin to see some of these key themes emerge. Expectation of a coming King, hope for deliverance, an eternal kingdom, and praise for the Lord, are present in all of these Psalms.
Take a look again at Psalm 72, and notice those themes in particular:
Coming King: “Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to the royal son!” (v1)
Deliverance: “From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.” (v14)
Eternal Kingdom: “May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun!” (v17)
Praise the Lord: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.” (v18)
The End of the Psalms of David
Not only does this Psalm (along with the other “seam” Psalms highlight these recurring themes, this Psalm also wraps up the “Prayers of David.” The Psalms of Books 1-2 follow closely with the life of David, from his early wanderings in the wilderness to our Psalm, where at the end of his reign he hopes for the future king, his son Solomon (Ps 72). It is an extremely rewarding exercise to read Psalms 1-72 with 1-2 Samuel open, and following David’s entire life as represented in his Psalms.
Considering Psalm 72
With that said, what else is going on in Psalm 72?
As Christians we necessarily read all of the Bible with Christ in mind, and this Psalm is no exception! Not only was David anticipating the future king in his son, Solomon, but the future eternal King that would come in the Messiah.
Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, is the one who has and will ultimately fulfill all of Psalm 72. He will be the king who will: “judge your people with righteousness … defend the cause of the poor … have dominion from sea to sea … deliver the needy.” Kings will “fall down before him,” prayers will be “made for him continually and blessings invoked for him all the day,” his name will “endure forever, and his fame continue as long as the sun.” All people will be blessed in Him, and “the whole earth will be filled with His glory.”
That is Jesus. That is our Messiah-King, the one for whom David longed, and the one in whom we trust for our salvation.
Jesus, our Messiah, our King, would we always remember that you are far more than the one who saves us from sin. Would we remember that you are a long-awaited and promised king, the one who died that we may have life, the one who will indeed reign over all of heaven and earth. We pray for the day when you will indeed deliver the needy, redeem the oppressed, have dominion from sea to sea, and fill the earth with your glory. We pray in your name, that day would be soon. Come Lord Jesus! Amen.