Burning Questions answered
by Rev. Colin Le Noury.
Q8. Did Solomon pen Psalm 72, if so, then why does v.20 seem to accredit it to David?
The question of the authorship of Psalm 72, raised for us by Mr. John Wood of Nuneaton, is an interesting one.
Who wrote this psalm? Well it depends on which Bible you use. Actually most versions accredit to Solomon, however, the A.V. clearly introduces it as a prayer of David. There is a sense in which both answers are correct. The best of evangelical scholarship would seem to agree that the pen was probably Solomon's, but that the content was most certainly David's.
Let me explain. Psalm 72 must be read against the background of 2 Samuel 7, David's great messianic prophecy for kingdom rule. Indeed the psalm is based on that particular passage. Therefore the essential content came from David, although Solomon is believed to have used this as his inspiration for the psalm. Spurgeon in his 'Treasury of David' is quite adamant that Solomon was the author, as is W.Graham Scroggie in his four volume expositions of the Psalms.
The psalm is clearly messianic and looks forward to the millennial reign of Christ when His kingdom of peace and righteousness wilt be established. It is one of the most wonderful psalms which heavily underlines all that we embrace in our millennial teaching.
It is best summed up in the words of Scroggie himself, who says, '..so the prophecy of the father, and the prayer of the son, look onto a time still future when God's kingdom on earth shall be perfect and universal'.
If we accept as Spurgeon, Scroggie and others clearly do, that the content came from David, but that the transmission was through Solomon, then there is no contradiction between v.20 and the accepted authorship of the same.
Before we let the matter rest we should just examine the psalm itself and analyse its content Clearly it is largely prophetic and must be interpreted and understood in messianic terms.
On reading 2 Samuel 7 & Psalm 72 one immediately realises that David and Solomon are both espousing an ideal kingdom which never came to fruition under either of their reigns. Nor indeed did it happen under any other king of Israel or Judah.
Hence we have to look to a future dispensation in which all that is here predicted will be fulfilled. This can only happen when Christ returns and establishes His rule as King of Israel and the millennial nations.
I would borrow again from Scroggie's exposition in which he shows that the psalm breaks down into five stanzas each of which describes a different aspect of the prophesied millennial reign.
Firstly. v.1-4, show its righteousness. It will be a kingdom based on righteousness and peace. The judgements of the King will be wholly equitable.
Secondly, v.5-7, tells of its perpetuality. Such phrases as 'generation to generation' and 'As long as the sun and moon endure' places the psalm right out of the rules of David and Solomon after whose reign the kingdom began to disintegrate.
Thirdly, its universality is heralded in v.8-11. The fact that this psalm looks to a global kingdom is beyond doubt in these verses. This was never attained under David or Solomon. But the psalm is in keeping with Daniel's prophecy of 'A stone not made with hands' which will destroy all gentile rule, and it will become a mighty kingdom 'filling the whole earth'.
Fourthly, v 12-15, underline the humanity of that reign, in which all the benefits of the redemptive work of Christ are proclaimed. Fifthly, v.16-19, speak of its felicity. Here are some of the most beautiful words of scripture outlining the blessing of the nations through Messiah the King, and ascribing blessing and praise unto Him.
In the light of this psalm, let us as Bible-believing Christians cherish the hope of our Lord's soon return and the promise of His kingdom reign which will revolutionise this world in the most unimaginable way.