Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 72-73

Psa 72.1-20 concludes the Second Book of Psalms. It is the final psalm that alludes to certain events in the life of David. The title for this psalm is “L’Shlomo” or “For Solomon.” There are psalms that have the heading “L’David” of “For David” and is is called a “Psalm of David” so it would be consistent to make this psalm a “Psalm of Solomon.” However, the first and the last verses clearly tell us that this was written by David. David is near death and it was written about the time Solomon was coronated, so this is a coronation psalm. But the name Solomon means “man of peace” so the subject if this psalm is not Solomon, but the Messiah. So this psalm is about Yeshua.

Psa 72. 1-4 tells us that the Messiah is king and son of a king and he is equipped to rule, and everything he does is just and correct (v 1). He will judge the people (the eschatological kahal) by the Torah or “thy righteousness” (v 2). The mountains will bring peace to the people (flowing down upon the people), and it is also is an idiom for the mighty nations and kings will bring peace to the people, and the hills an idiom for the lower nations and kings, will bring satisfaction and calm (v 3). The Messiah will judge the poor (those with spiritual needs) and save the children of the needy (those who only depend on him and cling to him by faith) and crush those who are oppressing them (v 4).

Psa 72.5-7 says that reverence for the Lord will continue as long as the sun and moon endure (forever). This verse can only be fulfilled in the Messiah, not Solomon (v 5). Messiah shall come down like rain upon the mountain grass and like showers that water the earth. This clearly refers to the coming of Yeshua as the Messiah in Joel 2.23; Hos 6.3, 10.12; Jam 5.7 (v 6). The rain or dew is also an idiom for “teaching” or the Torah (Deut 32.1-2). In his days the righteous will flourish with blooming fruit (Isa 4.2) and have peace “until the moon is no more” (Isa 60.19-20; Rev 22.5) which means forever. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be any more more sun or moon, but it means God’s kivod (glory) in the Olam Haba will eclipse their light (v 7).

Psa 72.8-11 says the Messiah will have dominion from sea to sea (over the whole earth), and from the river (Euphrates) to the ends of the earth. This does not apply to Solomon either, but it will apply to Yeshua (Eph 1.20-23) and his power will spread (v 8). His enemies will submit to him and his power, since they rejected his kindness (Phil 2.10-11; Matt 26.64) and his enemies shall lick the dust (be brought low in subjection-Isa 49.23). The kings of Tarashish (meaning the islands of the sea) shall pay tribute to the Messiah and his kingdom, along with the kings of Sheba (Arabs) and Seba (Sabeans). They will come to the New Jerusalem (Rev 21.24). The queen of Sheba, Arab kings and the ships of Tarshish in 1 Kings 10.1-25 is a picture of this (v 10). All kings and nations will serve Yeshua, as in Rev 5.12-14 and the coronation of Yeshua there.

Psa 72.12-15 says that he (Messiah) will deliver those in poverty when they cry out (v 12) and he will have compassion (spare them) on the needy and save them (v 13). Messiah will redeem (rescue) the life of those oppressed and victims of violence. In this Messiah is like the Goel (kinsman redeemer) so may he (Messiah) live and receive the gifts given by all men as they do homage. Prayer should be made to him in the avodah (services) and he should be blessed continually (v 14-15).

Psa 72.16-17 says that there will be prosperity with grain in the earth and on top of the mountains, which are usually barren. The fruit will wave (shake with fruit) like Lebanon (cedars) and those from the city (Jerusalem) will prosper like vegetation from the earth (Isa 4.2; Hos 14.4-8). The name of the righteous king will endure (remain, exist) and continue as long as the sun (the sun is a picture of the Messiah in Psa 19.4-6; Mal 4.2). Men will bless themselves and their family by him (“May you be as wise as Yeshua the Messiah” for example) and let all nations call him blessed and admired.

In Psa 72.18-19 the writer offers praise to God for the inspiration to finish this psalm and who personally oversees Israel. God has one name (Yehovah) and all other references are just titles. When people are only aware of God’s actions they will make a mistake and attribute them to false gods. Yeshua as the Messiah will bring all mankind into the knowledge of God’s true identity, the only one with divine power (Zech 14.9). The repetition of “amen and amen” in v 19 tells us that Yehovah will be glorified in this world (the 7000 years) and in the next (Olam Haba).

Psa 72.20 tells us that this psalm was written by David, probably on his death bed. It is the last significant act in his life and ends Book 2 of Psalms, which corresponds to the second book of the Torah called “Shemot” which is also known as “Exodus.”

Psa 73.1-28 begins Book 3 of Psalms and in the first two books the themes were centered around specific personal events in the lives of certain people. The last two books in Psalms will be about general, universal themes that show the good ness of God. This psalm introduces the main themes of Book 3, which are faith, and that Yehovah is truly good and will bless his people. That means the Book of Psalms, divided up into five books like the Torah, is in a chiastic structure. This is a Hebraic literary technique in which ideas are presented and then presented in a repeated or “inverted” form with the center idea being the focal point (a,b,C,b,a). That means Book 3 of Psalms (Psa 73-89) is the focal point of the Book of Psalms and it has emunah (faith) and the goodness of God as the focus. These five books also correspond to the five books of Torah as we have said, so Book 3 corresponds to the Book of Vayikra, or Leviticus, the book of Kedusha and the focal point of the Torah.

The heading reads, “A song of Asaph.” Asaph means “to gather” and he is a descendant of Gershon, the son of Levi and a Levite. He was commissioned by David to be in charge of the singing in the Temple. In 1 Chr 6.39 David appoints Heman as the head musician and Asaph as his assistant (they were brothers), and he performed at the dedication of the Temple (2 Chr 5.12). As a side note, the Prophet Samuel was a descendant of Korah (1 Chr 6.33-37)

Psa 73.1-9 begins by saying that God has been good to Israel, especially all the believers who have been born from above by faith (v 1). But personally, Asaph said his feet were close to stumbling out of the truth (v 2). He was envious of the wicked and he fell into the trap of thinking the wicked prosper (v 3). They seem to die in peace and their physical strength is still well nourished (v 4). They seem to prosper without effort and are not bothered with common ailments and problems like other people (v 5). Because of this, they seem to be immune to trouble and become lifted up in pride and a “garland of violence covers them” and they are cruel (6). Their eyes bulge out with fatness, meaning a picture of vigor. Eyes that sink in because of hunger show lack, bulging eyes carries the idea of “fatness” (v 7). They speak to oppress and to keep the righteous subdued and boast about it (v 8). They have set their mouth against “the heavens” and challenge God, denying his power (v 9).

Psa 73.10-14 tells us the wicked are blessed by God and the righteous (or those professing to be righteous) see this and turn from God toward the lifestyle of the wicked (v 10). Then they say “How does God know? And is there knowledge with the Most High?” They seem to deceive other people into thinking that God doesn’t care about what they are doing. They reject the Torah and live by their own standards (v 11). Then Asaph says, “Behold, these are the wicked and they are always at ease, they have increased in wealth.” These previous verses briefly tell us about the character of the wicked. The wicked possess what this world has to offer and believe they are safe and sound (v 12). But the believer falls deeper into disappointment and says, “Why should I struggle?” He says why should he struggle to cleanse his conscience if he is going to be troubles like a sinner should be (v 13). He has been stricken by evil doers all day long and chastened by God (v 14).

Psa 73. 15-20 tells us that he thought about all this and tried to understand and justify God’s actions to the wicked, but found those efforts to be futile (v 15-16). But then he went into the “Sanctuary” (Temple) where the Torah was kept and it revealed the mysteries of God. His outlook about the obvious unfaithfulness of all these things changed when he was instructed out of the Torah about their end (v 17). He realized that God had set them on a slippery slope and they would be cast down to destruction (v 18). They will be destroyed in a moment. This world is all they have and it all ends here and they will have nothing (v 19). Like a dream when one awakens, they will find that the prosperity and peace he has seen was only imaginary. There will be no place for them in the resurrection of the righteous, but their end will be at the Great White Throne judgment and the Second Death ( v20).

Psa 73. 21-24 says when he was grieved at the prosperity of the wicked and he was “pierced in his kidneys” (meaning “within”), he realizes he was senseless and ignorant to envy them. He was like a beast until he understood the secret of life (v 21-22). But Yehovah had mercy (took hold of his right hand) on him and prevented him from falling into being too upset over the prosperity of the wicked (v 23) and guided him on the path he should follow and after his death he would be received into “glory” (Paradise, God’s presence, Olam Haba, etc).

Psa 73. 25-28 says there is no other God in heaven and there is nothing on earth that he desires. Others worship the heavenly bodies, or angels, and others worship the elements, trees and nature. But the writer will worship Yehovah only (v 25). His physical functions may fail, but Yehovah is his strength spiritually (v 26). Those who are far from God will perish because of their idolatry (v 27). But as for Asaph, he will draw near to God because it is good for him and for his happiness, and he will put his trust in him so that he may declare his good works because of the mercy that has been shown to him, even when he didn’t understand or could explain why God does what he does, especially towards the wicked in this world (v 28).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Tying into the New Testament

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