Psalm 72:8
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) He shall have. . . .—The original is more poetical, recalling the root idea of the verb, “may he tread down (the nations) from sea to sea.”

That the river in the next clause is the Euphrates there can be no question, but are we, therefore, to see precise geographical limits in the expression “from sea to sea” (from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea), as in Exodus 23:31, or is it merely poetical for a wide extent of empire? The vague and general expression, “ends of the earth,” which takes the place of the definite “desert,” in the passage of Exodus, makes in favour of the latter view. So, too, do the hyperbolic expressions in Psalm 72:5; Psalm 72:11; Psalm 72:17. On the other hand, Psalm 72:10 mentions particular places. The same phrase in Zechariah 9:10 describes the Messianic kingdom, and is certainly poetical, but whether that or this passage is the original is doubtful.

Psalm 72:8. He shall have dominion from sea to sea — Either, 1st, From the Sinus Arabicus, or Red sea, to the Mediterranean sea, for so far Solomon’s dominion extended; but so did David’s also; and, therefore, in that respect Solomon has not that pre-eminence, which this promise plainly seems to give him, above his predecessors. Or, rather, 2d, More generally from one sea to another, or in all parts of the habitable world. In which sense it is truly and fully accomplished in Christ, and in him only. And from the river — Namely, Euphrates: which was the eastern border of the kingdom of Canaan, allotted by God, (Exodus 23:31; Numbers 34:3,) but possessed only by David and Solomon; unto the ends of the earth — To the border of Egypt, or the tract of country along the Mediterranean sea, the end of the land of Canaan. But if understood of the kingdom of Christ, the expression means literally to the remotest parts of the earth, or throughout the whole world. Thus, Psalm 2:8, I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.72:2-17 This is a prophecy of the kingdom of Christ; many passages in it cannot be applied to the reign of Solomon. There were righteousness and peace at first in the administration of his government; but, before the end of his reign, there were troubles and unrighteousness. The kingdom here spoken of is to last as long as the sun, but Solomon's was soon at an end. Even the Jewish expositors understood it of the kingdom of the Messiah. Observe many great and precious promises here made, which were to have full accomplishment only in the kingdom of Christ. As far as his kingdom is set up, discord and contentions cease, in families, churches, and nations. The law of Christ, written in the heart, disposes men to be honest and just, and to render to all their due; it likewise disposes men to live in love, and so produces abundance of peace. Holiness and love shall be lasting in Christ's kingdom. Through all the changes of the world, and all the changes of life, Christ's kingdom will support itself. And he shall, by the graces and comforts of his Spirit, come down like rain upon the mown grass; not on that cut down, but that which is left growing, that it may spring again. His gospel has been, or shall be, preached to all nations. Though he needs not the services of any, yet he must be served with the best. Those that have the wealth of this world, must serve Christ with it, do good with it. Prayer shall be made through him, or for his sake; whatever we ask of the Father, should be in his name. Praises shall be offered to him: we are under the highest obligations to him. Christ only shall be feared throughout all generations. To the end of time, and to eternity, his name shall be praised. All nations shall call HIM blessed.He shall have dominion also from sea to sea - There is probably an allusion here to the promise in Exodus 23:31 : "And I will set thy bounds from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river." This was the original promise in regard to the bounds of the promised land. A promise similar to this occurs also in Genesis 15:18 : "In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates." The meaning here is, that what was implied in these ancient promises would be carried out under the reign of the king referred to in the psalm. The "immediate" allusion, therefore, in the phrase "from sea to sea," may have been from the Red Sea on the East to the Mediterranean on the West; but still the language is susceptible of a more enlarged application, and may mean from one sea to another; that is, embracing all the lands or countries lying between seas and oceans; or, in other words, that the dominion would be universal. Compare the notes at Psalm 2:8.

And from the river ... - The Euphrates. This was emphatically "the river" to the Hebrews - the great river - the greatest river known to them; and this river would be naturally understood as intended by the expression, unless there was something to limit it. Besides, this was expressly designated in the original covenant as the boundary of the promised land. See, as above, Genesis 15:18. The meaning here is, that, taking that river as one of the boundaries, or as a starting point, the dominion would extend from that to the utmost limits of the earth. It would have no other boundary but the limits of the world. The promise, therefore, is, that the dominion would be universal, or would pervade the earth; at once a kingdom of peace, and yet spreading itself all over the world. It is hardly necessary to say that this did not occur under Solomon, and that it could not have been expected that it would occur under him, and especially as it was expected that his reign would be one of peace and not of conquest. It would find its complete fulfillment only under the Messiah.

8. The foreign nations mentioned (Ps 72:9, 10) could not be included in the limits, if designed to indicate the boundaries of Solomon's kingdom. The terms, though derived from those used (Ex 23:31; De 11:24) to denote the possessions of Israel, must have a wider sense. Thus, "ends of the earth" is never used of Palestine, but always of the world (compare Margin).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.

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

Psalm 72:8

"He shall have dominion also from sea to sea." Wide spread shall be the rule of Messiah; only the Land's End shall end his territory: to the Ultima Thule shall his sceptre be extended. From Pacific to Atlantic and from Atlantic to Pacific, he shall be Lord, and the oceans which surround each pole shall be beneath his sway. All other power shall be subordinate to his; no rival nor antagonist shall he know. Men speak of the Emperor of all the Russias, but Jesus shall be Ruler of all mankind. "And from the river unto the ends of the earth." Start where you will, by any river you choose, and Messiah's kingdom shall reach on to the utmost bounds of the round world. As Solomon's realm embraced all the land of promise, and left no unconquered margin; so shall the Son of David rule all lands given him in the better covenant, and leave no nation to pine beneath the tyranny of the prince of darkness. We are encouraged by such a passage as this to look for the Saviour's universal reign; whether before or after his personal advent we leave for the discussion of others. In this Psalm, at least, we see a personal monarch, and he is the central figure, the focus of all the glory; not his servant, but himself do we see possessing the dominion and dispensing the government. Personal pronouns referring to our great King are constantly occurring in this Psalm; he has dominion, kings fall down before him,: and serve him; for he delivers; he spares, he saves, he lives, and daily is he praised.

Psalm 72:9

"They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him." Unconquered by arms, they shall be subdued by love. Wild and lawless as they have been, they shall gladly wear his easy yoke; then shall their deserts be made glad, yea, they shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. "And his enemies shall lick the dust." If they will not be his friends, they shall be utterly broken and humbled. Dust shall be the serpent's meat; the seed of the serpent shall be filled therewith. Homage among Orientals is often rendered in the most abject manner, and truly no sign is too humiliating to denote the utter discomfiture and subjugation of Messiah's foes. Tongues which rail at the Redeemer deserve to lick the dust. Those who will not joyfully bow to such a prince richly merit to be hurled down and laid prostrate; the dust is too good for them, since they trampled on the blood of Christ.

Psalm 72:10

"The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents." Trade shall be made subservient to the purposes of mediatorial rule; merchant princes, both far and near, shall joyfully contribute of their wealth to his throne. Seafaring places are good centres from which to spread the gospel; and seafaring men often make earnest heralds of the cross. Tarshish of old was so far away, that to the eastern mind it was lost in its remoteness, and seemed to be upon the verge of the universe; even so far as imagination itself can travel, shall the Son of David rule; across the blue sea shall his sceptre be stretched; the white cliffs of Britain already Own him, the gems of the Southern Sea glitter for him, even Iceland's heart is warm with his love, Madagascar leaps to receive him; and if there be isles of the equatorial seas whose spices have as yet not been presented to him, even there shall he receive a revenue of glory. He has made many an islet to become a Holy Isle, and hence, a true Formosa. "The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts." Agriculture and pasturage shall contribute their share. Foreign princes from inland regions, as yet unexplored, shall own the all-embracing monarchy of the King of kings; they shall be prompt to pay their reverential tribute religious offerings shall they bring, for their King is their God. Then shall Arabia Felix be happy indeed, and the Fortunate Isles be more than fortunate. Observe, that true religion leads to generous giving; we are not taxed in Christ's dominions, but we are delighted to offer freely to him. It will be a great day when kings will do this: the poor widow has long ago been before them, it is time that they followed; their subjects would be sure to imitate the royal example. This free-will offering is all Christ and his church desire; they want no forced levies and distraints, let all men give of their own free will, kings as well as commoners; alas! the rule has been for kings to give their subjects' property to the church, and a Wretched church has received this robbery for a burnt offering; it shall not be thus when Jesus more openly assumes the throne.

Psalm 72:11

"Yea, all kings shall fall down before him." Personally shall they pay their reverence, however mighty they may be. No matter how high their state, how ancient their dynasty, or far-off their realms, they shall willingly accept him as their Imperial Lord. "All nations shall serve him." The people shall be as obedient as the governors. The extent of the mediatorial rule is set forth by the two far-reaching alls, all kings and all nations: we see not as yet all things put under him, but since we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour in heaven, we are altogether without doubt as to his universal monarchy on earth. It is not to be imagined that an Alexander or a Caesar shall have wider sway than the Son of God. "Every knee shall bow to him, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Hasten it, O Lord, in thine own time.

From sea to sea; either,

1. From the Dead Sea or the Lake of Sodom, or from the Red Sea, to the Midland Sea; for so far did Solomon’s dominion extend: but so did David’s also; and therefore in that respect Solomon hath not that pre-eminence which this promise plainly seems to give him above his predecessors. Or,

2. More generally from one sea to another, or in all the parts of the habitable world. So it was truly and fully accomplished in Christ, and in him only.

The river, to wit, Euphrates, which was the eastern border of the kingdom of Canaan allotted by God, Exodus 23:31 Numbers 34:3, but enjoyed only by David and Solomon, and afterwards by Christ; of whose kingdom this may be here mentioned, as one of the borders; partly because the kingdom of Christ is here described under the type and shadow of Solomon’s kingdom, whose bound this was; and partly because though Christ’s kingdom did for a time extend itself beyond Euphrates, yet the chief part, and almost the whole body of it, both did and doth lie on this side of it; and things do generally receive their denomination from the greatest part.

The ends of the earth; either,

1. Of the land of Canaan. Or,

2. Of the world. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea,.... The same is said of the Messiah in Zechariah 9:10; where he is manifestly spoken of as here, and regards the extent of his dominion; not over the land of Israel only, as some think; but over the Gentile world, through the preaching of the Gospel in the several parts of it; and especially as it will be in the latter day, when the kingdoms of this world will be his, and he will be King over all the earth; see Revelation 17:14; which cannot agree with Solomon, whose dominion reached only to the land of the Philistines, to the border of Egypt, 1 Kings 4:21; but Christ's dominion will be, as it follows,

and from the river unto the ends of the earth; which, as Kimchi owns, is clear, if applied to the Messiah, since his government shall be over all the world. The note of Aben Ezra on the text is worthy of regard.

"If this is said concerning Solomon, the meaning is, from the Red sea to the sea of the Philistines; and from the river, this is Euphrates; and the ends of the earth mean the wilderness; (see Exodus 23:31); and, lo, mention is made of the length and breadth of the land of Israel: and if of the Messiah, the sense is, from the south sea, which is called the Idumean sea, to the northern sea, which is the sea of the ocean; and from the river, the river that goes out of Eden at the beginning of the east, unto the ends of the earth, which is at the end of the west;''

though rather the sense is, from the Indian ocean, the great sea, unto the Mediterranean sea; and from the river Euphrates to the end of the world. This text is applied to the Messiah by many Jewish writers (z), ancient and modern.

(z) Raya Mehimna in Zohar in Exod. fol. 49. 4. Bemidbar Rabba, s. 13. fol. 209. 4. Baal Hatturim in Num. fol. 178. 4. R. Nachman. Disput. cum fratre Paulo, p. 41.

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

(h) That is, from the Red sea to the sea called the Syriacum, and from Euphrates forward, meaning, that Christ's kingdom would be large and universal.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. He shall have dominion also] Render, And may he have dominion. The form of the verb here is decisive in favour of rendering as a wish or prayer, and governs the meaning of the verbs in Psalm 72:9-11, which should all be similarly rendered.

from sea to sea &c.] The words are a poetical generalisation of the promise to Israel in Exodus 23:31, “I will set thy border from the Red Sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the wilderness unto the River”; and of the language in which Solomon’s empire is described, 1 Kings 4:21; 1 Kings 4:24 (where note the use of the same word to have dominion). If any definite seas are intended, they would be the Mediterranean on the West, and the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean on the East; but more probably the phrase is quite general, meaning, ‘as far as the land extends’ (Amos 8:12; Micah 7:12). The River (rightly spelt in R.V. with a capital, as denoting the River par excellence) is the Euphrates: the ends of the earth (the same words as the uttermost parts of the earth in Psalm 2:8) are the remotest parts of the known world. Extension, not limit, is the idea conveyed. The world belongs to God: may He confer upon His representative a world-wide dominion! a hope to be realised only in the universal kingdom of Christ. Almost the same words recur in Zechariah 9:10, and the son of Sirach combines them with the promise to Abraham in Sir 44:21.

8–14. May all nations submit to this best of rulers, recognising the paramount claim of moral supremacy.Verse 8. - He shall have dominion also from sea to sea. It does not appear that any particular seas are meant, as in Exodus 23:31 and Numbers 34:3, 6; rather, the idea is that the earth is set in the midst of the sea, and that Messiah's dominion will reach from shore to shore. And from the river (i.e. the Euphrates) unto the ends of the earth. Israel's promised dominion extended only as far as the great river (Genesis 15:18), which was also the boundary of Solomon's kingdom eastward (1 Kings 4:21, 24); Messiah's was to reach indefinitely beyond the river to the world's end. The name of God, occurring only once, is Elohim; and this is sufficient to stamp the Psalm as an Elohimic Psalm. מלך (cf. Psalm 21:2) and בּן־מלך are only used without the article according to a poetical usage of the language. The petition itself, and even the position of the words, show that the king's son is present, and that he is king; God is implored to bestow upon him His משׁפּטים, i.e., the rights or legal powers belonging to Him, the God of Israel, and צדקה, i.e., the official gift in order that he may exercise those rights in accordance with divine righteousness. After the supplicatory teen the futures which now follow, without the Waw apodoseos, are manifestly optatives. Mountains and hills describe synecdochically the whole land of which they are the high points visible afar off. נשׂא is used in the sense of נשׂא פּרי Ezekiel 17:8 : may שׁלום be the fruit which ripens upon every mountain and hill; universal prosperity satisfied and contented within itself. The predicate for Psalm 72:3 is to be taken from Psalm 72:3, just as, on the other hand, בּצדקה, "in or by righteousness," the fruit of which is indeed peace (Isaiah 32:17), belongs also to Psalm 72:3; so that consequently both members supplement one another. The wish of the poet is this: By righteousness, may there in due season be such peaceful fruit adorning all the heights of the land. Psalm 72:3, however, always makes one feel as though a verb were wanting, like תּפרחנה suggested by Bttcher. In Psalm 72:4 the wishes are continued in plain unfigurative language. הושׁיע in the signification to save, to obtain salvation for, has, as is frequently the case, a dative of the object. בּני־אביון are those who are born to poverty, just like בּן־מלך, one who is born a king. Those who are born to poverty are more or less regarded, by an unrighteous government, as having no rights.
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