|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
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.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
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.
The Treasury of David
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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).
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