Psalm 72:10
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(10) Tarshish.—The question of the identity of this place (or district) with the “Tartessus” of the Greeks is too long for a note. (See Jonah 1:3.) But plainly the mention here of “the isles,” i.e., islands and coasts of the Mediterranean (comp. Daniel 11:18; Isaiah 11:11), is in favour of the identity.

Bring presents.—Literally, return presents, but not in the sense of an interchange of royal gifts (as 1Kings 10:13) but of “payment of tribute.” The expression is illustrated by the words “revenue,” “custom-house returns,” &c. (Comp. the Latin, reditus.)

Sheba.—The Joktanic kingdom, embracing the greater part of Yemen or Arabia Felix, and so here representing Arabia, (the LXX. and Vulg. have “kings of Arabians”) while “Seba” (or “Saba”), which was Cushite, and was by Josephus (A. J., 2:10, s. 2), identified with “Meroë,” represents Africa. (See Genesis 10:7; Genesis 10:28, and Smith’s Bible Dictionary, articles “Sheba” and “Seba.”)

Psalm 72:10-11. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles — That is, of remote countries, to which they used to go from Canaan by sea, all which are frequently called isles in Scripture. The kings that ruled by sea or by land. The kings of Sheba and Seba — Two countries of Arabia; unless the one be a part of Arabia and the other of Ethiopia, beyond Egypt. Yea, all nations shall serve him — This cannot be affirmed, with any shadow of truth, of Solomon, but was, or will be, unquestionably verified in Christ, who is, and will show himself to be, King of kings, and Lord of lords, and will be universally acknowledged, obeyed, and worshipped by all the kings and nations of the earth.

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.The kings of Tarshish - On the situation of Tarshish, see the notes at Isaiah 2:16. Compare Psalm 48:7. The word seems to be used here to denote any distant region abounding with riches.

And of the isles ... - Representing also distant lands; or lands beyond the seas. The word "islands" among the Hebrews commonly denoted distant seacoasts, particularly those of the Mediterranean. See the notes at Isaiah 41:1.

The kings of Sheba and Seba - places in Arabia. On the word "Sheba," see the notes at Isaiah 60:6. On the word "Seba," see the notes at Isaiah 43:3.

Shall offer gifts - See the notes at Psalm 45:12. Compare Isaiah 60:5-7, Isaiah 60:13-17.

9-11. The extent of the conquests.

They that dwell in the wilderness—the wild, untutored tribes of deserts.

bow … dust—in profound submission. The remotest and wealthiest nations shall acknowledge Him (compare Ps 45:12).

Of Tarshish and of the isles; or, of the sea (as Tarshish is understood, 1 Kings 22:48 Psalm 48:7) and (or, that is; for that conjunction is oft used exegetically) of the isles, i.e. of remote countries, to which they used to go from Canaan by sea; all which are frequently called isles in Scripture, as hath been noted before. The kings that rule by sea (where Solomon had no great power) or by land.

Sheba and Seba; two Arabian countries; unless the one be Arabia, and the other Ethiopia beyond Egypt.

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents,.... Tarshish either signifies the sea, as it is sometimes rendered in the Targum; and then the sense is, the kings of the sea, that is, of the islands of the sea, as it follows, shall be subject to the kingdom of Christ; and, as a token of it, bring presents to him, as the Moabites and Syrians did to David, and as several nations and kings did to Solomon, 2 Samuel 8:2; or it designs a large country inhabited by the Celtae (b), and so is distinct from the islands; and then the sense is, that kings, both of the continent, and of the islands of the sea, shall do homage to the Messiah;

and the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts; the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions, render it, "the kings of the Arabians and Saba"; and so Apollinarius, the Arabians, and Sabeans, these being places in Arabia Felix and Petraea (c): this will be fulfilled when the kings of the earth shall bring their honour and glory into the New Jerusalem, Revelation 21:24. This, and the preceding verse, are interpreted of the Messiah by the ancient Jews (d); who say (e), that all the gifts that Jacob their father gave to Esau, the nations of the world shall return them to the King Messiah in time to come, according to the sense of these words; where it is not written "they shall bring"; but (f), "they shall return presents".

(b) Hiller. Onomast. p. 944. (c) Hiller. ibid. p. 165, 920. (d) Zohar in Gen. fol. 71. 1.((e) Bereshit Rabba, s. 78. fol. 69. 1. Bemidbar Rabba, s. 13. fol. 210. (f) "Redire facient, vel reddant", Muis.

The kings of {i} Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings {k} of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.

(i) Of Cilicia, and of all other countries beyond the sea, which he means by the isles.

(k) That is, of Arabia that rich country, of which Sheba was a part bordering on Ethiopia.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10. Let the kings … bring presents, or, as R.V. marg., render tribute, the word implying that they are rendering what is due to him. Tarshish was the wealthy Phoenician colony of Tartessus in southern Spain: the isles or rather the coastlands are those of the Mediterranean generally. Sheba was south-eastern Arabia (Arabia Felix), famous for its wealth and commerce; hence P.B.V., following LXX and Vulg., gives Arabia: Seba, mentioned in Genesis 10:7 among Cushite peoples and coupled with Egypt and Ethiopia in Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14, is generally supposed to be the kingdom of Meroe in Ethiopia, but may denote a Cushite state on the Arabian Gulf. The most remote and the most wealthy nations unite in honouring the righteous king.

Verse 10. - The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents. "Tarshish" here is probably Tartessus in Spain, so well known to the Israelites in the days of Solomon (1 Kings 10:22; 2 Chronicles 9:21). According to Herodotus, Tartessus, when it first became known to the Greeks, was governed by kings (Herod., 1:163). By "the isles" are to be understood the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean generally. All these have, at one time or another, paid homage to Christ. The kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. "Sheba" and "Seba" are distinguished by the writer of Genesis (Genesis 10:7), and appear not even to have been very near the one to the other. Sheba was in Southeastern Arabia, and was known to the Greeks and Romans as the country of the Sabaeans (Diod. Sic., 3:45; Strabo, 16:4, § 19; Pliny, 'Hist. Nat.,' 6:23). Saba was in Africa, on the Middle Nile, and the Sebaeans (סְבָאִים) are closely connected by Isaiah with Ethiopia and Egypt (Isaiah 43:3; Isaiah 45:14). Psalm 72:10This third strophe contains prospects, the ground of which is laid down in the fourth. The position of the futures here becomes a different one. The contemplation passes from the home relations of the new government to its foreign relations, and at the same time the wishes are changed into hopes. The awe-commanding dominion of the king shall stretch even into the most distant corners of the desert. ציּים is used both for the animals and the men who inhabit the desert, to be determined in each instance by the context; here they are men beyond all dispute, but in Psalm 74:14; Isaiah 23:13, it is matter of controversy whether men or beasts are meant. Since the lxx, Aquila, Symmachus, and Jerome here, and the lxx and Jerome in Psalm 74:14, render Αἰθίοπες, the nomadic tribes right and left of the Arabian Gulf seem traditionally to have been associated in the mind with this word, more particularly the so-called Ichthyophagi. These shall bend the knee reverentially before him, and those who contend against him shall be compelled at last to veil their face before him in the dust. The remotest west and south become subject and tributary to him, viz., the kings of Tartessus in the south of Spain, rich in silver, and of the islands of the Mediterranean and the countries on its coasts, that is to say, the kings of the Polynesian portion of Europe, and the kings of the Cushitish or of the Joktanitish שׁבא and of the Cushitish סבא, as, according to Josephus, the chief city of Meroכ was called (vid., Genesis, S. 206). It was a queen of that Joktanitish, and therefore South Arabian Sheba, - perhaps, however, more correctly (vid., Wetzstein in my Isaiah, ii. 529) of the Cushitish (Nubian) Sheba, - whom the fame of Solomon's wisdom drew towards him, 1 Kings 10. The idea of their wealth in gold and in other precious things is associated with both peoples. In the expression השׁיב מנחה (to pay tribute, 2 Kings 17:3, cf. Psalm 3:4) the tribute is not conceived of as rendered in return for protection afforded (Maurer, Hengstenberg, and Olshausen), nor as an act repeated periodically (Rdiger, who refers to 2 Chronicles 27:5), but as a bringing back, i.e., repayment of a debt, referre s. reddere debitum (Hupfeld), after the same idea according to which obligatory incomings are called reditus (revenues). In the synonymous expression הקריב אשׁכּר the presentation appears as an act of sacrifice. אשׁכּר signifies in Ezekiel 27:15 a payment made in merchandise, here a rent or tribute due, from שׂכר, which in blending with the Aleph prostheticum has passed over into שׂכר by means of a shifting of the sound after the Arabic manner, just as in אשׁכּל the verb שׂכל, to interweave, passes over into שׂכל (Rdiger in Gesenius' Thesaurus). In Psalm 72:11 hope breaks through every bound: everything shall submit to his world-subduing sceptre.
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