For he shall deliver the needy when he cries; the poor also, and him that has no helper.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For he shall deliver.—Here the verb must be present, “for he delivereth” giving the reason of the wide sway asked for this monarch. The prayer is based on the justice and beneficence of his reign (“to him that hath shall be given”), in which the weak and poor find their lives safe from violence, and their property protected against fraud. The verse is almost word for word the same as Job 29:12.
Poor.—Rather, afflicted.Psalm 72:12-14. For he shall deliver the needy, &c. — The fame of his just and merciful government shall induce multitudes either to put themselves under his rule and protection, or to show great respect and reverence for him. He shall spare the poor and needy — He shall take pity on them, and add no heavier burden unto that of their lamentable poverty. And shall save the souls — That is, the lives, of the needy. He shall not be prodigal of their lives, but as tenderly careful to spare and preserve them as those of his greatest subjects. If applied to Christ it means, that he shall save their souls, properly so called, namely, from the guilt and power of sin, into the favour and image of God, and a state of communion with him here, and the everlasting enjoyment of him hereafter, it being Christ’s proper work to save men’s souls. He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence — The two ways whereby the lives and souls of men are usually destroyed. And precious shall their blood be in his sight — He shall set so high a value upon their lives, and love them so dearly, as never to expose them to imminent danger, much less to cast them away, merely to gratify his own revenge, covetousness, or insatiable desire of enlarging his empire, as earthly kings commonly do; but, like a true father of his people, will tenderly preserve them, and severely avenge their blood upon those that shall shed it.Psalm 72:4. Compare the notes at Isaiah 61:1.
The poor also ... - All who have no protector; all who are exposed to injustice and wrong from others. This is everywhere declared to be the characteristic of the reign of the Messiah. See the notes at Isaiah 11:4.
13 He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
14 He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.
"For he shall deliver the needy." Here is an excellent reason for man's submission to the Lord Christ; it is not because they dread his overwhelming power, but because they are won over by his just and condescending rule. Who would not fear so good a Prince, who makes the needy his peculiar care, and pledges himself to be their deliverer in times of need? "When he crieth." He permits them to be so needy as to be driven to cry bitterly for help, but then he hears them, and comes to their aid. A child's cry touches a father's heart, and our King is the Father of his people. If we can do no more than cry it will bring omnipotence to our aid. A cry is the native language of a spiritually needy soul; it has done with fine phrases and long orations, and it takes to sobs and moans; and so, indeed, it grasps the most potent of all weapons, for heaven always yields to such artillery. "The poor also, and him that hath no helper." The proverb says, "God helps those that help themselves;" but it is yet more true that Jesus helps those who cannot help themselves, nor find help in others. All helpless ones are under the especial care of Zion's compassionate King; let them hasten to put themselves in fellowship with him. Let them look to him, for he is looking for them.
"He shall spare the poor and needy." His pity shall be manifested to them; he will not allow their trials to overwhelm them; his rod of correction shall fall lightly; he will be sparing of his rebukes, and not sparing in his consolations. "And shall save the souls of the needy." His is the dominion of souls, a spiritual and not a worldly empire; and the needy, that is to say, the consciously unworthy and weak, shall find that he will give them his salvation. Jesus calls not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. He does not attempt the superfluous work of aiding proud Pharisees to air their vanity; but he is careful of poor Publicans whose eyes dare not look up to heaven by reason of their sense of sin. We ought to be anxious to be among these needy ones whom the Great King so highly favours.
"He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence." These two things are the weapons with which the poor are assailed: both law and no law are employed to fleece them. The fox and the lion are combined against Christ's lambs, but the Shepherd will defeat them, and rescue the defenceless from their teeth. A soul hunted by the temptations of Satanic craft, and the insinuations of diabolical malice, will do well to fly to the throne of Jesus for shelter. "And precious shall their blood be in his sight." He will not throw away his subjects in needless wars as tyrants have done, but will take every means for preserving the humblest of them. Conquerors have reckoned thousands of lives as small items; they have reddened fields with gore, as if blood were water, and flesh but manure for harvests; but Jesus, though he gave his own blood, is very chary of the blood of his servants, and if they must die for him as martyrs, he loves their memory, and counts their lives as his precious things.
the poor also; the poor in spirit; who acknowledge their spiritual poverty, and apply to him for the true riches; to these he gives gold tried in the fire, that they may be rich; he gives them grace here, and glory hereafter;
and him that hath no helper; that is in an helpless condition; can neither help himself, nor can any creature, angel or man, give him any help: but this being laid on Christ, and found in him, is given to him, whereby he is delivered out of a miserable state into a very comfortable and happy one; and such humane, kind, and tender regard to the needy, poor, and helpless, in this great King spoken of, is what engages to a cheerful subjection to him, and worship and reverence of him; more of which is expressed in the following verses, as the reason of the great esteem he should be had in.For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)12. For he shall deliver] His claim to this universal homage rests not on the strength of his armies but on the justice and mercifulness of his rule. Cp. Isaiah 16:4-5. The true victory of the kingdom of God is a moral victory, Psalm 72:9, it is true, refers to the forced submission of his enemies; but the same inconsistency is found in Zechariah 9:9 ff.: it was only by slow degrees that the triumph of the kingdom of God came to be completely dissociated from the idea of material conquest, and was realised to be entirely a moral triumph.
the poor also &c.] And the afflicted, when he hath no helper. The verse closely resembles Job 29:12.Verse 12. - For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper (comp. ver. 4); rather, and the poor who has no helper. Two classes of persons are spoken of, not three (comp. Job 29:12). Psalm 72:1 is continued in the form of a wish: may they fear Thee, Elohim, עם־שׁמשׁ, with the sun, i.e., during its whole duration (עם in the sense of contemporary existence, as in Daniel 3:33). לפני־ירח, in the moonlight (cf. Job 8:16, לפני־שׁמשׁ, in the sunshine), i.e., so long as the moon shines. דּור דּורים (accusative of the duration of time, cf. Psalm 102:25), into the uttermost generation which outlasts the other generations (like שׁמי השּׁמים of the furthest heavens which surround the other heavens). The first two periphrastic expressions for unlimited time recur in Psalm 89:37., a Psalm composed after the time of Solomon; cf. the unfigurative expression in Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the Temple in 1 Kings 8:40. The continuance of the kingship, from the operation of which such continuance of the fear of God is expected, is not asserted until Psalm 72:17. It is capricious to refer the language of address in Psalm 72:5 to the king (as Hupfeld and Hitzig do), who is not directly addressed either in Psalm 72:4, or in Psalm 72:6, or anywhere in the Psalm. With respect to God the desire is expressed that the righteous and benign rule of the king may result in the extension of the fear of God from generation to generation into endless ages. The poet in Psalm 72:6 delights in a heaping up of synonyms in order to give intensity to the expression of the thoughts, just as in Psalm 72:5; the last two expressions stand side by side one another without any bond of connection as in Psalm 72:5. רביבים (from רבב, Arab. rbb, densum, spissum esse, and then, starting from this signification, sometimes multum and sometimes magnum esse) is the shower of rain pouring down in drops that are close together; nor is זרזיף a synonym of גּז, but (formed from זרף, Arab. ḏrf, to flow, by means of a rare reduplication of the first two letters of the root, Ew. 157, d) properly the water running from a roof (cf. B. Joma 87a: "when the maid above poured out water, זרזיפי דמיא came upon his head"). גּז, however, is not the meadow-shearing, equivalent to a shorn, mown meadow, any more than גּז, גּזּה, Arabic ǵizza, signifies a shorn hide, but, on the contrary, a hide with the wool or feathers (e.g., ostrich feathers) still upon it, rather a meadow, i.e., grassy plain, that is intended to be mown. The closing word ארץ (accus. loci as in Psalm 147:15) unites itself with the opening word ירד: descendat in terram. In his last words (2 Samuel 23) David had compared the effects of the dominion of his successor, whom he beheld as by vision, to the fertilizing effects of the sun and of the rain upon the earth. The idea of Psalm 72:6 is that Solomon's rule may prove itself thus beneficial for the country. The figure of the rain in Psalm 72:7 gives birth to another: under his rule may the righteous blossom (expanding himself unhindered and under the most favourable circumsntaces), and (may there arise) salvation in all fulness עד־בּלי ירח, until there is no more moon (cf. the similar expression in Job 14:12). To this desire for the uninterrupted prosperity and happiness of the righteous under the reign of this king succeeds the desire for an unlimited extension of his dominion, Psalm 72:8. The sea (the Mediterranean) and the river (the Euphrates) are geographically defined points of issue, whence the definition of boundary is extended into the unbounded. Solomon even at his accession ruled over all kingdoms from the Euphrates as far as the borders of Egypt; the wishes expressed here are of wider compass, and Zechariah repeats them predictively (Psalm 9:10) with reference to the King Messiah.
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