Harmonious Wholeness

Psalm 72 – Harmonious Wholesness


1 Give the king your justice, O God,

and your righteousness to the royal son!

2 May he judge your people with righteousness,

and your poor with justice!

3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people,

and the hills, in righteousness!

4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,

give deliverance to the children of the needy,

and crush the oppressor!

18 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,

who alone does wondrous things.

19 Blessed be his glorious name forever;

may the whole earth be filled with his glory!

Amen and Amen!

Do you know what your name means? Solomon or “Shelomo” is given his name in 1 Chr 22:9 indicating that Yahweh “will give ‘shalom’ (peace) and quiet to Israel in his days.” Solomon only gives us two Psalms out of the whole Psalter, yet both of them bid us to lift up our eyes as we see the ascended king (Psalm 72) and lift up our eyes as a risen and empowered people (Psalm 127).

The main theme running through this Psalm is that it is an “Accession Psalm.” It is a Psalm which Solomon may have composed when he ascended to the throne of Israel, or perhaps to be sung every year on the anniversary of his enthronement.  The words are moving, poignant and strike a chord at the centre of the human heart – harmonious wholeness. This is what the Hebrew word “shalom” means.

So often in church we “share the peace” with one another. We utter words like “Peace be with you.” But what does peace really mean. What is this peace that Solomon is speaking about? Peppered throughout this passage are the words justice, righteousness, and peace. Solomon upon coming to the throne acknowledges that his world is not rightly ordered, it is not peaceful and it is not harmoniously whole. This is why the Scripture tells us that Solomon’s first prayer was not for riches, fame, or glory, but rather wisdom. He prays for wisdom to discern the right way in which the world should be ordered and how he should seek and dispense justice as part of God’s covenant people.

The language of this Psalm grows to such a crescendo that both Jewish and Christian commentators begin to realize that it cannot be a description of Solomon’s reign alone, but the beginning of the reign of the Messiah. The language is so lofty that it nearly matches the language of Isaiah 11:3b-4:

“He shall not judge by what his eyes see,

or decide disputes by what his ears hear,

but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,

and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;”

Solomon points us to the real, Prince of Peace who takes upon himself our brokenness and lack of peace to bring harmonious wholeness by his self-substitution.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way.” (2Th. 3:16)