Context: Psalm 72 is a prayer for Solomon, composed in the early days of that monarch's reign. It is the last in a series of Psalms attributed to David, and in it the poet prays for an enlightened, peaceful, and prosperous reign. He begins by asking for righteousness and judgment on the part of the king, and for attention to the needs of the poor. The reign of Solomon, he believes, will usher in a period of great prosperity; nature will flourish and the fields and mountains will be productive. Again he expresses the hope that this king will have compassion upon the poor and that he will protect his people. It has always been customary for poets to praise new rulers and at the same time to mention those standards which they hope the rulers will uphold: any new ruler is to some extent an unknown quantity. But in this case many of the poet's predictions are accurate, for under Solomon the children of Israel will at last become a nation demanding respect from the nations around it. This king, says the poet, will be a strong ruler, destructive to oppressors; there will be a long period of greatness; his coming will be as welcome as the rain. Rain in a parched land is the greatest of blessings. Solomon, says the poet, will rule the known world and his enemies will humble themselves before him; other nations will pay him tribute. Once again the poet expresses the hope that Solomon will show consideration for the poor, who will repay it by praying for him and giving him everlasting fame. The psalm ends with a moving declaration of faith and optimism.
Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king's son.
He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers that water the earth.
In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.