Friday, 6 May 2022

Praying with the Psalms in Easter:
6 May 2022 (Psalm 72)

‘May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles render him tribute, may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts’ (Psalm 72: 10) … the visit of the Magi in the sixth century Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

Before this day begins, I am continuing my morning reflections in this season of Easter continues, including my morning reflections drawing on the Psalms.

In my blog, I am reflecting each morning in this Prayer Diary in these ways:

1, Short reflections on a psalm or psalms;

2, reading the psalm or psalms;

3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary.

Psalm 72:

Psalm 72 concludes the second book within the Book of Psalms. Psalm 72 is known In the slightly different numbering in the Greek Septuagint and the Latin Vulgate as Psalm 71.

This psalm is a prayer for eternal life, for God’s blessings for ever. It is a song praying for gifts for ‘the king,’ including justice, righteousness and long life, so that he may defend the poor, deliver the needy and crush the oppressor and that righteousness may flourish and peace abound.

Psalm 72 is traditionally seen as being written by King Solomon, and its heading may be translated ‘to or for Solomon.’ For this reason, some commentators suggest this psalm was written by David to express his hope for Solomon.

Some commentators say the psalm contains memories of the Queen of Sheba visiting Solomon and the Temple in Jerusalem, and associate it with the anointing of Solomon as king while David was still living (see I Kings 1: 39-43).

Some commentators see David’s prayers fulfilled in some sense in the reign of Solomon: a temple will be built and there will be great peace and prosperity; yet the language is larger than Solomon: ‘May his glory fill the whole earth’ (verse 19).

This psalm is also recommended in many lectionaries for Sundays in Eiphany. The psalmist mentions the kings of three areas: Tarshish, thought to be present-day Spain; the Isles, which may refer Crete and Cyprus; and Sheba and Saba, present-day Yemen, with its capital at Saba.

They bring together the trade routes across the breadth of the whole Mediterranean, and from Jerusalem to the tip of the Arabian Peninsula at the entrance to the Indian Ocean and the African coast. In this way, they symbolise poetically all earthly rulers.

The psalmist prays these three kings may bring gifts to the one true king, who delivers the needy, hears the cry of the poor, has pity on the week and needy, and save the needy, delivers them from oppression and violence, redeems their lives, and saves them from bloodshed.

The hymn ‘Jesus shall reign where’er the sun’ is an adaptation of Psalm 72 by Isaac Watts.

The Canadian National Motto, A Mari Usque Ad Mare, comes from Psalm 72: 8: ‘May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.’

Canada’s National Motto, ‘A Mari Usque Ad Mare’, quotes Psalm 72: 8: ‘May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth’

Psalm 72 (NRSVA):

Of Solomon.

1 Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
2 May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
3 May the mountains yield 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 needy,
and crush the oppressor.

5 May he live while the sun endures,
and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
like showers that water the earth.
7 In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

8 May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
9 May his foes bow down before him,
and his enemies lick the dust.
10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles
render him tribute,
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
bring gifts.
11 May all kings fall down before him,
all nations give him service.

12 For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
13 He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
and precious is their blood in his sight.

15 Long may he live!
May gold of Sheba be given to him.
May prayer be made for him continually,
and blessings invoked for him all day long.
16 May there be abundance of grain in the land;
may it wave on the tops of the mountains;
may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
like the grass of the field.
17 May his name endure for ever,
his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;
may they pronounce him happy.

18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.
19 Blessed be his glorious name for ever;
may his glory fill the whole earth. Amen and Amen.

20 The prayers of David son of Jesse are ended.

Today’s Prayer:

The theme in this week’s prayer diary of the Anglican mission agency USPG (United Society Partners in the Gospel) is ‘Truth Tellers.’ It was introduced on Sunday morning by Steve Cox, Chair of Christians in the Media.

The USPG Prayer Diary this morning (6 May 2022) invites us to pray:

We pray for those who work to combat the spread of misinformation and debunk conspiracies. May they supported in the valuable work they do.

Yesterday’s reflection

Continued tomorrow

Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

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