(א) לִשְׁלֹמֹה אֱלֹקִים מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ לְמֶלֶךְ תֵּן וְצִדְקָתְךָ לְבֶן־מֶלֶךְ:
(1) For Shlomo. O G-d, give Your laws to the king and Your goodness in judgment to the king’s son.
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev. 1]
Key Concepts of Mizmor 072 (Tefillah for Shlomo)
In this mizmor David expressed his hopes and prayers for the reign of his son Shlomo, who was shortly to assume the throne. David knew that his son was uniquely qualified to lead the nation at this critical stage of its history. The key to Shlomo’s success would be his Divinely inspired wisdom. With that wisdom he would rule the nation judiciously and establish Yisrael in a leadership role among the nations of the world.
In looking ahead to the reign of his son, David was also writing a conclusion to his own reign. That reign was symbolized by the Book of Tehillim, which David closes in the final verse of this mizmor. He positioned the mizmor at the end of the second of the five books of Tehillim because he wanted to place it in the historical and spiritual context of the first two books, which were predominantly inspired by events in his lifetime.
Exploring the Mizmor
PART 1. WISE JUDGE AND ENLIGHTENED LEADER. David begins this portion of the mizmor with a tefillah that Hashem guide Shlomo in his future role of being a wise judge and and enlightened leader, maintaining justice and peace.
(א) לִשְׁלֹמֹה אֱלֹקִים מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ לְמֶלֶךְ תֵּן וְצִדְקָתְךָ לְבֶן־מֶלֶךְ: (ב) יָדִין עַמְּךָ בְצֶדֶק וַעֲנִיֶּיךָ בְמִשְׁפָּט: (ג) יִשְׂאוּ הָרִים שָׁלוֹם לָעָם וּגְבָעוֹת בִּצְדָקָה: (ד) יִשְׁפֹּט עֲנִיֵּי־עָם יוֹשִׁיעַ לִבְנֵי אֶבְיוֹן וִידַכֵּא עוֹשֵׁק: (ה) יִירָאוּךָ עִם־שָׁמֶשׁ וְלִפְנֵי יָרֵחַ דּוֹר דּוֹרִים: (ו) יֵרֵד כְּמָטָר עַל־גֵּז כִּרְבִיבִים זַרְזִיף אָרֶץ: (ז) יִפְרַח־בְּיָמָיו צַדִּיק וְרֹב שָׁלוֹם עַד־בְּלִי יָרֵחַ:
(1) For Shlomo. O G-d, give Your laws to the king and Your goodness in judgment to the king’s son. (2) May he judge Your nation with tzedek and Your poor with mishpat. (3) May the mountains bring peace to the nation and the hills with charitable justice. (4) May he champion the nation’s poor, save the children of the destitute, and crush the oppressor. (5) May they fear You in the presence of the sun and the moon, from generation to generation. (6) May [his words] descend like rain upon mown grass, like showers that water the earth. (7) May the tzadik flourish in his days and may there be abundant peace until the moon is no more.
PART 2. EFFECTIVE RULER. David now addresses the political role of the king, asking that Hashem guide him in maintaining a leadership status among the nations. Shlomo was to be a strong and respected sovereign who would maintain peace through strength.
(ח) וְיֵרְדְּ מִיָּם עַד־יָם וּמִנָּהָר עַד־אַפְסֵי־אָרֶץ: (ט) לְפָנָיו יִכְרְעוּ צִיִּים וְאֹיְבָיו עָפָר יְלַחֵכוּ: (י) מַלְכֵי תַרְשִׁישׁ וְאִיִּים מִנְחָה יָשִׁיבוּ מַלְכֵי שְׁבָא וּסְבָא אֶשְׁכָּר יַקְרִיבוּ: (יא) וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ־לוֹ כָל־מְלָכִים כָּל־גּוֹיִם יַעַבְדוּהוּ:
(8) May he extend his region of influence from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth (9) May the inhabitants of the wilderness areas kneel before him, and may his foes lick the dust. (10) May the kings of Tarshish and the islands submit tribute. May the kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. (11) May all kings prostrate themselves before Him. May all the peoples serve him.
PART 3. BENEFACTOR. David expresses his hope that Shlomo will employ the wealth and power of royalty to help those among the people who are needy and suffering misfortune.
(יב) כִּי־יַצִּיל אֶבְיוֹן מְשַׁוֵּעַ וְעָנִי וְאֵין־עֹזֵר לוֹ: (יג) יָחֹס עַל־דַּל וְאֶבְיוֹן וְנַפְשׁוֹת אֶבְיוֹנִים יוֹשִׁיעַ: (יד) מִתּוֹךְ וּמֵחָמָס יִגְאַל נַפְשָׁם וְיֵיקַר דָּמָם בְּעֵינָיו: (טו) וִיחִי וְיִתֶּן־לוֹ מִזְּהַב שְׁבָא וְיִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעֲדוֹ תָמִיד כָּל־הַיּוֹם יְבָרֲכֶנְהוּ:
(12) Because he will rescue the needy person crying out and the lowly person who has no one to help him. (13) He will pity the impoverished and the needy, he will save the souls of the needy. (14) He will redeem their soul from fraud and extortion, and their blood will be precious in his eyes. (15) And may he live [long]. May [Hashem] give him of the gold of Sheba And may He continually wish him well and bless him every day.
PART 4. BLESSINGS FOR PROSPERITY. David prays that Hashem will reward the future king with peace and prosperity for the entire nation.
(טז) יְהִי פִסַּת־בַּר בָּאָרֶץ בְּרֹאשׁ הָרִים יִרְעַשׁ כַּלְּבָנוֹן פִּרְיוֹ וְיָצִיצוּ מֵעִיר כְּעֵשֶׂב הָאָרֶץ: (יז) יְהִי שְׁמוֹ לְעוֹלָם לִפְנֵי־שֶׁמֶשׁ [ינין] יִנּוֹן שְׁמוֹ וְיִתְבָּרְכוּ בוֹ כָּל־גּוֹיִם יְאַשְּׁרוּהוּ:
(16) May there be an abundance of grain in the land [even] on the mountaintops. May its produce thrive like [the cedars of] Lebanon. May [Yisrael] flourish in the city like the grass of the earth. (17) May his name be forever; may May his name be projected [to his descendants] as long as the sun endures. May all nations bless themselves through him. May they count him as [the symbol of] happiness.
PART 5. CONCLUSION. David concludes the mizmor with praise to Hashem, thanking Him for having been allowed to reach this point in his life when he could see the successful completion of Tehillim, thanking Him for the many miracles he experienced in being saved from his enemies, and thanking Him for the privilege of seeing his son take on the role of king in his place.
(יח) בָּרוּךְ ה’ אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל עֹשֵׂה נִפְלָאוֹת לְבַדּוֹ: (יט) וּבָרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹדוֹ לְעוֹלָם וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹדוֹ אֶת־כֹּל הָאָרֶץ אָמֵן וְאָמֵן: (כ) כָּלּוּ תְפִלּוֹת דָּוִד בֶּן־יִשָׁי:
(18) Blessed is Hashem, G-d, the G-d of Yisrael, Who alone does wondrous things. (19) Blessed is His glorious Name forever and may all the earth be filled with His glory. (20) The tefillos of David, the son of Yishai, are concluded.
Learning the Mizmor
PART 1. WISE JUDGE AND ENLIGHTENED LEADER
אֱלֹקִים מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ לְמֶלֶךְ תֵּן
וְצִדְקָתְךָ לְבֶן מֶלֶךְ:
For Shlomo — לִשְׁלֹמֹה . O G-d, give the wisdom of Your laws to Shlomo, the new king — אֱלֹקִים מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ לְמֶלֶךְ תֵּן , whom I have designated to reign after me and who is worthy of being king in his own right. And also give him the wisdom of Your goodness in judgment because he is the king’s son — וְצִדְקָתְךָ לְבֶן־מֶלֶךְ . Let his judgements in practice be analogous to Your judgments, taking into account all of the circumstances of the situation being judged.
(ב) יָדִין עַמְּךָ בְצֶדֶק
May he judge Your nation with tzedek — יָדִין עַמְּךָ בְצֶדֶק , acting with fair-mindedness and concern for the welfare of those being judged, whether they are rich or poor. And may he pay extra attention to treat Your poor with the justice of mishpat — וַעֲנִיֶּיךָ בְמִשְׁפָּט – so that they are protected from the power of the wealthy and the well-connected. Who are “Your poor”? They are the ones that Hashem has chosen to endure poverty through economic misfortune, in contrast to those who suffer poverty as victims of extortion.l
(ג) יִשְׂאוּ הָרִים שָׁלוֹם לָעָם
May the mountains bear fruit in abundance, thereby creating a vibrant economy and bringing peace to the nation — יִשְׂאוּ הָרִים שָׁלוֹם לָעָם . And may the fruitful hills bring peace, inspired by the model of tzedakah (charitable justice) set by the king — וּגְבָעוֹת בִּצְדָקָה .
(ד) יִשְׁפֹּט עֲנִיֵּי עָם
יוֹשִׁיעַ לִבְנֵי אֶבְיוֹן
May he champion the nation’s poor — יִשְׁפֹּט עֲנִיֵּי־עָם , who are victims of extortion. May he save the children of the destitute — יוֹשִׁיעַ לִבְנֵי אֶבְיוֹן , and use his wisdom to crush their oppressor — וִידַכֵּא עוֹשֵׁק .
(ה) יִירָאוּךָ עִם שָׁמֶשׁ וְלִפְנֵי יָרֵחַ
May the king’s example and his guidance raise the spiritual level of the nation so that they fear You by day and by night as long as the sun and moon shine throughout his reign — יִירָאוּךָ עִם־שָׁמֶשׁ וְלִפְנֵי יָרֵחַ , and may that culture of spiritual integrity be passed down ever after from generation to generation — דּוֹר דּוֹרִים .
(ו) יֵרֵד כְּמָטָר עַל גֵּז
כִּרְבִיבִים זַרְזִיף אָרֶץ:
May his words descend and penetrate the minds of his subjects like rain that falls upon mown grass — יֵרֵד כְּמָטָר עַל־גֵּז – that is receptive to the influence of moisture. May they be like light showers that water the earth — כִּרְבִיבִים זַרְזִיף אָרֶץ .
(ז) יִפְרַח בְּיָמָיו צַדִּיק
וְרֹב שָׁלוֹם עַד בְּלִי יָרֵחַ:
May the tzadik flourish in his days — יִפְרַח־בְּיָמָיו צַדִּיק . And may there be abundant peace that lasts forever until the moon is no more — וְרֹב שָׁלוֹם עַד־בְּלִי יָרֵחַ .
PART 2. EFFECTIVE RULER
(ח) וְיֵרְדְּ מִיָּם עַד יָם
וּמִנָּהָר עַד אַפְסֵי אָרֶץ:
May he extend his region of influence to many nations from the Red Sea (Yam Suf) to the Mediterranean Sea — וְיֵרְדְּ מִיָּם עַד־יָם , and from the Euphrates River to the Negev Desert (the Midbar) at the ends of the earth — וּמִנָּהָר עַד־אַפְסֵי־אָרֶץ , that is, to the ends of the inhabited regions .
(ט) לְפָנָיו יִכְרְעוּ צִיִּים
וְאֹיְבָיו עָפָר יְלַחֵכוּ:
May the inhabitants of the far-off wilderness areas kneel before him — לְפָנָיו יִכְרְעוּ צִיִּים , and may his foes lick the dust as they kiss his feet — וְאֹיְבָיו עָפָר יְלַחֵכוּ , that is, may they totally subservient to him.
(י) מַלְכֵי תַרְשִׁישׁ וְאִיִּים מִנְחָה יָשִׁיבוּ
מַלְכֵי שְׁבָא וּסְבָא אֶשְׁכָּר יַקְרִיבוּ:
May the kings of Tarshish and the distant islands submit annual tribute to him — מַלְכֵי תַרְשִׁישׁ וְאִיִּים מִנְחָה יָשִׁיבוּ .
Tarshish was an African seaport associated with Tzur (Lebanon). They were known as the wealthiest power of that time. A fleet of Tarshish was destroyed in the time of Yehoshafat. (See I Melachim 22:49.)” This event was memorialized in Mizmor 048 (v. 48:8).
May the kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts — מַלְכֵי שְׁבָא וּסְבָא אֶשְׁכָּר יַקְרִיבוּ .
The queen of Sheba came with gifts for Shlomo Hamelech. (See I Melachim 10:1-2.)”
(יא) וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לוֹ כָל מְלָכִים
כָּל גּוֹיִם יַעַבְדוּהוּ:
May he be universally admired and respected because of his wisdom and his refined character. Beyond just sending gifts, may all the kings be personally subservient to him. May they come and prostrate themselves before Him — וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ־לוֹ כָל־מְלָכִים . May all the peoples serve him — כָּל־גּוֹיִם יַעַבְדוּהוּ .
This request finds its fulfillment in the following verses: “Shlomo ruled over all the kingdoms, from the [Euphrates] River [to] the land of the Plishtim, until the border of Mitzrayim; they brought tributes and served Shlomo all the days of his life.” (I Melachim 5:1) “And the whole world wanted to see Shlomo to hear his wisdom, which G-d had put in his heart.” (ibid. v. 24)
PART 3. BENEFACTOR
(יב) כִּי יַצִּיל אֶבְיוֹן מְשַׁוֵּעַ
וְעָנִי וְאֵין עֹזֵר לוֹ:
The king will receive this universal homage because he will rescue the needy person even as he is crying out — כִּי־יַצִּיל אֶבְיוֹן מְשַׁוֵּעַ . And he will rescue the lowly who has no one to help him — וְעָנִי וְאֵין־עֹזֵר לוֹ .
(יג) יָחֹס עַל דַּל וְאֶבְיוֹן
וְנַפְשׁוֹת אֶבְיוֹנִים יוֹשִׁיעַ:
After rescuing the needy and lowly he will be concerned for their well-being. He will pity the impoverished and the needy — יָחֹס עַל־דַּל וְאֶבְיוֹן . This will not be a one-time occurrence for he will continue to save the souls of the needy — וְנַפְשׁוֹת אֶבְיוֹנִים יוֹשִׁיעַ – from those who rise up against them. By providing for their physical survival, he will make it possible for them to serve Hashem in the right way and in thsat way he will be saving their souls as well.
(יד) מִתּוֹךְ וּמֵחָמָס יִגְאַל נַפְשָׁם
וְיֵיקַר דָּמָם בְּעֵינָיו:
By administering justice with integrity he will redeem their soul from being victims of fraud and extortion — מִתּוֹךְ וּמֵחָמָס יִגְאַל נַפְשָׁם . And the shedding of their blood will be precious in his eyes — וְיֵיקַר דָּמָם בְּעֵינָיו – so that he will enforce the law to protect them from killers.
(טו) וִיחִי וְיִתֶּן לוֹ מִזְּהַב שְׁבָא
וְיִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעֲדוֹ תָמִיד כָּל הַיּוֹם יְבָרֲכֶנְהוּ:
And may Shlomo live — וִיחִי – a a long and prosperous life. May Hashem give him of the gold of Sheba — וְיִתֶּן־לוֹ מִזְּהַב שְׁבָא . And may Hashem continually wish him well and bless him every day — וְיִתְפַּלֵּל בַּעֲדוֹ תָמִיד כָּל־הַיּוֹם יְבָרֲכֶנְהוּ .
PART 4. BLESSINGS FOR PROSPERITY
(טז) יְהִי פִסַּת בַּר בָּאָרֶץ בְּרֹאשׁ הָרִים
יִרְעַשׁ כַּלְּבָנוֹן פִּרְיוֹ
וְיָצִיצוּ מֵעִיר כְּעֵשֶׂב הָאָרֶץ:
May there be an abundance of grain in the land even on the mountaintops — יְהִי פִסַּת־בַּר בָּאָרֶץ בְּרֹאשׁ הָרִים where the soil is less fertile. May its produce thrive like the cedars of Lebanon — יִרְעַשׁ כַּלְּבָנוֹן פִּרְיוֹ . May the people of Yisrael flourish in the city of Yerushalayim like the grass of the earth — וְיָצִיצוּ מֵעִיר כְּעֵשֶׂב הָאָרֶץ .
(יז) יְהִי שְׁמוֹ לְעוֹלָם
לִפְנֵי שֶׁמֶשׁ יִנּוֹן שְׁמוֹ
וְיִתְבָּרְכוּ בוֹ כָּל גּוֹיִם יְאַשְּׁרוּהוּ:
May his name of Shlomo Hamelech be forever — יְהִי שְׁמוֹ לְעוֹלָם – remembered for his wisdom and prosperity. May his name be projected through endless generations, casting his light of wisdom to mankind as long as the sun endures — לִפְנֵי־שֶׁמֶשׁ יִנּוֹן שְׁמוֹ . May all nations bless themselves through him — וְיִתְבָּרְכוּ בוֹ כָּל־גּוֹיִם , referring to his example as a model of success. And in so doing may they count him as the symbol of happiness — יְאַשְּׁרוּהוּ .
PART 5. CONCLUSION
(יח) בָּרוּךְ ה‘ אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
עֹשֵׂה נִפְלָאוֹת לְבַדּוֹ:
Inspired by the influence of Shlomo and his success in ruling Yisrael the nations of the world will be drawn to say, “Blessed is Hashem, G-d, the G-d of Yisrael — בָּרוּךְ ה’ אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל , Who alone does wondrous things — עֹשֵׂה נִפְלָאוֹת לְבַדּוֹ – for His people.”
(יט) וּבָרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹדוֹ לְעוֹלָם
וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹדוֹ אֶת כֹּל הָאָרֶץ
And so I say to Hashem in gratitude for having allowed me to complete this second Book of Tehillim, “Blessed is His glorious Name forever — וּבָרוּךְ שֵׁם כְּבוֹדוֹ לְעוֹלָם . And may all the earth be filled with His glory — וְיִמָּלֵא כְבוֹדוֹ אֶת־כֹּל הָאָרֶץ so that this awareness is spread to all of mankind. Amen — אָמֵן – to the truth of his Name, and Amen — וְאָמֵן – to its acknowledgement by mankind.”
(כ) כָּלּוּ תְפִלּוֹת דָּוִד בֶּן יִשָׁי:
The tefillos of David, the son of Yishai, in this second Book of Tehillim are concluded — כָּלּוּ תְפִלּוֹת דָּוִד בֶּן־יִשָׁי . Even those mizmorim which were composed by others were adopted and edited by David so that the entire Book of Tehillim is identified with him.
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses of this mizmor are listed below.
א – רש”י, רד”ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך
ב – המאירי, בן־רמוך, מצודות, באר אברהם, מלבי”ם
ג – רש”י, רד”ק, אלשיך, מצודות
ד – אבן עזרא, רד”ק, בן־רמוך, אלשיך
ה – רש”י, רד”ק, מצודות, רשר”ה
ו – רש”י, רד”ק, מצודות, מלבי”ם
ז – רש”י
ח – רש”י, אבן עזרא, המאירי, בן־רמוך
ט – רד”ק, המאירי, ספורנו
י – רש”י, רד”ק, בן־רמוך
יא – רש”י, ספורנו, אלשיך
יב – רד”ק, באר אברהם,
יג – אבן יחייא, מצודות
יד – רש”י, רד”ק, מצודות, נר לרגלי
טו – רש”י
טז – רש”י, רד”ק, אבן יחייא
יז – רש”י, רד”ק, המאירי, מלבי”ם
יח – אבן עזרא, אבן יחייא, נר לרגלי
יט – ספורנו
כ – רש”י