The Story of Psalm 71
The person that wrote this psalm knew the psalms that David wrote very well. Maybe it was the *prophet Jeremiah. In Something to do you will find some psalms to look at. If you do this, you will see that Psalm 71 repeats verses from them.
What Psalm 71 means
Verse 3: David often said that God was his rock and his *fortress.
He meant that God was someone that he could *trust (rock) and someone that he could hide in (*fortress).
Verse 4: "The hands of bad people" means that bad people were holding him. He was not free.
Verses 5 and 16: Master and *LORD are two Hebrew words that mean "*Lord" in English. "Master" is "*Lord on earth", "*LORD" is "*Lord in *heaven", where God lives.
Verse 7: This is a difficult verse to translate. The person that wrote the psalm (the *psalmist) says that people think that he is a warning. "Warning" means "there is danger". It makes people afraid. Maybe it makes them think about what God will do to them because they are bad.
Verse 9: The *psalmist does not want God to ‘throw him away’ when he is old. He wants God to continue giving him help.
Verse 13: There are new words here. *Scorn and *disgrace are things that happen to people when other people find out what they have done wrong.
Verses 15, 16, 19 and 24: These all talk about "*righteous". The word "righteous" means "very, very good". Only God is really *righteous. He always does what is right. Some Bible students translate the end of verse 15, "even if I cannot write good words".
Verse 18: "Old and grey" means that the *psalmist’s hair has gone grey now that he is old. "The people still to be born" are his children and his grandchildren. We call them "the next generations". We must tell them about what God has done for us.
Verse 20: "Deep under the earth" means that the *psalmist thought that he would die and people would bury him. But he did not die … God made him safe, so people did not bury him!
Verse 22: The "*Holy One of Israel" is another name for God.
Verse 23: We say that when he died Jesus bought us (or "redeemed us") from everything that is bad. The *psalmist felt the same.
Something to do
Here are some verses from the psalms. Read them from the Bible, or from this set of psalms, and decide if they are *like any verses from Psalm 71. Psalm 31:1-3; parts of Psalm 22; Psalm 35:4, 26, Psalm 36:6, Psalm 38:12, Psalm 40:13 and Psalm 70:1.
The Good, Great King of *Glory
Psalm 72: 1 - 7 ~ The Good King
(This psalm is) for or by Solomon.
v1 God, give your *justice to the king
and your *righteousness to the king’s son.
v2 He will rule your people with *righteousness
and the poor people with *justice.
v3 With *righteousness will the mountains
and the hills bring *peace to the people.
v4 He will *defend the poor people
and save the children of those that are in need.
He will destroy *cruel people
v5 and they will be afraid of him
as long as there is a sun and a moon.
v6 He will be *like rain that falls on grass that people have just cut.
He will be *like showers that bring water to the earth.
v7 When he is king, a *righteous person will do well.
There will be *peace until there is no moon!
The Story of Psalm 72
This psalm is about the best king that there can ever be! Maybe David wrote it for (or about) his son, Solomon; or maybe it is by Solomon. Christians have always believed that there is only one king it can really be about: Jesus!
What Psalm 72: 1 - 7 means
There are three important words in this part of the psalm:
· righteousness means goodness, or being very, very good (verses 1, 2, 3). In verse 1 we see that it is God's righteousness that the king has. In verse 7 the good people he rules will have it, and also be *righteous.
· *justice means fairness, or being fair (verses 1, 2).
· *peace (verses 3, 7) means more than "no fighting". Here it also means health and wealth (plenty of money and things). "The mountains and the hills" (verse 3) mean all the land where they live.
In verse 1 the king and the king’s son are the same person.
In verse 4 the good king will *defend (stop others hurting) the poor people. The *cruel people (that hurt the poor) will always be afraid of the good king. He will be as showers of rain that bring life to the dead earth! He will always do this while the sun and moon both shine (verses 5 and 7). This means always.
v8 He will rule from sea to sea
and from the river to the ends of the earth.
v9 People that live in wild places will kneel in front of him
and his enemies will eat the dirt.
v10 Kings from Spain and other far places will give him money
and kings from Arabia and Africa will bring him gifts.
v11 All the kings will fall down in front of him
and people in every land will become his servants.
v12 For he will save the person in need that is crying for help.
And he will save the poor that nobody is giving help to.
v13 He will be kind to people that are weak and in need.
He will save the lives of the people in need.
v14 He will buy back their lives from *cruel people that hurt them.
Their blood is of great value in his eyes.
What Psalm 72: 8 - 14 means
There are three important words in this part of the psalm also:
· the person in need (verses 12, 13). "In need" is an English way (or idiom) to say people that need money, food, clothes or a home.
· the poor (verse 12, also verses 2 and 4). This means more than people with not much money. It also means people that rich and powerful people oppress. Oppress means that they are *cruel (very *unkind) to them. They make them work so that the rich and powerful people get more money and the poor get very little money.
· save (verses 12, 13, also verse 4). These words are not all the same in Hebrew, but all mean "save" or "rescue" ("take you away from someone hurting you") One of the Hebrew words is YOSHEA, which in Greek became JESUS!
In verse 8 the river is the Euphrates. The verse means that the king will be so great that he will rule all the world. In verse 9 "kneel" means "fall to your knees"; and "eat the dirt" means "your faces are on the ground". This is what happened to the enemies of a king many years ago when he caught them. In verse 10 one of the places is Sheba in Hebrew, whose *Queen brought Solomon gifts.
Psalm 72: 15 - 20 ~ The King Of *Glory
v15 I pray that he will always be alive and that:
· people will give him gold from Arabia (Sheba)
· people will always pray for him
· people will *bless him all the day.
v16 There will be plenty of *grain in the land.
It will blow (in the wind) even on the top of the mountains.
Its fruit will grow as well as (in) Lebanon.
Even people in the towns will be as grass in a field.
v17 His name will remain *for ever.
It will continue as long as the sun (shines).
All people will *bless themselves by him
and people in every country will say that he is happy.
v18 *Bless the *LORD God, the God of Israel.
Only he does wonderful things.
v19 *Bless his glorious name *for ever.
Fill all the earth with his *glory.
v20 This is the end of the *prayers of David, son of Jesse.
What Psalm 72: 15 - 20 means
There is a special word that comes 4 times in this part of the psalm: *bless (verses 15, 17, 18 and 19). There is no English word that means the same as the Hebrew "bless" (baruch). It means more than "say and do good things to". Also, it does not have the same meaning when:
· God *blesses us (which means we will have many children, so will our animals, our plants will grow well and we will have much money, houses and fields)
· We *bless God (which means we say how good, great and glorious he is, in other words, we *praise him). "Glorious" is the adjective (a word that describes) from "glory". "Glory" means "shining as the sun".
In verse 16 *grain is what we make bread with. In Lebanon, all the plants grew well. In verse 17 "*for ever" means "always" … even after we die! Verse 20 tells us that Psalm 72 finishes the Second Book of Psalms.
Something to do
Read Psalm 72. Find as many things as you can that make you think about Jesus.
abortion ~ making a baby be born too soon so that it is dead.
aha! ~ something that people say when they think that they are right (and others are wrong).
Aha! Aha! ~ what people say when they think that they have beaten someone.
all day long ~ either every day, or all through the day.
altar ~ a special table in God’s house.
angel ~ a servant of God (usually) in *heaven.
arrow ~ stick with a sharp point at the end, shot by a bow.
awe ~ afraid of someone greater than you, but still loving them.
banner ~ pieces of cloth or paper with writing on it and sticks at each end (so people can hold it up high).
BC ~ years Before Christ came to the earth.
betray ~ lead an enemy to someone.
bless ~ say good things about, or do good things to.
boasts ~ talks as though he is important (even if he is not).
breath ~ air that goes in and out of our mouths.
bull ~ an animal.
captivity ~ "in captivity" means "caught, so not free".
cave ~ a big hole in the ground or in the side of a hill.
chariot ~ a special car that horses pulled and soldiers rode in long ago.
charmer ~ (here) someone that makes a snake obey him (this is not what it usually means).
clap ~ hit the fronts of your hands together a lot.
cobra ~ a very dangerous snake; its poison can kill people.
comfort ~ being kind to people and making them strong.
confusion ~ what you feel when someone confuses you.
courts ~ parts of a *temple outside the building.
covenant ~ when two people agree they make a covenant.
create ~ when God makes something we say he "creates" it.
crime ~ breaking the rules of a country.
crown ~ a special hat that a king wears, often made of gold.
cruel ~ not kind, hurting people.
cruelty ~ being cruel.
darkness ~ where there is no light.
deaf ~ not able to hear.
defences ~ safe walls and buildings.
defend ~ stop an enemy attacking and hurting someone.
disciple ~ someone that follows and obeys a teacher.
disgrace ~ what you feel when people say you are bad.
disobedience ~ not obeying.
dogs ~ animals that people often keep at home; wild dogs often look for food in groups.
dove ~ bird that people think shows *peace.
dribbling ~ water running from the mouth (my *dogs dribble when they see food that they are going to get).
evil ~ very very bad people (or the things that they do).
exile ~ away from your own country, not able to return.
feathers ~ covering instead of hair.
fence ~ a wall made of wood, not stones.
fled ~ ran away.
floods ~ water on the land where it should not be.
flow ~ move along easily.
for ever (and ever) ~ always, with no end.
forgive ~ give away (usually *forgive *sin, which means give away the *sin to somebody else, read note in Psalm 67).
fortress ~ a safe place built of stones and rocks.
get away with ~ not caught for doing bad things.
glory (of God) ~ a very bright light that shines from inside him.
glory ~ (of men) what makes somebody important (of God) a very bright light that shines from inside him.
goat ~ an animal.
godless ~ people that do not obey God (or believe in him).
grace ~ being kind to someone when you do not have to be.
gracious ~ kind, not *punishing when you should.
grain ~ seed of a tall grass-*like plant, that we use to make bread.
growl ~ make a noise *like a wild animal.
guitar ~ an instrument (thing) that makes music.
harp ~ an instrument (thing) that makes music.
harp and lyre ~ things that people use to make music, *musical instruments *like guitars.
hart ~ a male deer, *like a small cow.
harvest ~ time when they pick fruits and vegetables.
hate ~ the opposite of love.
heart ~ part of our body; the Jews thought that you used your *heart to think; so to know it "in your heart" or "by heart" means that you remember it.
heaven ~ the home of God.
heavens ~ the sky and everything that is in it.
hell ~ where bad people go when they die.
helpless ~ people that cannot get help from anybody.
higher ~ more than high.
holy ~ very very good; only God is really holy (because he always obeys his rules); Jerusalem was holy because people *worshipped God there.
Holy Spirit ~ a name for God.
hooves ~ what is on a *bull’s feet.
horn ~ on the head of animals *like cows and goats.
huge ~ very very big.
human beings ~ people that are human.
imprecation ~ a *prayer for something bad to happen to an enemy.
inherit ~ when someone that dies gives you something.
inheritance ~ what someone that dies gives to you.
insult ~ bad words or saying bad words to someone.
ivory ~ hard white material of great value.
joy ~ feeling happy deep inside.
judge ~ (noun, or being something) someone that decides.
judge ~ (verb, or doing something) decide if someone did right or wrong.
judgment ~ what the *judge decides.
justice ~ what is fair and right.
kingdom ~ a country that has a king.
lies ~ words that are not true.
like ~ another word for ‘as’.
lilies ~ beautiful flowers.
lily ~ a beautiful flower.
lion ~ a wild animals, *like a very big cat.
LORD ~ a special name for God; only his people use it (look after Psalm 25 in Psalms 1-41).
lord ~ someone with authority (with a capital L a name for God, look after Psalm 25 in Psalms 1-41).
lyre ~ a *musical instrument, *like a *harp or guitar.
maskil ~ a psalm that teaches you something.
meek ~ letting people teach you.
melted ~ *like ice changing to water.
mercy ~ when you do not *punish (hurt) people that you should.
Messiah ~ a name for Jesus; really it means ‘he is made king’.
Mighty One ~ a name for God that means that he is powerful.
miktam ~ maybe it means one of: something made from gold, something hidden, something with special meaning.
mock ~ laugh at someone in a very *unkind way.
Most High ~ a name for God which means that he is very important.
mud ~ ground made soft with a lot of water.
musical instruments ~ something that you make music with.
myrrh, aloes, cassia ~ all have special smells.
nation ~ a group of people (or a country) with a government.
neighbour ~ a person that lives near to you.
net ~ something that you use to catch an animal or a bird or a fish.
noisy ~ making a lot of noise, not very quiet.
oil ~ liquid from the fruit of the olive tree.
on my side ~ not against me.
Ophir ~ a place where Solomon got gold.
ox, bull ~ animals *like cows that they burnt for God.
palace ~ the home of a king; a beautiful building.
peace ~ when we are friends with God and with other people; no war.
persecute people ~ hurt or kill people for what they are.
pit ~ a hole in the ground (the *Pit was a hole in the corner of *Sheol where very bad people went after they died).
praise ~ (noun, or being something) words that say that someone or something is very good.
praise ~ (verb, or doing something) say that someone or something is very good.
praise God ~ say how great that God is.
praises ~ saying good things about someone, and how great they are.
prayer ~ words that you say when you *pray.
pride ~ when you think that you are better than other people.
priest ~ servant of a god in a *temple (here servant of true God).
prince ~ son of a king.
prisoners ~ people that are not free.
procession ~ many people walking together.
prophet ~ someone who speaks for God (makes a prophecy).
protect ~ stop an enemy hurting or killing someone.
psalmist ~ the person that wrote a psalm.
punish ~ hurt someone when they do something wrong (hit them with a stick or put them in prison).
pure ~ very, very clean.
queen ~ the wife of a king.
rams, bulls, goats ~ animals.
refuge ~ a place where you are safe.
rejoice ~ tell other people that we are happy.
rescue ~ take someone away from their enemies.
resting ~ not being afraid of anything and at *peace.
restless ~ not able to sleep or to be happy.
righteous ~ very very good; only God is very righteous (or has righteousness); doing what is right.
righteousness ~ being very good.
sack ~ a large bag made of material that is not soft.
sacrifice ~ an animal killed and burnt for God.
sacrifice ~ burn an animal to make God happy (see after Psalms 4 and 50).
safety ~ in a place where there is no danger.
saints ~ another name for God’s people, or Christians.
sceptre ~ a special stick that a king holds, maybe made of gold.
scorn ~ laugh at someone in a bad way.
SELAH ~ a word often used in the psalms; we do not know what it means, probably stop and think, or *pray, or make music.
Shaddai ~ a name for God; maybe it means Very Powerful God.
shake ~ move something one way then another quickly.
shelter ~ a cover from wind, rain or danger.
Sheol ~ where the Jews thought that dead people went.
shepherd ~ a sheep farmer.
shield ~ something that a soldier uses to stop things hitting him.
shofar ~ a *horn from the head of a cow; when you blew into it, it made music; an early trumpet.
silence ~ very quiet, with no noise.
silver ~ a metal of value.
sin ~ (noun, or being something) a not obeying of God’s rules.
sin ~ (verb, or doing something) not obey God’s rule
sinner~ a person that *sins.
sins, disobedience ~ not obeying God’s rules (look after Psalm 32 in this set).
slip ~ when your feet move quickly as on ice/*oil and you fall.
sons of Korah ~ the people that sang in the *Temple (look in Psalm 43).
soothing ~ taking away pain.
soul/spirit ~ the part of us that lives on after our bodies die.
spear ~ a long stick with a very sharp end.
steal ~ rob.
stringed instruments ~ for making music, *like the guitar and *harp and violin.
sword ~ a long sharp knife that soldiers used.
sympathy ~ knowing how someone feels.
synagogue ~ a Jewish meeting (*like a church).
take my life ~ kill me.
tears ~ salt water that comes from our eyes when we cry.
temple ~ a special building where people *worship God.
tent ~ a small house made of animals’ skins.
tested ~ given an exam.
thirsty ~ wanting a drink (thirsty land is dry land).
throne ~ a special chair that a king or *queen sits on.
tongue ~ the bit in the mouth that speaks or tastes.
tower ~ a tall, safe building made of stone and/or wood.
trap ~ something that you use to catch an animal or bird.
trust ~ (noun, or being something) believing that someone will help.
trust ~ (verb, or doing something) believe that someone will help.
truth ~ words that are true.
unhappy ~ not happy.
unkind ~ not kind.
vinegar ~ made when drinks *like beer are open to the air.
waterfall ~ water falling from a high to a low place.
waves ~ water moves in waves when it goes from one place to another.
wicked ~ very very bad.
wilderness ~ a wild place with not many farms.
wings ~ what a bird uses to fly with.
wise ~ always making a good and right decision.
womb ~ where a mother keeps her baby before birth.
worship ~ say that someone is very wonderful.
© 2001, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level A (1200 words)
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