Psalm 72, The Exalted King


We have spent a lot of time trying to understand how the Jewish people understood the psalms and the prophets. Psalm 72 is an important psalm which requires us to look carefully at how the Hebrews interpreted the text.

The Jews understood these psalms in their original context, but also applied the psalms and the prophets to the days of the Messianic age. The Dead Sea Scrolls shows that this is the way the psalms and the prophets were used.

Notice this quotation from the Dead Sea Scrolls concerning Habakkuk 1:6: “For I am now about to raise up the Chaldeans, that brutal and reckless people.” This refers to the Kittim, who are swift and mighty in war, annihilating many people, [and …] in the authority of the Kittim and the wic[ked …] and have no faith in the laws of God. (1QpHab; 2.10-15)

This shows that this is how the Jewish people understood their sacred books. Even though Habakkuk specifically prophesied against the Chaldeans (the Babylonians), the Qumran community, who lived from the first century B.C. to the first century A.D., believed this was speaking about the Kittim, a common Jewish term for the Romans. The text not only had application to the days of Habakkuk and his circumstances, but also applied to the Jewish in their own day and time, with special emphasis on the Messianic age.

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