Questions From Readers
● What is “the River” spoken of in Psalm 72:8?—V.B., U.S.A.
In this psalm regarding the extensive, peaceful rule of King Solomon we find the promise, “He will have subjects from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”—Ps. 72:8.
We can appreciate what boundary is meant by the term “the River” when we recall Jehovah’s promise to Abraham. That man had once lived “on the other side” of the Euphrates River, and there his father had served other gods. (Josh. 24:2, 15) However, after he came to Canaan, God promised that his descendants would receive the land “from the river of Egypt,” south of Canaan, “to the great river, the river Euphrates.” (Gen. 15:18) Thus the Euphrates was understood to be one of the boundaries of the Promised Land. (Compare Exodus 23:31 and Deuteronomy 11:24.) During the reign of King Solomon the territory Israel controlled did extend to the Euphrates.—2 Chron. 9:26.
Interestingly, the Jewish Targums, paraphrases or interpretive translations of parts of the Hebrew Scriptures into Aramaic, read “Euphrates” in place of “River” at Psalm 72:8.
Having subjects from sea to sea and from the river Euphrates to the ends of the earth indicated an extensive rule in the case of Israel’s kings. The Greater Solomon, Jesus Christ, will enjoy an all-embracing or earthwide rule, in grand fulfillment of this prophetic psalm.