Psalms – Chapter 72

Why Is Wendy Such An Unusual Name?

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

David composed this Psalm for his son, Solomon, on the occasion of appointing him his successor, as we read about in I Kings chapter 1. David asks G-d to bestow wisdom upon Solomon so that he may judge the people well and in accordance with the Torah. He should also know when to temper his judgment with mercy. Nevertheless, he must not show favoritism, neither to the rich nor to the poor. (It’s not easy being the king!)

David continues his prayer by saying that the mountains should bring peace to the nation. This could be understood literally, referring to an abundant harvest, or as a metaphor for the rulers of neighboring nations. David prays that Solomon be able to judge in such a way that the oppressed are relieved of their unfair treatment and that their tormentors are justly punished. When this happens, the people will be in awe of G-d, Who gave Solomon such wisdom.

The prayer goes on to say that Solomon should be as beneficial to the nation as rain is to freshly mown grass. During his reign, may the righteous enjoy never ending peace and prosperity. May he rule the land in its entirety, from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. The mighty should defer to him and he should trounce his enemies. Wealthy islands should pay him tribute and mighty nations should bring him gifts. (Sheba is one of the nations specifically mentioned in this Psalm; we see the fulfillment of this prayer in I Kings 10, when the Queen of Sheba visited Solomon. At least it may have been a Queen; see our Nach Yomi synopsis of that chapter for other interpretations of the words “malkas-sh’va.”)

The kings and their nations will be subordinate to him voluntarily because he is so good, wise and just. He will use his vast resources to rescue the impoverished from their poverty and he will rescue people from predators, ranging from con men and to threats of physical violence. He will not abide these evils because all human life will be precious to him!

This is the future David anticipates for Solomon (and it’s pretty much the way things turned out!). David prays that G-d grant Solomon the financial resources necessary to accomplish all this and that Solomon continually recognize and turn to G-d as David himself did. David also prayed for abundant crops and prosperity for the nation.

The prayer concludes with David’s hope that Solomon’s name and dynasty endure forever, and that Solomon’s name should be used when praising or blessing others. David concludes by blessing G-d for all the wonders He performs – may His Name be blessed forever and may His glory fill the world, Amen and Amen! (Sound familiar? These past two verses are part of our daily morning service, at the end of the “Hallelukahs.”)

While we have here identified the object of this Psalm as Solomon, everything we have said also applies to Moshiach (the Messiah) and the Messianic era. Moshiach is destined to be a descendant of David by way of Solomon (see 2 Samuel 7:13, et al), who will be righteous and wise (see Isaiah 11). Other portions of this Psalm, referring to peace and prosperity, apply equally well to the Messaianic era, as well (see Biblical verses too numerous to mention!).

At this point, you may be wondering what the title of this synopsis means. Well, it’s a riddle. “Why is Wendy such an unusual name?” The answer is, “Because its end comes in the middle.” (w_END_y – get it?). Oddly, this Psalm concludes, “Thus end the prayers of David, son of Jesse” – yet we have another 78 Psalms left in the Book! So why is the end in the middle? There are many explanations, but the simplest is that the Psalms are not collected in order of their composition. As we mentioned, this Psalm was recited by David on the occasion of appointing Solomon his successor; this was at the end of David’s life. It may be the last Psalm he ever recited; it is certainly the last Psalm that refers autobiographically to circumstances in David’s life that motivated the Psalm. (We mentioned earlier that Psalms is subdivided into five thematic “books.” This Psalm is literally the last Psalm in the second book.)

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