Psalm 22


I. Introduction.

    1. Leading into topic.
    2. 1-3 Minutes.

II. Read Passage.

    1. Only what is to be discussed.
    2. Ask audience to open to scripture.

III. Reading for Genre.

    1. Apply label. Not necessarily the technical label.
    2. Discuss and describe label.

IV. Reading for interest.

    1. Pose one question.
    2. Answer the posed question.

V. Reading for application - Give a useful application for the reading.

VI. Conclusion.

    1. Usually the weakest part of the presentation.
    2. 1-2 minutes.
    3. Maybe a pause and a closing illustration.

VII. Develop skills as well as knowledge.

    1. Exegesis – Travel our heads back in time 3,000 years.
    2. Application – bring the meaning into our present situation. How does it affect us today?
    3. Communicate the word of God.
    4. Be sensitive to the beliefs of the church and the members.




GLA – Teaching Project


Psalm 22








Dennis S. Myers SID: 0976965


In 1971, in my teenage years, in my atheistic years, I listened exclusively to rock music. The genre of the time was protest music. The Vietnam War was in full swing and the adolescent rebellion of the baby-boomers had caught hold, and all that was sacred to us in the 50s, was now suspect or maybe worse. The values, beliefs, morals, and practices of our parents were bad. They were bad because they were of the generation that preceded us, and, of course, we knew better.

One of the leaders in abject criticism of that era was a band known as "The Guess Who." The leader of this group was fellow named Burton Cummings, a Canadian. Perhaps you have heard a song entitled "American Woman", or "No Time", or "Share the Land". The message was generally one of rampant puerile censure with strong overtones of anarchism. Cummings has since abandoned negativism, as have most of us, but has also entered the no man’s land of has-been-ism. He is no longer more than marginally popular and performs solo in a retrospective act that is limited to a time frame of 1979 and earlier.

So what does this have to do with anything? In high school I purchased a record album entitled "Share the Land". This record contained a couple of catchy tunes and one piece of poetry. The poetry was inserted between a song called "Hang on to Your Life," an exhortation to put the conservation of your physical life above all, and "Coming Down Off the Money Bag," a lament of the necessity to appeal to the popular as a musician. The third and final song on the flip side was "Three More Days." The poetry, though dark, was superlative, and far exceeded anything else on the record.

I carried that little piece of poetry around with me for over twenty years and had ascribed it to one of the musicians of the album. There was no credit for the author, or even a transcription of the work in the album notes, even though all the songs’ lyrics were published within. I thought it was just some little piece of verse that one of the guys put together and recited, maybe on a lark, between a couple of songs. But there was always something about those couple of verses of that seemed to transcend the rest of the work on the album. I could never quite put my finger on what it was, and, to be honest, never really thought about it that much.

Then, in the early nineties, I was reading the Bible from cover to cover in my first effort at it, when I ran across Psalm 22. The poetry that I had thought so superb, that I had attributed to some protest obsessed rock star that was not even credited on the album, had, in reality, been a gift from God.

Reading the Passage

Let’s turn to Psalm 22. The following are verses 13-15 of the King James translation:

13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

  1. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

These are the same verses that have followed me all these years.

Reading for Genre

The literary characterization, or genre, of these lines is a cry of anguish. A cry of anguish is the basest form of the verbalization of pain. It comes from the deepest and most central emotions of which we are capable. Anguish is something that we all have experienced. It is painful to remember. It is the pain of accident or disease, the humiliation of persecution, the emotional disaster of loss.

Webster defines anguish: Extreme pain, either of body or mind; excruciating distress.

It is something that we, as human beings, would surely avoid for ourselves, if at all possible. But, as some of great courage and nobility have demonstrated, a precious few would not avoid in pursuit of a higher purpose or divine charge.

Reading for Interest - What meaning could these verses have for us?

Some Psalms have been likened to blues songs – private agony publicly expressed. The title of Psalm 22 indicates that David wrote it. Some modern scholars debate this and ascribe the Work to an anonymous poet of the time after the Babylonian exile. That is a difficult position to take. The title is quite clear. A reading of the entire Psalm indicates an ordeal more paralleled with the sufferings of Christ on the cross than any recorded tribulation suffered by David. It can be clearly asserted that David, in his authorship of this Psalm, expressed the experience of Christ some one thousand years in the future. A Psalm is a poem – complete with objective correlatives and imagery. These tools of the Psalm-Poem make the experience an absorbable part of each reader’s personal experience. The experience becomes compressed and archtypical of the supreme faith of the sufferer depicted.

Psalm 22, as a whole, is an individual lament whose theme is praise. The psalmist describes his emotional and physical condition. He details the feeling of being beyond God’s concern. This feeling is recognized as being emotional, with realization of the true state of affairs represented in other portions of the Psalm. These other portions do not contradict the statements of apparent aloneness, but rather contrast faith in God against the feelings of abandonment. Feelings often betray us. The faith and grace of our relationship with God does not. The end result of Psalm 22 is a celebration of praise for an all-powerful Lord rather than a lament of abandonment.

The proliferation of animal imagery in this Psalm portrays a total collapse of the psalmist’s social world. People become, not socially expected caring and compassionate human beings, but rather animals. Animals that do things that can only be expressed via the analogies of bestiality. They gape. They don’t look. They look with their mouths. They are hungry and driven by blind depraved ferocity, not by human motives. The use of animals describes the indescribable from a human standpoint. These animals are wicked in their intent. The beasts represent the replacement of God with forces of the evil world. Lions and bulls represented ultimate forces of power in OT times.

Satan is reputed to take on animal characteristics. Herein is a sure description of satan and his persecutions. The bulls, lions and dogs are Jewish enemies who accused Christ, Roman leaders who condemned Him, and the rabble that screamed "Crucify Him." The bulls with their mouths open are the bulls of ancient Bashan (see Amos 4:1), an area known for its green pastures and strong beasts. To be surrounded and roared at by these intense and ferocious creatures, lion-like, is a nightmare experience of horrendous proportions.

From Christ’s perspective, these bulls surrounding Him are the Sanhedrin and their ilk in their subhuman attack. The experience underscores the suffering of Christ and the sacrifice He made for us. It is apparent that the subject of the Psalm expects to surely die.

Being poured out like water indicates loss of strength, thirst, loss of blood. The individual in the Psalm is in extreme distress. He has been subjected to physical rigors that result in the loss of bodily moisture. His life in the analogy of sustaining moisture has been poured out. Poured out in the form of sweat and blood. It has been wasted, like it has little value, like a commodity, like water.

"All my bones are out of joint" again alludes to loss of strength. It is also indicative and on the mark as Christ’s experience on the cross. Christ’s beating, physical indignities and ultimate crucifixion is expressed succinctly by this choice of words.

A melted heart in the midst of bowels relates to loss of emotional strength. The heart is the residing container of emotive spirit. A draining physical and emotional attack will melt it. It will flow into the cavity below its normal residing point. The heart will metaphorically dissolve and encompass the bowels. All this will happen when we are at our lowest and most vulnerable point. Again, like Jesus in His act of compassion for all of us.

"My strength is dried up like a potsherd" indicates, again, extreme physical dryness, thirst and brittleness. An individual can become emotionally brittle, like a potsherd, under duress as experienced by the person of the Psalm. Perhaps, when physically dry enough, the individual would literally become brittle. He would certainly feel much more like a broken piece of pottery than a complete, whole, functioning and useful pot.

The tongue cleaving to the jaws again indicates extreme thirst. Imagine thirst so great that the components of your mouth actually stick together. No talking is possible. Extreme agony, anguish and torture are indicated. The individual of the Psalm is on the border of death. He expects to die.

And he does die. He is brought to the dust of death, death from unspeakable cruelty, from torture, from thirst. From all the indignities we’ve mentioned so far. The dry, dry earth reclaims the person of the Psalm. He is brought full circle to the starting point of man’s creation. This last phrase is a poetic after-beat. It doesn’t come in the normal flow of the prose. It represents the finality of the result of the experience.

The Psalm, while written by David, does not represent any recorded part of his life. It is almost certainly a prophecy of future suffering by Christ. As such, David transcended his own experience. The enemies expressed therein are represented as types of Christ’s enemies. The sufferer is a type of sufferer, the archetype of which is Jesus Christ on the cross of our salvation. By reciting the first line of this Psalm on the cross (Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34), Christ was thus expressing the entire experience of the Psalm with the utterance of a single sentence. He was also giving us an example that we can follow in our times of deep despair. When calling upon the experience represented in Psalm 22, we are not only expressing the feeling of abandonment, but also the great faith also expressed.

Psalm 22 is a Psalm of extremes. David may have recalled these extremes when his son Absalom rebelled and sealed his fate in tragedy (2 Samuel 18). God delivered Israel to David. But it cost him his son. God forgave David his transgressions and showed grace and faith. But David still suffered loss and endured anguish.

Reading for Application

Friends betray, but God is all-powerful. These few verses indicate the depths to which our fellow man (and we) may fall in the pursuit of persecution of others. Only God can deliver us from the misguided pursuits of man against his fellow man. We all feel abandoned and forsaken at times. We all feel betrayed and persecuted by the world. Where can we turn? What can we do?

The only place we can turn when we’re in this kind of trouble is to God. We need to turn to Him in praise and prayer and a call for deliverance. We need to go to Him in repentance and a humble heart. And we need to approach Him in faith.

As Peter says in 1 Pt 5:8, correlated to verse 13b, our enemy, the devil, goes around like a lion looking for people to devour. We must fight him with power stronger than the devil’s. What else could that be but God’s power?

We need to say, like Jesus did in John 19:28 and Psalm 22:15, "I am thirsty," thirsty for His still waters, thirsty for His living water, thirsty, and willing to place our full faith in Him. If we do, he will deliver us.

The person of Psalm 22 was brought to the dust of death. Jesus died on the cross. He cried out in anguish. Did God save Jesus? Did He bring Him down off the cross? No. So, can we say that God abandoned Jesus? What happened? Jesus died. But then He was resurrected! The resurrection of Christ, with its promise of resurrection for us also, is a far, far greater gift, a gift of life everlasting, a gift much greater than the conservation of our inherently limited corporeal life.

If Jesus experienced Psalm 22, what could He not understand in our experience? He went through the ultimate suffering, torture and humiliation. Surely if we turn to Him, ask Him for His help, He will understand, and grant us His peace. Our faith also can gain us heaven and resurrection.


Does God’s word belong between two rock songs on the flip side of a protest rock album? Why not credit God for His great words? Is there any redeeming value in the apparent irreverence? Was its use sacrilegious?

I guess these questions are beyond my capability to answer. I can say this, though. I remember very little of what was quoted to me from the Bible in my atheistic/agnostic years. I do remember these disguised lines. I do remember the anguished and oddly compelling words. I have been able to recite them from memory for twenty-seven years. And I am sure the inclusion of these verses in the album helped influence my decision to choose these few lines for explication here.

Side two of "Share the Land," from my perspective today, contains a spirituality that was missed in the confusion of the times. Hanging on to your life is a natural instinct. We often cry out in anguish at the ending of our life. That is exactly where the excerpt is inserted in the album. Then follows a lament concerning compromise of musical integrity. To be followed, lastly, by a song called "Three More Days," correlating, very roughly, the three-day lapse of time between Jesus’ death and resurrection.

It is difficult for me to believe that the rough and tumble protest specialists of 1971 could have been so perceptive as to have consciously produced a work that, in retrospect, so neatly fits with God’s word. It is tough to conclude that they could have used God’s word to fit so well within their belief system. Could their faith have been so strong? Does Psalm 22 fit so neatly within "Share the Land?"

Or does "Share the Land" fit neatly within Psalm 22’s plan? God’s plan, God’s plan for me, and for us.



Abandonment and hope : thoughts on the church and Psalm 22, Stringfellow,-William, Sojourners. 11 (Mr 1982), p. 12-15, 1982.

Betrayed by friends : an expository study of Psalm 22, Fisher,-Loren-R, Interpretation. 18 (Ja 1964), p. 20-38, 1964.

Bible, The, King James Version, Ashland, Ohio: Landoll, 1994.

Clarke’s Commentary OT, Vol. 3.

Dialogue of Justin Philospher and Martyr with Typho, a Jew.

Exploding the limits : form and function in Psalm 22, Davis,-Ellen-F, Journal-for-the-Study-of-the-Old-Testament. no 53 (Mr 1992), p. 93-105, 1992.

Exposition of Psalm 22, An, Heinemann,-Mark-H, Bibliotheca-Sacra. 147 (Jl-S 1990), p. 286-308, 1990.

Matthew Henry Commentary, 6 Volumes, Hendrickson Publishers, 1991.

Matthew Henry Concise Commentary.

New Bible Commentary, Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship, 1994.

Prayer and christology : Psalm 22 as perspective on the passion, Mays,-James-L, Theology-Today. 42 (O 1985), p. 322-331, 1985.

Psalm 22, Tostengard,-Sheldon, Interpretation. 46 (Ap 1992), p. 167-170,1992.

Psalm 22 and Christian mission : a reflection, Hogg,-William-Richey, International-Review-of-Mission, 77 (Ap 1988), p. 238-246, 1988.

Psalm 22 : an exposition, Frost,-Stanley-Brice, Canadian-Journal-of-Theology. 8 (Ap 1962), p. 102-115, 1962.

Psalm 22 at the cross : lament and thanksgiving for Jesus Christ, Reumann,-John-H-P, Interpretation. 28 (Ja 1974), p. 39-58, 1974.

Psalm 22 : Suffering and Faith, O'Brien,-J-Randall, Theological-Educator:-A-Journal-of-Theology-and-Ministry. no 29 (Fall 1984), p. 28-36, 1984.

Psalm 22 : the deaf and silent God of mysticism and liturgy , Stuhlmueller,-

Carroll, Biblical-Theology-Bulletin. 12 (Jl 1982), p. 86-90, 1982.

Scofield Notes.

Second Coming Commentary.

Smith’s Bible Dictionary, Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 1991.

Webster’s new Collegiate Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam Co., Springfield, MA, 1961.

John Wesleys Notes on the Whole Bible The Old Testament.




by John Wesley


It is confessed that David was a type of Christ, and that many passages of

the Psalms, though literally understood of David, yet had a further and

mystical reference to Christ. But there are some other passages, which

were directly, and immediately intended for, and are properly to be

understood of the Messiah; though withal there may be some respect and

allusion to the state of the penman himself. And this seems to be the state

of this psalm, which is understood of the Messiah, by the Hebrew doctors

themselves, and by Christ himself and by his apostles. And there are

many passages in it, which were literally accomplished in him, and cannot

be understood of any other. In this psalm David speaks of the humiliation

of Christ, ver. 1-21. Of the exaltation of Christ, ver. 22-31. To the chief

musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A psalm of David.

Title of the psalm. Shahar — This was the title of some musical

instrument, name, or song, which was usually sung in the morning.

1. My God — Who art my friend and father, though now thou frownest

upon me. The repetition denotes, the depth of his distress, which made

him cry so earnestly. Forsaken — Withdrawn the light of thy

countenance, the supports and comforts of thy spirit, and filled me with

the terrors of thy wrath: this was in part verified in David, but much more

fully in Christ. Roaring — My out-cries forced from me, by my miseries.

3. But thou art — Just and true in all thy ways, this he adds to strengthen

his faith, and to enforce his prayers, and prevail with God for the honor of

his holy name, to hear and help him. Inhabitest — Whom thy people are

perpetually praising.

6. A worm — Neglected and despised. People — Not only of the great

men, but also of the common people. Which doth not so truly agree to

David as to Christ.

7. Shoot out — They gape with their mouths, in mockery. This and the

next verse are applied to Christ, Matthew 27:39, 43.

12. Bulls — Wicked and violent, and potent enemies; for such are so

called, Ezek 39:18 Amos 4:1. Of Bashan — As the cattle there bred were,

and therefore fierce and furious.

14. Water — My spirits are spent and gone like water which once spilt

can never be recovered; my very flesh is melted within me, and I am

become as weak as water. Bones — I am as unable to help myself, and as

full of torment, as if all my bones were disjointed. Wax — Melted, through

fear and overwhelming grief.

15. Dried — I have in a manner no more moisture left in me, than is in a

dry potsherd. Cleaveth — Through excessive thirst and drought. Death —

Thy providence, delivering me into the power of mine enemies, and by thy

terrors in my soul.

16. Dogs — So he calls his enemies for their insatiable greediness, and

implacable fierceness against him. Pierced — These words cannot with

any probability be applied to David, but were properly and literally

verified in Christ.

17. May tell — By my being stretched out upon the cross.

18. They part — This also cannot be applied to David, but was literally

fulfilled in Christ, Matthew 27:35 John 19:24.

20. Darling — Hebrews. my only one; his soul, which he so calls, because

it was left alone and destitute of friends and helpers.

21. Heard — Answered and delivered me.

22. Declare — When thou hast delivered me. Thy name — that power and

faithfulness and goodness, which thou hast manifested on my behalf.

Congregations — The same whom he calls the congregation, and the seed

of Jacob and Israel: which also does not so fitly agree to David, who never

gives this title to any, but such as were near a-kin to him, as it does to

Christ, who extends this name to all his disciples, Matthew 12:48, 49, and

to whom this very text is applied, Hebrews 2:11, 12.

24. Abhorred — He did not turn away his face from it, as men do from

things which they abhor. From him — For ever: tho’ he did so for a time.

25. Great congregation — In the universal church, of Jews and Gentiles.

26. Satisfied — This is doubtless to be understood, of those spiritual

blessings, that grace and peace, and comfort, which all believing souls have

in the sense of God’s love, the pardon of their sins, and the influences of

God’s spirit. Seek him — That seek his favor. Your heart — He speaks of

the same persons still, though there be a change from the third to the

second person, as is usual in these poetical books. For ever — Your

comfort shall not be short and transitory, as worldly comforts are, but


27. The world — All nations from one end of the world to the other. So

this is an evident prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles, and a clear proof,

that this psalm immediately speaks of Christ; to whom alone, this and

divers other passages of it, belong. Remember — They shall remember

their former wickedness with grief and shame, and fear; particularly in

worshiping dead and impotent idols. They shall remember their great and

manifold obligation to God, which they had quite forgotten, his patience in

sparing them so long, in the midst of all their impieties, and in giving his

son for them: they shall remember the gracious words and glorious works

of Christ, what he did, and suffered for them; which possibly divers of

them had been eye and ear-witnesses of. The Lord — Into the only true

God, and unto Jesus Christ, to whom this name of Jehovah is often

ascribed in scripture.

28. For — This is added as a reason, why the Gentiles should be

converted, because God is not only God and the Lord of the Jews, but also

of the Gentiles, and of all nations.

29. Fat — Kings and princes, and the great men of the world. Shall eat —

Shall feed upon the bread of life, Christ and all his benefits. Worship —

This is added to shew what kind of eating he spoke of. Go down — That

is, all mankind, for none can escape death.

30. A seed — Christ shall not want a seed or posterity, for though the

Jewish nation will generally reject him, the Gentiles shall come in their

stead. A generation — That believing seed shall be reputed both by God

and men, The generation, or people of the Lord, as the Jews formerly


31. They — The seed last mentioned. Come — From Judea and Jerusalem

(from whence the gospel was first to go forth) to the Gentile world, to the

several parts whereof the apostles went upon this errand. His — God’s

righteousness: his wonderful grace and mercy unto mankind, in giving them

Christ and the gospel; for righteousness is often put for mercy or

kindness. Unto — Unto succeeding generations. Whereby David gives us a

key to understand this psalm, and teaches us that he speaks not here of

himself, but of things which were to be done in after-ages, even of the

spreading of the gospel among the Gentiles, in the time of the New

Testament. That he — They shall declare that this is the work of God, and

not of man.




by Adam Clarke


Under great affliction and distress, the psalmist prays unto God, 1-3;

appeals to God’s wonted kinkiness in behalf of his people, 4, 5; relates the

insults that he received, 6-8; mentions the goodness of God to him in his

youth, as a reason why he should expect help now, 9-11; details his

sufferings, and the indignities offered to him, 12-18, prays with the

confidence of being heard and delivered, 19-24; praises God. and foretells

the conversion of the nations to the true religion, 25-31.


The title of this Psalm, To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A

Psalm of David, has given rise to many conjectures. The words rj¨h

tlya aiyeleth hashshachar are translated in the margin, "the hind of the

morning;" but what was this? Was it the name of a musical instrument? or

of a tune? or of a band of music? Calmet argues for the last, and translates

"A Psalm of David, addressed to the Musicmaster who presides over the

Band called the Morning Hind." This is more likely than any of the other

conjectures I have seen. But aiyeleth hashshachar may be the name of the

Psalm itself, for it was customary among the Asiatics to give names to

their poetic compositions which often bore no relation to the subject itself.

Mr. Harmer and others have collected a few instances from D’Herbelot’s

Bibliotheque Orientale. I could add many more from MSS. in my own

collection: — thus Saady calls a famous miscellaneous work of his

Gulisstan, "The Country of Roses," or, "Tbe Rose Garden:" and yet there

is nothing relative to such a country, nor concerning roses nor rose

gardens, in the book. Another is called Negeristan, "The Gallery of

Pietures; " yet no picture gallery is mentioned. Another Beharistan, "The

Spring Season; " Bostan, "The Garden;" Anvar Soheely, "The Light of

Canopus;" Bahar Danush, "The Garden of Knowledge; " Tuhfit

Almumeneen, "The Gift of the Faithful," a treatise on medicine; Kemeea

lsadut, "The Alchymy of Life; " Mukhzeen al Asrar, "The Magazine of

Secrets; " Sulselet al Zahab, "The Golden Chain; " Zuhfit al Abrar, "The

Rosary of the Pious:" Merat al Asrar, "The Mirror of Secrets; " Durj al

Durar, "The most precious Jewels" Deru Majlis, "The Jewel of the

Assembly;" Al Bordah, "The Variegated Garment;" a poem written by Al

Basiree, in praise of the Mohammedan religion, in gratitude for a cure

which he believed he received from the prophet who appeared to him in a

dream. The poem is written in one hundred and sixty-two couplets, each

of which ends with [A] min, the first letter in the name of Mohammed.

Scarcely one of the above titles, and their number might be easily trebled,

bears any relation to the subject of the work to which it is prefixed, no

more than Aijeleth Shahar bears to the matter contained in the

twenty-second Psalm. Such titles are of very little importance in

themselves; and of no farther use to us than as they serve to distinguish

the different books, poems, or Psalms, to which they are prefixed. To me,

many seem to have spent their time uselessly in the investigation of such

subjects. See my note on 2 Samuel 1:18.

On the subject of the Psalm itself, there is considerable diversity of

opinion: 1. Some referring it all to David; 2. Others referring it all to

Christ; and, 3. Some, because of the application of several verses of it to

our Lord in his sufferings, take a middle way, and apply it primarily to

David, and in a secondary or accommodated sense, to Christ. Of this

opinion was Theodore of Mopsuestia. who gave a very rational account of

his own plan of interpretation; for which he was condemned by the second

council of Constantinople or fifth OEcumenic council. Grotius and others

have nearly copied his plan; and I think, with a little correction, it is the

only safe one. That several parts of it relate to David, primarily, there is

very little reason to doubt; that several passages may be applied by way

of accommodation to our Lord, though originally belonging to and

expressing the state of David, may be piously believed; and that it

contains portions which are direct prophecies of our Lord’s passion,

death, and victory, appears too evident to be safely denied. On this plan I

propose to treat it in the following paraphrase; keeping it as near to the

Gospel standard as I can. Dr. Delaney supposes the Psalm to have been

written by David when he was at Mahaniam, the very place where God

appeared to Jacob in his distress. See Genesis 22:And on this supposition

the third, fourth, and fifth verses may be easily and strikingly illustrated:

Our fathers trusted in thee; why may not I? Thou didst deliver THEM;

why may not I expect deliverance also? THEY cried unto thee, trusted in

thee, and were not confounded; I cry until thee, trust in thee; and why

should I be confounded? For thou art the same God, thou changest not;

and with thee there is no respect of persons. Thus David encouraged

himself in the Lord; and these considerations helped to sustain him in his

painful exercises and heavy distresses.

Verse 1. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? — Show me the

cause why thou hast abandoned me to my enemies; and why thou seemest

to disregard my prayers and cries? For a full illustration of this passage, I

beg the reader to refer to my note on Matthew 27:46.

The words of my roaring? — ytga¨ shaagathi, The Vulgate, Septuagint,

Syriac, AEthiopic, and Arabic, with the Anglo-Saxon, make use of terms

which may be thus translated: "My sins (or foolishness) are the cause

why deliverance is so far from me." It appears that these versions have

read ytgg¨ shegagathi, "my sin of ignorance," instead of ytga¨ shaagathi,

"my roaring:" but no MS. extant supports this reading.

Verse 2. I cry in the day-time, and in the night-season — This seems to be

David’s own experience; and the words seem to refer to his own case

alone. Though I am not heard, and thou appearest to forget or abandon me;

yet I continue to cry both day and night after thy salvation.

Verse 3. But thou art holy — Though I be not heard, even while I cry

earnestly, yet I cannot impute any fault or unkindness to my Maker; for

thou art holy. and canst do nothing but what is right. This is the language

of profound resignation, in trials the most difficult to be borne.

Inhabitest the praises of Israel. — Thou dwellest in the sanctuary where

the praises, thanksgivings, and sacrifices of thy people are continually


Verse 4. Our fathers trusted in thee — David is supposed to have been, at

the time of composing this Psalm, at Mahanaim, where Jacob was once in

such great distress; where he wrestled with the angel, and was so signally

blessed. David might well allude to this circumstance in order to strengthen

his faith in God. I am now in the place where God so signally blessed the

head and father of our tribes. I wrestle with God, as he did; may I not

expect similar success?

Verse 5. They cried unto thee — So do 1: THEY were delivered; so may 1:

THEY trusted in thee; I also trust in thee. And were not confounded; and is

it likely that I shall be put to confusion?

Verse 6. But I am a worm, and no man — I can see no sense in which our

Lord could use these terms. David might well use them to express his

vileness and worthlessness. The old Psalter gives this a remarkable turn: "I

am a worme", that es, I am borne of the mayden with outen manseede;

"and nout man" anely, bot god als so: and nevir the latter, "I am reprove of

men." In spitting, buffetyng, and punging with the thornes "and

outkasting of folk"; for thai chesed Barraban the thefe, and nought me.

Verse 7. Laugh me to scorn — They utterly despised me; set me at

naught; treated me with the utmost contempt. Laugh to scorn is so

completely antiquated that it should be no longer used; derided, despised,

treated with contempt, are much more expressive and are still in common


They shoot out the lip, they shake the head — This is applied by St.

Matthew, to the conduct of the Jews towards our Lord, when he hung

upon the cross; as is also the following verse. But both are primarily true

of the insults which David suffered from Shimei and others during the

rebellion of Absalom; and, as the cases were so similar, the evangelist

thought proper to express a similar conduct to Jesus Christ by the same

expressions. These insults our Lord literally received, no doubt David

received the same.

Verse 9. But thou art he that took me out of the womb — Thou hast made

me; and hast guided and defended me from my earliest infancy.

Verse 11. Be not far from me; for trouble is near — A present God is a

present blessing. We always need the Divine help; but more especially

when troubles and trials are at hand.

Verse 12. Many bulls have compassed me — The bull is the emblem of

brutal strength, that gores and tramples down all before it. Such was

Absalom, Ahithophel, and others, who rose up in rebellion against David;

and such were the Jewish rulers who conspired against Christ.

Strong bulls of Bashan — Bashan was a district beyond Jordan, very

fertile, where they were accustomed to fatten cattle, which became, in

consequence of the excellent pasture, the largest, as well as the fattest, in

the country. See Calmet. All in whose hands were the chief power and

influence became David’s enemies; for Absalom had stolen away the

hearts of all Israel. Against Christ, the chiefs both of Jews and Gentiles

were united.

Verse 13. They gaped upon me — They were fiercely and madly beat on

my destruction.

Verse 14. 1 am poured out like water — That is, as the old Psalter: "Thai

rought na mare to sla me than to spil water."

The images in this verse are strongly descriptivr of a person in the deepest

distress; whose strength, courage, hope, and expectation of succor and

relief, had entirely failed.

Our Lord’s sufferings were extreme; but I cannot think there is any sound

theologic sense in which these things can be spoken of Christ, either in his

agony in the garden, or his death upon the cross.

Verse 15. My strength is dried up — All these expressions mark a most

distressed and hopeless case.

Into the dust of death. — This means only that he was apparently brought

nigh to the grave, and consequent corruption, this latter David saw; but

Jesus Christ never saw corruption.

Verse 16. For dogs have compassed me — This may refer to the

Gentiles, the Roman soldiers, and others by whom our Lord was

surrounded in his trial, and at his cross.

They pierced my hands and my feet — The other sufferings David, as a

type of our Lord, might pass through; but the piercing of the hands and

feet was peculiar to our Lord; therefore, this verse may pass for a direct

revelavion. Our Lord’s hands and feet were pierced when he was nailed to

the cross, David’s never were pierced.

But there is a various reading here which is of great importance. Instead of

wrak caaru, they pierced, which is what is called the kethib, or marginal

reading, and which our translators have followed; the keri or textual reading

is yrak caari, as a lion. In support of each reading there are both MSS.

and eminent critics. The Chaldee has, "Biting as a lion my hands and my

feet;" but the Syriac, Vulgate, Septuagint, AEthiopic, and Arabic read,

"they pierced or digged;" and in the Anglo-Saxon the words are, [AS]:

"They dalve (digged) hands mine, and feet mine."

The Complutensian Polyglot has wrak caaru, they digged or pierced, in

the text; for which it gives hrk carah, to cut, dig, or penetrate, in the

margin, as the root whence wrak is derived. But the Polyglots of Potken,

Antwerp, Paris. and London, have yrak caari in the text; and wrak caaru

is referred to in the margin; and this is the case with the most correct

Hebrew Bibles. The whole difference here lies between y yod and w vau.

which might easily be mistaken for each other; the former making like a

lion; the latter, they pierced. The latter is to me most evidently the true


Verse 17. I may tell all my bones — This may refer to the violent

extension of his body when the whole of its weight hung upon the nails

which attached his hands to the transverse beam of the cross. The body

being thus extended, the principal bones became prominent, and easily


Verse 18. They part my garments — This could be true in no sense of

David. The fact took place at the crucifixion of our Lord. The soldiers

divided his upper garment into four parts, each soldier taking a part; but

his tunic or inward vestment being without seam, woven in one entire

piece, they agreed not to divide, but to cast lots whose the whole should

be. Of this scripture the Roman soldiers knew nothing; but they fulfilled it

to the letter. This was foreseen by the Spirit of God; and this is a direct

revelation concerning Jesus Christ, which impresses the whole account

with the broad seal of eternal truth.

Verse 19. Be not thou far from me — In the first verse he asks, Why hast

thou forsaken me? Or, as if astonished at their wickedness, Into what

hands hast thou permitted me to fall? Now he prays, Be not far from me.

St. Jerome observes here, that it is the humanity of our blessed Lord which

speaks to his divinity. Jesus was perfect man; and as man he suffered and

died. But this perfect and sinless man could not have sustained those

sufferings so as to make them expiatory had he not been supported by the

Divine nature. All the expressions in this Psalm that indicate any

weakness as far as it relates to Christ, (and indeed it relates principally to

him,) are to be understood of the human nature; for, that in him God and

man were united, but not confounded, the whole New Testament to me

bears evidence, the manhood being a perfect man, the Godhead dwelling

bodily in that manhood. Jesus, as MANS, was conceived, born, grew up,

increased in wisdom, stature, and favor with God and man; hungered,

thirsted, suffered, and died. Jesus, as GOD, knew all things, was from the

beginning with God, healed the diseased, cleansed the lepers, and raised the

dead; calmed the raging of the sea, and laid the tempest by a word;

quickened the human nature, raised it from the dead, took it up into

heaven, where as the Lamb newly slain, it ever appears in the presence of

God for us. These are all Scripture facts. The man Christ Jesus could not

work those miracles; the God in that man could not have suffered those

sufferings. Yet one person appears to do and suffer all; here then is GOD

manifested in the FLESH.

O my strength — The divinity being the poxver by which the humanity

was sustained in this dreadful conflict.

Verse 20. Deliver my soul from the sword — Deliver y¨pn naphshi, my

life; save me alive, or raise me again.

My darling — ytdyjy yechidathi, my only one. The only human being

that was ever produced since the creation, even by the power of God

himself, without the agency of man. ADAM the first was created out of the

dust of the earth; that was his mother; God was the framer. ADAM the

second was produced in the womb of the virgin; that was his mother. But

that which was conceived in her was by the power of the Holy Ghost;

hence the man Christ Jesus is the ONLY Son of God; God is his Father,

and he is his ONLY ONE.

Verse 21. Save me from the lion’s mouth — Probably our Lord here

includes his Church with himself. The lion may then mean the Jews; the

unicorns, µymr remin (probably the rhinoceros,) the Gentiles. For the

unicorn, see the note on Numbers 23:22. There is no quadruped or land

animal with one horn only, except the rhinoceros; but there is a marine

animal, the narwhal or monodon, a species of whale, that has a very fine

curled ivory horn, which projects from its snout. One in my own museum

measures seven feet four inches and is very beautiful. Some of these

animals have struck their horn through the side of a ship and with it they

easily transfix the whale, or any such animal. The old Psalter says, "The

unicorn es ane of the prudest best that es, so that he wil dye for dedeyn if

he be haldyn ogayn his wil."

Verse 22. I will declare the name unto my brethren — I will make a

complete revelation concerning the God of justice and love, to my

disciples; and I will announce to the Jewish people thy merciful design in

sending me to be the Savior of the world.

Verse 23. Ye that fear the Lord — This is an exhortation to the Jews

particularly, to profit by the preaching of the Gospel. Perhaps, by them

that fear him, the Gentiles, and particularly the proselytes, may be

intended. The Jews are mentioned by name: Glorify him, all ye seed of

Jacob; fear him, all ye seed of Israel.

Verse 24. For he hath not despised — It is his property to help and save

the poor and the humble; and he rejects not the sighings of a contrite heart.

Perhaps it may mean, Though ye have despised me in my humiliation, yet

God has graciously received me in the character of a sufferer on account of

sin; as by that humiliation unto death the great atonement was made for

the sin of the world.

Verse 25. The great congregation — In ver. 22 he declares that he will

praise God in the midst of the congregation. Here the Jews seem to be

intended. In this verse he says he will praise him in the GREAT

CONGREGATION. Here the Gentiles are probably meant. The Jewish nation

was but a small number in comparison of the Gentile world. And those of

the former who received the Gospel were very few when compared with

those among the Gentiles who received the Divine testimony. The one was

(for there is scarcely a converted Jew now) lhq kahal, an assembly; the

other was, is, and will be increasingly, br lhq kahal rab, a GREAT

ASSEMBLY. Salvation was of the Jews, it is now of the Gentiles.

Verse 26. The meek shall eat — µywn[ anavim. the POOR, shall eat. In the

true only Sacrifice there shall be such a provision for all believers that they

shall have a fullness of joy. Those who offered the sacrifice, fed on what

they offered. Jesus, the true Sacrifice, is the bread that came down from

heaven; they who eat of this bread shall never die.

Verse 27. All the ends of the world — The Gospel shall be preached to

every nation under heaven; and all the kindred of nations, twjp¨m

mishpechoth, the families of the nations: not only the nations of the world

shall receive the Gospel as a revelation from God, but each family shall

embrace it for their own salvation. They shall worship before Jesus the

Savior, and through him shall all their praises be offered unto God.

Verse 28. The kingdom is the Lord’s — That universal sway of the

Gospel which in the New Testament is called the kingdom of God; in

which all men shall be God’s subjects; and righteousness, peace, and joy in

the Holy Ghost, be universally diffused.

Verse 29. All they that be fat upon earth — The rich, the great, the mighty,

even princes, governors, and kings, shall embrace the Gospel. They shall

count it their greatest honor to be called Christian; to join in the assemblies

of his people, to commemorate his sacrificial death, to dispense the word

of life, to discourage vice, and to encourage the profession and practice of

pure and undefiled religion.

That go down to the dust — Every dying man shall put his trust in Christ,

and shall expect glory only through the great Savior of mankind.

None can keep alive his own soul.l The Vulpate has: Et anima mea illi

vivet, et semen meum serviet ipsi; "and my soul shall live to him, and my

seed shall serve him." And with this agree the Syriac, Septuagint,

AEthiopic, Arabic, and Anglo-Saxon. The old Psalter follows them

closely: "And my saule sal lyf til him; and my sede hym sal serve." I

believe this to be the true reading. Instead of w¨pn naphsho, HIS soul,

some MSS., in accordance with the above ancient versions, have y¨pn

naphshi, MY soul. And instead of al lo, not, two MSS., with the

versions, have wl lo, to HIM. And for hyj chiyah, shall vivify, some have

hyjy yichyeh, shall live. The text, therefore, should be read, My soul

( y¨pn napshi) shall live ( wl lo) to him: my seed ( y[rz zari) shall serve

him. These may be the words of David himself: "I will live to this Savior

while I live; and my spiritual posterity shall serve him through all


Verse 30. Shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. — They shall

be called Christians after the name of Christ.

Verse 31. Unto a people that shall be born — That is, one generation shall

continue to announce unto another the true religion of the Lord Jesus; so

that it shall be for ever propagated in the earth. Of his kingdom there shall

be no end.


This Psalm concerns the Messiah, his passion, and his kingdom. Though,

in some sense, it, may be applied to David as a type, yet Christ is the

thing signified, and therefore it is primarily and principally verified of and

in him; for he is brought in here, speaking,

First, Of his dereliction; then showing his passion, and the cruelty of his


Secondly, Entreating ease and deliverance from his sufferings.

Thirdly, Promising thanks to God; foretelling the preaching of the Gospel,

and the enlargement of his kingdom by the accession of all nations.

There are three chief parts in this Psalm: —

I. Our Savior’s complaint, and the causes of it: prophetically expressing

his sufferings nearly throughout the whole Psalm.

II. His petition and prayer that God would not absent himself, but deliver

and save him, ver. 3-5, 9-11, 19-21.

III. His thanksgiving and prophetic declaration concerning the conversion

of the Gentiles; ver. 22-31.

I. He begins with a heavy complaint of dereliction in his extremity; and

that he was not heard, though he prayed with strong crying and tears:

"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" etc. The words are

repeated to show the deep anguish of his heart.

2. He shows how well-grounded his complaint was: for God had dealt

with him contrary to his usual method; for when his saints called

upon him, he heard them in their distress. Martyres si non eripuit,

tum non deseruit. "If he did not deliver the martyrs, yet he did not

desert them in their sufferings." His case was more grievous than

any that had gone before. Of this he speaks particularly in the three

succeeding verses, ver. 3-5, by which he reminds God of his

promise: "Call on me in the time of trouble, and I will deliver thee."

Of this they who went before had experience: and as he was the

same God still, why should this Sufferer only be deserted? for they

were heard and comforted.

1. "Thou art holy," propitious and benevolent. "Thou dwellest in the

praises of Israel;" thou art continually helping them, and they are

continually praising thee for this help.

To prove all this he brings the example of the fathers: —

2. "Our fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them."

3. "They cried unto thee-and were not confounded."

But my case is worse than any other: "I am a worm, and am no man."

He then details his sufferings: —

1. The scoffs and scorns cast upon him: "I am become the reproach of

men, and the despised among the people."

2. Their contempt is expressed both by words and gestures: "All they

that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip-and shake the


3. They labored to deprive him of his God. They uttered this insulting

sarcasm: "He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him; let him

deliver him, since he delighted in him."

II. He now breaks off the narration of his sufferings, has immediate

recourse to God, refutes their irony, shows his confidence in God, and

prays for assistance. This he strengthens by three arguments drawn from

God’s goodness towards him: —

1. His generation and birth: "Thou-tookest me out of my mother’s


2. His sustenance and support ever since: "Thou didst make me hope

when I was upon my mother’s breasts; — thou art my God from

my mother’s belly." In a word, he was his Savior, Protector, and


3. Trouble is near, and there is none to help. Therefore, "Be not far

from me."

Now he returns to the narration of his passion, in which he sets forth the

despite, cruelty, and rage of the Jews towards him, whom he compares to

bulls, lions, dogs, etc., ver. 16.

1. They apprehended him: "Many bulls have compassed me;" etc.

2. They longed to condemn and devour him: "They gaped on me with

their mouths, as a ravening and roaring lion."

3. This was the cruelty of the lions and bulls, the chief rulers, and chief

priests; and now follows the ravin of the dogs, the "multitude of the

people:" they were the "assembly of the wicked; " and being stirred

up by the priests and rulers, "they compassed him round about."

4. They crucify him. And his passion is foretold, with what he should

suffer in body and soul.

1. "I am poured out like water." My blood is poured out freely; and no

more account taken of it, than if it were water spilt on the ground.

2. "All my bones (when hung on the cross) are out of joint."

3. "My heart (at the sense of God’s hatred to sin) is dissolved and

melted like wax."

4. "My strength (my animal spirits and muscular energy) is dried up

like a potsherd;" or like a pot, whose fluid is evaporated by hanging

long over a fierce fire.

5. "My tongue (for thirst) cleaveth to my jaws."

6. "Thou hast brought me to death-to the dust of death:" to the grave.

7. "They pierced my hands and my feet." I am crucified also, and die

upon the cross.

8. By my long hanging upon the cross, my bones are so disjointed that

they may be easily told: "I may tell all my bones."

9. "They look and stare upon me." They feel no compassion, but take

pleasure in my agonies. This is an affection which is characteristic

only of a devil.

10. "They part my garments among them." They delighted in his

destruction for the sake of his spoils.

Having thus far described his sufferings, and the malice of his enemies, he

begins again to pray; which is, in effect, the same with that ejaculation

with which Christ gave up the ghost: "Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend

my spirit." "Be not thou far from me, O Lord." "Deliver my soul from the

sword, my darling from the power of the dog." "Save me from the lion’s

mouth," etc.

III. This part, which is a profession of thanks for deliverance, contains a

clear prophecy of the resurrection of Christ; that, having conquered death

and Satan, he was to reign and gather a Church out of all nations, which

was to continue for ever. This is amplified,

First, By a public profession of the benefit received from God: "I will

declare thy name in the midst of the congregation, I will pay my vows." In

which we have,

1. The propagation, proclamation, and preaching of the gospel: "I will

declare thy name;" which is amplified,

(1.) By the notation of the objects to whom preached, honored here by the

name of, 1. Brethren. 2. Those that fear the Lord. 3. The seed of Jacob, the

seed of Israel. 4. The meek or poor. 5. The fat-rich, great, or eminent of the

earth. 6. They that go down to the dust.

(2.) By the place: "The midst of the congregation" — the great

congregation, i.e., both among the Jews and among the Gentiles.

(3.) By the worship they were to pay: 1. Praise. 2. Paying of vows. 3.

Fear, or religious reverence.

2. An exhortation to his brethren, etc., to do this duty; and they must

be fit for it, for every one is not fit to take God’s name in his mouth.

It is, Ye that fear the Lord-the seed of Jacob-the seed of Israel, fear

him, serve the Lord in fear, rejoice before him with reverence. Give

him both external and internal worship.

3. And to engage them to this, he gives two reasons:

Reason 1. Drawn from God’s goodness, his acceptance of our worship,

hearing our prayers, and affording help when we call: "For the Lord hath

not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted. When he cried to

him, he heard him."

Reason 2. The great good that should happen to them who would believe

and accept the Gospel; whom he calls here the meek, that is, the humble,

broken-hearted, the penitent, the heavy laden; those who are oppressed

with the burden of their sins, and astonished at a sense of God’s wrath. To

them are made three promises of comfort: —

1. "They shall eat, and be satisfied." They shall be fed with the word

and ordinances of God.

2. "They shall praise the Lord for his mercy;" seeking his favor in his

ordinances, which, under the Gospel, are generally eucharistical.

3. "Their heart shall live for ever;" their conscience being quieted and

pacified, and freed from a sense of God’s wrath.

Secondly, The prophet proceeds, and shows us the amplitude of these

benefits; that they belong, not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles, by

whose conversion the kingdom of Christ is to be enlarged.

1. "All the ends of the world," being warned by the preaching of the

Gospel, and allured by these promises, shall remember-consider the

lamentable condition in which they are, and deplore their former

estate, impiety, and idolatry. And the mercy of God being now

manifested to them-2.

They shall cast away their gods, turn from their evil ways, and seek

that God from whom they have been alienated. And being


They shall embrace a new form of religion under the Gospel: "All the

kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee."

4. Of which the reason is, because Christ is advanced to the throne; all

power is given to him: "For the kingdom is the Lord’s, and he is

governor among the people."

5. He then shows the two kinds of people who should become subjects

of the kingdom; in effect, rich and poor.

1. "The fat upon the earth." The wealthy, the mighty; kings, princes,

great men, are to be called into the kingdom, that they may be

partakers of its grace: "All they that be fat upon the earth," etc.

2. "They also that go down to the dust." That is, the poor, the

neglected, who draw out their life in misery, and sit, as it were, in

the dust; those who are perpetual mourners, and have, as it were,

perpetual dust and ashes upon their heads: "These shall bow before


Lastly. He amplifies the greatness of this benefit by the perpetuity of

Christ’s kingdom. It was not a feast of one hour, it was to continue.

1. "A seed shall serve him." But this and the preceding clause may

signify the psalmist’s resolution to live to God himself, and to show

others the same way. See the notes.

This seed, however, shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. It shall

be a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and called by

Christ’s own name-CHRISTIANS.

2. When one generation is past, another shall come up to perform this

duty, being instructed by their fathers: "They shall come and declare

his righteousness to a people that shall be born." Manebit semper

ecclesia, "the Church is immortal."

3. He concludes with the cause of all. Why called, justified, sanctified,

saved. He hath done it; the GOD, the Author of all; the Fountain of

all grace; the Giver of Jesus Christ, and eternal life through him. For

by him, and of him, and through him, are all things; and to him be

glory and dominion for ever and ever!





Chapter 98


"I shall repeat the whole Psalm, in order that you may hear His reverence

to the Father, and how He refers all things to Him, and prays to be

delivered by Him from this death; at the same time declaring in the Psalm

who they are that rise up against Him, and showing that He has truly

become man capable of suffering. It is as follows: ‘O God, my God, attend

to me: why hast Thou forsaken me? The words of my transgressions are

far from my salvation. O my God, I will cry to Thee in the day-time, and

Thou wilt not hear; and in the night-season, and it is not for want of

understanding in me. But Thou, the Praise of Israel, inhabitest the holy

place. Our fathers trusted in Thee; they trusted, and Thou didst deliver

them. They cried unto Thee, and were delivered: they trusted in Thee, and

were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men,

and despised of the people. All they that see me laughed me to scorn; they

spake with the lips, they shook the head: He trusted on the Lord: let Him

deliver him, let Him save him, since he desires Him. For Thou art He that

took me out of the womb; my hope from the breasts of my mother I was

cast upon Thee from the womb. Thou art my God from my mother’s

belly: be not far from me, for trouble is near; for there is none to help.

Many calves have compassed me; fat bulls have beset me round. They

opened their mouth upon me, as a ravening and roaring lion. All my bones

are poured out and dispersed like water. My heart has become like wax

melting in the midst of my belly. My strength is dried up like a potsherd;

and my tongue has cleaved to my throat; and Thou hast brought me into

the dust of death. For many dogs have surrounded me; the assembly of the

wicked have beset me round. They pierced my hands and my feet, they

did tell all my bones. They did look and stare upon me; they parted my

garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But do not Thou

remove Thine assistance from me, O Lord: give heed to help me; deliver

my soul from the sword, and my only-begotten from the hand of the dog.

Save me from the lion’s mouth, and my humility from the horns of the

unicorns. I will declare Thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the

Church will I praise Thee. Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him: all ye the

seed of Jacob, glorify Him. Let all the seed of Israel fear Him.’"




And when I had said these words, I continued: "Now I will demonstrate to

you that the whole Psalm refers thus to Christ, by the words which I shall

again explain. What is said at first — ‘O God, my God, attend to me: why

hast Thou forsaken me?’ — announced from the beginning that which was

to be said in the time of Christ. For when crucified, He spake: ‘O God, my

God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ And what follows: ‘The words of my

transgressions are far from my salvation. O my God, I will cry to Thee in

the day-time, and Thou wilt not hear; and in the night-season, and it is not

for want of understanding in me.’ These, as well as the things which He

was to do, were spoken. For on the day on which He was to be crucified,

having taken three of His disciples to the hill called Olivet, situated

opposite to the temple in Jerusalem, He prayed in these words: ‘Father, if

it be possible, let this cup pass from me.’ And again He prayed: "Not as I

will, but as Thou wilt;’ showing by this that He had become truly a

suffering man. But lest any one should say, He did not know then that He

had to suffer, He adds immediately in the Psalm: ‘And it is not for want of

understanding in me.’ Even as there was no ignorance on God’s part when

He asked Adam where he was, or asked Cain where Abel was; but [it was

done] to convince each what kind of man he was, and in order that through

the record [of Scripture] we might have a knowledge of all: so likewise

Christ declared that ignorance was not on His side, but on theirs, who

thought that He was not the Christ, but fancied they would put Him to

death, and that He, like some common mortal, would remain in Hades.

Matthew Henry Commentary

Psalm 22:1-10


The Spirit of Christ, which was in the prophets, testifies in this psalm, as clearly and fully as

any where in all the Old Testament, "the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow"

# 1Pe 1:11

of him, no doubt, David here speaks, and not of himself, or any other man. Much of it is

expressly applied to Christ in the New Testament, all of it may be applied to him, and some of

it must be understood of him only. The providences of God concerning David were so very

extraordinary that we may suppose there were some wise and good men who then could not but

look upon him as a figure of him that was to come. But the composition of his psalms

especially, in which he found himself wonderfully carried out by the spirit of prophecy far

beyond his own thought and intention, was (we may suppose) an abundant satisfaction to

himself that he was not only a father of the Messiah, but a figure of him. In this psalm he

speaks, I. Of the humiliation of Christ

# 1-21

where David, as a type of Christ, complains of the very calamitous condition he was in upon

many accounts. 1. He complains, and mixes comforts with his complaints; he complains

# 1, 2

but comforts himself

# 3-5

complains again

# 6-8

but comforts himself again,

# 9, 10

2. He complains, and mixes prayers with his complaints; he complains of the power and rage

of his enemies

# 12, 13, 16, 18

of his own bodily weakness and decay

# 14, 15, 17

but prays that God would not be far from him

# 11, 19

that he would save and deliver him

# 19-21

II. Of the exaltation of Christ, that his undertaking should be for the glory of God

# 22-25

for the salvation and joy of his people

# 26-29

and for the perpetuating of his own kingdom

# 30, 31

In singing this psalm we must keep our thoughts fixed upon Christ, and be so affected with his

sufferings as to experience the fellowship of them, and so affected with his grace as to

experience the power and influence of it.

To the chief musician upon Aijeleth Shahar. A psalm of David.


Psalm 22:11-21

Verses 11-21

In these verses we have Christ suffering and Christ praying, by which we are directed to look

for crosses and to look up to God under them.

I. Here is Christ suffering. David indeed was often in trouble, and beset with enemies; but

many of the particulars here specified are such as were never true of David, and therefore

must be appropriated to Christ in the depth of his humiliation.

1. He is here deserted by his friends: Trouble and distress are near, and there is none to

help, none to uphold,

# 11

He trod the wine-press alone; for all his disciples forsook him and fled. It is God's honour to

help when all other helps and succours fail.

2. He is here insulted and surrounded by his enemies, such as were of a higher rank, who for

their strength and fury, are compared to bulls, strong bulls of Bashan

# 12

fat and fed to the full, haughty and sour; such were the chief priests and elders that persecuted

Christ; and others of a lower rank, who are compared to dogs

# 16

filthy and greedy, and unwearied in running him down. There was an assembly of the wicked

plotting against him

# 16

for the chief priests sat in council, to consult of ways and means to take Christ. These enemies

were numerous and unanimous: "Many, and those of different and clashing interests among

themselves, as Herod and Pilate, have agreed to compass me. They have carried their plot far,

and seem to have gained their point, for they have beset me round,

# 12

They have enclosed me,

# 16

They are formidable and threatening

# 13

They gaped upon me with their mouths, to show me that they would swallow me up; and this

with as much strength and fierceness as a roaring ravening lion leaps upon his prey."

3. He is here crucified. The very manner of his death is described, though never in use among

the Jews: They pierced my hands and my feet

# 16

which were nailed to the accursed tree, and the whole body left so to hang, the effect of which

must needs be the most exquisite pain and torture. There is no one passage in all the Old

Testament which the Jews have so industriously corrupted as this, because it is such an

eminent prediction of the death of Christ and was so exactly fulfilled.

4. He is here dying

# 14, 15

dying in pain and anguish, because he was to satisfy for sin, which brought in pain, and for

which we must otherwise have lain in everlasting anguish. Here is, (1.) The dissolution of the

whole frame of his body: I am poured out like water, weak as water, and yielding to the

power of death, emptying himself of all the supports of his human nature. (2.) The dislocation

of his bones. Care was taken that not one of them should be broken

# Joh 19:36

but they were all out of joint by the violent stretching of his body upon the cross as upon a

rack. Or it may denote the fear that seized him in his agony in the garden, when he began to be

sore amazed, the effect of which perhaps was (as sometimes it has been of great fear,

# Dan 5:6

that the joints of his loins were loosed and his knees smote one against another. His bones

were put out of joint that he might put the whole creation into joint again, which sin had put out

of joint, and might make our broken bones to rejoice. (3.) The colliquation of his spirits: My

heart is like wax, melted to receive the impressions of God's wrath against the sins he

undertook to satisfy for, melting away like the vitals of a dying man; and, as this satisfied for

the hardness of our hearts, so the consideration of it should help to soften them. When Job

speaks of his inward trouble he says, The Almighty makes my heart soft,

# Job 23:16, Ps 58:2

(4.) The failing of his natural force: My strength is dried up; so that he became parched and

brittle like a potsherd, the radical moisture being wasted by the fire of divine wrath preying

upon his spirits. Who then can stand before God's anger? Or who knows the power of it? If

this was done in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry? (5.) The clamminess of his

mouth, a usual symptom of approaching death: My tongue cleaveth to my jaws; this was

fulfilled both in his thirst upon the cross

# Joh 19:28

and in his silence under his sufferings; for, as a sheep before the shearers is dumb, so he

opened not his mouth, nor objected against any thing done to him. (6.) His giving up the ghost:

"Thou hast brought me to the dust of death; I am just ready to drop into the grave;" for

nothing less would satisfy divine justice. The life of the sinner was forfeited, and therefore the

life of the sacrifice must be the ransom for it. The sentence of death passed upon Adam was

thus expressed: Unto dust thou shalt return. And therefore Christ, having an eye to that

sentence in his obedience to death, here uses a similar expression: Thou hast brought me to

the dust of death.

5. He was stripped. The shame of nakedness was the immediate consequence of sin; and

therefore our Lord Jesus was stripped of his clothes, when he was crucified, that he might

clothe us with the robe of his righteousness, and that the shame of our nakedness might not

appear. Now here we are told, (1.) How his body looked when it was thus stripped: I may

tell all my bones,

# 17

His blessed body was lean and emaciated with labour, grief, and fasting, during the whole

course of his ministry, which made him look as if he was nearly 50 years old when he was yet

but 33, as we find,

# Joh 8:57

His wrinkles now witnessed for him that he was far from being what was called, a gluttonous man and a wine-bibber. Or his bones might be numbered, because his body was distended upon the cross, which made it easy to count his ribs. They look and stare upon me, that is, my bones do, being distorted, and having no flesh to cover them, as Job says

# 16:8

My leanness, rising up in me, beareth witness to my face. Or "the standers by, the passers by, are amazed to see my bones start out thus; and, instead of pitying me, are pleased even with such a rueful spectacle." (2.) What they did with his clothes, which they took from him

# 18

They parted my garments among them, to every soldier a part, and upon my vesture, the seamless coat, do they cast lots. This very circumstance was exactly fulfilled,

# Joh 19:23, 24

And though it was no great instance of Christ's suffering, yet it is a great instance of the fulfilling of the scripture in him. Thus it was written, and therefore thus it behoved Christ to suffer. Let this therefore confirm our faith in him as the true Messiah, and inflame our love to him as the best of friends, who loved us and suffered all this for us.

II. Here is Christ praying, and with that supporting himself under the burden of his sufferings. Christ, in his agony, prayed earnestly, prayed that the cup might pass from him. When the prince of this world with his terrors set upon him, gaped upon him as a roaring lion, he fell upon the ground and prayed. And of that David's praying here was a type. He calls God his strength,

# 19

When we cannot rejoice in God as our song, yet let us stay ourselves upon him as out strength, and take the comfort of spiritual supports when we cannot come at spiritual delights. He prays, 1. That God would be with him, and not set himself at a distance from him: Be not thou far from me

# 11

and again,

# 19

"Whoever stands aloof from my sore, Lord, do not thou." The nearness of trouble should quicken us to draw near to God and then we may hope that he will draw near to us. 2. That he would help him and make haste to help him, help him to bear up under his troubles, that he might not fail nor be discouraged, that he might neither shrink from his undertaking no sink under it. And the Father heard him in that he feared

# Heb 5:7

and enabled him to go through with his work. 3. That he would deliver him and save him,

# 20, 21

(1.) Observe what the jewel is which he is in care for, "The safety of my soul, my darling; let that be redeemed from the power of the grave,

# Ps 49:15

Father, into thy hands I commit that, to be conveyed safely to paradise." The psalmist here calls his soul his darling, his only one (so the word is): "My soul is my only one. I have but one soul to take care of, and therefore the greater is my shame if I neglect it and the greater will the loss be if I let it perish. Being my only one, it ought to be my darling, for the eternal welfare of which I ought to be deeply concerned. I do not use my soul as my darling, unless I take care to preserve it from every thing that would hurt it and to provide all necessaries for it, and be entirely tender of its welfare." (2.) Observe what the danger is from which he prays to be delivered, from the sword, the flaming sword of divine wrath, which turns every way. This he dreaded more than any thing,

# Ge 3:24

God's anger was the wormwood and the gall in the bitter cup that was put into his hands. "O deliver my soul from that. Lord, though I lose my life, let me not lose thy love. Save me from the power of the dog, and from the lion's mouth." This seems to be meant of Satan, that old enemy who bruised the heel of the seed of the woman, the prince of this world, with whom he was to engage in close combat and whom he saw coming,

# Joh 14:30

"Lord, save me from being overpowered by his terrors." He pleads, "Thou hast formerly heard me from the horns of the unicorn," that is, "saved me from him in answer to my prayer." This may refer to the victory Christ had obtained over Satan and his temptations

# Mt 4:1 ...

when the devil left him for a season

# Lu 4:13

but now returned in another manner to attack him with his terrors. "Lord, thou gavest me the victory then, give it me now, that I may spoil principalities and powers, and cast out the prince of this world." Has God delivered us from the horns of the unicorn, that we be not tossed? Let that encourage us to hope that we shall be delivered from the lion's mouth, that we be not torn. He that has delivered doth and will deliver. This prayer of Christ, no doubt, was answered, for the Father heard him always. And, though he did not deliver him from death, yet he suffered him not to see corruption, but, the third day, raised him out of the dust of death, which was a greater instance of God's favour to him than if he had helped him down from the cross; for that would have hindered his undertaking, whereas his resurrection crowned it.

In singing this we should meditate on the sufferings and resurrection of Christ till we experience in our own souls the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings.

Psalm 22:22-31

Verses 22-31

The same that began the psalm complaining, who was no other than Christ in his humiliation,

ends it here triumphing, and it can be no other than Christ in his exaltation. And, as the first

words of the complaint were used by Christ himself upon the cross, so the first words of the

triumph are expressly applied to him

# Heb 2:12

and are made his own words: I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the

church will I sing praise unto thee. The certain prospect which Christ had of the joy set before

him not only gave him a satisfactory answer to his prayers, but turned his complaints into

praises; he saw of the travail of his soul, and was well satisfied, witness that triumphant word

wherewith he breathed his last: It is finished.

Five things are here spoken of, the view of which were the satisfaction and triumph of Christ

in his sufferings: --

I. That he should have a church in the world, and that those that were given him from eternity

should, in the fulness of time, be gathered in to him. This is implied here; that he should see

his seed,

# Isa 53:10

It pleased him to think, 1. That by the declaring of God's name, by the preaching of the

everlasting gospel in its plainness and purity, many should be effectually called to him and to

God by him. And for this end ministers should be employed to publish this doctrine to the

world, and they should be much his messengers and his voice that their doing it should be

accounted his doing it; their word is his, and by them he declares God's name. 2. That those

who are thus called in should be brought into a very near and dear relation to him as his

brethren; for he is not only not ashamed, but greatly well pleased, to call them so; not the

believing Jews only, his countrymen, but those of the Gentiles also who became fellow-heirs

and of the same body,

# Heb 2:11

Christ is our elder brother, who takes care of us, and makes provision for us, and expects that

our desire should be towards him and that we should be willing he should rule over us. 3.

That these is brethren should be incorporated into a congregation, a great congregation; such is

the universal church, the whole family that is named from him, unto which all the children

of God that were scattered abroad are collected, and in which they are united

# Joh 11:52, Eph 1:10

and that they should also be incorporated into smaller societies, members of that great body,

many religious assemblies for divine worship, on which the face of Christianity should appear

and in which the interests of it should be supported and advanced. 4. That these should be

accounted the seed of Jacob and Israel

# 23

that on them, though Gentiles, the blessing of Abraham might come

# Ga 3:14

and to them might pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenant, and the service of God, as

much as ever they did to Israel according to the flesh,

# Ro 9:4, Heb 8:10

The gospel church is called the Israel of God,

# Ga 6:16

II. That God should be greatly honoured and glorified in him by that church. His Father's glory

was that which he had in his eye throughout his whole undertaking

# Joh 17:4

particularly in his sufferings, which he entered upon with this solemn request, Father,

glorify thy name,

# Joh 12:27, 28

He foresees with pleasure, 1. That God would be glorified by the church that should be

gathered to him, and that for this end they should be called and gathered in that they might be

unto God for a name and a praise. Christ by his ministers will declare God's name to his

brethren, as God's mouth to them, and then by them, as the mouth of the congregation to God,

will God's name be praised. All that fear the Lord will praise him

# 23

even every Israelite indeed. See

# Ps 118:2-4, 135:19, 20

The business of Christians, particularly in their solemn religious assemblies, is to praise and

glorify God with a holy awe and reverence of his majesty, and therefore those that are here

called upon to praise God are called upon to fear him. 2. That God would be glorified in the

Redeemer and in his undertaking. Therefore Christ is said to praise God in the church, not

only because he is the Master of the assemblies in which God is praised, and the Mediator of

all the praises that are offered up to God, but because he is the matter of the church's praise. See

# Eph 3:21

All our praises must centre in the work of redemption and a great deal of reason we have to

be thankful, (1.) That Jesus Christ was owned by his Father in his undertaking,

notwithstanding the apprehension he was sometimes under that his Father had forsaken him.

# 24

For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted one (that is, of the

suffering Redeemer), but has graciously accepted it as a full satisfaction for sin, and a

valuable consideration on which to ground the grant of eternal life to all believers. Though it

was offered for us poor sinners, he did not despise nor abhor him that offered it for our sakes;

no did he turn his face from him that offered it, as Saul was angry with his own son because he

interceded for David, whom he looked upon as his enemy. But when he cried unto him, when

his blood cried for peace and pardon for us, he heard him. This, as it is the matter of our

rejoicing, ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. Those who have thought their prayers

slighted and unheard, if they continue to pray and wait, will find they have not sought in vain.

(2.) That he himself will go on with his undertaking and complete it. Christ says, I will pay

my vows,

# 25

Having engaged to bring many sons to glory, he will perform his engagement to the utmost, and

will lose none.

III. That all humble gracious souls should have a full satisfaction and happiness in him,

# 26

It comforted the Lord Jesus in his sufferings that in and through him all true believers should

have everlasting consolation. 1. The poor in spirit shall be rich in blessings, spiritual

blessings; the hungry shall be filled with good things. Christ's sacrifice being accepted, the

saints shall feast upon the sacrifice, as, under the law, upon the peace-offerings, and so

partake of the altar: The meek shall eat and be satisfied, eat of the bread of life, feed with an

appetite upon the doctrine of Christ's mediation, which is meat and drink to the soul that

knows its own nature and case. Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness in Christ shall

have all they can desire to satisfy them and make them easy, and shall not labour, as they have

done, for that which satisfies not. 2. Those that are much in praying shall be much in

thanksgiving: Those shall praise the Lord that seek him, because through Christ they are sure

of finding him, in the hopes of which they have reason to praise him even while they are

seeking him, and the more earnest they are in seeking him the more will their hearts be

enlarged in his praises when they have found him. 3. The souls that are devoted to him shall

be for ever happy with him: "Your heart shall live for ever. Yours that are meek, that are

satisfied in Christ, that continue to seek God; what ever becomes of your bodies, your hearts shall live for ever; the graces and comforts you have shall be perfected in everlasting life. Christ has said, Because I live, you shall live also,

# Joh 14:19

and therefore that life shall be as sure and as long as his."

IV. That the church of Christ, and with it the kingdom of God among men, should extend itself to all the corners of the earth and should take in all sorts of people.

1. That it should reach far

# 27, 28

that, whereas the Jews had long been the only professing people of God, now all the ends of the world should come into the church, and, the partition-wall being taken down, the Gentiles should be taken in. It is here prophesied, (1.) That they should be converted: They shall remember, and turn to the Lord. Note, Serious reflection is the first step, and a good step it is towards true conversion. We must consider and turn. The prodigal came first to himself, and then to his father. (2.) That then they should be admitted into communion with God and with the assemblies that serve him; They shall worship before thee, for in every place incense shall be offered to God,

# Mal 1:11, Isa 66:23

Those that turn to God will make conscience of worshipping before him. And good reason there is why all the kindreds of nations should do homage to God, for

# 28

the kingdom is the Lord's; his, and his only, is the universal monarchy. [1.] The kingdom of nature is the Lord Jehovah's, and his providence rules among the nations, and upon that account we are bound to worship him; so that the design of the Christian religion is to revive natural religion and its principles and laws. Christ died to bring us to God, the God that made us, from whom we had revolted, and to reduce us to our native allegiance. [2.] The kingdom of grace is the Lord Christ's, and he, as Mediator, is appointed governor among the nations, head over all things to his church. Let every tongue therefore confess that he is Lord.

2. That it should include many of different ranks,

# 29

High and low, rich and poor, bond and free, meet in Christ. (1.) Christ shall have the homage of many of the great ones. Those that are fat upon the earth, that live in pomp and power, shall eat and worship; even those that fare deliciously, when they have eaten and are full, shall bless the Lord their God for their plenty and prosperity. (2.) The poor also shall receive his gospel: Those that go down to the dust, that sit in the dust

# Ps 113:7

that can scarcely keep life and soul together, shall bow before him, before the Lord Jesus, who reckons it his honour to be the poor man's King

# Ps 72:12

and whose protection does, in a special manner, draw their allegiance. Or this may be understood in general of dying men, whether poor or rich. See then what is our condition -- we are going down to the dust to which we are sentenced and where shortly we must make our bed. Nor can we keep alive our own souls; we cannot secure our own natural life long, nor can we be the authors of our own spiritual and eternal life. It is therefore our great interest, as well as duty, to bow before the Lord Jesus, to give up ourselves to him to be his subjects and worshippers; for this is the only way, and it is a sure way, to secure our happiness when we go down to the dust. Seeing we cannot keep alive our own souls, it is our wisdom, by an obedient faith, to commit our souls to Jesus Christ, who is able to save them and keep them alive for ever.

V. That the church of Christ, and with it the kingdom of God among men, should continue to the end, through all the ages of time. Mankind is kept up in a succession of generations; so that there is always a generation passing away and a generation coming up. Now, as Christ shall have honour from that which is passing away and leaving the world

# 29

those that go down to the dust shall bow before him, and it is good to die bowing before Christ; blessed are the dead who thus die in the Lord so he shall have honour from that which is rising up, and setting out, in the world,

# 30

Observe, 1. Their application to Christ: A seed shall serve him, shall keep up the solemn worship of him and profess and practice obedience to him as their Master and Lord. Note, God will have a church in the world to the end of time; and, in order to that, there shall be a succession of professing Christians and gospel ministers from generation to generation. A seed shall serve him; there shall be a remnant, more or less, to whom shall pertain the service of God and to whom God will give grace to serve him, -- perhaps not the seed of the same persons, for grace does not run in a blood (he does not say their seed, but a seed), -- perhaps but few, yet enough to preserve the entail. 2. Christ's acknowledgment of them: They shall be accounted to him for a generation; he will be the same to them that he was to those who went before them; his kindness to his friends shall not die with them, but shall be drawn out to their heirs and successors, and instead of the fathers shall be the children, whom all shall acknowledge to be a seed that the Lord hath blessed,

# Isa 61:9, 65:23

The generation of the righteous God will graciously own as his treasure, his children. 3. Their agency for him

# 31

they shall come, shall rise up in their day, not only to keep up the virtue of the generation that is past, and to do the work of their own generation, but to serve the honour of Christ and the welfare of souls in the generations to come; they shall transmit to them the gospel of Christ (that sacred deposit) pure and entire, even to a people that shall be born hereafter; to them they shall declare two things: -- (1.) That there is an everlasting righteousness, which Jesus Christ has brought in. This righteousness of his, and not any of our own, they shall declare to be the foundation of all our hopes and the fountain of all our joys. See

# Ro 1:16, 17

(2.) That the work of our redemption by Christ is the Lord's own doing

# Ps 118:23

and no contrivance of ours. We must declare to our children that God has done this; it is his wisdom in a mystery; it is his arm revealed.

In singing this we must triumph in the name of Christ as above every name, must give him honour ourselves, rejoice in the honours others do him, and in the assurance we have that there shall be a people praising him on earth when we are praising him in heaven.

Abstract of Journal Articles and Commentaries


    1. How the author went about his task.
    2. How the commentary is laid out?
    3. What is it we have read?
    4. What is the article about?


    1. What do we think?
    2. Strengths/Good points.
    3. Weaknesses/Bad points.




GLA – Teaching Project


Abstracts - Psalm 22







Dennis S. Myers SID: 976965


TITLE: Exploding the limits : form and function in Psalm 22.

AUTHOR: Davis,-Ellen-F

SOURCE: Journal-for-the-Study-of-the-Old-Testament. no 53 (Mr 1992), p. 93-105.


DESCRIPTOR: Bible-Old-Testament-Psalms-I-XLI; Laments-; Praise-of-God

ISSN: 0309-0892

ACCESSION NUMBER: ario19920000013402


    1. How the author went about her task.
    2. Ms. Davis approached her task from a dual perspective of traditional textual evaluation and from a current cultural analogy. The current cultural analogy of the blues song is very effective, relevant and easily understood by the rank and file individual.

    3. How the commentary is laid out?
    4. The commentary is laid out via three main sections. The first section, the implied introduction, outlines the background and use of Psalm 22 from a historical and current perspective. She additionally touches on the function of the Psalm as Divine Poetry, and as such, experience re-created. The author makes generous use of footnotes to aid the reader in understanding and in consultation of correlative information.

      The second section is an exegetical section focusing on analysis of the literary form, language issues, cultural perspectives of the time of writing, and implied resulting meanings.

      The last section is an analysis of the New Testament implications and perspectives of the Psalm. These issues tie the sufferings of Our Savior on the cross with the Old Testament.

    5. What is it we have read?
    6. The article is a scholarly and useful exposition of the relevance and deep meaning of Psalm 22 respective of Old Testament and New Testament issues as well as issues relevant to all readers of poetry: the experience re-created.

    7. What is the article about?

The article is about the transcendence of the literature of the Old Testament beyond words and information to actual experience to gained by the reader who shares in the experience.


    1. What do we think?
    2. I found the article to be an excellent exposition on Psalm 22. The author’s insight was superb and her research sound. Her implied objective, based on the title of the article, was to "explode," or perhaps to expand greatly, the conventional limits of the Psalm form from the perspective of Psalm 22. She ahs succeeded, at least beyond my personal expectations, in her task.

    3. Strengths/Good points.
    4. Ms. Davis hit upon a blinding flash of the obvious in her comparison of Psalm 22 to a blues song that has intense private meaning that is nevertheless expressible publicly. It had never dawned on me that there is a correlation between the blues and the experience of the Psalms. In the case of Psalm 22, the relation is both valid and blinding in implications. The African-American creed of learning "mercy through suffering," the relevance of the blues art form to this creed, and the cultural experience implied is illuminating and illustrative.

    5. Weaknesses/Bad points.

I have found no weaknesses or bad points in this article.


TITLE: Psalm 22 : the deaf and silent God of mysticism and liturgy

AUTHOR: Stuhlmueller,-Carroll

SOURCE: Biblical-Theology-Bulletin. 12 (Jl 1982), p. 86-90.


DESCRIPTOR: Bible-New-Testament-Criticism,-Literary; Bible-Old-Testament-Psalms-I-XLI; God-Silence

ISSN: 0045-1843

ACCESSION NUMBER: ario19820000024651


    1. How the author went about her task.
    2. Ms. Stuhlmueller approaches Psalm 22 from a secular, literary approach to analysis. While she relates the Psalm to individual lament and a group lament of the Israelite people, she does not transcend the words and language of human beings to the ultimate grace and almighty power of God. The limitation of language is allowed to limit the understanding of the spiritual implications of the issue of suffering and God’s ability to solve the problem of apparent mutually exclusive conditions: God’s abandonment and God’s grace that promises to never abandon.

    3. How the commentary is laid out?
    4. Ms. Stuhlmueller divided the article into four sections. The introduction deals with relevance to individuals of Psalm 22.

      The second section deals with the deaf God of the Psalmist, from the author’s perception.

      The third section deals with a concept that the God of Israel was often apparently silent.

      The fourth section is the conclusion. The conclusion supports theory that the Psalm was not written by David, evolved over the years, and was likely a construct of anonymity. It also gives a conjectural history of the Psalm’s adoption to canon as well as utilization in the New Testament.

    5. What is it we have read?
    6. The article is an exposition on Psalm 22 from a nearly secular literary analysis perspective. The significance of the deaf God from both the individual and the corporate is examined from the same perspective. No multi-level analysis is given. No spiritual perspective is given.

    7. What is the article about?

The article is about the meaning to be drawn from the individual and Israelite corporate understanding of the text of the Psalm. Additional agendas of the liberal viewpoint are subtly included without explanation of the controversies or limited substantiation they imply.


    1. What do we think?
    2. I do not like the article. While there a some technical points to be gained by the analysis contained therein, the overall limited scope results in an unintended and surprising shallow viewpoint. The personal meaning and divinity of the Psalm are somehow missed. If no other analysis of this Psalm were available, the Psalm would be hardly worth reading.

    3. Strengths/Good points.
    4. Good analysis of technical language issues is presented. Correlation with like Biblical passages is presented allowing cross-referencing and additional source analysis by the reader.

    5. Weaknesses/Bad points.

As stated above, the author misses much of the point of Psalm 22. If Psalm 22 is merely a collection of words written by man without inspiration of God, the words descend to a meaning that can be gleaned by reading secular poetry. If scripture is not treated as being "God Breathed," we stand to loose its most important aspect: a message directly from God to us.

It is also disturbing to read an affirmation that this Psalm was written during the early post-exilic age by an anonymous author. The implication is that the folks who passed down the canon, both Old and New Testament, were liars and manipulators. If we ever reach thee conclusion that they were, our entire faith is based on lies. Why is a written record accepted on face value, above and beyond tradition and verbal history, if it is secular, but is not granted the same honor if it is Biblical? Perhaps old scratch can better answer that question.


TITLE: Betrayed by friends : an expository study of Psalm 22.

AUTHOR: Fisher,-Loren-R

SOURCE: Interpretation. 18 (Ja 1964), p. 20-38.


DESCRIPTOR: Bible-New-Testament-Relation-to-Old-Testament; Bible-Old-Testament-Psalms-I-XLI; Qumran-scrolls-Comparative-studies; Laments-

ISSN: 0020-9643

ACCESSION NUMBER: ario19640000082486


    1. How the author went about her task.
    2. The author went about her task from a historical and textual perspective drawing upon Old Testament sources, Dead Sea Scroll sources, Old Testament commentary sources and historical sources. She reviewed and commented upon customs and traditions. She brought those customs and traditions from abstract historical commentary to modern perspective through the use of modern language and examples. She additionally relates the meanings of Psalm 22 relative to the New Testament experience.

    3. How the commentary is laid out?
    4. Ms. Fisher constructs her commentary by starting with a brief introduction, followed by an explication of Psalm 22. She relates Psalm 22 historically and textually, drawing on extra-Biblical sources. Psalm 41 is then drawn upon from the perspective of "God does not foresake, but friends betray." The entire body of knowledge attained to this point is then utilized to add meaning and color to Christ’s New Testament experience betrayal and abandoment. The conclusion section serves to illustrate the continuity between Old Testament and New Testament experience.

    5. What is it we have read?
    6. The article is an excellent and intelligent investigation into the issue of experiential betrayal and abandonment by individuals normally thought of as friends. It underscores the meaning of Christian Brotherhood by demonstrating the horrendous nature of betrayal by those you love, and who you expect to love you, the most.

    7. What is the article about?

The article is ostensibly about the traditional and customary issues of friendship/loyalty. The author succeeds in transcending the normal experience by means of the excellent historical and subliminal background of the social experience of friendship.


    1. What do we think?
    2. The most illustrative part of the article to me is the traditional background of the meaning of breaking bread with people we choose (and sometimes do not choose) to be our friends. An unforgettable example is given on page 33. It is an excerpt from Arabia Deserta where the individual in question was to be executed, but covertly grabbed bread from his antagonist’s hand and stuffed it in his mouth. The antagonist could not execute the individual because they had technically broken bread together.

      Historically, the above anecdote adds meaning that had escaped me respective of Communion. Communion had always been to me the partaking and sharing of Christ in spirit, mind and body. From now on, it will also be a friendship ritual, with reciprocal personal friendship obligations on my part beyond any I had realized before.

    3. Strengths/Good points.
    4. The author does a thorough and in depth job expanding the meaning of Psalm 22 into the New Testament and coloring its meaning. The experience of Christ in His betrayal and ultimate are now fuller and richer for me. The work was well worth the time to read, reflect and take to heart.

    5. Weaknesses/Bad points.

There is not much to say about shortcomings to this piece. Perhaps it would be nice to read more from Ms. Fisher.








    1. How the author went about his task.
    2. The author read the Psalm, referred to the New Testament scriptures, and deduced that Psalm 22 refers to Christ’s passion on the cross.

    3. How the commentary is laid out?
    4. The commentary is rather short and is laid out in paragraph form.

    5. What is it we have read?

The reading clearly indicates that Psalm 22 refers to Christ on the cross. The text is clearly ancient, simple and prototypical of later commentaries.

    1. What is the article about?

The article intends to present the theory that Psalm 22 applies to Jesus on the cross. It then provides scriptural evidence for this theory.


    1. What do we think?
    2. Significant and useful viewpoints are attained by review of the Early Church Fathers’ perspectives on Biblical issues. The article contains statements intended to assert that Jesus truly suffered during the crucifixion. The implication is that Justin was providing testimony against the heresy of the Gnostics.

      The commentary additionally asserts that Christ was predicted in the Old Testament by the author of Psalm 22. The entire Psalm is included in the commentary to underscore the reverence of the author for God, the Father.

    3. Strengths/Good points.
    4. The commentary is excellent as far as it goes. It provides solid evidence of Christ’s experiential relationship to Psalm 22. The logic is inescapable. The conclusion ties the Old Testament to the New and does so at an early date in history.

    5. Weaknesses/Bad points.

The commentary is very short. One is left wondering whether more was available, but lost to the ravages of time. The commentary is more an assertion, rather than an expository.




by Adam Clarke



    1. How the author went about his task.
    2. Clarke analyzed the Hebrew text and its variants, researched what others had written about the Psalm before, commented on each individual verse, then analyzed the textual and correlative meanings.

    3. How the commentary is laid out?
    4. The commentary is formatted in three basic sections. The first section is a brief introduction that contains a short synopsis of the Psalm.

      The second section is titled "Notes on Psalm 22," which contains a verse by verse critique. The critique is preceded by an overview of the entire Psalm.

      Part three, titled "Analysis of the Twenty-second Psalm," deals with Christ and David as the author and the Messiah, His passion and His Kingdom, as well as the major parts (divisions) of the Psalm.

    5. What is it we have read?
    6. The commentary is a scholarly explication of Psalm 22. It deals very much with Hebrew language issues as well as interpretation issues from English translation.

    7. What is the article about?

The commentary deals with the technical textual and interpretive issues regarding Psalm 22. It also addresses Davidic and Christic application issues. Additional color is added with early English commentary to expand upon, and provide alternate viewpoints for difficult passages.


    1. What do we think?
    2. Clarke’s commentary on the 22nd Psalm adds background and depth to one’s mind-picture. His expertise seems to be nuances of Hebrew interpretations and textual variants. His straightforward analysis sheds light on the applicability of the Psalm to David and Jesus. His early English quotations are both amusing and logically solid.

    3. Strengths/Good points.
    4. Clarke deals with the issue of the title interpretation differently than I have seen before. He spends considerable energy to explore the possibilities of the possible Hebraic and eastern naming conventions. He gives his own opinion along several alternate possibilities, all with concise and logical substantiation.

      The author adds variations of differing opinion on difficult passages to aid the reader in the formation of his opinion. This is a feature that is lacking in most commentaries.

    5. Weaknesses/Bad points.

The structure of parts two and three are somewhat redundant and leaves one to wonder whether Clarke could have been more effective with a less unwieldy structure.

The author could have dealt in more detail with supernatural issues. His commentary is so logical and concise that it appears devoid of spirit and emotion.




GLA – Teaching Project


Source Material - Psalm 22






Dennis S. Myers SID: 976965