Psalm 22

New American Standard Bible

A Cry of Anguish [this psalm describes physical illness, spiritual despair, and the sense of being abandoned by God] and a Song of Praise [the psalm ends in words of faith and praise].
For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar [may be translated as “deer of the morning” which may have been the name of a tune to which this psalm was sung].

A Psalm of David.

22:1 [vv. 1-2 are a complaint] My [the use of this personal pronoun indicates that the psalmist still held on to his faith although he felt the absence of God’s presence] God, my God, why [a key word that reminds the redeemed to consider the reason Jesus was crucified] have [when Jesus spoke these words from the cross he felt the full weight of being forsaken] You [it is one thing to be forsaken by our enemies and even our friends, but to be forsaken by God is the worst of all] forsaken [the saddest of all states] me [the innocent One]? [these are the fourth words Christ spoke from the cross (cf. Matt. 27:46) these words are the “saddest of all utterances” (Spurgeon)] Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

22:2 O my God, I cry [the righteous sufferer pleaded to God for a hearing] by day, but You do not answer [feeling as though our prayers are not heard can be most agonizing]; And by night [the righteous sufferer cried out to God even through the night], but I have no rest.

22:3 [vv. 3-6 are an argument from history; the psalmist reminded God of His past faithfulness in hope of forcing Him to act] Yet [in spite of feeling forsaken] You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

22:4 [the psalmist acknowledged that God had delivered his forefathers] In You our fathers trusted [note that the word “trusted” is used 3 times in this verse and the next]; They trusted and You delivered them.

22:5 To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

22:6 [vv. 6-8 are a complaint] But [in spite of the fact that God had delivered the psalmist’s forefathers, he still felt worthless and despised] I am a worm [far below human status; a worm is a symbol of the weakest of all creatures] and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people.

22:7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip [akin to sticking one’s tongue out at another], they wag the head [read Matt. 27:39 and Mark 15:29 re the behavior of those at Christ’s crucifixion], saying,

22:8 [the crowd at the crucifixion of Jesus taunted Him with these words] “Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him [these words are also similar to those spoken by Satan to Christ during the wilderness temptation (cf. Matt. 4:6)].”

22:9 [the psalmist reflected on God’s love and concern for him from childhood] Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts.

22:10 Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb.

22:11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near [when trouble is near we need and want for God to be nearer still]; For there is none to help.

22:12 [vv. 12-18 are a complaint] Many bulls [in regard to the Passion this is likely a reference to Judaism and the Roman government, both of which look for an opportunity to gore Christ] have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan [area across the Jordan River known for its fat cattle (cf. Deut. 32:14; Amos 4:1)] have encircled me.

22:13 [note the language of feeling vulnerable and threatened] They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion.

22:14 I am poured out like water [water poured out on the ground “cannot be gathered up again” (cf. 2 Sam. 14:14)], And all my bones are out of joint [Christ’s bones were out of joint because of hanging on the cross, but none of His bones were broken during the crucifixion (cf. Jn. 19:33)]; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.

22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; [this is a key verse in this Psalm] And You [God] lay me in the dust of death [it was God’s plan for Christ to die].

22:16 [the psalmist felt surrounded by fierce enemies] For dogs have surrounded me [like wild dogs surround their prey]; A band of evildoers [those who sought to destroy and kill him] has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet [a prophecy of the crucifixion of Christ].

22:17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me [“The first Adam made us all naked, and therefore the second Adam became naked that He might clothe our names souls.” (CH Spurgeon)];

22:18 [three gospel writers cited this verse when the soldiers gambled for Christ’s robe] They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

22:19 [see also vv. 1 and 11 re the psalmist feeling as though God was absent or distant from him] But You, O Lord, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance.

22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog.

22:21 Save me from the lion’s mouth [Satan is described as “a roaring lion” (cf. 1 Pet. 5:8)]; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.

22:22 [vv. 22-31 are a hymn of praise; the psalmist praised God] I will tell of Your name to my brethren [cf. Jesus’ post-resurrection words: “go and take word to My brethren” (Matt. 28:10)]; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You [“We mention our sorrows readily enough; why are we so slow in declaring our deliverances?” CH Spurgeon].

22:23 [the psalmist invited others to praise God] You who fear the Lord, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.

22:24 [note the content of the psalmist’s praise] For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

22:25 From You [“…true praise is of celestial origin” CH Spurgeon] comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.

22:26 [vv. 26-31 are in the future tense and sound like predictions] The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever!

22:27 All the ends of the earth will remember [the implication is that man has forgotten God; to remember involves worshiping and obeying the Lord] and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations will worship before You.

22:28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s And He rules [has dominion over] over the nations [cf. Rev. 11:15].

22:29 All [God does not discriminate between the wealthy and the poor; cf. Gal. 3:28] the prosperous [the wealthy and well-fed] of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust [those who are exhausted, sickly, filled with anguish and despair, dying] will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

22:30 Posterity [God’s praise will extend from one generation to the next] will serve Him; It [the story of redemption] will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.

22:31 They will come and will declare His righteousness [this is the object of the proclamation to the generations yet to be born] To a people who will be born, that He has performed it [the story of redemption and His kingship].

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