Verse 15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd. Most complete debility is here portrayed; Jesus likens himself to a broken piece of earthenware, or an earthen pot, baked in the fire till the last particle of moisture is driven out of the clay. No doubt a high degree of feverish burning afflicted the body of our Lord. All his strength was dried up in the tremendous flames of avenging justice, even as the paschal lamb was roasted in the fire.
My tongue cleaveth to my jaws; thirst and fever fastened his tongue to his jaws. Dryness and a horrible clamminess tormented his mouth, so that he could scarcely speak.
Thou hast brought me into the dust of death; so tormented in every single part as to feel dissolved into separate atoms, and each atom full of misery; the full price of our redemption was paid, and no part of the Surety's body or soul escaped its share of agony. The words may set forth Jesus as having wrestled with Death until he rolled into the dust with his antagonist. Behold the humiliation of the Son of God! The Lord of Glory stoops to the dust of death. Amid the mouldering relics of mortality Jesus condescends to lodge! Bishop Mant's version of the two preceding verses is forcible and accurate:
"Poured forth like water is my frame;
My bones asunder start; As wax that feels the searching flame, Within me melts my heart."
"My withered sinews shrink unstrung Like potsherd dried and dead: Cleaves to my jaws my burning tongue The dust of death my bed."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 15. My strength is dried up, etc. Inflammation must have commenced early and violently in the wounded parts -- then been quickly imparted to those that were strained, and have terminated in a high degree of feverish burning over the whole body. The animal juices would be thus dried up, and the watery particles of the blood absorbed. The skin parched by the scorching sun till midday would be unable to supply or to imbibe any moisture. The loss of blood at the hands and feet would hasten the desiccation. Hence our Lord says, "My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws." The fever would devour his small remaining strength. And THIRST, that most intolerable of all bodily privations, must have been overpowering. His body appeared to his feeling like a potsherd that had been charred in the potter's kiln. It seemed to have neither strength nor substance left in it. So feeble had he become, so parched and dried up that CLAMMINESS OF THE MOUTH, one of the forerunners of immediate dissolution, had already seized him; "My tongue cleaveth to my jaws, and thou hast brought me into the dust of death." John Stevenson.
Verse 15. My strength is dried up; not as in the trial of gold and silver, but like a potsherd, as the earthen vessel dried up by the heat, spoken in humiliation. Isaac Williams, in loc.
Verse 15. A potsherd. (frx) rendered potsherd, is a word which denotes a piece of earthenware, frequently in a broken state. As employed in the verse under consideration, it seems to derive considerable illustration from the corresponding word in ARABIC, which expresses roughness of skin, and might well convey to the mind the idea of the bodily appearance of one in whom the moisture of the fluids had been dried up by the excess of grief. John Morison.
Verse 15. That hour what his feelings were is dangerous to define: we know them not; we may be too bold to determine of them. To very good purpose it was that the ancient Fathers of the Greek church in their liturgy, after they had recounted all the particular pains, as they are set down in his passion, and by all and by everyone of them called for mercy, do, after all, shut up with this Di agnwstwn kopwn basanwn elehson ki swson emas By thine unknown sorrows and sufferings, felt by thee, but not distinctly known by us, have mercy upon us and save us. Lancelot Andrewes.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 6-18. Full of striking sentences upon our Lord's suffering.