Verse 11. I made sackcloth also my garment. This David did literally, but we have no reason to believe that Jesus did. In a spiritual sense he, as one filled with grief, was always a sackcloth wearer.
And I became a proverb to them. He was ridiculed as "the man of sorrows," quoted as "the acquaintance of grief." He might have said, "here I and sorrow sit." This which should have won him pity only earned him new and more general scorn. To interweave one's name into a mocking proverb is the highest stretch of malice, and to insult one's acts of devotion is to add profanity to cruelty.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 10-11. See Psalms on "Psalms 69:12" for further information.
Verse 11. I made sackcloth also my garment, etc. Though we nowhere read that Jesus put on sackcloth on any occasion, yet it is not improbable that he did; besides, the phrase may only intend that he mourned and sorrowed at certain times, as persons do when they put on sackcloth; moreover, as the common garb of his forerunner was raiment of camel's hair, with a leathern girdle; it is very likely his own was very mean, suitable to his condition, who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor. And I became a proverb to them; a byword; so that, when they saw any person in sackcloth or in vile raiment, behold, such an one looks like Jesus of Nazareth. John Gill.
Verse 11. I became a proverb. Two things are usually implied when a man is said to be a byword. First, that he is in a very low condition: some men are so high that the tongues of the common people dare not climb over them, but where the hedge is low every man goes over. Secondly, that he is in a despised condition; to be a byword, carries a reflection of disgrace. He that is much spoken of, in this sense, is ill spoken of; and he is quite lost in the opinion of men, who is thus found in their discourse... Hence, observe, great sufferers in many things of this world, are the common subject of discourses, and often the subject of disgrace. Such evils as few men have felt or seen, all men will be speaking of. Great sorrows, especially if they be the sorrows of great men, are turned into songs, and poetry plays its part with the saddest disasters... Holy David met with this measure from men in the day of his sorrows: When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach. I made sackcloth also my garment; and I became a proverb (or a byword) to them. In the next verse he tells us in detail who did this: They that sit in the gate (that is, great ones) speak against me, and I was the song of the drunkard, that is, of the common sort. Joseph Caryl.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 10-12. A prophecy.
- Of the Saviour's tears: When I wept.
- Of his fasting.
- Of reproach.
- Of his humiliation: I made sackcloth, etc.
- Of the perversion of his words: as, "I will destroy
this temple," etc.
- Of the opposition of the Pharisees, and rulers: They
that sit in the gate, etc.
- Of the contempt of the lowest of the people: I was
the song, etc. G. R.
Verse 11. Proverbial sayings of a scoffing character.