Psalms 22

For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.

1 [a]My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.[b]
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises.[c]
4 In you our ancestors put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved; in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the LORD,” they say, “let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart has turned to wax; it has melted within me.
15 My mouth[d] is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce[e] my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, LORD, do not be far from me. You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions; save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly; before those who fear you[f] I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the LORD will praise him— may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the LORDand he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship; all who go down to the dust will kneel before him— those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it!

Images for Psalms 22

Psalms 22 Commentary

Chapter 22

Complaints of discouragement. (1-10) With prayer for deliverance. (11-21) Praises for mercies and redemption. (22-31)

Verses 1-10 The Spirit of Christ, which was in the prophets, testifies in this psalm, clearly and fully, the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. We have a sorrowful complaint of God's withdrawings. This may be applied to any child of God, pressed down, overwhelmed with grief and terror. Spiritual desertions are the saints' sorest afflictions; but even their complaint of these burdens is a sign of spiritual life, and spiritual senses exercised. To cry our, My God, why am I sick? why am I poor? savours of discontent and worldliness. But, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" is the language of a heart binding up its happiness in God's favour. This must be applied to Christ. In the first words of this complaint, he poured out his soul before God when he was upon the cross, ( Matthew 27:46 ) . Being truly man, Christ felt a natural unwillingness to pass through such great sorrows, yet his zeal and love prevailed. Christ declared the holiness of God, his heavenly Father, in his sharpest sufferings; nay, declared them to be a proof of it, for which he would be continually praised by his Israel, more than for all other deliverances they received. Never any that hoped in thee, were made ashamed of their hope; never any that sought thee, sought thee in vain. Here is a complaint of the contempt and reproach of men. The Saviour here spoke of the abject state to which he was reduced. The history of Christ's sufferings, and of his birth, explains this prophecy.

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. The very manner of Christ's death is described, though not in use among the Jews. They pierced his hands and his feet, which were nailed to the accursed tree, and his whole body was left so to hang as to suffer the most severe pain and torture. His natural force failed, 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? The life of the sinner was forfeited, and the life of the Sacrifice must be the ransom for it. Our Lord Jesus was stripped, when he was crucified, that he might clothe us with the robe of his righteousness. Thus it was written, therefore thus it behoved Christ to suffer. Let all this confirm our faith in him as the true Messiah, and excite our love to him as the best of friends, who loved us, and suffered all this for us. Christ in his agony prayed, prayed earnestly, prayed that the cup might pass from him. When we cannot rejoice in God as our song, yet let us stay ourselves upon him as our strength; and take the comfort of spiritual supports, when we cannot have spiritual delights. He prays to be delivered from the Divine wrath. He that has delivered, doth deliver, and will do so. We should think upon the sufferings and resurrection of Christ, till we feel in our souls the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.

Verses 22-31 The Saviour now speaks as risen from the dead. The first words of the complaint were used by Christ himself upon the cross; the first words of the triumph are expressly applied to him, ( Hebrews 2:12 ) . All our praises must refer to the work of redemption. The suffering of the Redeemer was graciously accepted as a full satisfaction for sin. Though it was offered for sinful men, the Father did not despise or abhor it for our sakes. This ought to be the matter of our thanksgiving. All humble, gracious souls should have a full satisfaction and happiness in him. Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness in Christ, shall not labour for that which satisfies not. Those that are much in praying, will be much in thanksgiving. Those that turn to God, will make conscience of worshipping before him. Let every tongue confess that he is Lord. High and low, rich and poor, bond and free, meet in Christ. Seeing we cannot keep alive our own souls, it is our wisdom, by obedient faith, to commit our souls to Christ, who is able to save and keep them alive for ever. A seed shall serve him. God will have a church in the world to the end of time. 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 righteousness, and not any of their own, they shall declare to be the foundation of all their hopes, and the fountain of all their joys. Redemption by Christ is the Lord's own doing. Here we see the free love and compassion of God the Father, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, for us wretched sinners, as the source of all grace and consolation; the example we are to follow, the treatment as Christians we are to expect, and the conduct under it we are to adopt. Every lesson may here be learned that can profit the humbled soul. Let those who go about to establish their own righteousness inquire, why the beloved Son of God should thus suffer, if their own doings could atone for sin? Let the ungodly professor consider whether the Saviour thus honoured the Divine law, to purchase him the privilege of despising it. Let the careless take warning to flee from the wrath to come, and the trembling rest their hopes upon this merciful Redeemer. Let the tempted and distressed believer cheerfully expect a happy end of every trial.

Cross References 78

  • 1. S Job 6:15; S Psalms 9:10; Matthew 27:46*; Mark 15:34*
  • 2. Psalms 10:1
  • 3. S Job 3:24
  • 4. S Job 19:7
  • 5. Psalms 42:3; Psalms 88:1
  • 6. S 2 Kings 19:22; Psalms 71:22; S Mark 1:24; Psalms 99:9
  • 7. S Exodus 15:2; Psalms 148:14; Deuteronomy 10:21
  • 8. Psalms 78:53; Psalms 107:6
  • 9. S 1 Chronicles 5:20
  • 10. Isaiah 8:17; Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 30:18
  • 11. S 2 Chronicles 13:18; Psalms 25:3; Psalms 31:17; Psalms 71:1; Isaiah 49:23; Romans 9:33
  • 12. S Job 4:19; Job 25:6; Isaiah 41:14
  • 13. S 2 Samuel 12:14; Psalms 31:11; Psalms 64:8; Psalms 69:19; Psalms 109:25
  • 14. Psalms 119:141; Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 53:3; Isaiah 60:14; Malachi 2:9; Matthew 16:21
  • 15. S Job 17:2; Psalms 35:16; Psalms 69:12; Psalms 74:18; Matthew 27:41; Mark 15:31; Luke 23:36
  • 16. Matthew 27:39,44; Mark 15:32; Luke 23:39
  • 17. Mark 15:29
  • 18. Psalms 91:14
  • 19. S Psalms 3:2
  • 20. S 2 Samuel 22:20; S Matthew 3:17; Matthew 27:43
  • 21. Job 10:18; Psalms 71:6
  • 22. Psalms 78:7; Nahum 1:7
  • 23. Psalms 71:6; Isaiah 46:3; Isaiah 49:1
  • 24. ver 19; S Psalms 10:1
  • 25. S Psalms 10:14
  • 26. S 2 Kings 14:26; S Isaiah 41:28; Psalms 72:12
  • 27. Psalms 68:30
  • 28. Psalms 17:9; Psalms 27:6; Psalms 49:5; Psalms 109:3; Psalms 140:9
  • 29. Deuteronomy 32:14; Isaiah 2:13; Ezekiel 27:6; Ezekiel 39:18; Amos 4:1
  • 30. ver 21; Ezekiel 22:25; Zephaniah 3:3; Psalms 17:12
  • 31. S Genesis 49:9
  • 32. Lamentations 3:46; Psalms 35:21
  • 33. S Psalms 6:2; Psalms 31:10
  • 34. Job 23:16; Psalms 68:2; Psalms 97:5; Micah 1:4
  • 35. Joshua 7:5; Job 30:16; Psalms 107:26; Daniel 5:6
  • 36. Isaiah 45:9
  • 37. Psalms 38:10; Psalms 137:6; Lamentations 4:4; Ezekiel 3:26; John 19:28
  • 38. S Job 7:21; Psalms 104:29
  • 39. Philippians 3:2; Psalms 59:6
  • 40. Isaiah 51:9; Isaiah 53:5; Zechariah 12:10; John 19:34; John 20:25
  • 41. Luke 23:35
  • 42. Psalms 25:2; Psalms 30:1; Psalms 35:19; Psalms 38:16; Lamentations 2:17; Micah 7:8; Luke 23:27
  • 43. S Leviticus 16:8; Matthew 27:35*; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24*
  • 44. Mark 9:12
  • 45. S ver 11
  • 46. S Psalms 18:1
  • 47. Psalms 38:22; Psalms 70:5; Psalms 141:1
  • 48. Psalms 40:13
  • 49. S Job 5:20; Psalms 37:14
  • 50. Psalms 35:17
  • 51. Philippians 3:2
  • 52. S ver 13; S Job 4:10
  • 53. ver 12; S Numbers 23:22
  • 54. Psalms 26:12; Psalms 40:9,10; Psalms 68:26
  • 55. Psalms 35:18; Hebrews 2:12*
  • 56. Psalms 33:2; Psalms 66:8; Psalms 86:12; Psalms 103:1; Psalms 106:1; Psalms 113:1; Psalms 117:1; Psalms 135:19
  • 57. Psalms 50:15; Isaiah 24:15; Isaiah 25:3; Isaiah 49:23; Isaiah 60:9; Jeremiah 3:17
  • 58. S Deuteronomy 14:23; Psalms 33:8
  • 59. Psalms 102:17
  • 60. S Psalms 9:12
  • 61. Psalms 13:1; Psalms 27:9; Psalms 69:17; Psalms 102:2; Psalms 143:7
  • 62. S Job 24:12; S Job 36:5; Hebrews 5:7
  • 63. Psalms 26:12; Psalms 35:18; Psalms 40:9; Psalms 82:1
  • 64. S Numbers 30:2; Ecclesiastes 5:4
  • 65. Psalms 107:9
  • 66. Psalms 40:16
  • 67. S Psalms 2:8
  • 68. Psalms 86:9; Psalms 102:22; Daniel 7:27; Micah 4:1
  • 69. Psalms 47:7-8; Zechariah 14:9
  • 70. Psalms 45:12
  • 71. Psalms 95:6; Psalms 96:9; Psalms 99:5; Isaiah 27:13; Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 66:23; Zechariah 14:16
  • 72. Isaiah 26:19
  • 73. Psalms 89:48
  • 74. Isaiah 53:10; Isaiah 54:3; Isaiah 61:9; Isaiah 66:22; Psalms 102:28
  • 75. Psalms 102:18
  • 76. S Psalms 5:8; Psalms 40:9
  • 77. Psalms 71:18; Psalms 78:6; Psalms 102:18
  • 78. Luke 18:31; Luke 24:44

Footnotes 6

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 22:1-31 is numbered 22:2-32.
  • [b]. Or "night, and am not silent"
  • [c]. Or "Yet you are holy," / "enthroned on the praises of Israel"
  • [d]. Probable reading of the original Hebrew text; Masoretic Text "strength"
  • [e]. Dead Sea Scrolls and some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Septuagint and Syriac; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text "me," / "like a lion"
  • [f]. Hebrew "him"

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, a Psalm of David. The only thing observable in the title of this psalm is the sense of the words "Aijeleth Shahar," left untranslated; which, according to some of the Jewish {g} interpreters, is the name of a musical instrument; to which our version inclines; and a learned Jew {h} says, it is the instrument which the mourning women used on account of distress which was sudden, not known till it came, as a man does not think of the morning till he sees it. "Aijeleth" with him has the signification of mourning, as "Eli" in Joel 1:8; and "Shahar," as in Isaiah 47:11; so tyla and tyyla are used in the Misnah {i} for a mourning woman; and with others it is the beginning of a song to the tune of which the psalm was set {k} but I rather think the words express the subject matter of the psalm, and that they may be rendered, concerning "Aijeleth Shahar"; which signify, either according to the Chaldee paraphrase, "the daily morning sacrifice"; or, as some Jewish writers {l} observe, the "morning star"; or, according to the Septuagint, "the morning help" {m}; or rather "the morning hind"; or "hind of the morning": but who should be designed hereby is the question. The Jews would have any rather than the Messiah; some say Esther {n}, who so seasonably and readily appeared for the Jews in distress, and was the means of their deliverance; but there is not one word in the psalm that agrees with her; and there are some things which were manifestly spoken of a man, and not a woman, Psalm 22:8; others say David {o}, when he fled from Saul, or, as others, from Absalom: but the disjointing the bones of this person, the piercing his hands and feet, parting his garments, and casting lots on his vesture, mentioned in Psalm 22:14; were never fulfilled in him. Others {p} would have the congregation of Israel in captivity intended; but it is plain that a single person is spoken of throughout; and he is manifestly distinguished from others, from his brethren, from the congregation, from the seed of Jacob and Israel, Psalm 22:22; and, indeed, no other than the Messiah can be meant: and of this there ought to be no doubt with Christians, when Psalm 22:1 is compared with Matthew 27:46; Psalm 22:8 with Matthew 27:43; Psalm 22:18 with Matthew 27:35; Psalm 22:22 with Hebrews 2:12; and the Jews themselves sometimes say, that by "Aijeleth Shahar" is meant the Shechinah {q}, or the divine Majesty; and in what way soever these words are rendered, they agree with Christ: he is the antitype of "the daily morning sacrifice," the Lamb of God, who continually takes away the sin of the world; and very fitly is he so called in the title of a psalm which speaks so much of his sufferings and death, which are a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of his people; he is "the bright and morning star," Revelation 22:16; the dayspring from on high, the sun of righteousness, and light of the world: he had "morning help" in his very infancy, when his life was sought for by Herod; and had early and seasonable help and assistance in the acceptable time, and in the day of salvation, and early in the morning was he raised from the dead, and had glory given him: but as the words are better rendered "the morning hind," this suits with Christ, who is frequently compared to a roe or a young hart, Song of Solomon 2:9; and he may be compared to a "hind" for its lovingness to its mate and young, Proverbs 5:19; the love of Christ to his church and people being very strong and affectionate, and passing knowledge; and also for its loveliness and goodliness, Genesis 49:21; Christ being exceeding amiable and lovely, and fairer than the children of men; likewise for its gentleness and harmlessness, Christ being meek and lowly, holy and harmless; and for its antipathy to serpents, there being an enmity between Christ, the seed of the woman, and the serpent and his seed; for its being hunted by dogs, as Christ was by Herod, by the Scribes and Pharisees, by Judas, and the band of soldiers; see Psalm 22:16; for its being fit for food, Deuteronomy 14:5; and as it is said to be the fitter for being hunted, Christ's flesh being meat indeed, and the more suitable to faith, as being sacrificed for us; and for its long life it is said to have, Christ, though once dead, being alive again, and living for evermore; to which may be added its great swiftness, expressive of the readiness of Christ to comply with his Father's proposals and do his will; to come into this world in the fulness of time, and set about the work he came to do; to deliver up himself into the hands of his enemies, and lay down his life for his people; and of his haste to help them in distress, and visit them with his gracious presence, and to appear a second time to them unto salvation. He may be called the hind of "the morning," looking lovely and beautiful as the morning, and swift and cheerful as the hind when it rises from its rest, and runs its course; or because of his being hunted in the morning of his infancy by Herod; or because it was early in the morning the chief priests consulted to take away his life; and as early also he rose from the dead, when God made his feet like hinds feet, and set him on his high places, Psalm 18:33. The ancient Christian writers generally understood it of Christ wholly. Justin Martyr {r} says, the whole psalm is spoken of Christ; and Tertullian observes {s}, that it contains the whole passion, or all the sufferings of Christ. The late Mons. Fourmont {t}, the elder, professor of the Oriental languages in the university of Paris, has a very singular notion, that this psalm was written by Jeremiah, when he was drawn up from the dungeon, and is a history of his life and sufferings, in which he was a type of Christ.

{g} Jarchi, Kimchi, & Abendana in loc. {h} Leo Mutinens. Shilte Hagibborim, fol. 5. 1. {i} Misn. Celim, c. 15. 6. & 16. 7. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. {k} Aben Ezra in loc. {l} Vide Kimchium & Abendauam in loc. {m} So Menachem in Jarchi, and others in Kimchi & Abendana in loc. {n} R. R. in Jarchi in loc. {o} In Kimchi in loc. {p} Kimchi & Ben Melech in loc. {q} Zohar in Lev. fol. 5. 4. & Imre Binah in ib. {r} Dialog cum Tryphone, p. 325. {s} Adv. Judaeos, c. 10. {t} In hunc Psalm. M. S. penes me, fol. 8. 9.

Psalms 22 Commentaries

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