PSALM 22

 

Psalm 22 was written by David about a thousand years before Christ and several hundred years before the punishment of crucifixion was known in Israel.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?

O my God, I cry in the daytime, but you hear not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But you are holy, O you who inhabits the praise of Israel. Our fathers trusted in you; they trusted, and you did deliver them. They cried to you, and were delivered; they trusted in you, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised to the people. All they who see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him; let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

But you are he who took me out of the womb; you made me hope upon my mother’s breasts. I was cast upon you from the womb; you are my God from my mother’s belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, like a ravening and a roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; and you have brought me to the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. I may count all my bones; they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots for my vesture.

“But be not far from me, O Lord. O my strength, hasten to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion’s mouth; for you have heard me from the horns of the wild unicorns. I will declare your name to my brothers; in the mides of the congregation will I praise you.

“You who fear the Lord, praise him; all you, the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all you, the seed of Israel. For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither has he hidden his face form him; but when he cried to him, he heard. My praise shall be of you in the great congregation; I will pay my vows before them who fear him. The meek shall be satisfied; they shall praise the Lord who seek him; your heart shall live forever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before you. For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and he is the governor among the nations. All they who are fat upon the earth shall eat and worship; all they who go down to the dust shall bow before him, and none can keep alive his own soul.

“A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born, that he has done this.”

Matthew 27:46 records Jesus, after suffering for at least three hours after He was nailed to the cross, as echoing the cry given by David at the start of his psalm:

“And about three o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

It was noted in another volume of this series that God had to forsake Jesus, as He, in his moral perfection, could not look upon the sin that Jesus had personified. Jesus knew this beforehand, probably no later than while praying in the Garden of Gethsemane the evening before, and this knowledge may have contributed greatly to his agony there. He certainly agonized over it on the cross, but He also may have intended this utterance to point the future reader of Scripture to that Psalm.

Psalm 22 itself described in detail the physiological effects of crucifixion. The account has a supernatural element, as the Psalm preceded the punishment of crucifixion in Israel.

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