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Bible Commentaries

John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
Psalms 22

 

 

Verses 1-31

The Ps. has two sections, in the first of which (Psalms 22:1-21) the writer earnestly seeks God's help in a time of extreme trouble, while in the second (Psalms 22:22-31) he breaks into a song of thanksgiving and praise. The trouble is caused by strong and relentless enemies who scorn his trust in God, and persistently threaten his life. The thanksgiving is remarkable for its anticipation of the worldwide acknowledgment of God that is to follow the Psalmist's deliverance. The last-named fact has led some to the view that the Ps. describes a national rather than a personal experience, while the use made of it in the NT. has caused others to regard it as wholly prophetic of the sufferings of Christ. There seems to be a real personal element in the Ps., but at the same time the writer as a righteous sufferer has a representative character, and his words have a partial fulfilment in the experiences of the faithful remnant in Israel, and a complete fulfilment in those of Jesus Christ, which axe the supreme type of righteous suffering leading to the establishment of a universal kingdom of God. The contents of the Ps. explain its use on Good Friday.

Title.—(RV) 'Set to Aijeleth hash-Shahar' (the hind of the morning); probably the name of some well-known song, to the melody of which the Ps. was intended to be sung.

1. The opening words (in the Aramaic form) were quoted by our Lord on the Cross (Matthew 27:46). It has been supposed that He repeated the whole Ps., and that the remainder was drowned in the tumult and jeers of the mob.

2. And am not silent] RM 'but find no rest.'

3. The praises of Israel] which have deservedly surrounded God in the past, and which He will not cease to deserve by ceasing to deliver His people. The thought is expanded in Psalms 22:4, Psalms 22:5.

6. This v. describes the Psalmist's humiliation in terms similar to those used of the suffering Servant of the Lord in Isaiah (Isaiah 41:14; Isaiah 49:7; Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 53:2-3).

7. shoot out the lip.. shake the head] gestures of contempt and hatred.

8. These very words were used by the priests in mockery of our Lord as He hung on the Cross (Matthew 27:43).

12. Bulls.. strong bulls of Bashan] suggesting the strength and aggressive rage of the Psalmist's enemies. Bashan was the N. part of the region E. of the Jordan, and was a rich pasture land.

15. The parching effects of a fever supply another metaphor for the Psalmist's trouble.

16. Dogs] which haunt Eastern towns and villages in savage and cowardly packs—fit emblems of the Psalmist's fierce and yet contemptible foes. They pierced my hands and my feet] The reference is still to the dogs, who snap at the exposed parts of those whom they attack. The singular coincidence between this v. and what was done at the Crucifixion is not noted in NT. They pierced] taken from LXX and Vulgate. Other versions read, 'they bound.' Heb. has, 'like a lion': see RM.

17. I may tell all my bones] i.e. count them all. They are visible through his emaciated flesh. The words may be either a literal or a figurative description of the writer's miserable state.

18. The conduct of his enemies is that of robbers. The application of this v. in John 19:24 is well known.

20. My darling] RM 'my only one,' my precious life. From.. the dog] cp. John 19:16.

21. Thou hast heard me] a sudden conviction of faith which gives a new tone to the rest of the Ps. Unicorns] RV 'wild-oxen.' In this and the preceding v. the figures of John 19:12-13, John 19:16 (bulls, lions, dogs) are repeated.

22. These words are put into the mouth of Christ in Hebrews 2:12.

26. The meek] the afflicted righteous, like the 'poor' and the 'humble.' Eat and be satisfied] in the meal which accompanies their sacrifice (Leviticus 7:16), or to which they may be invited by the Psalmist when he presents his thankoffering.

Your heart shall live] RV 'let your heart live,' the writer's prayer for his sacrificial guests.

27-30. These vv. extend the circle in which God is to be praised. It includes all the inhabitants and rulers of the earth, and all the generations to come.

29. They that be fat, etc.] RV 'the fat ones of the earth,' the mightiest rulers. Eat and worship] join in the sacrificial feast. Or perhaps the words mean 'shall worship Him alone.' They that go down to the dust] all mortal men, perhaps specially referring to the kings of the earth with their transient glory.

None can keep alive, etc.] Read with LXX (joining this clause with the beginning of Psalms 22:30) 'and as for him that could not keep his soul alive, his seed shall serve Him' (Jehovah). The weakest and most distressed will leave a posterity to praise God.

30. It shall be accounted, etc.] RV 'It shall be told of the Lord unto the next generation.'

 


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Bibliography Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 22:4". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcb/psalms-22.html. 1909.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, May 26th, 2020
the Seventh Week after Easter
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