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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 22

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-31

Psalms 22


This is known as the suffering, despair, and deliverance Psalm, prophetic of the despond, despair, and substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah, by the cruel form of crucifixion on a Roman cross.

Psalms 22, 23, 24 are said to form a trilogy, setting forth the coming Messiah as a caring Shepherd in three ways:

1) Psalms 22 presents Him as the Good Shepherd, who gives His life in holy innocence for His sheep, John 10:11.

2) Psalms 23 presents Him as the Great Shepherd brought forth from the dead through the blood of the everlasting covenant, continually caring for His sheep, Hebrews 13:20; John 10:28-29; Romans 8:11.

3) Psalms 24 presents Him as the Chief Shepherd head over all, yet coming as King of Kings and of glory to reward all His sheep, 2 Corinthians 5:10; 1 Peter 5:4.

A Canvass of Death by Crucifixion

Like an artist the psalmist painted a poetic picture of death by crucifixion as follows:

a) V. 14 ... the bones (of the hands, shoulders, and hips) are out of joint, pulled from their sockets, as death approaches.

b) V. 14 ... adds that he is "poured out like water," profuse perspiration ran down his body.

c) V. 14 ... further adds that his heart was like wax, melted in the midst of His body, oozing out blood, seepage from a broken heart.

d) V. 15 ... indicated His strength was dried up ... dying with thirst.

e) V. 16 ... describes taunting of the wicked as they pierced his hands and feet through with nails.

f) V. 17 ... describes also how He was stripped nigh naked to debase Him as immodest.

The three cries of "my God," verses 1, 2 indicate His trust in God, tho forsaken of the Father, to die in holiness, the just for the unjust, on a cruel Roman cross, to bring men to God, 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18. The manner of this cruel execution by the Romans, for the Jews, is described Matthew 27:6-8; Matthew 27:12-13; Matthew 27:35; Matthew 27:39; Matthew 27:43-46. The definitive fulfillment of the method of suffering and death of the Messiah of this Psalm evidences its inspiration.

Verses 1-31:

Derision, Abuse, Rejection, Crucifixion of Messiah

Verses 1, 2 set forth a triune (three time repeated) cry of the despairing Messiah, "my God! my God!" a more forlorn or despairing cry was never uttered than this one uttered by our Lord Jesus Christ, of which these verses are definitively prophetic, Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34. "Why hast thou forsaken or abandoned me," He asked. And why had He withdrawn so far away from Him, He despaired? Isaiah 52:14; Genesis 4:4; Hebrews 10:18. Why had the mighty God turned a deaf ear to His roaring, crying like a wounded beast, the parent of which will furiously rush to the rescue of the wounded? He asked. Yet, He trusted in Him, as "my God," keeper of His covenants with Israel and all men, Hebrews 5:8-9; expecting to be delivered, as He was of the Father, out of death, hell and the grave, Psalms 138:8; Hebrews 2:9-15; Romans 8:11; Hebrews 5:7.

Verse 2 relates that when He cried in the daytime God did not heed, tho He had recognized Him, as His well pleasing Son at His baptism, Matthew 3:17; and sent angels to minister to Him after His temptation on the mount, Matthew 4:11; He was caused of the Father to be transfigured, before Peter, James, and John, Matthew 17:1-5. The multitude had cried, "hosanna" to Him at His final march into Jerusalem. But now He was forlorn and forsaken by His own, even by His own Father, alone to die for all, 2 Corinthians 5:21. His fellowship with the Father was severed, that man’s broken fellowship with God might be restored. In the night He had often communed with the Father before and been heard always in dark hours, but not this time, Luke 6:12-13; John 11:41-42.

Verse 3 relates that the Son did attribute holiness to the Father even in His hour of desolation, despond, and despair of agony for our sins on the cross, Ezekiel 18:4; Romans 6:23. "You are holy," He said, as also related Isaiah 6:1-3; Isaiah 57:15. The Father is declared by the Son to inhabit the praises of Israel, to be manifest through them, as He was through the Shekinah glory, enthroned above the cherubims, Exodus 15:11; Psalms 90:1.

Verse 4 relates that "our fathers," fathers of the covenant of Israel, had trusted in this living God and He had delivered, liberated, protected, and preserved them. The Son claimed Him as "my God, my God!" v. 1, 2, yet trusting in Him to deliver Him from that He was to face. From Pharaoh’s oppression and bondage Israel had cried; Her cry was heard of the Lord, and He did respond to deliver and lead them securely to the promised land, Exodus 3:7-11; Exodus 12:26-27; Psalms 109:25; Matthew 27:39-44.

Verse 5 adds that when they cried to the lord they were delivered from oppression; Because they trusted in the Lord God and were not confounded, disappointed, or put to shame, Psalms 145:18-19; 1 Peter 2:6.

Verse 6 laments "but I am a worm (like a worm in physical distress), and no man" in contrast with former servants of God who trusted in Him and "were not confounded," disappointed or brought to helpless shame. When one is brought to worm-like "nothingness," let him remember God’s encouraging words, Isaiah 41:14; Hebrews 13:5; Philippians 4:19; Romans 8:28. He added that he was "a reproach (object of reproach) of men, and despised of the masses," lower than the beasts who dash to help the despairing cry of their own wounded. Such prophetically spoke of the attitude of Jew and Gentile toward our Lord in the passion hours of His last week on earth among men, Isaiah 53:3-7; Matthew 27:39. As "they that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads," Psalms 109:25.

Verse 7 relates that those who saw Him "laughed Him to scorn," shooting out, or "shooting off" the lips, pouring forth insults, "they shake the head," to say contemptuously, there exists no hope for this sufferer, as they sneered and walked on, Isaiah 57:4; Job 16:4; Psalms 44:14; 1 Peter 2:23.

Verse 8 foretells that these revilers would say, "He trusted on, rolled Himself on, the Lord that He would deliver Him. Let Him deliver Him, seeing, or if, He delights in Him," or will have anything to do with Him, will claim Him as His Son, Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 3:17. For definitive fulfillment in Jesus, the Messiah, see Matthew 27:43. He was the one in whom "the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily," who tasted death for every man, Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 2:9.

Further Prophetic Allusion to Our Lord’s Suffering

Verses 9, 10 declare that His God had taken Him out of and away from His mother’s womb, caused Him to hope while He was upon His mother’s breast, was cast upon God from the womb, (time of birth). He cried, "Thou art my God, from my Mother’s belly." He casts Himself upon the care of His Father, as Israel had from Egypt’s bondage, even as a child from the womb (Heb Gochi) is dependent upon its mother’s nourishment, clothing and protection.

Verses 11-13 relate His despairing cry to God for help, for Him to come near to help him, because of His trouble, and there was none (not a one) to help in this dreadful hour, Psalms 10:1; Psalms 142:4. He added that many strong bulls of Bashan beset Him on every side, even well fed, ferocious bulls of the lush green hills and valleys of Gilead, Psalms 68:30; Deuteronomy 32:14; Ezekiel 39:18; Amos 4:1.

Verse 13 further describes His enemies as "gaping upon" or opening their mouths as an hungry, ravening, starving lion, to destroy Him at once, Amos 3:4. Such alluded to the mouths of pious Pharisees, Sadducees, priest, elders, and the Sanhedrin in Israel who brought false accusations against our Lord, even hiring false witnesses against Him to destroy Him, Psalms 35:21; Job 16:10; La 2:16; 3:46; Ezekiel 22:27-28; 1 Peter 5:8; Matthew 26:59-60; Mark 14:56-57; Matthew 28:12-15.

Verses 14, 15 lament that his troubles from within, his very soul, is poured out like water, weakened, helpless, a symbol of utter helplessness, 1 Samuel 7:6; I1Sa 14:14. The phrase "my bones are out of joint" pulled from the socket, is a description of loss of muscular tonality to hold up the weight of the body on the cross. When muscle tone or tautness was gone bones slipped out of their joints, causing further pain, as blood flow was closed off from limbs of the body. That his heart was melted like wax in his belly indicates the burning, sinking pain Jesus suffered in His heart and soul as He "bore our sins in His body on the tree;" 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 3:18. See also Joshua 7:5; Psalms 68:2. He added that his strength had dried up like a potsherd, when its water was, exposed to the burning sun. He thirsted in His soul with His tongue cleaving to the roof of His mouth, John 19:28. He witnessed that God had brought Him to the dust of death, Proverbs 17:22; 2 Corinthians 5:20.

Verses 16, 17 further describe, as fulfilled, the passion of the Messiah in bringing redemption to all men. He describes the assembly of the wicked as savage, flesh-tearing wild dogs that surrounded their weakened prey, to finish the kill and devour it, Revelation 22:15; Revelation 22:20. He disclosed that "they pierced my hands and my feet." The only method of death utilizing such was the crucifixion, never approved by the Jews, but the primary form of capital punishment under Roman Law, reserved for the worst of criminals, Zechariah 12:10; Luke 23:33.

Verse 18 adds that "they part my garments among them and cast lots for my vesture," as fulfilled in the death of our Lord, Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:21; Luke 23:31; John 19:23-24. The outer garment had four parts and was divided among the four executioners of our Lord, as a part of their booty, Numbers 15:38. The vesture or inner tunic (Gk. cheton) was woven, could not be well divided, so they cast lots for it.

Verses 1921 are a direct cry for the Lord to draw nigh, from afar, and make haste to help His own Son, by His might. He asked that God deliver His soul (life) from the sword, His only darling one, my only soul, from the power of the wild dog, the Jewish rabble, filthy and rabble as the unclean carrion-eating dog, Isaiah 56:10-11; Philippians 3:2. He further asks the Lord to save or deliver Him from the lion’s mouth, from the king of the beasts of the underworld, even Satan himself, 2 Timothy 4:17; 1 Peter 5:8. He adds that He had been heard of the Lord "from the horns of the unicorn," a fierce beast of the wild, ox family of the middle east. He had said, "thou hearest me always," but in His death for man’s sins He had to die alone, unanswered by the Father, till He called Him from the grave, 2 Corinthians 5:21; John 11:42; Deuteronomy 33:17.

Verse 22 turns from the crucifixion of the Messiah to the after resurrection prophecy, fulfilled in the command of our risen Lord, "go to my brethren," and that of the angel, "go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen," John 20:17; Matthew 28:7. For He was to declare "His name," power, and authority to His brethren, assembly, congregation, the church, the new "elect" worship and service body that He had instituted, Hebrews 2:12; Hebrews 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:15.

Verse 23 exhorts "ye (you all) who fear the Lord, praise Him all ye seed of Jacob, glorify Him." It is written that "the testimony of Jesus is, (exists as) the spirit (dynamics) of prophecy," Revelation 19:10. All who fear or reverence the Lord are called to glorify the risen Redeemer, even all those of the seed of Jacob, even of Israel, Revelation 5:10-13; Revelation 15:4.

Verse 24 declares that the resurrected one had not despised, taken lightly, abhorred, or ignored the affliction of the afflicted. Neither did He hide His face, or turn away His face from the cry of the weak and the infirm. Such was manifest in the life of our Lord through His miracle ministry, feeding the hungry, healing the incurably ill, casting demons out of the mentally deranged, and raising the dead, John 3:2; John 20:30-31.

Verses 25, 26 recount the resolve of the risen Redeemer in His declared purpose to praise His Father, whom He had called "my God, my God, O my God," v. 1, 2. He was to praise Him, His "father," in the great congregation, not of natural Israel, but of the church congregation which He had built, declared to be "greater than" the one that Moses built, Deuteronomy 16:11; Deuteronomy 12:18; Hebrews 3:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:15. He purposed to pay His vows before them who feared His Father, in His resurrection appearances, as foretold, and certified, Matthew 26:31-32; Matthew 28:16-20. It is added that the meek (not the arrogant) should eat and be satisfied. Such was fulfilled as our Lord offered Himself as the bread of life, to satisfy the hunger and receiving soul with eternal life; They who sought Him found Him, were satisfied in soul, and praised Him from their hearts for eternal life which He gave, John 6:27; John 6:31-37; John 6:51; John 6:58. Those who ate in vow feasts in Israel were not so blessed as these, Leviticus 7:11.

Verse 27 adds that "all the ends of the earth shall be caused to remember and turn to the Lord," from all parts of the earth, and the kindreds of the nations should come to worship before Him, as alluded to in the Abrahamic promise, Genesis 12:3; Genesis 28:14. By the prodigal’s return, Luke 15:17; and by those saved after our Lord’s victorious resurrection, as recounted Acts ch.2. This will ultimately be fulfilled during the millennial, at the second advent of our Lord; Revelation 20:14.

Verse 28 declares that the "kingdom is (exists as) the Lord’s’ and he is (exists as) the governor among the nations," as witnessed, Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:31-33; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. He shall one day be recognized as "King of kings," and "Lord of lords," Revelation 19:11-16.

Verse 29 declares that "all they that be (exist as) fat on the earth shall come to eat and worship, bow down before Him," be subject to Him, Psalms 45:12; Psalms 72:10-11; Romans 14:11-12; Philippians 2:6-11. All who go down to the dust (to the grave) shall bow down before him one day, in either the first or second resurrection, Isaiah 26:19; Philippians 2:6-11. It is concluded that none can keep alive his own soul, for life comes from the living God, not from ones own power, Acts 17:28.

Verse 30 prophesies that "a seed shall serve him," and it shall "be accounted to the Lord for a generation," Isaiah 53:10. Through Christ the believers, "called from among the gentiles as a people for His name’s sake," Acts 15:13-15, committed to service to Him, in the church, is that seed of the new covenant, with whom He is identified in this age, in the midst of the church, Matthew 28:20; Ephesians 3:21; Revelation 1:12-13; Revelation 1:20.

Verse 31 concludes that they "this new covenant seed fellowship," shall serve Him, witness for Him, as His new chosen and commissioned people, John 15:16; John 15:26-27; Acts 1:8. They were "a people that were to be born," to come forth, to "declare His righteousness," that He had done this ... He had brought redemption, finished the work He had been sent to do, John 17:4.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Psalms 22". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/psalms-22.html. 1985.
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