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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 22

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-31

Psalms 22:1 . My God, my God. The LXX, Ο Θεος ο Θεος μου . The Chaldaic is like the English. The Hebrew forms the superlative degree by repetition. Example: “The heaven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee.” The Lord called Abraham, Abraham; and again at the bush, Moses, Moses. When the Saviour became our covert, and received the storm of anger against a guilty world, his suffering humanity offered up strong cries and tears to God in these sublime words, Why hast thou forsaken me? Why hast thou left me to suffer alone? To taste the bitterness of death, to bear the grief, to carry the sorrows, and take away the sins of the world! The weight was so great, the sorrows so heavy that he sunk into the arms of death. Yet literally, he was not forsaken; the sun shines behind the darkest cloud. The Father always heard him, and received his spirit; yea, exalted him above every name as the just reward of his obedience.

Psalms 22:9-10 . Thou art he that took me out of the womb. The Messiah applies these words to himself, in Isaiah 49:1. “The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.” He only was born of a virgin, and born the Holy One of Israel. But let all parents especially dedicate their infants to the Lord: else the gentiles would shame us by dedicating their offspring to their idols.

Psalms 22:14 . All my bones are out of joint. Hebrews separated. The method of crucifixion was to lay the cross on the ground, and nail the hands and feet of the victim to the wood. Then, on elevation, the jirk into the hole would very much distend the joints, and expose the bones of the thorax or breast. David himself was never in this situation. No group of executioners ever parted his raiment, or cast lots for his vesture; nor did they ever offer him the stupifying potion of vinegar and gall.

Psalms 22:16 . They pierced my hands and my feet. The LXX, ωρυξαν χειρας μου και ποδας : they digged my hands and my feet. The masoretic rabbins, to weaken the force of this text, have thrown the word כארו kaaru, “they pierced,” into the margin, and introduced into the text the word כארי keari, “as a lion.” The variation is but of a single letter, the י yod being substituted for the ו vau. But if this were correct, how does it weaken the text? How does this little artifice agree with dogs in the words before? Must the lion wait for his meal, and come to finish what the dogs had begun? Does a lion aim at a man’s hands and feet; say rather, at the head, the arm, or the shoulder. Above all, how came the seventy learned Jews to be ignorant of such a reading. In fact it is the weakness of enmity, similar to their assertions that Isaiah’s prophecy, “he was wounded for our transgressions,” refers to king Josiah who was killed in battle. The elder rabbins, like the LXX, and several of the Hebrew MSS. all support the true reading of the text.

Psalms 22:21 . The horns of the unicorns, irresistible in fight, as described in Numbers 23:22.

Psalms 22:27 . All the ends of the world shall remember. David having described the sufferings of Christ, spake this of the glory that should follow. The nation that will not serve him shall be destroyed. The kingdom, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the Most High.


In the day and night of great trouble we must utter the sorrows of the heart to that ear which is always open, and display our griefs to that eye which always sees. The Saviour, who met the sorrows of Gethsemane, is here a pattern to his saints.

While David, a type of Christ, was uttering the anguish of his heart from the persecution of Saul, a flood of light broke in upon his soul with regard to the sufferings of the Saviour, and so powerfully that, in some sort, he forgot himself to speak of his Lord alone. He spake in one of the most luminous prophecies that a mortal tongue ever uttered. He saw the heart- rending tragedy of the bleeding Prince of peace. He saw beyond the dark cloud, the Redeemer rising from the tomb, delivered from the strong bulls of Bashan and from the horns of the unicorn, to his Father’s throne. He saw his Lord, trampled upon and crushed as a worm by the rulers, rising with morning beams to the full lustre of celestial day, and reigning as the prince and Lord of heaven and earth. Thus the suffering church must ever keep before her eyes the glory of an immortal hope.

We see in this tragic psalm, the curtains of futurity uplifted, and the Redeemer exposed in single combat against a nation of foes. We behold the horrifying scenes which melted all the prophets’ hearts, and bathed their eyes in tears. But which being now accomplished, the events are so many facts which become the strong pillars of support to the church. This assurance, the sure word of prophecy, is the sweet cup handed down to the church after the bitter cup of anguish and sympathetic grief. So many circumstances of the Redeemer’s passion, circumstances which no hyperbole of speech can apply to David, demonstrate him to be the true Messiah. He sees the travail of his soul, in a world of gentile converts, and is satisfied. In him the tears of Zion are crystalized to gems of heavenly joy.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 22". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/psalms-22.html. 1835.
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