|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:11-21 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.
Verse 12. - Many bulls have compassed me. The Sufferer represents the adversaries who crowd around him under the figure of "bulls" - fierce animals in all parts of the world, and in Palestine particularly' wild and ferocious. "Bulls,, and buffaloes are very numerous, says Canon Tristram, "in Southern Judaea; they are in the habit of gathering in a circle around any novel or unaccustomed object, and may be easily instigated into charging with their horns" ('Natural History of the Bible,' p. 71). Strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. Bashan, the richest pasture-g"round of Palestine, produces the largest and strongest animals (Ezekiel 39:18). Hence "the kine of Bashan" became an expression for powerful oppressors (Amos 4:1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Many bulls have compassed me,.... By whom are meant the chief priests, elders, Scribes, and Pharisees, among the Jews, and Herod and Pontius Pilate among the Gentiles, comparable to bulls for their fierceness, rage, and fury against Christ, Psalm 2:1; and for their pushing at him with their horns of power and authority, and for their trampling him under their feet, his person and offices; these compassed him about at his apprehension, arraignment, trial, and condemnation; and there were many of them to one child, Jesus:
strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round; Bashan was a very fruitful country, in which cattle of various sorts, and bulls among the rest, were fed and fattened; see Deuteronomy 32:14; bulls are noted for their strength in other writers (a). Hence great men, who abounded in riches and power, and used them to the oppression of the poor, are compared to the kine of Bashan, Amos 4:1; and a very fit name this was for the kings and princes of the earth; for Caiaphas, Annas, and the chief priests, that lived upon the fat of the land, who beset Christ around, and employed all their power and policy to take him and bring him to death; nor is it unusual with Heathen writers (b) to compare great personages to bulls.
(a) "Fortes tauri", Virgil. Georgic. l. 1. v. 65. Ovid. Metamorph. l. 9. Fab. 1.((b) Homer. Iliad. 2. v. 48. Horat. Satyr. l. 1. Satyr. 3. v. 110.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12, 13. His enemies, with the vigor of bulls and rapacity of lions, surround him, eagerly seeking his ruin. The force of both figures is greater without the use of any particle denoting comparison.
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