|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 16. - For dogs have compassed me. "Dogs" now encompass the Sufferer, perhaps the subordinate agents in the cruelties - the rude Roman soldiery, who laid rough hands on the adorable Person (Matthew 27:27-35). Oriental dogs are savage and of unclean habits, whence the term "dog" in the East has always been, and still is, a term of reproach. The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; or, a band of wicked ones have shut me in. The "band" of Roman soldiers (Mark 15:16) seems foreshadowed. They pierced my hands and my feet. There are no sufficient critical grounds for relinquishing (with Hengstenberg) this interpretation. It has the support of the Septuagint, the Syriac, the Arabic, and the Vulgate Versions, and is maintained by Ewald, Reinke, Bohl, Moll, Kay, the writer in the 'Speaker's Commentary,' and our Revisers. Whether the true reading be kaaru (כָאְרַוּ) or kaari (כָאֲרִי), the sense will be the same, kaarl being the apocopated participle of the verb, whereof kaaru is the 3rd pers. plu. indic.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For dogs have compassed me,.... By whom are meant wicked men, as the following clause shows; and so the Chaldee paraphrase renders it, "the wicked who are like to many dogs"; and to these such are often compared in Scripture, Matthew 7:6; and it may be the Roman soldiers, who were Gentiles, may be chiefly intended, whom the Jews used to call dogs, Matthew 15:26; these assembled together in Pilate's hall and surrounded Christ, and made sport with him; to these were committed the execution of him, they crucified him, and sat around him watching him while on the cross, as they also did when in the grave: some have thought the dregs of the Jewish people are designed, the common people, such as Job says he would not set with the dogs of his flock, Job 30:1; who encompassed Christ on the cross, wagging their heads at him; though I see not but that all of them, even the chief among them, the high priest, sanhedrim, Scribes, and Pharisees, may be intended; who are so called because of their impurity in themselves; for their avarice and covetousness, being greedy dogs that could never have enough; and for their impudence, calumnies, malice, and envy, against Christ: the allusion seems to be to hunting dogs, who, when they have got the creature they have been in pursuit of, surround it and fall upon it. Christ, in the title of this psalm, is called Aijeleth Shahar, "the morning hind", who was hunted by the Jews, and at last surrounded and taken by them;
the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; the Jewish sanhedrim, the chief priests and elders, who assembled together to consult his death, before whom he was brought when taken; and in, the midst of whom he was set and examined, and by them unanimously condemned; and who, notwithstanding all their pretensions to religion, were a set of wicked men: and also the whole congregation of the Jews, the body of the people, who were united in their request for his crucifixion and death; and who in great numbers got together, and in a circle stood around him when on the cross, insulting him;
they pierced my hands and my feet; by nailing them to the cross, which, though not related by the evangelists, is plainly suggested in John 20:25; and is referred to in other passages of Scripture, Zechariah 12:10; and clearly points at the kind of death Christ should die; the death, of the cross, a shameful and painful one. In this clause there is a various reading; in some copies in the margin it is, "as a lion my hands and my feet", but in the text, "they have dug" or "pierced my hands and my feet"; both are joined together in the Targum, "biting as a lion my hands and my feet"; as it is by other interpreters (c); and Schultens (d) retains the latter, rendering the preceding clause in connection with it thus,
"the assembly of the wicked have broken me to pieces, as a lion, my hands and my feet.''
In the Targum, in the king of Spain's Bible, the phrase, "as a lion", is left out. The modern Jews are for retaining the marginal reading, though without any good sense, and are therefore sometimes charged with a wilful and malicious corruption of the text; but without sufficient proof, since the different reading in some copies might be originally occasioned by the similarity of the letters and and therefore finding it in their copies, or margin, sometimes and sometimes have chose that which best suits their purpose, and is not to be wondered at; however, their "masoretic" notes, continued by them, sufficiently clear them from such an imputation, and direct to the true reading of the words; in the small Masorah on the text it is observed that the word is twice used as here pointed, but in two different senses; this is one of the places; the other is Isaiah 38:13; where the sense requires it should be read "as a lion": wherefore, according to the authors of that note, it must have a different sense here, and not to be understood of a lion; the larger Masorah, in Numbers 24:9; observes the word is to be found in two places, in that place and in Psalm 22:16; and adds to that, it is written "they pierced"; and Ben Chayim confirms (e) this reading, and says he found it so written it, some correct copies, and in the margin and so it is written in several manuscripts; and which is confirmed by the Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopic, Greek, and Vulgate Latin versions; in which it is rendered, "they dug my hands and my feet"; and so took it to be a verb and not a noun: so Apollinarius in his metaphrase; and which is also confirmed by the points; though taking for a participle, as the Targum, that reading may be admitted, as it is by some learned men (f), who render it "digging" or "piercing", and so has the same sense, deriving the word either from or which signify to dig, pierce, or make hollow; and there are many instances of plural words which end in the omitted, being cut off by an apocope; see 2 Samuel 23:8; and either way the words are expressive of the same thing, and manifestly point to the sufferings of Christ, and that kind of death he should die, the death of the cross, and the nailing of his hands and feet to it, whereby they were pierced. This passage is sometimes applied by the Jews (g) themselves to their Messiah.
(c) Amamae Antibarb. Bibl. p. 743. (d) Origin. Heb. l. 1. c. 12. s. 8. Vid. Jacob. Alting. Dissert. Philolog. 5. s. 27-34. (e) In Maarcath fol. 10. 2. ad Calc. Buxtorf. Bibl. (f) Pocock. Miscell. c. 4. p. 59, 60. Pfeiffer. Exercitat. 8. s. 37. Carpzov. Critic. Sacr. p. 838, 839. Alting. ut supra. (Dissert. Philolog. 5.) s. 48, 49. (g) Pesikta in Yalkut, par. 2. fol. 56. 4.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. Evildoers are well described as dogs, which, in the East, herding together, wild and rapacious, are justly objects of great abhorrence. The last clause has been a subject of much discussion (involving questions as to the genuineness of the Hebrew word translated "pierce)" which cannot be made intelligible to the English reader. Though not quoted in the New Testament, the remarkable aptness of the description to the facts of the Saviour's history, together with difficulties attending any other mode of explaining the clause in the Hebrew, justify an adherence to the terms of our version and their obvious meaning.
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