Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David
1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
2 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou nearest not;
And in the night season, and am not silent.
3 But thou art holy,
O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
4 Our fathers trusted in thee:
They trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
5 They cried unto thee, and were delivered:
They trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
6 But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised of the people.
7 All they that see me laugh me to scorn:
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
8 He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him:
Let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
9 But thou art he that took me out of the womb:
Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.
10 I was cast upon thee from the womb:
Thou art my God from my mother’s belly.
11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near;
For there is none to help.
12 Many bulls have compassed me:
Strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
13 They gaped upon me with their mouths,
As a ravening and a roaring lion.
14 I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint:
My heart is like wax;
It is melted in the midst of my bowels.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd;
And my tongue cleaveth to my jaws;
And thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
16 For dogs have compassed me:
The assembly of the wicked have inclosed me;
They pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I may tell all my bones:
They look and stare upon me.
18 They part my garments among them,
And cast lots upon my vesture.
19 But be not thou far from me, O LORD:
O my strength, haste thee to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword;
My darling from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion’s mouth:
For thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
22 I will declare thy name unto my brethren:
In the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
23 Ye that fear the LORD, praise him;
All ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him;
And fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24 For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Neither hath he hid his face from him;
But when he cried unto him, he heard.
25 My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation:
I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied:
They shall praise the LORD that seek him:
Your heart shall live forever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD:
And all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
28 For the kingdom is the LORD’S:
And he is the governor among the nations.
29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship:
All they that go down to the dust shall bow before him:
And none can keep alive his own soul.
30 A seed shall serve him;
It shall be accounted to the LORD for a generation.
31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness
Unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
ITS CONTENTS AND COMPOSITION. With respect to the Title, vid. Introduction.—The Psalm begins with calling upon God, which manifests itself directly as an anxious cry of one severely troubled and presents itself as an anxious inquiry for the reason of his being forsaken by God (Psalm 22:1), in which condition the sufferer finds himself externally, though internally he is closely united to God; for his loud and persevering cry for deliverance has not yet had a hearing (Psalm 22:2). This, however, is contrary to the nature of God (Psalm 22:3), and the experience of the fathers (Psalm 22:4, 5). The misery of the sufferer who is now almost crushed, is the more painful and inconceivable, that together with his sad condition, his trust in God, which is well known to the people, is made the object of bitter scorn (Psalm 22:6–8). Though scorned, he recognizes and asserts his communion with God as proved to him from his birth (Psalm 22:9, 10). On this very account he again lifts up the cry of prayer for deliverance from nearer and greater peril of death (Psalm 22:11), which he now describes at first according to its external fearfulness (Psalm 22:12–13), and then according to its effects upon his person (Psalm 22:14, 15), and finally according to its speedy accomplishment already explained by his enemies (Psalm 22:16–18). The prayer itself is then uttered according to its essential subject (Psalm 22:19–21), and closes in a form which includes the assurance of its being heard. The consequence of this will be the praise of God in the congregation of the brethren by the mouth of the delivered one, (Psalm 22:22–24), who will fulfil the vows now uttered (Psalm 22:25), from which again salvation will arise forever for those who fear God and share therein (Psalm 22:26). The latter will consist likewise of converted heathen (Psalm 22:27), in whom God will vindicate His sovereignty (Psalm 22:28), all of whom however He feeds, because they serve Him (Psalm 22:29), and thereby preserves from generation to generation the seed of the servants of God (Psalm 22:30), and causes it to grow into a people of God, in which is proclaimed what He has done for them (Psalm 22:31). Thus a close and compact train of thought is given, which rises from the straits of personal affliction not only to the heights of assurance of faith in a sure deliverance by God, but advances to the sublime vision of sure salvation in God, for those out of all nations, who are converted to God. In this vision there is so little evidence of a later composition, that rather the Judaistic particularism is later, whilst the prophecies of the blessing of all nations in the seed of Abraham belonged already to the patriarchal period. Just so with the language of the Psalm. Delitzsch has shown not a few correspondences with Davidic Psalms.8 Böhl reminds us of the fact that in yomâm, Psalm 22:2, we have an ancient Hebrew accusative ending afterwards lost, which is according to Oppert (Journ. Asiat., 1857) frequent in the Assyrian cuneiform inscriptions, as well as the accusative ending in ûth used already in the Pentateuch which is seen in the two hapaxlegom., אֱיָלוּת, Psalm 22:19, and ענוּת, Psalm 22:24. A historical reference to the conduct of the pious as opposed to the rebels in the Maccabean times (Olsh.) or to that of the Jewish people in exile in their affliction by the heathen (Isaki, Kimchi, De Wette, Ewald),9 can no more be proved than the composition by the prophet Jeremiah in the days of his ill-treatment and subsequent deliverance (Jer. 37:11 sq.) shortly before the destruction of Judah, whence the prospect of a new generation, and the entirely different tone of the Psalm in the former and latter halves is to be explained (Hitzig); or indeed its composition by the king Hezekiah in the time of his distress and deliverance from Sennacherib (Jahn). The structure of the strophes, verses, and lines, likewise, in part very dissimilar in length and rythm, leads not to the time of the transition from the concise into the loose style, or to a writer of less poetic talent and skill, but argues rather against the supposition of mere literary labor, or of a free poetical conception or composition, especially if we estimate the fact, that all is treated individually and in personal terms, and is referred to actual events and experiences.
ITS MESSIANIC CHARACTER.—If now we ask to what person, and to whose circumstances, sentiments, and character, the words here spoken are entirely appropriate, the answer can only be, to king David for the most part, yet almost still more to Jesus which is Christ. This is so generally recognized that it is unnecessary to adduce the particular features which fully justify it. The more difficult question, however, is this, whether these are only analogies, which have naturally occasioned a comparison of the fate and words of Jesus with the present description, and rendered their application to Him possible, without doing violence to the text (Matth. 27:35, 43, 46; Mark 15:34; John 19:23 sq.; Heb. 2:11 sq.) He who merely grants this, will soon be convinced that he cannot stop here. For the relation between the Biblical David and David’s son consists not in mere particular resemblances, but in a thorough-going relationship, and is founded not in accidental criticisms, or in connections of one’s own choosing, which are then spun out further in scholastic forms; but in the government of God in history. In this connection the Psalm must at least be regarded as typical; and indeed we are not allowed to think either of the personification of the people of Israel by an unknown poet (De Wette, Olsh.), or to insert between Christ and David the ideal person of the righteous (Hengst.), for the references are entirely concrete and individual.10 But even this definition does not suffice. The question still remains to be answered, whether the Psalm is to be regarded as merely typical, or typical-prophetical, or merely prophetical, that is directly and immediately Messianic. In the first case David speaks not at all of the Messiah, but of himself and his own adventures—of the effects and consequences connected with them; and the typical reference of these words would be only subsequently in the congregation. This supposition is opposed by the circumstance, that in the life of David, whilst the time of the persecution by Saul might afford the historical foundation for such expressions (Calv., Venem., Thol., et al.), yet no circumstances known to us, not even 1 Sam. 23:25 sq. (von Hofmann), in themselves justify such complaints and such hopes as those here expressed. Moreover, the supposition of a poetical summary of his experience by the much tried king in the evening of his life, finds its refutation in the individual characteristics of the Psalm already repeatedly mentioned. The pure historical interpretation (Paulus, Eckermann, De Wette, Hupfeld, Hitzig, and in part Hofmann) which at most makes it a mere type, which according to Kurtz, was discovered only after its fulfilment by the writers of the New Testament, is entirely unsatisfactory. So likewise the merely prophetical or direct Messianic interpretation of the ancient synagogue, which regards the Hind of the morning directly as the name of the Shekinah, and as a symbol of the approaching redemption, so likewise the orthodoxy of the ancient church, which referred each and all literally and properly to Christ alone, excluding David.11 For that ancient interpretation that it is the Messiah Himself who speaks, is inconsistent with the character of the Psalm, which is throughout of the Old Testament and lyrical, and there is not a syllable to show that any other person is to be regarded as speaking in the place of the Psalmist. And the new phase of this interpretation, that the author has transported himself into the person of Christ, speaking from Him in the first person (J. D. Mich., Knapp, Clauss, et al.) is in part merely the inversion of the formula of this stand-point, partly a half-way attempt to reconcile the historical and Messianic interpretations. For a mere external union of both interpretations whereby some portions are referred to David, others to the Messiah, according as the individual features of the description suit the one or the other (Rudinger, Venema, Dathe) would not satisfy us any more than the acceptance of a double sense, a historical and a Messianic (Stier). The first mentioned attempt, namely, destroys the unity of the text and its references, but the last mentioned supposition destroys the unity of its meaning. It is necessary therefore to define the typical Messianic interpretation (Melancthon, Calvin, Grot., Cleric, Umbreit, Thol., Keil) more accurately as typical prophetical. Then there is not wrought into the text by the Holy Spirit a Messianic sense unknown to the Psalmist himself, in a form of words which has found its real fulfilment in the history of Jesus; but David in the Spirit, that is speaking as a prophet has regarded himself as a type of the Messiah and prophesies even on this account, because he speaks as such. But then the composition cannot fall into as early a period of David’s life as the time of the persecution by Saul, to which with a corresponding fundamental idea, even, Delitzsch and Böhl still refer. With much greater probability we might think of the time of the flight from Absalom to the wilderness (Rudinger), and the danger of losing throne and life connected therewith. I prefer, however, the circumstances to which Ps. 18 refer, with its conclusion which has a Messianic character. The prophetic character of this Psalm is expressly brought out in John 19:24, together with the prophetical character of the Psalmist. Matth. 27:35. The typical character of the Psalm is moreover confirmed by the fact that Jesus on the cross speaks partly from the circumstances described in this Psalm (John 19:28, 30), partly prays, lamenting in the words which begin this Psalm (Matth. 27:46; Mark 15:34); yet not in words of exactly the same sound, but in the Aramaic dialect, accordingly not as a quotation, moreover not merely as applied to Himself, but as language entirely appropriated. Only on the ground of this actual appropriation could ver 22 of this Psalm be treated in Heb. 2:11, as the words of Christ Himself. It is easy to understand, how Luther in interpreting this Psalm, remained three days and nights shut up on bread and salt, entirely inaccessible.12
Str. I. Psalm 22:1. My God, etc.—The Sept. has read êlî êlaî = my God upon me, namely look. Then afterwards there came into the text of this Greek translation, which is followed by the Vulgate, the marginal gloss ὁ θεὸς as the first word. However, the citations of the New Testament and the other ancient translations show, that the reading of the Hebrew text is the correct one. The repetition shows the depths of the anxiety (1 Kings 18:37; 2 Kings 4:19; Jer. 4:10) and the urgency of the inquiry, which is not to be regarded as an inquiry of impatience and of the flesh near to despair (Hupf.). nor indeed as an exact inquiry for the reasons, demanding information and account (Hengst.). Nor does it show that in the height of suffering the speaker has lost the recollection, why he thus suffers (Böhl), but it is an anxious inquiry of the soul, lamenting (Calvin) and troubled, which suffers more under the inconsistency, that a man who is internally dependent upon God can appear as externally separate from God and given up by Him, than by earthly and temporal affliction. There is no contradiction of Ps. 16:10, here; for the abandonment is not asserted as an abiding fact, but is expressed as an experience of a momentary condition. Only in this sense could Jesus appropriate these words in the pain of His death upon the cross. That He alone has reason and right to them (Berl. Bib., Stier) is an exaggerated assertion. Luther correctly says: “All the sayings of this Psalm are not said to every one since all have not the same gifts and all have not the same sufferings.” Respecting lamáh as Oxytone vid. Hupf. on Ps. 10:1.—Far from my help (are the) words of my cry!—That fact is expressed from which the preceding anxious question arose, and which is in contradiction to the previous history of Israel as the following verses show, namely, that the prayers of the pious man have not found a hearing. The enallage numeri is no more against this explanation, than the circumstance, that in Psalm 22:11 and 19, and frequently elsewhere, mention is made of God’s being afar off. If we abandon this construction already followed by the ancient translations [A. V. likewise], then this construction offers itself as the most correct, which regards the words “far from my help,” as in apposition to the preceding “forsaken,” accordingly as part of the lamentation and question, whereupon it would then be stated with the independent clause “words of my cry,” that all that precedes constitutes the contents of the lamentation (Aben Ezra, Olshausen, Hupfeld). But such a statement in the form of narration has little agreement with the tone of the Psalm in other respects. Most recent interpreters after Isaki, Calv., Ruding., Cleric., supply the preposition min (=from) and regard the latter half of this line as in apposition to the former half. It is most natural then to regard both lines of the verse as a connected lamentation. For in interpreting the second line of the verse as an independent clause; far from my help, from the words of my lamentation, namely, art Thou (or more clearly putting that which is supplied at the beginning: Thou art, etc.), אַתָּה could hardly be missing. Should we, however, suppose an independent continuation of the inquiry (Kimchi, Rosenm., Böhl), then we ought to expect the repetition of the interrogative particle. The supposition of a new question: Art Thou perhaps afar off? (Venema), is still less suitable to the context. But against this entire construction, not to mention its modifications are the following principal reasons: 1). That in accepting it the most natural and almost unavoidable connection of words would lead to taking the expression “the words of my cry,” merely as an explanatory apposition to the words which immediately precede: “my help” which would give an entirely incorrect thought. 2). In order to avoid this interpretation, it is not sufficient merely to supply the preposition “from,” but either “far from” or “and from” must be required, especially in Hebrew where it is still more indispensable. Isaki indeed adds this, but it is not in the text. 3). Finally the thought, that God Himself is no longer reached by the words of him who cries out to Him in prayer, so great is His distance from Him, is entirely unbiblical, and cannot be explained over again by the thought of his prayers failing to be heard, which is the very thought that our explanation finds here. Hitzig on this account would change the reading here, because he accepts the continued influence of the preposition min, but very properly denies, that such unlike ideas as help and words could be regarded as being in the same line without a repetition of the min. He puts as the original reading מִשַּׁוְעָתִי = from my cry, which has been changed by a copyist, who had in mind Ps. 20:5; 21:1, 5, into מִישּׁוּעָתִי=from my help. Such an error in copying is possible, yet it is unnecessary here. This explanation likewise is in contradiction with the text: “with the words” (Stier) which would demand בְדִבְרֵי to which Kimchi adds the explanatory clause “although Thou hearest.” The mention of words, indicates that the cry was not inarticulate and is the more necessary, as the cry is designated with the Hebrew expression for the roaring of a lion (Psalm 22:13; Is. 5:29; Job 4:10), which when used of human lamentation expresses the strength and violence of its utterance (Job 3:24; Ps. 32:3; 38:9). The translation of the Sept. and Vulgate, “transgressions” may be referred to an interchange of two letters (א with ג) in the Hebrew word. The translation of the Syr., “folly” is connected with its false interpretation of the entire clause, since it finds in the foolish words of the sufferer the reason of the refusal of Divine help.
Psalm 22:2. My God, I cry for whole days and Thou dost not answer, and through the night, and calmness I (have) not.—Hitzig finds in êlohaî an accusative of the object, “my God I call.” Of those who accept the usual interpretation of it as a vocative, some (Olsh., Hupf., Böhl,) regard it as the subject of the cry of prayer, but the majority as the direct invocation of God Himself which commences anew the sigh of prayer. To limit it to one day and one night of suffering, (Bade) is the more unnatural, since Heb. 5:7, shows that not even the crying of Jesus is to be limited to that mentioned in Matth. 27:46.13 The calmness is, according to the constant use of this Hebrew word, the silence of resignation in contrast with murmuring and complaining. Since the sufferer has thus far received neither help nor answer, this silence is not yet allotted to him. The explanation of it as: hushing up, quieting, stilling (Stier, Hupf., Delitzsch), has no sufficient warrant in language or in fact; still less the interpretation: rest through the cessation of sufferings (De Wette, Köster). The Chald. has correctly: silence. The Vulgate incorrectly after the Sept.: and not to my folly. The Syr. and Arab. are entirely different: and thou wilt not lay hold of me.
Str. II. Psalm 22:3. Enthroned above the praises.—The translation “Inhabitant of the praises” (De Wette) [A. V. Thou that inhabitest,] is likewise possible according to the language. Then God the Holy One would be designated as the subject of the praises. The Sept. and Vulg. interpret it in a similar way, though they regard Him rather as the object of the praises, and their translation differs in other respects, thus: But Thou dwellest in the sanctuary, Thou praise of Israel. Aben Ezra, Kimchi, Flamin, et al. depending on the Hebrew text, translate: Enthroned as the praise (Aquil. ὔμνος), that is, as He who is praised in Israel’s songs of praise. The translation “The enthroned of the songs of praise” (Hengst.) [that is, upon the songs of praise] is related to the preceding, but explained otherwise, that is tehilloth is regarded not as a metonymy, not as in opposition to yôscheb, but as a genitive. The Syriac has the correct translation. This expression is parallel to and founded on the well-known predicate of God: throned above or upon the cherubim especially in Pss. 80:1; 99:1, in the present form. But we must not conclude either from this or from the circumstance that the songs of praise (Ps. 78, Ex. 15:11; Is. 63:7,) usually resounded in the sanctuary (Is. 64:11), that we must here retain the reference to the temple, where Israel’s songs of praise ascended as the clouds of incense, and likewise formed a throne for God (Aben Ezra, Calv., Ruding, Gesen., Hupf., et al.). The following verses demand rather an interpretation broader and independent of the temple service. Moreover the cherubim, as is well known, are not confined to the temple. Still less, is the explanation incola laudentium Israelitarum, justified by this enlargement of the idea.
Str. III. Psalm 22:6. Worm, as an indication of the most extreme degradation and helplessness with the secondary idea of contempt, so likewise Job 25:5, sq.; Is. 41:13, in which respect David compares himself, 1 Sam. 25:15, with a dead dog and a flea. With the following words [and no man] correspond the expression Is. 53:3, ceasing from men [A. V. rejected of men]; we must likewise compare Is. 49:7; 52:14, with reference to the servant of Jehovah.
Psalm 22:7. Opening wide the mouth is regarded as a sign of hostile contempt, as a gesture of insulting, sneering scorn (Ps. 35:21; Job 16:10), here expressed as bursting open and gaping by means of the lips. This is weakened by the Sept. and Vulg. into a speaking with the lips, by Jerome inexactly restored, as letting the lips hang. The shaking of the head (Ps. 44:14; 109:25; 2 Kings 19:21; Job 16:4; Lam. 2:15), designates the situation of the sufferer as helpless (Matt. 27:39), and is as a gesture of denial an expression of ironical pity, as likewise the shaking of the hand (Zeph. 2:15), is a gesture of scorn. It is unnecessary to suppose a consent to the sufferings, which is glad to injure, and to find here a nodding of the head as an expression of assent. (Gesen., Baihinger, Thol., De Wette).
Psalm 22:8. Roll upon Jehovah, [A. V. He trusted on the Lord.]—Similar words follow the gestures of scorn. But it has nothing to do with religious scorn (De Wette), but with scoffing at the sufferer, who is regarded as irredeemably lost and as forsaken by God. His assurance that God is well pleased with him is regarded by his opponents as idle pretense and despicable boasting, for which they may scoff at him, on this very account that he is abandoned by God. It is not necessary to suppose a saying of the sufferer which is called out to him in irony (Hengst). The Sept. and the Syr. have taken the first word as a finite verb, the former in the signification: he has hoped, the latter: he has trusted [so A. V.]. Jerome likewise translates, confugit ad. The verb is then taken as reflexive=roll one-self, that is yield one-self, give one-self over to or trust on some one. The perfect, which Stier et al. regard as necessary on account of Matth. 27:42 sq., is then either so regarded that גֹל is taken as infin. constr. and this for the infin. absol., which then might be put instead of the finite verb (De Wette after more ancient interps.); or the reading is taken at once as גַל (Ewald), J. D. Mich. (Orient. Bibl. 11:208) even גָּל from גִּיל=גּוּלlætatus est. But the parallel passages Ps. 37:5; Prov. 16:3, decide that the reading of the text must be regarded as the imperative without its object (Ps. 55:22). This is ironical counsel, (Cleric.) from which there is a sudden change to the third person (Hupfeld) with a malicious side glance (Delitzseh), whilst at the same time with these words the back is turned to the sufferer (Böhl). It is thus not necessary to think of the infin. absol. used for the imperative (Hitzig).—The subject of the last clause of this verse is not the sufferer (The Rabbins, Rosenm., Baihing., Tholuck) but God (Calvin and moat interps.); for the Hebrew expression occurs only of the dealings of God with man and not conversely. In Ps. 91:14, cited by Rosenm. in favor of his view, a different word is used. The scorn is still further sharpened (Geier) by the conjunction “because” [A. V. seeing]. In Matth. 27:43, “if” is used, it is true, but not as a citation. To translate by “if” in this passage likewise with the Syr., is not justified by the remarks of Hitzig at least, that the speakers neither knew that He would save the sufferer, nor indeed that He had pleasure in him. The words are scoffing it is true, yet such that they judge themselves, because they pervert and distort the earnestness of the fact, that there has been between God and this sufferer at all times a relation of love, which showed itself on the one part as protection and help in life, on the other part as resignation and trust. Hence the connection with the following verse by the affirmative כִּי. This is not in contradiction with the fact that at the close of Psalm 22:15 God Himself is addressed as the one who lays the sufferer in the dust of death. God is not thereby placed alongside of the enemies, but this feature serves very particularly to make noticeable the typical character of this Psalm. It belongs to the sufferings of the servant of Jehovah that notwithstanding his innocence, his sufferings are represented as belonging to his calling and not as merely caused by his enemies but likewise as brought about by God.
Str. IV. Psalm 22:9. [Perowne: “Faith turns the mockery of his enemies into an argument of deliverance. They mock my trust in Thee—yea I do trust in Thee; for Thou art He,” etc.—C. A. B.].—Made me careless on the breast of my mother.—I have chosen this expression because the hiphil of בטח can mean “make to lie securely” as well as “to make trustful,” and there is no reason to accept exclusively the former (Venema, Rosenm., De Wette, Gesen., Hupf.), which would render prominent the secure and comfortable condition of the suckling under the protection of God on the mother’s breast; or the latter (Chald. and most interpreters), which emphasizes the early time of the trust wrought by God in the suckling. A trust to the mother’s breast (Hitzig), however, is not said nor meant, but on the mother’s breast to God, and it is psychologically the less assailable, as Jewish mothers were accustomed to suckle their children until their third year. Too much, however, is sought in the expressions, if it is found noteworthy, that the sufferer speaks only of his mother and at the same time hints at the beginning of his life as in poverty (Delitzsch14) or if an allusion is found to the taking up of the regenerate in the bosom of the Father as a sign of recognition and adoption (Gen. 16:2; 50:23; Job 3:12), with reference to the thought, that God treats him as a Father (Cleric., J. H. Mich., Hengst.).
Str. V. Psalm 22:12. Bashan designates, in ‘the narrower geographical sense, originally the northern part of the land on the other side of the Jordan, the basaltic table land between Hermon and Jarmuk, which contains only pasture land; in the wider original political sense (Deut. 3:13; Josh. 12:4), which then had become geographical (Hupf.), at the same time the northern Gilead even to the Jabbok (the present ‘Aglûn) with mountains of many peaks (Ps. 68:16), embracing dense oak forests (Isa. 2:13Ezek. 27:6; Zech. 11:2) and fat pastures (Mic. 5:14; Jer. 5:19). Comp. Burckhardt, Reisen in Syrien, p. 396 sq., 419.—The rams and bulls of Bashan serve at times as figures of the people of Israel and especially of its distinguished men (Deut. 32:14; Ezek. 39:18; Am. 4:1; comp. 6:1), who have become luxurious, proud and godless by their prosperity. Moreover, the bulls, and especially the buffalos (instead of which Luther, after the Sept., Vulg., et al., incorrectly puts unicorns), are likewise partly figures of the full feeling of power (Num. 23:22; Ps. 29:6; Isa. 34:7) and victorious strength (Deut. 33:17; Job 39:12), partly figures of rage and ill nature (Robinson, Bib. Researches, II. 412 [Tristram, Natural History of the Bible, p. 146.—C. A. B.]), and hence a designation of mighty enemies, with the prophetical secondary idea of ungodly enemies of Jehovah (Hupfeld). In Psalm 22:21, their horns are particularly mentioned as fearful weapons, whilst their gaping is, in Psalm 22:13, the sign of their voracity. This forms the transition to the comparison with lions, introduced by an apposition merely (comp. the examples by Kimchi), which roar when they behold their prey before falling upon it (Ps. 104:21; Amos 3:4).
[Str. VI. Psalm 22:14. I am poured out like water.—Barnes: “The sufferer now turns from his enemies, and describes the effect of all these outward persecutions and trials on himself. The meaning in this expression is, that all his strength was gone. It is remarkable that we have a similar expression, which is not easily accounted for, when we say of ourselves that we are as weak as water.” An expression similar to this occurs in Josh. 7:5: “The hearts of the people melted, and became as water, Lam. 2:19; Ps. 58:7.”—My bones are out of joint.—Perowne: “Have separated themselves, as of a man stretched upon the rack.”—Wax.—The heart, which melts away under the consuming power of his distress, is compared to wax. So the mountains at the appearing of God, Ps. 97:5, and the ungodly before the Divine presence, Ps. 68:2.
Psalm 22:15. My strength is dried up like a potsherd.—Barnes: “The meaning here is, that his strength was not vigorous like a green tree that was growing and that was full of sap, but it was like a brittle piece of earthenware, so dry and fragile that it could be easily crumbled to pieces.”—And my tongue cleaveth to my jaws.—Barnes: “The meaning here is, that his mouth was dry, and he could not speak. His tongue adhered to the roof of his mouth so that he could not use it—another description of the effects of intense thirst. Comp. John 19:28.”—And Thou layest me in the dust of death (A. V., Thou hast brought me).—Hupfeld, Ewald, Perowne and Alexander: Thou wilt bring me or lay me. Moll and Delitzsch and Hitzig: Thou stretchest me, or Thou layest me to bed in. Perowne: “Death must be the end, and it is Thy doing, Thou slayest me. So does the soul turn from seeing only the instruments of God’s punishments to God who employs these instruments. Even in the extremity of its forsakenness it still sees God above all. We are reminded of Peter’s words, ‘Him, being delivered according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken and with wicked hands have crucified and slain.’ ”—C. A. B.]
Str. VII. Psalm 22:16. [For dogs have compassed me.—Barnes: “Men who resemble dogs; harsh, snarling, fierce, ferocious.”—The assembly of the wicked have inclosed me.—Barnes: “That is, they have surrounded me; they have come around me on all sides so that I might not escape. So they surrounded the Redeemer in the garden of Gethsemane when they arrested Him and bound Him; so they surrounded Him when on His trial before the Sanhedrin and before Pilate; and so they surrounded Him on the cross.”—C. A. B.].—Piercing through my hands and my feet.—This does not refer directly to the experience of Jesus upon the cross (Reinke with many of the more ancient interpreters). Moreover the remark of Gesenius, that the body of enemies is indeed pierced through, but not their hands and feet, does not suit. For the expression refers primarily and directly to the dogs (Böhl), which have been just mentioned as figurative of the band of the wicked which surround the sufferer, as they in other passages likewise are symbols of fierceness and impudence with the subordinate idea of impurity, which, however, does not lead to external heathen enemies (De Wette). These are here regarded by some (Symmach., Theodoret) as at once the pack of hounds of the hunter. In the Orient the dogs, which are half wild, and usually rove about in troops, are especially wicked and dangerous. They not only devour corpses (2 Kings 9:35; Jer. 15:3), but likewise attack travellers. In Persia even the sick and aged were set out to be devoured by dogs (Strabo).15 It is characteristic that they are accustomed at first to gnaw off the flesh of the hands and feet and head (Œdmann vermischte Samml. V. 23, sq.). If now the much disputed word כָּאֲרִי is regarded after Pococke (notæ miscell. after Maimonidis porta Mosis) as an abbreviated plural of the participle of כּאר, related to כּוּר (vid. more in detail Stier, Reinke, Böhl), which even Winer, De Wette, Gesen. (in Lehrgeb. p. 526) grant as possible, it is not necessary to change the reading itself in order to gain this sense which agrees entirely with the context, whose typical prophetical meaning is the less to be overlooked as the servant of Jehovah is said to be pierced in Isa. 53:5 likewise,16 yes Jehovah in him (Zech. 12:10), and it is easy for the original simple meaning of the word, “dig, bore,” as in the Arabic and Greek, to pass over into the special meaning, or if it is here to be entirely vindicated, it corresponds likewise with the nearest historical connection (to the teeth and claws of the dogs) as the prophetical reference. It is therefore unnecessary to suppose a boring fast (or indeed to make spell-bound, which the Midrash even regards as with magical characters), whereby David would be given in the hands of his enemies weaponless and without power of escape (Delitzsch), which sense others (at last Ewald, at first Aquila in the second edition of his translation, and then Symmach. and Jerome) find in the signification, “bind, fetter,” which is given to the word and which can be proved in the Arabic and Syriac. In the first edition Aquila had: “they soiled,” or likewise, “they marred,” that is, by bloody wounds. But the signification of digging and boring through has been found in the word not only by the Vulgate and Pesch., but likewise by the Septuagint before Christ. The ancient translations, however, all have a finite verb. Possibly they have merely resolved the Hebrew participle, which though accepted by many, by Rosenm., Hengst., Hupf., et al., after the example of Verbrugge (Observ Phil., 1730), is yet hotly contested, for it is at the farthest merely necessary to change the vowel points of the present text, which in the ancient MSS. indeed are altogether missing, and instead of כָּאֲרִי read כָּארֵי, in order to set aside the objections to our interpretation which are most worthy of consideration. But they have perhaps really had the reading כָּאֲרוּ before them, which still occurs in two unsuspected Codd. and is no more to be derived from Christian influence (Hupf.), than the received reading from Jewish (Calmet). On the other hand the form כּרוּ is found only in a late Cod., as a marginal gloss only afterwards added. Of especial importance is the remark of the little Masora, that כָּאֲרִי in the two passages (Ps. 22:16; Isa. 38:13) in which this form occurs, is in two different meanings. In the passage in Isaiah, however, the meaning “as the lion” is undoubted. The view, which in recent times has become the most prevailing, that this translation is to be applied to our passage likewise, has accordingly, no ancient authority for it, neither Christian, nor Jewish. For the Chald. originates not only from a relatively later period (Jahn, Einleitung I.), but inserts the word “biting” as explanatory and as a paraphrase. Thereby the verb which is lacking in the translation “as the lion,” is gained, and the entire inappropriateness of the comparison, when the verb “inclose” is taken from the preceding clause or supplied, is to some extent lost sight of. For it is well known that it is the habit of the lion to cast himself upon his prey with a spring, and with one blow to dash it down or pull it to the ground, but not to encompass its “hands and feet,” which does not take place with the tail even, with which it is said to make a circle (Kimchi). And it is very evident that the appeal to the fact that at times hands and feet mean the whole body or the person (Gesen., Hupf.) does not explain anything, but only puts the difficulty in stronger light. But even the interpolation of the Chald. is partly entirely arbitrary and unjustified, partly more adapted to conceal for the moment than to really set aside the objectionableness and inappropriateness of the comparison. Since the definite article is used, the inappropriateness of the comparison in the translation, “the band of the wicked enclosed me, as the lion, at my hands and at my feet,” is just as striking as the fact which is especially emphasized (Luther, Calv. et al., likewise De Wette and Olsh.), that it is just as vain as it is an unjustifiable attempt to wish to do away with the objection by putting the point of comparison merely in the rage (Hengst.), or in the unsparing and fierce haste (Hitzig) of the lion-like enemies, and to find by an explanation which displaces the words, the meaning that the sufferer is so entirely surrounded by the crowd of his enemies, who are fierce as the lion and strong, or is so clasped on his hands and feet (Köster), that he can neither defend himself with his hands nor flee away with his feet (many since Aben Ezra, likewise Hengst. and Hupf., which last prefer the acceptance of a double accusative to the repetition of the verb). The same objections apply to the other verbs which have been supplied: to crush (Saadia), and: they threaten (Gesen.). But that the enemies are not described as like the lion at the hands and feet (Hengst., previous interpretation, but since taken back), is just as evident as the impossibility of taking the disputed word as an accusative (Paul. in his Clavis), which would suddenly compare the sufferer, who was lying as a worm in the dust, to a lion beset round about with dogs. From the inflexible feeling of the untenableness of all these interpretations arises likewise the proposal to close the clause with “lion,” but to regard hands and feet as objects of “count” (Mendelssohn), an interpretation which can be explained only as a desperate expedient. If now the lion is indeed called אֲרִי (Num. 24:9; Isa. 38:13; Ezek. 22:25; Amos 5:19), yet the reasons, as has been shown, which have been given by many interpreters for finding it in this disputed word are still less convincing, especially as in this Psalm the lion is mentioned twice (Psalm 22:13 and 21) under the only name which is used elsewhere in the Psalms, אַרְיֵה.
Psalm 22:17. I can tell all my bones.—[Perowne: “Before ‘all my bones are out of joint.’ Hence it would seem that the body was racked by some violent torture; not merely emaciated by starvation and suffering. And thus in his utter misery he is a gazing-stock to them that hate him; ‘they look upon me,’ i.e., with malicious satisfaction at my sufferings,” vid., Is. 52:14 and 53:2, 3.—C. A. B.] In ancient psalters the counting of the members is treated as an act of the enemies in accordance with the Sept. and Vulgate.
Psalm 22:18. They part my garments.—His death seems so much the more unavoidable, that his garments are treated as belonging to one already dead, as possessions without an owner (v. Hofmann). The outer garments consisting of many pieces were divided, the under garment which was the immediate covering of the body was divided by lot. So John 19:23 sq. This language is not of mere design (Rosenm., Jahn) but of fact, to which the entire description leads (Hengst.). If we cannot point to anything of the kind in the life of David, that does not alter the fact or justify us in explaining the clothing in the sense of property (Hupf.). The prophetical element comes out with the more prominence from the type.
Str. VIII. Psalm 22:19. My strength.—God is designated by the nomen. abstr. of איָל as the essence and source of the strength of life (Ps. 38:4). The Sept. and Vulgate (the Syr. likewise) with a different division of the members of the verse, translate. Thou wilt not remove Thy help from me.
Psalm 22:20. From the sword. from the power of the dog.—It does not follow from the remarks upon Psalm 22:16 that we must translate, “paw of the dog.” This would correspond only with the figures which immediately precede and follow (Delitzsch) and is not opposed by the fact that this paw (Lev. 11:27) is called כּף. For in 1Sam. 17:37, יד is used of lions and bears. But since this last word is used elsewhere in the general meaning of power (Geier), yes, since the hand of the flame (Isa. 47:14) and the hands of the sword (Job 5:20) are spoken of, as Isa. 1:20, the mouth of the sword; this general interpretation is to be preferred, the more as in the first member of the verse the sword is likewise not figurative, as Luke 2:15, of heart-piercing woe (Sachs), but yet likewise not literal, but is to be taken in the general sense as indicating violent death, as Job 27:14; Jer. 43:11.
My solitary one.—The soul as life is, according to some interpreters, designated as the only one (Ex. 20:2, 12; Judges 11:34; Ps. 35:17), that is, as that which is not present as double, and therefore is irreparable (Gesen., Hitzig, Delitzsch, et al.), yet without the secondary idea of valuable, dear, and beloved, which is improperly brought in, in the strongest way in the English Bible [“my darling,” both here and in Ps. 35:17.—C. A. B.] Others (Jerome, Luther, Calvin, Geier, Stier, Hupfeld [Alexander]) prefer the idea of solitary, forsaken, with reference to Ps. 25:16; 68:6; comp. 142:4; John 16:23.17
Psalm 22:21. Save me from the jaws of the lion.—Some, without sufficient reason, find in the singular, “of the lion,” a reference to the devil, the arch enemy who stands behind all the assaults upon the servants and children of God (Theodoret, Stier).—And from the horns of the buffålo, (yes) Thou answerest me.—The Sept., Syr., Arab., do not regard the closing word as a verb, but as a noun = my lowliness. But already the Chald. and Jerome refer the word as a verb to his being heard. The form of the preterite and its position at the close make the transition to the following section; and include the assurance that the prayer will be heard (Geier), yet not necessarily in the deliverance which had already taken place, or had often been experienced at previous times (Kimchi), especially as the verb has the fundamental meaning of answering. Since now in Ps. 20:6 a similar construction designates God’s answer from heaven, the prevailing interpretation of the closing clause of this verse: “Hear me against the horns of the buffalo,” or “save me from the horns of the buffalo by hearing me,” with the supposition of a pregnant construction, as Is. 38:17; Jer. 15:2; Pss. 30:4; 68:19; 118:5, appears the more objectionable, the more difficult it would be in this very connection of the words in question, and the less properly the fact that the preterite in connection with the imperative can be taken in an optative sense is to be vindicated here, where the preterite stands at the close of a clause of urgent supplication, whilst the following clause expresses thankfulness and vows on the basis of the hearing of the prayer, and then describes the grand consequences resulting therefrom. But it does not follow from this that the וְ is either to be taken as adversative, or the clause must be regarded as relative, so that the experience of previous help from great dangers, figuratively represented by the horns of the buffalo, served as motive of the prayer (Kimchi, Hupfeld). The supposition of a sudden break in the construction is much easier (Stier, Hengst.), by which would be expressed the contrast to the lamentation, Psalm 22:2, and the turn of thought which is now made, which is to be marked by a dash and an inserted yes, since it is not advisable, contrary to the received text, to wish to take the word as the grammatical antecedent (Venema) of the following verse, although it certainly is presupposed by it (Hupfeld) [“Perowne: “Before it had been, ‘Thou answerest not,’—now at the most critical moment Faith asserts her victory, ‘Thou hast answered.’ See the same sudden transition, the same quick assurance that prayer has been heard, Pss. 6:9; 20:7; 26:12; 28:6; 31:22. The vows and thanksgiving which follow are a consequence of this assurance.”—C. A. B.]
Str. IX. Psalm 22:22, 23. [Perowne: “So or therefore will I tell. (Obs. the form with ה paragog. as marking a consequence from what precedes) ‘My brethren = the congregation = ye that fear Jehovah;’ Psalm 22:23, i.e., the whole nation of Israel, as follows. In Psalm 22:23 the singer calls upon the Church (קָהָל = ἐκκλησία) to praise God. In Psalm 22:24 he gives the reason for this exhortation; the experience, viz., of God’s mercy, and truth, and condescension, chiefly to himself, though not to the exclusion of others. For God is not like the proud ones of the earth. He does not despise the afflicted.”—C. A. B.]
Str. X. Psalm 22:24. The affliction of the afflicted.—This nomen. abstr., owing to a false derivation, is rendered by the Sept., Vulg., Peschitò, Chald., as prayer, or cry, and by Jerome as modestia. [Perowne: “The same word is used with Messianic reference, Is. 53:4, 7; Zech. 9:9.—He hath not hid (comp. Pss. 10:1; 13:1). … When he cried He heard. What a contrast between Psalm 22:1, 2! Very remarkable is this confident acknowledgment of God’s goodness in hearing prayer.”—C. A. B.]
Str. XI. Psalm 22:25. From Theo (comes) my praise in the great congregation.—The song of praise has as its subject the deliverance by God, and on this account takes its departure, or its origin from God, who naturally, at the same time, remains as the object of the praise (Psalm 22:22). [So Perowne: “From Thee, not (as A. V.) of Thee, as if God were the object only of his praise. It is God Himself who has put this great subject of praise into his heart; and into his mouth. The will and the power to praise as well as the deliverance comes from Him. Comp. Ps. 118:23, where the construction is precisely the same ‘from Jehovah is this.’ ”—C. A. B.]—My vows will I pay.—It follows from the following verse, “they shall eat,” that the reference is to bringing, after the deliverance, the thank-offering, which was vowed during the trouble (Lev. 7:16). This was partaken of as a sacrificial meal with the legal assistance of the Levites (Lev. 12:18; 14:26) and in company with invited friends (Prov. 7:14, Josephus’ Jewish War, 6:9, 3), after that the sprinkling of the blood and the presentation of the fat pieces had taken place at the altar. Since now in reference to the tithes, Deut. 14:29; 26:12, and at the harvest feast, Deut. 16:11, an invitation of widows, orphans, and the poor, to participate in the meal, was prescribed, the reference to the wretched can so much the less appear strange in connection with the typical prophetical character of the Psalm; since even in sacrificial meals the participation of others than those legally invited was not excluded (Deut. 33:19; 1 Sam. 9:13, 22). From the earliest times, therefore, most Christian interpreters have referred this passage to the Lord’s Supper, often directly and exclusively, which is indeed improper. Others have gone to the contrary extreme (Cleric., Venema, Rosenm., v. Hofmann, Hupf.), partly by denying and partly by effacing the reference to the Shelamim offering, and have taken the eating, and becoming satisfied as merely a usual formula of prosperity and refreshment, and interpreted the thank-offering in the spiritual sense = songs of thanksgiving. Others suppose a merely spiritual participation under the figure of a meal (Umbreit, Tholuck, Hengst., Böhl, Bade). This much may be said, however, that the sensuous partaking and the material advantages were not the chief things in the sacrificial meals themselves, and that all offerings in the meaning of the law should be fulfilled with a disposition corresponding to them; that on this account the expression of thanks should excite a pious joy, and nourish and strengthen the spiritual life; and that in consequence of this even the song of thanksgiving itself can be designated as a sacrifice (Heb. 13:15), and many expressions in the Old Testament, as in this Psalm, so likewise in Pss. 50:14, 23; 61:5, 8; 69:30–32, and frequently are in a transition state from the narrower to the wider meaning, and from the proper to the figurative sense, as then the vow likewise not only refers to sacrifice (Ps. 54:7; 116:14) but likewise to the confession of Jehovah as deliverer (Jonah 2:10). Moreover, independent of the reference to sacrifice, the general preservation and strengthening of the life against hostile attacks are designated as a feeding by Jehovah (Ps. 23:5), and this, again applied to the spiritual life, regarded as eating the word of God (Jer. 15:16; comp. Ezek. 3:1–3), and referred to the refreshment and satisfaction of men in the kingdom of God, is described as a meal prepared by God (Isa. 25:6 sq.)
Psalm 22:26. The afflicted shall eat.—The afflicted are not those who are poor in this world’s goods in a general sense, but the pious who are oppressed in the world. These are now called aniyim, now anavim. In the former word the external affliction is more prominent, in the latter the internal affliction. The servant of Jehovah belongs among these sufferers first of all (Isa. 53:4, 7; Zech. 9:9).
Str. XII. Psalm 22:27. Shall remember and turn unto Jehovah.—An important passage to characterize the heathen in their relation to God, whom they have forgotten (Ps. 9:17), but to whom they will turn again, because Jehovah will vindicate His royal right to all nations (Gen. 18:25; Ps. 96:10; 99:1; Zech. 14:9), when the proclamation of the Divine deliverance by Him who suffered as no other one suffered, comes to them. “The conversion of the nations by that preaching will be thus the realization of the kingdom of God.” (Delitzsch). The promises to the patriarchs (Gen. 12:3; 28:14; comp. 18:18; 22:18; 26:4) form the foundation of this view. Here likewise the prophetical moment in the type is very manifest, and even in its expressions the discourse assumes the character of prophecy. The connection with the previous clause is so exceedingly loose that v. Hofmann denies the connection of thought that has been given, and finds merely the reference to this thought, what He is, a God who has heard the prayer, namely, the Ruler of the world to whom the worship of all nations is due. But Hupfeld, besides, leaves room for doubt, whether this conclusion belonged originally to this Psalm, because such an effect of the deliverance of the poet, and its proclamation upon the minds of the heathen, would have been too much to expect, and too fantastic. The ancient interpreters have, on this account, referred all to Christ, only they do not do justice to the intermediate members of the thought. Some interpreters (Hengstenberg, Reinke), have sought to restore the close connection of the clauses, which is missing, by translating “consider” = take to heart, instead of “remember” or “think of.” This is just as unsatisfactory as unnecessary, like the proposal to take the verbs as jussive (Böhl) as directly connected with the preceding wish. Psalm 22:19 even is sufficient to show the connection.
Psalm 22:29. They ate, and all the fat ones of the earth shall prostrate themselves, and before his face all those shall bend the knee who have fallen in the dust, and whosoever cannot keep his soul alive.—The preterite in close connection with the following imperfects (futures) states the participation in the meal as presupposed and as the foundation of their worship and homage of God and the preservation of their own lives, but puts the whole in the time of the reception of the heathen into the communion of the people of God, which is surely to be expected.—In this relation the external position in life and characteristics make no difference. It is for those who in the fat of the earth abound in worldly prosperity and for those who have fallen down in the dust. It is an unfounded assertion, that the last expression must mean the dust of the grave and that therefore either a contrast is expressed of the living and dead, over whom the rule of God extends, in like manner as in Phil. 2:10 (Muscul., Stier, v. Hofmann, Hupf.), or only a designation of the human race in general as mortals (Flamin., Cleric.). For if it is generally granted that the expression, “sitting or dwelling in the dust,” is a symbol of filth and thence of lowliness, sorrow, affliction, it cannot be doubted that those who have descended from the height of prosperity into such lowliness may be contrasted as those who have fallen in the dust, namely of the earth, with those who are above in the fat of the earth, especially as constantly elsewhere it is made perceptible, as in Psalm 22:15, that the reference is to the dust of death or of going down into the pit, death, Sheol (Pss. 28:1; 30:3; 88:4; Job 8:9; 33:24). Only we must not take the contrast too narrowly, as is usually done, as that of the rich and poor, or of the strong in life and the frail, with which at times the entirely misleading reference is mixed, that the latter by affliction and destitution have been almost bowed down to the grave (Rosenm., De Wette). In the third clause of the verse, moreover, the reference is not to the danger of perishing from hunger, but the definite thought steps forth from the veil of the figure, that it has to do with the preservation of life for every one in the most comprehensive sense. With this interpretation the clause is not a repetition of the previous clause with a change in the turn of expression (most interpreters). No more is it necessary, in order to get an independent thought, to change the divisions of the verse and attach this clause to the following verse as antecedent (Hupf.) in the sense: If one has not remained alive himself, his seed will, etc. But this would give at least a clear idea and could find a support in the text. On the other hand the interpretation which follows is untenable according to its sense and does not correspond with the words. Thus, it is said, there is only one class of persons spoken of in the entire passage, men of distinction as the representatives of the entire people and the thought is expressed, If these have eaten and worshipped and bowed themselves before God, because they were about to die, their seed will, etc., Sept., Syr., Theodotion, Symmach., translate after another punctuation: and my soul lives for him.
Psalm 22:30. The seed will serve Him: It will be told of the Lord to the (coming) generation.—Others (finally Delitzsch) translate: A seed, which will serve Him, will be counted to the Lord for a generation [similarly A. V. A seed shall serve Him: it shall be accounted, etc.] But not to mention the destruction of the parallelism the subject of which is further carried out in the next verse, it is likewise doubtful whether this Hebrew word can have the meaning of “count” in the Piel. Besides Psalm 22:22 is in favor of our interpretation. The ל before adonai is then as frequently=in reference to. The Sept., has: “my seed,” and in the second member to which it attaches the first word of the following verse: The coming generation will be announced to the Lord.
Psalm 22:31. His righteousness.—The righteousness of God which is to be declared from generation to generation is not His virtue in general, still less His goodness (Rosenm.), but likewise not merely the righteousness shown in the deliverance of the pious (De Wette, Hengst.), but with reference to His entire conduct and government, in His keeping afar off from the pious for awhile, especially in His participation in their peril of death (Psalm 22:15), which was hard to be understood of His righteousness. The reference is not at all to the righteousness purchased by the propitiatory sacrifice of Christ and acceptable before God.—That He has accomplished it.—The closing word is not absolute (=that He has acted, that is, shown Himself glorious, done well), but pregnant looking back upon the entirety of that which has now been carried out and accomplished according to the decree, as at the close of the narrative of the creation, Gen. 2:3. It is scarcely to be doubted, that the last cry of the dying Jesus on the cross, looks back to this passage. The reference back to the righteousness mentioned in the preceding member of the verse is too narrow (Hitzig, “that He has exercised it”), or the explanation: the miracles which He has done (Chald.). It is inadmissible to regard the כּי as a relative with reference to the people considered as the object which He has made (Sept., Vulg., Syr., Jerome). These with the exception of Jerome have added as the closing word: the Lord. So likewise Aquil. and Theodotion. The Vulgate has cœli between annuntiabunt and justitiam which may have wandered from Ps. 1. (Vulgate 49) to this place. “The righteousness of God has come out as an external act of His Omnipotence=Goodness in the work of redemption; and this doctrine is not a philosophical wisdom of the schools, but a transmitted declaration, that the Lord has accomplished an act.” (Umbreit).
[Perowne: “Unnatural as I cannot help thinking, that interpretation is, which assumes that the Psalmist himself never felt the sorrows which he describes, nor the thankfulness which he utters, but only puts himself into the place of the Messiah who was to come,—I hold that to be a far worse error which sees here no foreshadowing of Christ at all. Indeed, the coincidence between the sufferings of the Psalmist and the sufferings of Christ is so remarkable, that it is very surprising that any one should deny or question the relation between the type and antitype.”18—C. A. B.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The pious sometimes experience calamities of such a fearful character, that the impression may arise, that the sufferer has been given up by God and left to his enemies. Then more painful than the oppression of suffering and more terrible than the peril of death, is the painful feeling of the contradiction on the one side between the sufferer’s worth and his lot, particularly his devotion to God, and his being forsaken by God, on the other side between the holy nature of God and His actions. On this account it seems more mysterious and perplexing, the more persevering and fervent the prayer proves to be, though unheard, and the less the present actions of God agree with His usual dealings with His people, which they have experienced and praised at all times. “For although He is the same God, yet He has heard and delivered the fathers who have hoped and cried to Him; but He turns away from and forsakes this one who likewise hopes and cries. It is truly a hard thing which greatly provokes one to despair and cursing, that God treats one differently from another without his being guilty; for he who is perplexed with such a trouble as this, feels such unutterable misery in his conscience.” (Luther).
2. Yet in the truly pious, the anxious question of solicitude for the solution of this inconsistency, and the lament over the incongruity which has become perceptible, may struggle forth from the sighing of the oppressed heart, and take the form of a description of the greatness of its sufferings, but the lamentation does not become a complaint and the trouble does not end in despair, but faith in the holy government of God presses forth through all the anxiety and grief and protects the sufferer, who has been cast down and almost crushed, from sinking in the abyss of despair and ruin; whilst it drives him to cling to Jehovah as his God and Helper, and thereby carries him over the chasm, which seems to open externally between him and his God, and internally threatens to become a difference of experience not to be denied. “Thou art the Holy One, etc., is a corrosive power which must more and more entirely consume the Thou hast forsaken me.” (Hengst.)
3. Yet before, the Divine deliverance, which cannot fail and yet seems to fail, really comes, the suffering increases even to the peril of death and the trouble grows under the trials of faith and patience. These trials become the most dangerous and take the form of temptations when the righteous man, who has often prayed for his people and constantly labored for their good, is not illtreated by foreign enemies, but is cast forth as an outcast by his own people, and when there is added to shame and scorn the heart-rending mockery of the martyr’s trust in God. This trust he has shown from his youth and has experienced in its blessings from childhood, though now it is most sorely attacked whether as a foolish delusion or an idle pretence, whilst at the same time his cherished conviction has always been that he as righteous, is chosen of Jehovah, an object of His good pleasure and of the especial care of God.
4. The remembrance of the peace and carelessness, and security of earliest youth and reflection upon the power and goodness of God wonderfully exhibited in the birth and care of man, even as a suckling, are especially touching comforting and cheering amid the afflictions, cares and struggles of an advanced life. “This miracle has become common by its frequency, but if unthankfulness did not close our eyes with blindness, every birth world fill us with astonishment, and so likewise every preservation of a child in his tender youth, who at his very first entrance into the world is awaited with a hundredfold death” (Calvin). “Experience” likewise teaches us “that we think of this tender, joyous, lovely work of God, and under the hard bites of the Divine wrath and the rod of God, have a refuge and refresh ourselves with the sweet and delightful milk of the womb, of the motherly heart and all those most tender mercies which have been shown to the age of childhood. In order that, as it is commanded us to remember the good days when it fares badly with us, so likewise we may not forget the great grace and benefits of God which He has shown to us from our youth, when we are anxious and in need, and that when we suffer as men, we may likewise think of what we have received of God as children” (Luther).
5. When the hand of God is found to be the power working in the very depths of the sufferings which we have had to bear and which have finally laid us in the dust of death, the bitterness of the experience of suffering is thereby intensified on the one side, yet the believing hope in a final hearing and deliverance is essentially strengthened on the other. Yet it is very hard to hold fast to both at the same time and in their true relation in the soul, especially when a proper and strong feeling of innocence is roused, and yet the prospect of deliverance has as well as disappeared; and when the soul still holds fast to God, and cries out to him in the distance, yet the troubled look perceives only the nearness of its enemies, but does not see God drawing near to help. “As often as this darkness takes possession of the souls of believers some unbelief is always intermingled, which does not let it arise at once into the light of the new life. But in Christ in a wonderful manner both of these were united, the terror of God’s curse and the patience of faith, thus calming all emotions so that they rested under the sovereignty of God” (Calvin).
6. As the prayer precedes the deliverance, so it is followed by thanksgiving; and the vow of thanksgiving is already connected with the prayer in the certainty of the hearing of the prayer. Instead of the anxious cry, which in contrast with the praises of Israel, previously sounded from the mouth of the innocent and horribly tortured victim, the song of praise of the delivered, is in future to resound in the assembly of his brothers, and the whole congregation is to hear, to their own edification, the declaration of the great and wonderful things that God has done to this one who was so afflicted and utterly lost. “God makes it exceeding agreeable so that all the godly must love and praise Him, that His eyes alone see and are turned upon the troubled and poor, and the more despised and forsaken a man is, the nearer and more gracious God is to him” (Luther).
7. The congregation is not merely to hear in devout and loving sympathy, what God has done to one of its members and to learn the word of the glad tidings of his deliverance by joining in his thanksgiving and praise. Its members externally and internally afflicted, like the delivered sufferer, who has previously called them “his brethren” (Heb. 2:11 sq.), are to have their hearts refreshed by the festival which has been prepared by him and at which they are to be his guests, which according to his wish is to endure forever. The sufferings of a servant of God like this, as well as his deliverance, transcend in their blessed effects his own person, and the circle of his immediate relatives; both have an importance and agency in the history of redemption, at first for Israel and then likewise for the heathen, since it has to do not merely with carnal relationship, but with spiritual resemblance and relation with the spread of the kingdom of God in the world, with the preservation and increase of the congregation of the Lord from all nations.
8. The heathen are, it is true, people who have forgotten God, but they have not been forgotten by God. Non igitur sic erant oblilæ istæ gentes Deum, ut ejus nec commemoratæ recordarentur (Augustine, de trin. 14, 13). With their need of redemption is associated their capability of redemption, but the word of the completed redemption and the invitation to participate in its blessings comes to both according to the purpose of God and in His time (1 Tim. 2:4–6). And this invitation, which is unlimited by the external relations of men and is to be published to all, will be successful. Those who share in the festival meal offered to them, will recognize the royal right of God to all nations, and will personally, as men converted to Him, fulfil the homage and worship which is due to Him.
9. All this, however, will not be limited to a single generation, but will fulfil itself from generation to generation. There will always be a seed to serve the Lord, and transmit to children and children’s children, even to the invisible distance, the declaration of the fact that the Lord has accomplished it and what He has accomplished. Thus there is opened for the sufferer on the border of the grave not only a prospect of personal deliverance, but likewise a view of the connection of his sufferings, and their effect and end, with the everlasting refreshment of his fellow believers, and with the conversion of the heathen; and this is finally enlarged to the contemplation and the expression of the assurance that these gracious and saving effects will extend over the entire world and exhibit themselves powerfully through all time. The particularism of the Old Testament is thus done away with within itself, and the prophetical element breaks forth from the historical form of David as undeniably typical. Compare EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The greatest trouble in all sufferings is trouble of soul; nothing helps against this but prayer and trust in God.—Even the true children of God may be pained by the feeling that they are forsaken of God, when answer to prayer has long been delayed, especially in peril of death, yet this feeling is only transient.—Whoever does not give up God, even when his trouble of body and pain of soul has advanced to the highest point, soon has the experience that God has not forsaken him.—God may, it is true, delay His help, yet it does not fail, but it always comes at the right time.—When the help ardently implored tarries even the soul of the righteous has a feeling that God is afar off, yet he is not internally estranged from God, but seeks Him still more ardently.—In times of trouble perseverance in faith is very much strengthened: 1) by looking at the holiness of God; 2) by remembering the Divine care always exercised, partly over the fathers, partly over his own person; 3) by the prospect of the Divine blessings which go forth from these sufferings for others likewise.—He who before his deliverance not only cries but prays will after his deliverance not only be glad but thankful.—What hast thou promised and vowed to God in trouble? and how hast thou kept it?—The sufferings of the righteous are according to the Divine purpose not only to be of advantage to the present congregation but likewise to the heathen throughout the entire world.—God will spread abroad His kingdom through the whole world, and vindicate His royal prerogative over all nations. Who is His righteous servant, by whom He accomplishes such things?—However great the apostasy from God may be in the world, yet a righteous seed remains to Him, preserved through all generations, to do homage to Him and serve Him.—The promise of redemption, which has been purchased by the sufferings and triumph of the righteous servant of God, is likewise for the heathen, who not only need it, but are capable of receiving it.—The declaration of what the Lord has accomplished, is the very best thanks for His benefits and the most efficient means to bring about the recognition of His glory and the extension of His name and His kingdom.
STARKE: The greatest pain to the troubled soul is not to be sure of the hearing of his prayers.—The ungodly even are often obliged against their will to give the best advice in trouble; for in trouble what is better than to have a Lord to whom we can lament, and who can deliver us.—No shame can more dispirit the soul of a believer than to have his piety mocked, and God’s gracious looking upon him denied.—God is our God from our mother’s womb. O! that He would remain our God even till our last breath.—When we pray for deliverance from trouble we must bring before God a heart which despairs entirely of our own and of all other human help.—Be not afraid of the dust of death; Jesus has prepared it as a couch for you.—As often as you put on or take off your clothes, remember the fall of man and likewise the nakedness of Christ; they will bring you to a knowledge of sin, and keep you from all extravagance in dress.—That is a strength of faith, in the midst of the weakness of death to call the Lord his strength, expect, surely hope, and obtain strength from Him.—The chief reason for praising God in time and eternity is for believers, that the Lord has provided redemption through Jesus, has carried it out, accepted it, and caused it to obtain their salvation.—That which Jesus gained by His bitter sufferings, He gives to His believers to enjoy.—Those who seek God find Him in Christ, the Redeemer of the world, in such a consoling manner, that they can praise Him during their life and rejoice in Him forever.—The limits of the Church and the kingdom of Jesus have no end, but are to extend as far as the world; let us diligently pray, Thy kingdom come.—Great riches and honor do not help to salvation; there must be other riches, other food to satisfy the soul, and all the rich who would be saved must first become poor in spirit.—The poor and despised members of the kingdom of Christ are not always to live in trouble; the time is coming when their afflictions will be exchanged for enduring happiness.—Although the world is full of evil, yet there is a holy seed in it, which serves God.—The chief subject of evangelical doctrine is the making known of the righteousness purchased for us, and appropriated by us; how then can true Christians do otherwise than seek to extend further and further the knowledge of this important truth which they have learned.
CALVIN: Whilst violence of pain and weakness of flesh will extort the cry: Why hast Thou forsaken me? faith adds thereto, his God, in order that he may not succumb, thus at the same time improving the invocation of God, who is said to have forsaken him; yes, faith hastens before, so that he already takes refuge in his God before he allows himself to utter the lamentation.—Satan can aim no more deadly shot against our souls, than when he robs us of hope by converting God’s promises into mockery.—OSIANDER: If we are not always delivered in the way in which we desire it, yet we ought to know with certainty that we are no less truly heard, and a mighty help will soon ensue.—However ungodly and unthankful the world may be, yet we ought not to despair of the Church of God; for God always reserves some who accept the doctrine and do not lack diligence in transmitting it to their posterity.—RENSCHEL: The trouble and dear death of the Lord, are the ground of the salvation which is prepared for the pious.—SELNEKKER: When trouble comes upon us which seems to be something, the devil strives to induce us not to pray and whispers dangerous and ungodly thoughts. These words alone stand against him: He has not despised, etc. [Psalm 22:24].—MENZEL: Christ reminds us by the name of brethren: 1) of His love and faithfulness towards us all; 2) of the glory in which He sets us and to which He brings us; 3) of our duty towards Him.—HERBERGER: Sin must be a very great burden, because it could be atoned for in no other way than by the severe sufferings of Christ.—Whoever hears of the sufferings of Christ should repent.—BAIHINGER: That is the end of God’s way, that He conducts all the nights of sorrow to a blessed end, and that He is praised on account of His benefits.—The pious sufferer vows to celebrate his deliverance by proclaiming the name of Jehovah.—THOLUCK: These are the trials of faith, with which the wicked enemy intensifies the other trials of the body and the soul, when a pious man is given up to the furnace of suffering.—A soul that loves God more than self, would rather take upon itself the floods of shame, than have merely a drop of it fall on the name of his God.—If men are friendly only to that which is high, God is most gracious to that which is low.—Prayer is the weapon with which the bars of the gates of heaven are burst open.—STILLER: The Gospel is the heavenly food, which brings comfort and refreshment; the guests at this heavenly meal are all nations upon the whole earth.—TAUBE: The first born among many brethren is the Holy One of Israel and its King; that begets in His people trust without presumption. The Holy One of Israel is our brother; that begets humility without despair.—DIEDRICH: To the same extent as my soul has a share in Christ will it have the experience of this way through the cross to the crown.—The righteous man here in this world is cruelly teanted about like a poor hind; but in God’s eye he is yet so lovely that He finally sends the dawn of deliverance.
[MATT. HENRY: Spiritual desertions are the saint’s sorest afflictions.—When we are lamenting God’s withdrawings yet still we must call Him our God, and continue to call upon Him as ours.—When we want the faith of assurance, we must live by the faith of adherence.—The entail of the covenant is designed for the support of the seed of the faithful; He that was our fathers’ God must be ours, and therefore will be ours.—He was Adam., “a mean man,” and Enosh, “a man of sorrow;” but lo Ish, “not a considerable man;” for He took upon Him the form of a servant, and His visage was marred more than any man’s.—The blessings of the breasts, as they crown the blessings of the womb, so they are earnests of the blessings of our whole lives.—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 come at spiritual delights.—Seeing we cannot keep alive our own souls, it is our wisdom by an obedient faith to commit our souls to Jesus Christ, who is able to save them, and keep them alive forever.—BARNES (Psalm 22:8): It is one of the most remarkable instances of blindness and infatuation that has ever occurred in the world, that the Jews should have used this language in taunting the dying Redeemer, without even suspecting that they were fulfilling the prophecies, and demonstrating, at the very time when they were reviling Him, that He was the true Messiah.—SPURGEON: For plaintive expressions uprising from unutterable depths of woe we may say of this Psalm, “there is none like it.” It is the photograph of our Lord’s saddest hours, the record of His dying words, the lachrymatory of His last tears, the memorial o His expiring joys. David and his afflictions may be here in a very modified sense, but, as the star is concealed by the light of the sun, he who sees Jesus will probably neither see nor care to see David.—No daylight is too glaring, and no midnight too dark, to pray in; and no delay or apparent denial, however grievous, should tempt us to forbear from importunate pleading.—If prayers be unanswered, it is not because God is unfaithful, but for some other good and weighty reason. We may not question the holiness of God, but we may argue from it, and use it as a plea in our petitions.—Let us wonder when we see Jesus using the same pleas as ourselves, and immersed in griefs far deeper than our own.—Strange mixture! Jehovah delights in Him, and yet bruises Him; is well pleased, and yet slays Him.—Behold the humiliation of the Son of God! The Lord of glory stoops to the dust of death. Amid the mouldering relics of mortality Jesus condescends to lodge!—Never was a man so afflicted as our Saviour in body and soul, from friends and foes, by heaven and hell, in life and death; He was the foremost in the ranks of the afflicted, but all these afflictions were sent in love, and not because His Father despised and abhorred Him. ’Tis true that justice demanded that Christ should bear the burden which as a substitute He undertook to carry, but Jehovah always loved Him, and in love laid that load upon Him with a view to His ultimate glory and to the accomplishment of the dearest wish of His heart. Under all His woes our Lord was honorable in the Father’s sight, the matchless jewel of Jehovah’s heart.—There is relief and comfort in bowing before God when our case is at its worst; even amid the dust of death prayer kindles the lamp of hope.—C. A. B.]
[Delitzsch: “The call of prayer אל־תרחק (Ps. 22:11, 19; 35:22; 38:21, used 71:12), the name of the soul יחידה (Ps. 22:20; 35:17), the designation of quiet and resignation by דומיה (Ps. 22:2; 39:2; 72:1; comp. 65:1) are to us, who do not limit the genuine Davidic Psalms with Hitzig to Pss. 3–19 as Davidic peculiarities. In other respects, likewise, there are not lacking similarities with other ancient Davidic Psalms (comp. Ps. 22:29 with Ps. 28:1, going down to the dust, to the pit, then in later Psalms, as Ps 143:7, in Isaiah and Ezek.) especially those of the time of Saul, as Ps. 69 (comp. Ps. 22:26 with 69:32) and Ps. 59 (comp. Ps. 22:16 with 59:14”).—C. A. B.]
[Perowne: “The older Jewish interpreters felt the difficulty, and thought that the sorrows of Israel in exile were the subject of the singer’s complaint.—Without adopting this view to the full extent, it is so far worthy of consideration that it points to what is probably the correct view, viz., that the Psalm was composed by one of the exiles during the Babylonish captiviy. And though the feelings and expressions are clearly individual, not national, yet they are the feelings and expressions of one who suffers not merely as an individual, but so to speak in a representative character.”—C. A. B.]
[Alexander follows Hengstenberg thus: “The subject of this Psalm is the deliverance of a righteous sufferer from his enemies, and the effect of this deliverance on others. It is so framed as to be applied without violence to any case belonging to the class described, yet so that it was fully verified only in Christ, the Head and representative of the class in question. The immediate speaker in the Psalm is an ideal person, the righteous servant of Jehovah, but his words may, to a certain extent, be appropriated by any suffering believer, and by the whole suffering church, as they have been in all ages.”—C. A. B.]
[Wordsworth: “The Hind represents innocence persecuted by those who are compared in the Psalm to huntsmen, with their dogs chasing it to death, see Psalm 22:16. And the Hind is called the Hind of the morning. Such was Christ at His Passion. He was hunted as a hind; He was the ‘Dayspring from on high;’ He was lovely and pure as the morning; and early in the morning, ‘while it was yet dark,’ His savage hunters thirsted for His death (Matth. 26:57; 27:1). Christ, the innocent and spotless Hind, is contrasted in the Psalm with the bulls of Bashan, and the ravening and roaring lion (Psalm 22:12, 13).”—“The concurrent opinion of all ancient expositors may be summed up in the words of St. Augustine here: ‘Dicuntur hæc in persond Crucifixi; or, as Theodoret expresses it, ‘our Lord Christ speaks in this Psalm as Man, suffering Man, in the name of all human nature;’ and the Church has declared her judgment in this sense, by appointing this Psalm to be used on Good Friday.”—C. A. B.]
[Wordsworth thus sums up the Messianic references of the Psalm. “Our Lord adopted the first words of this Psalm, when He was on the cross: ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ (Matth. 27:46; Mark 15:34); and St. Jerome justly says, ‘Ex hoc animadvertimus, totum Psalmum a Domino in cruse posito decantari.’ And the Holy Spirit, speaking by two Apostles and Evangelists, St. Matthew (27:35), and St John (19:23), applies it to Christ. St. Matthew says, they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, (i.e. in this Psalm Psalm 22:18), or, as St. John has it, ‘that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots.’ And St. John says. (19:28), ‘Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished that the Scripture might be fulfilled’ (i.e. the Scripture in Psalm 22:15), ‘saith I thirst.’ The language of those who persecuted Christ to death, is accurately described in the Psalm. ‘All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head saying, He trusted in the Lord; let Him deliver Him (Psalm 22:7, 8). Compare the narrative of the Evangelists. ‘They that passed by reviled Him, wagging their heads’ (Matth. 27:39). It is remarkable that the very words here used in the Septuagint, ἐξεμυκτήρισαν, and ἐκἰνησαν κεφαλήν, are adopted in the Gospels (Matth. 27:39; Mark 15:29; Luke 23:35.). ‘They mocked Him, and said, He trusted in God, let Him deliver Him’ (Matth. 27:41, 43). And the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews quotes Psalm 22:22 of this Psalm, and regards it as spoken by Christ: ‘He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, I will declare Thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto Thee’ (Heb. 2:12).”—C. A. B.]
[Delitzsch: “When the passion reached its highest point it had already been, preceded by days and nights of such wrestling, and what now was loud, was only the breaking forth of that struggle of prayer which in the second David constantly became more and more violent as he approached the catastrophe.”—C. A. B.]
[Delitzsch: “According to Biblical ideas there is in the newly-born child, yes in the unborn child, alive only in the mother’s womb, already a consciousness growing up out of the uttermost depths of unconsciousness (Bib. Psychol. p. 215). Thus when he says in prayer, that he was thrown upon Jehovah from the lap, that is, with all his needs and cares solely and alone referred to Him (Ps. 55:22; comp. 71:6) that from the womb Jehovah was his God, there is more contained in this than the pure objective sense, that he grew up in such relation to God. Never in the Old Testament is there any mention of a human father, that is, a genitor of the Messiah, but always only of His mother or she that brings Him forth. The words of the one praying here likewise say, that the beginning of his life, with respect to external circumstances was in poverty, which likewise agrees with the Old Testament and New Testament ideal of Christ,” Barnes agrees with Delitzsch, and is probably correct, thus: “The idea is, that from his earliest years he had been led to trust in God; and he now pleads this fact as a reason why He should interpose to save him. Applied to the Redeemer as a man, it means that in His earliest childhood He had trusted in God; His first breathings were those of piety; His first aspirations were for the Divine favor; His first love was the love of God:” and again, “He had been as it were, thrown early in life upon the protecting care of God. In some peculiar sense He had been more unprotected and defenceless than is common at that period of life, and He owed His preservation then entirely to God. This, too, may have passed through the mind of the Redeemer on the cross. In these sad and desolate moments He may have recalled the scenes of His early life—the events which had occurred to Him in His early years; the poverty of His mother, the manger, the persecution by Herod, the flight into Egypt, the return, the safety which He then enjoyed from persecution in a distant part of the land of Palestine, in the obscure and unknown village of Nazareth.”—C. A. B.]
[Tristram, Natural History of the Bible, p. 79: “Every Oriental city and village abounds with troops of hungry and half-savage dogs, which own allegiance rather to the place than to persons, and which wander about the streets and fields, howling dismally at night, and devouring even the dead bodies of men when they can reach them. Their habit is most exactly described by the Psalmist. ‘At evening let them return; and let them make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city. Let them wander up and down for meat, and grudge if they be not satisfied’ (Ps. 59:14, 15). ‘In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood’ (1 Kings 21:19). ‘The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel. Him that dieth of Ahab in the city the dogs shall eat’ (Psalm 22:23, 24.). Thus cruel, fierce and filthy persons are frequently compared to dogs (Ps. 22:10; Phil. 3:2; Rev. 22:15.—The common dog of the towns is the same breed as that of the shepherd, often in India called the Pariah dog, and probably the nearest in appearance to the wild original, not unlike the jackal, with short, sharp-pointed ears, sharp snout, generally a tawny coat and tail, scarcely bushy.”—C. A. B.]
[A. V., not so true to the original, has rendered מְחֹלָל, “wounded.”—C. A. B.]
[Perowne adopts the former rendering: “My only one. The life is so called either because man has but one life, or because it is the most precious of all things. Comp. Homer’s φιλον κὴρ and Plato’s τιμιοτάτη (ψυχή).” So Wordsworth, though with many forced allusions: “It is a memorable fact, that the masculine yachid occurs three times in one chapter of the historical books of the Old Testament, and in no other part of them; and that chapter is Gen. 22, which relates the sacrifice of Isaac, the only begotten son, whom his father loved, the type of Christ crucified. See Gen. 22:2, 12, 16. It is also a remarkable circumstance that the feminine word yachidah, which is the word used here, occurs only once in the historical books of the Old Testamet; and that passage is the history of the sacrifice of Jephthab’s daughter (Judges 11:34), on which it has been already observed that she was in several most interesting and beautiful respects a type of the pure human soul of Christ, offering itself a willing sacrifice on the cross. In the Psalms this word is used in another place which foretells the Passion of Christ, Ps. 35:17. My darling is explained by the parallelism in both these places as meaning my soul, which is mine as being that which I possess, and which I willingly lay down, as Christ says: ‘No man taketh my life (or soul, ψυχήν) from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again’ (John 10:17, 18). And that soul might well be called yechidah; that is, an only child, and a daughter, on account of its dearness to God (vid. John 1:14, 18; 3:16, 18; 1 John 4:9). The feminine gender bespeaks intensity of tender feeling and dearness.”—C. A. B.]
[Barnes: “The scene in the Psalm is the cross, the Redeemer suffering for the sins of men. The main features of the Psalm relate to the course of thoughts which there passed through the mind of the Redeemer; His sorrow at the idea of being abandoned by God; His confidence in God; the remembrance of His early hopes; His emotions at the taunts and revilings of His enemies; His consciousness of prostrated strength; His feelings as the soldiers pierced His hands and His feet, and as they proceeded to divide His raiment; His prayer that His enemies might not be suffered to accomplish their design, or to defeat the work of redemption; His purpose to make God known to men; His assurance that the effect of His sufferings would be to bring the dwellers in the earth to serve God, and to make His name and His righteousness known to far distant times. I regard the whole Psalm, therefore, as applicable to the Messiah alone: and believing it to be inspired I cannot but feel that we have here a most interesting and affecting account, given long before it occurred, of what actually passed through the mind of the Redeemer when on the cross.”—C. A. B.]
To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A Psalm of David. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?