Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 22:11-13. Be not far from me — As to affection and succour; for trouble is near — At hand, and ready to swallow me up; for there is none to help — Thy help therefore will be the more seasonable, because it is most necessary, and thou wilt have the more glory by it, because it will appear that it is thy work alone. Many bulls have compassed me — Wicked, violent, and potent enemies, for such are so called, Ezekiel 39:18; Amos 4:1. Strong bulls of Bashan — Fat and lusty, as the cattle there bred were, and therefore fierce and furious. “By these,” says Dr. Dodd, “are represented the haughty senators, the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the other great men of Judea; who, after having resolved upon his death, Psalm 2:2, were so insolent as to make their appearance about his cross, and to insult him with their mockeries.” They gaped upon me with their mouths — To tear and devour me, as the following metaphor explains it.
For trouble is near - Near, in the sense that deep sorrow has come upon me; near, in the sense that I am approaching a dreadful death.
For there is none to help - Margin, as in Hebrew, "not a helper." There were those who would have helped, but they could not; there were those who could have helped, but they would not. His friends that stood around the cross were unable to aid him; his foes were unwilling to do it; and he was left to suffer unhelped.
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.
The crucified Son of David continues to pour out his complaint and prayer. We need much grace that while reading we may have fellowship with his sufferings. May the blessed Spirit conduct us into a most clear and affecting sight of our Redeemer's woes.
"Be not far from me." This is the petition for which he has been using such varied and powerful pleas. His great woe was that God had forsaken him, his great prayer is that he would be near him. A lively sense of the divine presence is a mighty stay to the heart in times of distress. "For trouble is near; for there is none to help." There are two "fors," as though faith gave a double knock at mercy's gate; that is a powerful prayer which is full of holy reasons and thoughtful arguments. The nearness of trouble is a weighty motive for divine help; this moves our heavenly Father's heart, and brings down his helping hand. It is his glory to be our very present help in trouble. Our Substitute had trouble in his inmost heart, for he said, "the waters have come in, even unto my soul;" well might he cry, "be not far from me." The absence of all other helpers is another telling plea. In our Lord's case none either could or would help him, it was needful that he should tread the winepress alone; yet was it a sore aggravation to find that all his disciples had forsaken him, and lover and friend were put far from him. There is an awfulness about absolute friendlessness which is crushing to the human mind, for man was not made to be alone, and is like a dismembered limb when he has to endure heart-loneliness.
continued...Be not far from me, to wit, as to affection and succour.
Trouble is near at hand, and ready to swallow me up; and therefore if thou dost not speedily deliver me, it will be too late; which is an argument that David oft useth, as Psalm 6:5 88:11, &c.
There is none to help; thy help therefore will be the more seasonable, because it is most hecessary, and thou wilt have the more of glory by it, because it will appear that it is thy work alone.
for trouble is near; Satan was marching towards him with his principalities and powers, to attack him in the garden and on the cross; Judas, one of his own disciples, was at hand to betray him; a multitude with swords and staves were about to seize him; the sins and chastisement of his people were just going to be laid upon him; the sword of justice was awaked against him, ready to give the blow; the hour of death was near, he was brought to the dust of it, as in Psalm 22:15. A second reason is given,
for there is none to help; none among his disciples: one of them was to betray him, another to deny him, and all to forsake him and flee from him, as they did; nor any among the angels in heaven; for though they ministered to him in the wilderness, and strengthened him in the garden, there were none near him on the cross, that it might be manifest that salvation was wrought out alone by him, Isaiah 63:5; and, indeed, if any of these had been willing to have helped him, it was not in their power to do it, none but God could; and therefore he applies to him, who had promised and was as good as his word, Isaiah 49:8.Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. Be not far from me] The expostulation of Psalm 22:1 is turned into a prayer, again repeated in Psalm 22:19. He urges his plea on the double ground that while Jehovah still stands afar off in seeming indifference, distress is close at hand, and there is no other helper to whom he can look.
11–21. The Psalmist pleads for help with intenser earnestness. The virulence of his foes increases. Strength and endurance are exhausted.Verse 11. - Be not far from me. The considerations dwelt upon in vers. 3-5, and again in veto. 9, 10, have removed the sense of desertion expressed in vex. 1; and the Sufferer can now confidently call on God to help him. "Be not far from me," he says, for trouble is near. The time is come when aid is most urgently required. For there is none to help; literally, not a helper. David himself had never been in such straits. He had always had friends and followers. Under Saul's persecution he had a friend in Jonathan; he was supported by his father and his brethren (1 Samuel 22:1); in a short time he found himself at the head of four hundred (1 Samuel 22:2), and then of six hundred men (1 Samuel 25:13). In Absalom's rebellion there remained faithful to him the priestly tribe (2 Samuel 15:24) and the Gibborim (2 Samuel 15:18), and others to the number of some thousands (2 Samuel 18:4). But he whom David prefigured, his Antitype, was desexed, was alone - "All the disciples forsook him and fled" (Matthew 26:56) - he was truly one that "had no helper." Psalm 78:4; Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 63:7), and in fact presented in His sanctuary (Isaiah 64:10). The combination יושׁב תּהלּות (with the accusative of the verbs of dwelling and tarrying) is like יושׁב כּרבים, Psalm 99:1; Psalm 80:2. The songs of praise, which resounded in Israel as the memorials of His deeds of deliverance, are like the wings of the cherubim, upon which His presence hovered in Israel. In Psalm 22:5, the praying one brings to remembrance this graciously glorious self-attestation of God, who as the Holy One always, from the earliest times, acknowledged those who fear Him in opposition to their persecutors and justified their confidence in Himself. In Psalm 22:5 trust and rescue are put in the connection of cause and effect; in Psalm 22:6 in reciprocal relation. פּלּט and מלּט are only distinguished by the harder and softer sibilants, cf. Psalm 17:13 with Psalm 116:4. It need not seem strange that such thoughts were at work in the soul of the Crucified One, since His divine-human consciousness was, on its human side, thoroughly Israelitish; and the God of Israel is also the God of salvation; redemption is that which He himself determined, why, then, should He not speedily deliver the Redeemer?
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