Psalm 22:15
My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue sticks to my jaws; and you have brought me into the dust of death.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) My strength.—The conjecture, “my palate,” instead of “my strength,” improves the parallelism. Others, but not so happily, “my moisture.”

The dust of death.—Comp. Shakespeare’s “Macbeth:”

“The way to dusty death.”

22:11-21 In these verses we have Christ suffering, and Christ praying; by which we are directed to look for crosses, and to look up to God under them. The very manner of Christ's death is described, though not in use among the Jews. They pierced his hands and his feet, which were nailed to the accursed tree, and his whole body was left so to hang as to suffer the most severe pain and torture. His natural force failed, being wasted by the fire of Divine wrath preying upon his spirits. Who then can stand before God's anger? or who knows the power of it? The life of the sinner was forfeited, and the life of the Sacrifice must be the ransom for it. Our Lord Jesus was stripped, when he was crucified, that he might clothe us with the robe of his righteousness. Thus it was written, therefore thus it behoved Christ to suffer. Let all this confirm our faith in him as the true Messiah, and excite our love to him as the best of friends, who loved us, and suffered all this for us. Christ in his agony prayed, prayed earnestly, prayed that the cup might pass from him. When we cannot rejoice in God as our song, yet let us stay ourselves upon him as our strength; and take the comfort of spiritual supports, when we cannot have spiritual delights. He prays to be delivered from the Divine wrath. He that has delivered, doth deliver, and will do so. We should think upon the sufferings and resurrection of Christ, till we feel in our souls the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.My strength is dried up like a potsherd, - A "potsherd" is a fragment of a broken pot, or a piece of earthenware. See Isaiah 45:9, note; and Job 2:8, note. 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 - See the notes at Job 29:10. 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. Compare John 19:28.

And thou hast brought me into the dust of death - Or, as we should say, "to dust" - "to the grave" - to the dust where death reigns. See the notes at Daniel 12:2. The meaning is, that he was near death; or, was just ready to die. Who can show that the Redeemer when on the cross may not in his own meditations have gone over these very expressions in the psalm as applicable to himself?

15. the dust of death—of course, denotes the grave. We need not try to find the exact counterpart of each item of the description in the particulars of our Saviour's sufferings. Figurative language resembles pictures of historical scenes, presenting substantial truth, under illustrations, which, though not essential to the facts, are not inconsistent with them. Were any portion of Christ's terrible sufferings specially designed, it was doubtless that of the garden of Gethsemane. I have in a manner no more radical moisture left in me than is in a dry potsherd.

My tongue eleaveth to my jaws, through that excessive thirst and drought. See John 19:20.

Thou hast brought me into the dust of death; partly by thy providence delivering me into the power of mine enemies, and partly by thy terrors in my mind and soul. My strength is dried up like a potsherd,.... The radical moisture of his body was dried up through his loss of blood and spirits, and through the violent fever upon him, brought on him by his being hurried from court to court; and which generally attends persons under a panic, in consternation and fear of danger and death, and at crucifixion; or this was occasioned by the inward sorrow and distress of his mind, which affected his body and dried his bones, as a broken spirit is said to do, Proverbs 17:22; and chiefly it was brought upon him through the sense he had the wrath of God, which like fire dried up his strength, just as a potsherd burnt in a furnace; which expresses his dolorous sufferings, which were typified by the passover lamb being roasted with fire, and the manna being baked in pans;

and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; so that he could not, or rather would not, speak; this phrase sometimes signifying silence, Job 29:10, Ezekiel 3:26. Thus Christ answered not a word to the charges of the false witnesses before the high priest, nor to the accusations of the chief priests and elders before Pilate; nor did he open his mouth, when he was led to be crucified, neither against the law and justice of God, nor against his people for whom he suffered, nor against his enemies who used him cruelly; when he was reviled he reviled not again; but rather this was occasioned by thirst, through the violent fever that was upon him; see Lamentations 4:4; Hence, when he hung upon the cross, he said, "I thirst", John 19:28;

and thou hast brought me into the dust of death; meaning either death itself, which brings to the dust, and which is signified in this psalm by going down to it, Psalm 22:29; or the grave, where the body crumbles into dust, and where it is covered with dust, and therefore is said to sleep in the dust of the earth, Daniel 12:2; and accordingly the Targum renders it here, "thou hast shut me up in the house of the grave": now Christ both died and was laid in the grave, though he did not lie there so long as to corrupt and decompose, yet he might be truly said to be laid in the dust: and this is attributed to God, to his counsel, disposal, and Providence; and even whatever was done to Christ antecedent to his death, and which led on to it, were what God's hand and counsel had determined to be done; and though it was with wicked hands the Jews took Christ and used him in the manner after related, and crucified and slew him, he was delivered to them by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God; and by these he was delivered into the hands of justice, and brought to death itself, Acts 2:23.

My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou {i} hast brought me into the dust of death.

(i) You permitted me to be without all hope of life.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. The vital sap and moisture of the body are dried up. Cp. Psalm 32:4. Possibly for my strength we should read my palate. Cp. Psalm 69:3.

thou hast brought me] Thou art laying me. Even in this persecution he can recognise the hand of God. His tormentors are Jehovah’s instruments. Cp. Acts 2:23.Verse 15. - My strength is dried up like a potsherd. All strength dies out under the action of the many acute pains which rack the whole frame, and as little remains as there remains of moisture in a potsherd. And my tongue cleaveth to my jaws. An extreme and agonizing thirst sets in - the secretions generally fail - and the saliva especially is suppressed, so that the mouth feels parched and dry. Hence the cry of suffering which was at last wrung from our Lord, when, just before the end, he exclaimed, "I thirst" (John 19:28). And thou hast brought me into the dust of death. "The dust of death" is a periphrasis for death itself, which is so closely associated in our thoughts with the dust of the tomb (see below, ver. 29; and comp. Psalm 30:10; Psalm 104:29; and Job 10:9; Job 34:35; Ecclesiastes 3:20; Ecclesiastes 12:7, etc.). (Heb.: 22:10-12)The sufferer pleads that God should respond to his trust in Him, on the ground that this trust is made an object of mockery. With כּי he establishes the reality of the loving relationship in which he stands to God, at which his foes mock. The intermediate thought, which is not expressed, "and so it really is," is confirmed; and thus כי comes to have an affirmative signification. The verb גּוּח (גּיח) signifies both intransitive: to break forth (from the womb), Job 38:8, and transitive: to push forward (cf. Arab. jchcha), more especially, the fruit of the womb, Micah 4:10. It might be taken here in the first signification: my breaking forth, equivalent to "the cause of my breaking forth" (Hengstenberg, Baur, and others); but there is no need for this metonymy. גּחי is either part. equivalent to גּחי, my pusher forth, i.e., he who causes me to break forth, or, - since גוח in a causative signification cannot be supported, and participles like בּוס stamping and לוט veiling (Ges. 72, rem. 1) are nowhere found with a suffix, - participle of a verb גּחהּ, to draw forth (Hitz.), which perhaps only takes the place, per metaplasmum, of the Pil. גּחח with the uneuphonic מגחחי (Ewald S. 859, Addenda). Psalm 71 has גוזי (Psalm 71:6) instead of גּחי, just as it has מבטחי (Psalm 71:5) instead of מבטיחי. The Hiph. הבטיח does not merely mean to make secure (Hupf.), but to cause to trust. According to biblical conception, there is even in the new-born child, yea in the child yet unborn and only living in the womb, a glimmering consciousness springing up out of the remotest depths of unconsciousness (Psychol. S. 215; transl. p. 254). Therefore, when the praying one says, that from the womb he has been cast

(Note: The Hoph. has o, not u, perhaps in a more neuter sense, more closely approximating the reflexive (cf. Ezekiel 32:19 with Ezekiel 32:32), rather than a purely passive. Such is apparently the feeling of the language, vid., B. Megilla 13a (and also the explanation in Tosefoth).)

upon Jahve, i.e., directed to go to Him, and to Him alone, with all his wants and care (Psalm 55:23, cf. Psalm 71:6), that from the womb onwards Jahve was his God, there is also more in it than the purely objective idea, that he grew up into such a relationship to God. Twice he mentions his mother. Throughout the Old Testament there is never any mention made of a human father, or begetter, to the Messiah, but always only of His mother, or her who bare Him. And the words of the praying one here also imply that the beginning of his life, as regards its outward circumstances, was amidst poverty, which likewise accords with the picture of Christ as drawn both in the Old and New Testaments. On the ground of his fellowship with God, which extends so far back, goes forth the cry for help (Psalm 22:12), which has been faintly heard through all the preceding verses, but now only comes to direct utterance for the first time. The two כּי are alike. That the necessity is near at hand, i.e., urgent, refers back antithetically to the prayer, that God would not remain afar off; no one doth, nor can help except He alone. Here the first section closes.

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