Psalm 22 – Selected Bible Readings
(A small selection follows. Please read all the Psalm available at the bottom of this page, or to read and listen to here.)
(Verse 11) ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ Matthew27:46, Mark15:34.
(Verse 14) I am poured out like water, and all my joints are out of joint. (This well describes crucifixion.)
(Verse16 b) they have pierced my hands and my feet. Matthew27:35, John20:25.
(Verses 17-18) I can count all my bones; people stare and gloat over me. They divide My garments among them and cast lots for my clothing. Matthew27:35, Mark15:24, Luke23:34, John19:23-24
(Verses 27-28) All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the LORD and He rules over nations
(Verses30-31) Posterity will serve Him; future generations will be told about the Lord. They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn – for He has done it.
Psalm 22 – Foretelling history in advance
Psalm 22 (written by David) and Isaiah 53 (written by Isaiah) are both key in the Old Testament. They both foretell, in some detail, Jesus’ death on the cross, long before crucifixion was ever known in Israel. When were they written? Isaiah 53 in 700-681 BC and Psalm 22 about 1,000 BC – well before Rome crucified criminals there. The Holy Spirit caused history to be recorded in advance. This teaches us to trust God’s word, the Bible. Its focus is on Jesus. He died for us, rose again, forgives and enters the life of sinners who turn from sin and trust in Him. He gives eternal life to all who put personal faith in Him. He is only ever a prayer away from anyone who repents and trusts Him.
(Verses 1–2) HELPLESS This Psalm is set in the immediate context of David’s position and feelings. But it is also Messianic, showing aspects of the death of the Lord Jesus Christ hundreds of years before death by crucifixion was known, as if it had already happened. These comments focus on Jesus Christ’s death as pictured here. It shows Christ’s submission to humble Himself, as God the Son, into a helpless position as Man, to empty Himself, and to be forsaken and judged on the cross by God the Father.
(Verses 3–5) HOLY See God’s holiness here, just as in His faithful dealings with Israel in the past.
(Verses 6–8) HUMILITY We look beyond David to see the self-humbling of Jesus as a ‘worm’, and not as a man. See the reproach, lies and spite of those who ridicule Him and mock Him.
(Verses 9–11) HISTORY Jesus, the Son of Man, although conceived as a baby by the Holy Spirit through the virgin Mary, knows God as His Father in eternity, from eternity and for eternity. In his vulnerable humanity, He seeks divine help.
(Verses 12–13) HOSTILITY At the cross, hostile men, like animals, encircle and threaten Jesus.
(Verses 14–15) HEART Jesus’ body suffers. It is out of joint on the cross. His tongue dries up and sticks to His jaws. Jesus’ heart is like melted wax on that cross as He bears our sin and judgment.
(Verses 16–18) HORRIFIC Christ is surrounded by wicked people who cry for His death. His hands and feet are pierced. His bones are seen in His suspended and stretched body. His garments are being divided among the soldiers, who cast lots for some of them. What a horrific way to treat any man, especially the sinless Son of God. (Remember Psalm 22 was prophetically written before execution by crucifixion—a Roman, not Jewish form of death penalty—was practised.)
(Verses 19-21a) HASTEN Although abandoned on the cross, while bearing our sin and God’s wrath on it, Jesus knows that His Father is not far away, and that He will be raised from the dead. He can pray that God the Father hastens to help Him.
(Verses 21b–24) HEARD He knows that His prayer is heard. He will rise from the dead.
(Verses 25–31) HOPE As a result of the crucifixion of the Messiah, blessing will come on all sorts and conditions of people. Seekers will come to Him from all the ends of the world, from all nations, poor and prosperous, from dying and living, and from those yet to come. Only God can accomplish this. They rightly will say, ‘He has done this.’
For the director of music. To the tune of “The Doe of the Morning.” A psalm of David.
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
they trusted and you delivered them.
5 To you they cried out and were saved;
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
8 “He trusts in the Lord,” they say,
“let the Lord rescue him.
Let him deliver him,
since he delights in him.”
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
10 From birth I was cast on you;
from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
11 Do not be far from me,
for trouble is near
and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me.
15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you lay me in the dust of death.
16 Dogs surround me,
a pack of villains encircles me;
they pierce my hands and my feet.
17 All my bones are on display;
people stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honour him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!