The Book of Psalms Bible Study Psalm 22

Psalm 22

Although the covenants, laws, etc that G-d gave to Israel (as well as the New Covenant) are extremely important, from the perspective of Judaism (but also from the perspective of the New Covenant believers) the Messiah is even more so (Roms 9:3-5). He is above all.

Some prophecy is Messianic. This means that it speaks clearly concerning the Messiah – giving us revelation, insight, understanding, and truth concerning His identity and His work.

This Psalm contains portions of Messianic prophecy in it (The entire psalm does not necessarily pertain to Messiah).

The inscription: This is written in the feminine and is referring to a female deer. The next word has to do with an early morning or the dawn. Often deer are seen very early in the morning – just as the sun begins to rise – where there is a change from darkness to light. This change, emphasised here, is very significant and special.

v1: Matt 27:46 – ‘forsaken’ is a word of being left. It speaks of a separation. The One who never sinned (Messiah Yeshua) became sin for us. When our sin was placed on Him, and He endured the consequence of sin, it forced a separation between Him and G-d the Father. Most understand these words as referring to this break in the relationship between Father and Son.

· The word ‘helping’ here is a word for salvation. When we are in the midst of sin we are far away from salvation.

· The word translated ‘groanings’ here is the word ‘roaring’s’ in Hebrew. It’s a word of emphasis or intensity.


v2: ‘Daytime’ is a word that implies daily or throughout the day.

· You do not hear – there is no response.

· Night season – there’s a frequency, a consistency, of crying out (both day and night).

· Although G-d is silent David is saying that he himself is not silent. He continues to cry out.

v3: In the previous verse we saw that there was no response from G-d. Yet David lauds Him here as ‘holy’. G-d’s holiness or perfection is not dependant on what He does or does not do.

His holiness is something He IS – one of His attributes/part of His nature.

· ‘Inhabit’ is a word that means to live in or to sit within. G-d is in the midst of the praise of His people. If you are in a difficult circumstance, hardship is plaguing you, the wisest thing that you can do is begin to praise G-d. This praise brings Him into your circumstances and allows Him to bring about a change (Acts 16:25-26)

v4: Our fathers – probably more of a reference to the patriarchs than any other previous fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob)

Reliance upon G-d (trusting Him) brings about His deliverance in our lives and in our circumstances. When we ha

v5: This word translated ‘cried’ is literally the word for screaming in Hebrew (A loud voice accompanied by great emotion).

· In this verse we see how G-d demonstrated His faithfulness in the previous generations. Testimony of G-d’s faithfulness stirs faith in us.

v6: This particular word ‘worm’ (can be verified in was a crimson grub that was used to dye cloth scarlet. Some of the translators see this statement as a reference to the transformation Yeshua endured on the cross as He took our sins, like scarlet, upon Himself (Is 1:18).

· A reproach…and despised: The disgrace of man’s sin and the contempt of people was upon Yeshua as He suffered for our sin. In one sense this is great news for us. Yeshua suffered on our behalf so that we don’t have to. He paid the price so that we could avoid the judgement and wrath of G-d. Yeshua’s righteousness is greater than sin and therefore He conquered the power of sin and He conquered death!

v7: Luke 23:35-43 – the people, alive at the time of Yeshua, didn’t understand the fulfilment of this Messianic passage.

v8: Matt 27:39-43 Trusted – Yeshua relied on and was committed to His Father. He completely trusted Him.

· ‘Let Him rescue…let Him deliver’ – By using the word ‘let’ the translators have portrayed a slight hint of doubt. In the Hebrew it is emphatic – “and He rescued Him…He delivered”. This leaves no room for doubt – G-d WILL rescue or deliver.

· He delights in Him – G-d the Father delights in the Son, but this is also true the other way around – The Son delights in the Father.

v9: At the right time G-d the Father sent His Son into this world to be born.

· “Took me out” – Yeshua became visible, noticeable.

· “Trust…on mother’s breast” – G-d even ministers to those who are very young. G-d works in the life of children. They can be taught Biblical truth and principles from an early age.

v10: “Cast upon You” – This may speak of being dedicated to the L-rd’s purpose at an early age.

v11: This one who is speaking feels utterly abandoned. There is no one who can assist or help Him (Is 63:3 -5). He did it ALONE – that is why all praise, honour and glory belong to Him alone.

v12: The term “Bashan” was a term used for the Golan Heights. The best (strongest etc) type of cattle used to graze on these heights.

· ‘encircle’ – In the Hebrew this is the same word that ‘crown’ comes from. Even though this one is surrounded by powerful animals His Kingship (crown) is still evident (Matt 27:27-31, Matt 27:37) – a suffering king.

v13: A lion roars (makes a mighty sound) as it tears apart its prey.

v14: This is a verse that speaks of intense suffering. See John 19:31-37, Psalm 34:20

· Wax is easily melted.

· ‘Within me’ – to the very essence of a person, innermost being.

v15: ‘Dried up like a potsherd’ – pottery pieces that are very old, brittle and easily broken.

· Clings to my jaws – in English we would say ‘sticks to the roof of my mouth’. He is saying that he does not even have the strength to speak.

· dust of death – speaks of death being very close, imminent.

v16: This is a very controversial verse, which Christian commentators translate one way and Jewish commentators another.

· Dogs, from an OT perspective, were unpleasant animals (Maybe a bit like our modern-day wild dogs – dangerous pack animals who did what was necessary for survival)

· Assembly is another name for congregation.

· Enclosed/Encircling – this one is feeling threatened by these evil people (those who stand in opposition to G-d) who surround him.

· “They pierced My hands and My feet” is the part where the commentators differ. The Masoretic text (which is what the Jewish Tanach is based on – completed in the 10th century AD) uses the same word that we saw in v13 – so they would translate it something like ‘A lion (has torn apart) my hands and feet’. The Septuagint (The OT translated into Greek and completed in 132 BC – 1000yrs earlier than the Masoretic!) is the text which the early believers would have used. In the LXX a word is used here which means “to dig, or to make a hole” (ie pierced through – like an intense and intentional hole – like the hole made on the side of the mountain when it is quarried, a massive scar on the mountain face) – Lk 24:39

v17: I can count all my bones – many people see this relating to the fact that when one is crucified they are dehydrated (they perspire a great deal because of the agony) and all their bones seem to stick out. Although Yeshua was crucified he did not die by the crucifixion. On the cross Yeshua cried out in a loud voice before He died. People who died of crucifixion suffocated to death and would not have been able to cry out. John 10:17-18 tells us that Yeshua had the power to lay down His own life (ie to die). Matt 27:50 tells us that Yeshua yielded up His own Spirit. It was our sin that caused Yeshua to die on the cross. It was our sin that caused Him to suffer great agony. He died due to sin – the judgment of G-d was upon Him (the innocent, perfect Lamb)

· They look and stare – there were witnesses at the cross who saw what happened there (Matt 27:54-56)

v18: Matt 27:35

v19: This verse shows dependence on G-d – we want to be with Him, and the way we are with Him is in the midst of His will (Lk 22:42)

· Hasten to help – It is foundational for us to realise that G-d is faithful and that it is only in Him that we can have strength. Without Him in our lives we have no hope.

v20: One of the most common ways to die in David’s day was to be killed by a sword in battle. This would have been a very relevant cry for David to make.

· Power – authority.

· Several times in Scripture the word ‘dog’ is used for those who have no sensitivity to the things of G-d. A dog does what he wants – he has no shame. David is saying here that he (the very essence of who he is) does not want to fall prey, or be under authority, to these kinds of people as he is committed to the call that G-d placed upon him and he didn’t want this call to be hindered in any way.

v21: David wants to be saved from the lion – those who would tear him apart

· Horns speak of threat, but also of strength and power.

· ‘You have answered….’ – again we see the grace and faithfulness of G-d.

v22: Your Name – which name of G-d? Within the context of it being a Messianic psalm it is speaking about the name of Yeshua – the Messiah – the plan for, and author of, salvation (Heb 2:10-12).

· Brothers in a congregation (talking about David’s brethren here – the Jewish people) would know the name of G-d, so it wouldn’t have had to be declared to them. The name of Yeshua (Yeshua – salvation) was unknown at this time and it is a name that has to be made known/declared (John 10:30, John 17:26). We are responsible to declare the name of Yeshua, His salvation, to others.

v23: The ones who fear the L-rd praise Him. It’s that simple and profound.

· Jacob does not mean ‘deceiver’ – like we have been conditioned to believe. In Hebrew Jacob means ‘One who pursues G-d or follows hard after Him’. Jacob gave G-d priority in his life. Giving G-d priority in our lives testifies of a fear of G-d in our lives. Glorifying G-d (honouring Him) also shows that we fear Him.

· Descendants/offspring – Both words are the same word in the Hebrew text and are the word for “seed”. (For example: “Seed of Abraham” etc is used in a Messianic context in reference to Yeshua, but also referring to the offspring who live by faith/the New Covenant – Roms 9:6-8)

v24: ‘He has not despised…(our) affliction’ is referring to G-d. G-d is sensitive in regard to what is going on in our lives. He doesn’t turn a blind eye to us. David’s obedience to G-d caused great suffering in his life (eg he could have killed Saul and been done with running and hiding in the hills – but he waited for G-d to deal with Saul -1 Sam 24:4-7).

· When He cried…He (G-d) heard: The word used here, in Hebrew, is a word that doesn’t only mean to hear with the ears and that’s it. It’s a word that means to hear but it is also

a word that is linked to a response. He hears and He acts. David is able to write this because he has a testimony of G-d’s faithfulness in his life – G-d heard, and G-d acted.

v25: When we walk in faithfulness to G-d our obedience brings the faithfulness of G-d into our lives whereby we are able to experience His blessing and testify about it. When we are faithless G-d is still faithful; only, in this case, He is faithful to bring judgement into our lives. We mustn’t link His faithfulness only to His blessing. His faithfulness also produces judgement – 2 Tim 2:13

· In this verse David has a desire to respond to G-d, to give G-d priority – to praise and to pray in a public way…

v26: The poor = the humble ones (Matt 5:3). A person is only humble when they recognise the greatness of G-d. G-d works in the lives of humble people – “(they) shall eat and be satisfied” – what they receive from G-d is going to satisfy them and this is going to lead to them being able to praise.

· The word ‘seek’ here is a word of great urgency. Our lives are a vapour. We need to seek G-d quickly, urgently, giving Him priority in our lives while He can still be found by us (Is 55:6)

· ‘Heart’ can relate to our thoughts (‘as a man thinks in his heart…). The thoughts, plans, purposes, counsels of G-d are eternal. G-d’s thoughts, those that He places within us, also have eternal consequences (live forever).

v27: This word ‘remember’ is a word that is used in the context of covenant (G-d remembers His covenant, His plan…eg Gen 8:1, Gen 30:22 etc). In this context the people are remembering G-d’s covenant that He made with humanity. G-d’s promises cause people to turn (repent, a change of direction) toward Him. This is a verse that goes beyond just Israel – G-d’s covenantal promises are for the people in the whole earth – Jew and Gentile. When we have repented and turned to G-d we are then able to worship Him as He desires to be worshipped – in Spirit and in Truth. The work of salvation leads to restoration.

v28: This verse reminds me of Matt 6:33 (especially in light of v26)

v29: They will eat (of the prosperous/the fatness of the earth – G-d provides for those who seek Him to eat of the best in the land) and they will worship – Deut 8:10, Ps 34:8

· All of humanity (those who go down to the dust – die) are going to bow before G-d and His Messiah – Yeshua the Messiah (Phil 2:9-11) Some are going to do it willing in this life – and have eternal reward, most are going to do it unwillingly, once they have already died, where they no longer have a chance of eternal life but face eternal death.

v30: This word translated ‘posterity’ here is again that word for ‘seed’ in Hebrew. Those who are of the seed (of and IN Messiah) have hope in this life and in eternity.

· The word ‘next’ is not written in the Hebrew text. This remnant will tell of the L-rd’s goodness from generation to generation – even in our own generation we have a responsibility to tell others about the L-rd (although this responsibility also extends to the next generation)

v31: What should be important to us? Declaring the righteousness of the L-rd. Righteousness is linked to the Kingdom – Matt 6:33, Matt 3:2. A kingdom of righteousness reflects G-d’s judgments, His laws, His statutes, His commandments.

· A people who will be born – the way that this verse ends in Hebrew hints to the fact of rebirth (John 3:3-8). This is a birth that comes through faith in the grace of G-d. Our first birth is human. Our second birth is divine. Our first birth allows for natural growth. Our second birth allows for supernatural growth – the ability to live a transformed life! Yeshua died on the cross so that we could be set free from the power of sin. Only when we are set free are we able to live lives that are pleasing to G-d – lives transformed by the Holy Spirit’s power.

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