The prayer to Yahweh (Ps 22:19-22:21)

“But You!


Do not be far away!

O my help!

Come quickly to my aid!

Deliver my soul from the sword!

Deliver my life from the power of the dog!

Save me from the mouth of the lion!”

David or the psalmist did not want Yahweh to be far away. He wanted him to help him by coming quickly to his aid. He wanted his soul and his life saved from the power of the sword and the dog. He wanted to be saved from the lion’s mouth.

The evil doers are like a pack of dogs (Ps 22:16-22:18)

“Dogs are round about me.

A company of evildoers encircle me.

My hands and feet have shriveled.

I can count all my bones.

They stare and gloat over me.

They divide my clothes among themselves.

For my clothing they cast lots.”

The evil doers are like a pack of dogs looking for prey. The condition of David or the psalmist has deteriorated. His hands and feet have shriveled up. He is so thin that he can count all the bones in his body because they are showing. People were staring and gloating over him. They already were dividing up his clothes with lots as he came close to death. Once again, it is clear why the evangelist used this psalm to talk about the dying Jesus on the cross.

David is weak (Ps 22:14-22:15)

“I am poured out like water.

All my bones are out of joint.

My heart is like wax.

It is melted within my breast.

My mouth is dried up like a potsherd.

My tongue sticks to my jaws.

You lay me in the dust of death.”

This is a very colorful descriptive explanation of David’s or the psalmist’s situation. He was poured out like water, exhausted. His bones were out of joint in pain. His heart was like wax that melted away in his breast with no energy. His mouth was dried up as his tongue was stuck to his jaws. A potsherd is broken pieces of pottery. He was almost on his death bed of dust. It is apparent why the works of Matthew and Mark used this vivid graphic psalm to describe a dying Jesus on the cross.

The protection of God (Ps 22:9-22:11)

“Yet it was you who took me from the womb.

You kept me safe on my mother’s breast.

On you I was cast from my birth.

Since my mother bore me

You have been my God.

Do not be far from me!

Trouble is near.

There is no one to help.”

God took David or this psalmist from the womb and brought him to his mother’s breasts. From his birth, God had protected him. There had been only one God in his life. He asked that God be not far from him, whenever there was trouble because there was no one else to help him.

The plight of the weak man (Ps 22:6-22:8)

“But I am a worm.

I am not human.

I am scorned by others.

I am despised by the people.

All who see me mock me.

They make mouths at me.

They shake their heads.

‘Commit your cause to Yahweh!

Let him deliver!

Let him rescue

The one in whom he delights!’”

David or the psalmist compares himself to a weak person like a worm, not even human. He was scorned and despised by others. He was mocked. People would shake their heads and mouth things at him. They wanted him to commit his case to Yahweh. Let Yahweh deliver and rescue the weak ones. No one was going to help him.

Trust in God (Ps 22:3-22:5)

“You are holy!

You are enthroned on the praises of Israel!

Our ancestors trusted in you.

They trusted.

You delivered them!

They cried to you.

They were saved.

They trusted in you!

They were not disappointed.”

This is a direct plea to God, the holy one, “you.” Israel praised God.  Their Israelite ancestors trusted in God. Thus they were delivered and rescued. They cried and they were saved. They trusted and were not disappointed.

The suffering servant (Ps 22:1-22:2)

To the choirmaster leader, according to the deer of the dawn, a psalm of David

My God!

My God!

Why have you forsaken me?

Why are you so far from helping me?

Why are you so far from the words of my groaning?

O my God!

I cry by day.

But you do not answer.

I cry by night.

But I find no rest.”

This Psalm 22 is a psalm of David with a choir leader. However, there is a notation “according to the deer of the dawn,” which probably refers to some lost hymn or tune. This is a psalm for help or deliverance from a serious illness or persecution. This is much like the suffering servant in Isaiah, chapters 52-53. The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 27, and the Gospel of Mark, chapter 15 indicated that Jesus Christ quoted the first few verses of his psalm as he hung on the cross. The forsaken one cried to God. Why was no help coming from God? The suffering one cried during the day and at night, but there was no answer. He could not find any rest.