One of the bystanders ran.
He got a sponge.
He filled it
With sour wine.
He put it on a stick.
He gave it to him
καὶ εὐθέως δραμὼν εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν καὶ λαβὼν σπόγγον πλήσας τε ὄξους καὶ περιθεὶς καλάμῳ ἐπότιζεν αὐτόν.
This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:36. In Luke, chapter 23:36, there was an indication of a soldier who gave some sour wine to Jesus. In John, chapter 19:28-29, Jesus said that he was thirsty before they gave him this sour wine that was standing nearby. Matthew said that soon one of the bystanders ran to get a sponge (καὶ εὐθέως δραμὼν εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν καὶ λαβὼν σπόγγον). He filled it with sour wine or vinegar (πλήσας τε ὄξους). Then he put it on a stick or reed (καὶ περιθεὶς καλάμῳ) to give Jesus something to drink (ἐπότιζεν αὐτόν). This sour wine or vinegar might have been a reference to Psalm 69:21, where the psalmist complained that they gave him vinegar to drink. This common Roman soldier drink of sour wine or vinegar mixed with water might also have been an anesthetic to ease the pain. Thus, this action might have been an act of compassion for Jesus hanging on the cross.
O my soul!
I will praise Yahweh
As long as I live.
I will sing praises to my God
All my life long.”
Psalm 146 is the first of these last few psalms that are the alleluia hymns since they have no title. They all begin and end with the phrase alleluia or praise Yahweh, another way of saying the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” These psalms or hymns were usually recited in the morning. The opening verses are clearly about praising Yahweh. This psalmist will praise Yahweh as long as he would live. He was going to praise his God all his whole life.
“May our sons
In their youth
Be like plants full grown!
May our daughters
Be like corner pillars,
Cut for the building of a palace!
May our barns be filled
With produce of every kind!
May our sheep increase by thousands,
By ten thousands in our fields!
May our cattle be heavy with young!
May there be no breach in the walls!
May there be no exile!
May there be no cry of distress in our streets!”
David, or this psalmist, asks and prays for future blessings. He wanted their sons to be like full grown plants. He wanted their daughters to be corner stones or pillars of a palace. He wanted their barns full of every kind of produce. He wanted their sheep to increase. He wanted his cattle to be heavy with young calves. He wanted no breach in the wall, no exile, and no distress in the streets. These future blessings would lead to an idyllic time with no problems.
“I will sing a new song to you!
Upon a ten-stringed harp
I will play to you!
You give victory to kings.
Who rescue his servant David.
Rescue me from the cruel sword!
Deliver me from the hand of aliens!
Their mouths speak lies.
Their right hands are false.”
David was going to sing a new song to God on the 10 stringed harp. He was going to play because of the victory of the kings. God had rescued his servant David. I thought that this was David singing a new song. Instead, there is a reference to David, the servant of God, then a cry to rescue him, as if they were two different people. This psalmist wanted to be rescued from the cruel sword of aliens or strangers. Just like in the preceding verses, these aliens spoke lies and their right hands were false.
Remember against the Edomites.
Remember the day of Jerusalem’s fall.
How they said.
‘Tear it down!
Tear it down!
Tear it down to its foundations!’
O daughter Babylon!
Happy shall they be
Those who pay you back
What you have done to us!
Happy shall they be
Those who take your little ones.
They shall dash them against the rock.”
This psalm ends by asking for the destruction of Babylon and its young people. The psalmist wanted to recall the day that the Edomites attacked Jerusalem. They tore down the walls in Jerusalem to its foundations. Now they were wishing evil to the devastated daughters of Babylon, the Babylonian people. They would be happy people when they paid them back for what they had done. In fact, in one of the cruelest curses, this psalmist wanted them to take the Babylonian little children and dash their heads against the rocks. With that somber image, this captivity psalm ends.
“How could we sing Yahweh’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you,
Let my right hand wither!
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth,
If I do not remember you,
If I do not set Jerusalem
Above my highest joy.”
The psalmist asked how he could sing a song about Yahweh when he was in a foreign land. If he had forgotten Jerusalem, his right hand should wither. His tongue should stick to the roof of his mouth. He was always going to remember Jerusalem as his greatest joy. He would never forget that wonderful place.
“The idols of the nations are silver and gold.
They are the work of human hands.
They have mouths,
But they do not speak.
They have eyes,
But they do not see.
They have ears,
But they do not hear.
There is no breath in their mouths.
Those who made them
Shall become like them.
All who trust in them,
Shall become like them.”
Many countries have idols of silver and gold. Obviously, these are the works of human hands. Very famously, the psalmist says that they have mouths but do not speak. They have eyes but do not see. They have ears but do not hear. They have no breath in their mouths. Thus they are impotent idols. The makers and followers of these idols are like them, without any power also.