Ps 22:1-31

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Home > The Old Testament > Psalms > Psalm 22
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This heading should be very brief and relate what is known about the psalm's authorship, date of composition, and historical setting. This heading should link to other pages for facts that are common to many psalms, such as King David's history. Click the link above and to the right to edit or add content to this heading. →


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  • Ps 22: Quoted by Christ on the cross. This Psalm starts with some of the words of Jesus on the cross: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" It may well be that Jesus identified with the words of the psalmist here, and certainly a number of the particulars in this psalm pertain to the crucifixion. The first half of this psalm describes, from a first-person view, a person who is suffering. The description is of someone who feels God is not answering his prayers (verse 2), who feels like a worm (verse 6), who is taunted (verse 7) for his faith (verse 8), whose bones have been dislocated (verse 14), whose mouth has dried up (verse 15) and whose clothes are being divided up by his enemies (verse 18). This is the portrait of a person who is extremely desperate. In verse 21, however, there is a sudden shift. The psalmist has an instant change of attitude: "for thou has answered me." At this point, the psalmist not only praises God but also predicts that the rest of the world will do likewise.
Because this psalm was used by Jesus in his dying moments, Christians can see it at least in part as a description of Jesus' suffering and how he must have felt. But it also is a psalm of triumph, for in the resurrection God answered not only the pleas of His Son but also the desires of humankind for hope that transcends the grave.
  • Ps 22:21: Unicorns. In most modern translations, the Hebrew word translated in the King James Version as "unicorns" is translated as "wild oxen" or something similar. There is no indication from the text that the psalmist is talking about a mythical creature.
  • Ps 22:26: The meek shall eat. Most scholars stress the importance of the communal feast being portrayed in verses 25-29 that includes a complete spectrum from the meek to the fat/rich/propserous. There may also be an important contrast here between the meek (anav, also meaning "weak or afflicted") who are now allowed to eat and the lions in verses 13-21 who were ready to eat the weak/afflicted. For a similar reversal, compare Num 11:1 where God consumes (akal meaning "to eat or consume") the murmuring Israelites with Num 14:9 where Joshua promises that God will help Israel consume their enemies.

Points to ponder[edit]

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Relation to other scriptures[edit]

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Related scriptures[edit]

Parallel passages[edit]

Text transmission[edit]

Joseph Smith Translation[edit]

The Joseph Smith Translation made changes to the following verses in Psalm __. This list is complete:[1]


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Footnotes are not required but are encouraged for factual assertions that average readers cannot easily evaluate for themselves, such as the date of King Solomon’s death or the nuanced definition of a Greek word. In contrast, insights rarely benefit from footnoting, and the focus of this page should always remain on the scriptures themselves rather than what someone has said about them. Links are actively encouraged on all sections of this page, and links to authoritative sources are preferable to footnotes.

  1. Wayment, The Complete Joseph Smith Translation of the Old Testament, p. 151-74.

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