Tehillim / Psalms 22, Part 2, A Psalm of Messianic Expectations

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This week’s study is from Tehillim / Psalms 22:1-31, the Psalm is introduced saying א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David. The first distinctive verse of the psalm states ב אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי רָחוֹק מִישׁוּעָתִי דִּבְרֵי שַׁאֲגָתִי: 22:1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. (NASB) reminding us of Yeshua’s words while on the cross in Matthew 27:45-46 and Mark 15:34. David continues saying ג אֱלֹהַי אֶקְרָא יוֹמָם וְלֹא תַעֲנֶה וְלַיְלָה וְלֹא-דוּמִיָּה לִי: ד וְאַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת יִשְֹרָאֵל: ה בְּךָ בָּטְחוּ אֲבֹתֵינוּ בָּטְחוּ וַתְּפַלְּטֵמוֹ: ו אֵלֶיךָ זָעֲקוּ וְנִמְלָטוּ בְּךָ בָטְחוּ וְלֹא-בוֹשׁוּ: ז וְאָנֹכִי תוֹלַעַת וְלֹא-אִישׁ חֶרְפַּת אָדָם וּבְזוּי עָם: ח כָּל-רֹאַי יַלְעִגוּ לִי יַפְטִירוּ בְשָֹפָה יָנִיעוּ רֹאשׁ: 22:2 O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. 22:3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. 22:4 In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. 22:5 To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed. 22:6 But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. 22:7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, (NASB) David proclaims that he is the Lord’s even from the womb and asks the Lord not to be far off when he calls (Tehillim / Psalms 22:8-11). Because of his reproach among men and the struggles he is going through, he says “Many bulls have surrounded me, strong bulls of Bashan have encircled him.” What is the meaning of the Hebrew idiom of the surrounding of the bulls? Because of these things, he is poured out like water, bones are out of joint, his heart melts, his strength is dried up, and his tongue cleaves to his mouth, and he lays in wait to die in the dust of the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 22:12-15). David then says prophetically of the Messiah, “they have pierced his hands and feet,” (Luke 23:33-34) “he can count all his bones,” and they “divide his garments among them casting lots for his clothing.” (John 19:24, Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34). He proclaims כג אֲסַפְּרָה שִׁמְךָ לְאֶחָי בְּתוֹךְ קָהָל אֲהַלְלֶךָּ: 22:22 I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. (NASB) (Hebrews 2:12) David concludes the psalm saying 22:29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive. 22:30 Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. 22:31 They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it. (NASB)

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק כב

א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: ב אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי רָחוֹק מִישׁוּעָתִי דִּבְרֵי שַׁאֲגָתִי: ג אֱלֹהַי אֶקְרָא יוֹמָם וְלֹא תַעֲנֶה וְלַיְלָה וְלֹא-דוּמִיָּה לִי: ד וְאַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת יִשְֹרָאֵל: ה בְּךָ בָּטְחוּ אֲבֹתֵינוּ בָּטְחוּ וַתְּפַלְּטֵמוֹ: ו אֵלֶיךָ זָעֲקוּ וְנִמְלָטוּ בְּךָ בָטְחוּ וְלֹא-בוֹשׁוּ:

סםר טוביה פרק כב

א לשבחא על תקוף קורבן תדירא דקריצתא תושבחתא לדוד׃ ב אלי אלהי אלי אלהי מטול מה שבקתני רחיק מן פורקני מילי אכליותי׃ ג אלהי אנא קרי ביממא ולא תקביל צלותי ובליליא לא לית שתיקותא לי׃ ד ואנת ואת קדיש דמיתב עלמא על מן בגלל תושבחן ישראל׃

YALMOI 22

22:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος ὑπὲρ τῆς ἀντιλήμψεως τῆς ἑωθινῆς ψαλμὸς τῷ δαυιδ (2) ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεός μου πρόσχες μοι ἵνα τί ἐγκατέλιπές με μακρὰν ἀπὸ τῆς σωτηρίας μου οἱ λόγοι τῶν παραπτωμάτων μου 22:2 ὁ θεός μου κεκράξομαι ἡμέρας καὶ οὐκ εἰσακούσῃ καὶ νυκτός καὶ οὐκ εἰς ἄνοιαν ἐμοί 22:3 σὺ δὲ ἐν ἁγίοις κατοικεῖς ὁ ἔπαινος ισραηλ 22:4 ἐπὶ σοὶ ἤλπισαν οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν ἤλπισαν καὶ ἐρρύσω αὐτούς

ז וְאָנֹכִי תוֹלַעַת וְלֹא-אִישׁ חֶרְפַּת אָדָם וּבְזוּי עָם: ח כָּל-רֹאַי יַלְעִגוּ לִי יַפְטִירוּ בְשָֹפָה יָנִיעוּ רֹאשׁ: ט גֹּל אֶל-יְהֹוָה יְפַלְּטֵהוּ יַצִּילֵהוּ כִּי חָפֵץ בּוֹ: י כִּי-אַתָּה גֹחִי מִבָּטֶן מַבְטִיחִי עַל-שְׁדֵי אִמִּי: יא עָלֶיךָ הָשְׁלַכְתִּי מֵרָחֶם מִבֶּטֶן אִמִי אֵלִי אָתָּה: יב אַל-תִּרְחַק מִמֶּנִּי כִּי-צָרָה קְרוֹבָה כִּי-אֵין עוֹזֵר: יג סְבָבוּנִי פָּרִים רַבִּים אַבִּירֵי בָשָׁן כִּתְּרוּנִי: יד פָּצוּ עָלַי פִּיהֶם אַרְיֵה טֹרֵף וְשֹׁאֵג: טו כַּמַּיִם נִשְׁפַּכְתִּי וְהִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל-עַצְמוֹתָי הָיָה לִבִּי כַּדּוֹנָג נָמֵס בְּתוֹךְ מֵעָי: טז יָבֵשׁ כַּחֶרֶשֹ | כֹּחִי וּלְשׁוֹנִי מֻדְבָּק מַלְקוֹחָי וְלַעֲפַר-מָוֶת תִּשְׁפְּתֵנִי: יז כִּי-סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים עֲדַת מְרֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי כָּאֲרִי יָדַי וְרַגְלָי: יח אֲסַפֵּר כָּל-עַצְמוֹתָי הֵמָּה יַבִּיטוּ יִרְאוּ-בִי: יט יְחַלְּקוּ בְגָדַי לָהֶם וְעַל-לְבוּשִׁי יַפִּילוּ גוֹרָל: כ וְאַתָּה יְהֹוָה אַל-תִּרְחָק אֱיָלוּתִי לְעֶזְרָתִי חוּשָׁה: כא הַצִּילָה מֵחֶרֶב נַפְשִׁי מִיַּד-כֶּלֶב יְחִידָתִי: כב הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי מִפִּי אַרְיֵה וּמִקַּרְנֵי רֵמִים עֲנִיתָנִי: כג אֲסַפְּרָה שִׁמְךָ לְאֶחָי בְּתוֹךְ קָהָל אֲהַלְלֶךָּ: כד יִרְאֵי יְהֹוָה | הַלְלוּהוּ כָּל-זֶרַע יַעֲקֹב כַּבְּדוּהוּ וְגוּרוּ מִמֶּנוּ כָּל-זֶרַע יִשְֹרָאֵל:

ה עלך סברו במימרך איתרחיצו אבהתנא סברו במימרך איתרחיצו ושזבתנון׃ ו קדמך צלו ואשתיזבו ועלך במימרך אתרחיצו ולא בהיתו׃ ז ואנא זחיל חלש ולא גבר סכל חסודי בנינשא ומתרמרמותא דעממי׃ ח כל דחמיין לי ירהבון יגחנון עלי מתגרין מתנדדין בסיפוותהון יטלטלון ומטלטלין ברישהון׃ ט ישבח שבחית קדם יהוה ושזביה פצא יתיה מטול דאיתרעי ביה׃ י מטול דאת דאנת אפקתני מכריסא אסברתני רוחצני על תדיי אמי אומי׃ יא בסעדך על מימרך איטלקית ממעינא מכריסא דאמי אלי את ״מרחם אומי אלהי אנת׃ יב לא תתרחק מיני מטול ארום דעקתא קריבא ארום לית פריק דמסייע׃ יג אחזרו עלי עממיא דמתלין לתורין נגחנין סגיאין רורבני רברבני מתנן בותנן אקפוני׃ יד פתחו פתחין עלי פומהון היך כאריא אכלי מכלי ותביר ומתבר׃ טו היך כמיא איתשדת אשתדיית ואתפרפרן כולהון גרמיי הוה לבי מתמסי מתמסמס היך שעוא פייג בגו במצע מעיי׃ טז ייבש היך פחר חילי ליחתי ולישני אדביק למוריגיי ולבית קבורתא אמטיתני׃ יז מטול ארום דאחזרו עלי רשיעי סיעת חייבין דמתילין לכלביא סגיעי כינשת מבאישין אקפוני נכתין היך כאריא אידי ורגלי׃ יח אחוי כל חלבשושי גרמיי איברי אינון הינון מיסתכלין מבזן לי׃ יט מפלגין לבושי להון ועלוי פתאגאי פיתגיי ירמון עדבין׃ כ ואנת ואת יהוה לא תתרחיק תוקפי תקוף חילי לסיועי אוחי סרהיב׃

22:5 πρὸς σὲ ἐκέκραξαν καὶ ἐσώθησαν ἐπὶ σοὶ ἤλπισαν καὶ οὐ κατῃσχύνθησαν 22:6 ἐγὼ δέ εἰμι σκώληξ καὶ οὐκ ἄνθρωπος ὄνειδος ἀνθρώπου καὶ ἐξουδένημα λαοῦ 22:7 πάντες οἱ θεωροῦντές με ἐξεμυκτήρισάν με ἐλάλησαν ἐν χείλεσιν ἐκίνησαν κεφαλήν 22:8 ἤλπισεν ἐπὶ κύριον ῥυσάσθω αὐτόν σωσάτω αὐτόν ὅτι θέλει αὐτόν 22:9 ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ ἐκσπάσας με ἐκ γαστρός ἡ ἐλπίς μου ἀπὸ μαστῶν τῆς μητρός μου 22:10 ἐπὶ σὲ ἐπερρίφην ἐκ μήτρας ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου θεός μου εἶ σύ 22:11 μὴ ἀποστῇς ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ ὅτι θλῖψις ἐγγύς ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ βοηθῶν 22:12 περιεκύκλωσάν με μόσχοι πολλοί ταῦροι πίονες περιέσχον με 22:13 ἤνοιξαν ἐπ’ ἐμὲ τὸ στόμα αὐτῶν ὡς λέων ὁ ἁρπάζων καὶ ὠρυόμενος 22:14 ὡσεὶ ὕδωρ ἐξεχύθην καὶ διεσκορπίσθη πάντα τὰ ὀστᾶ μου ἐγενήθη ἡ καρδία μου ὡσεὶ κηρὸς τηκόμενος ἐν μέσῳ τῆς κοιλίας μου 22:15 ἐξηράνθη ὡς ὄστρακον ἡ ἰσχύς μου καὶ ἡ γλῶσσά μου κεκόλληται τῷ λάρυγγί μου καὶ εἰς χοῦν θανάτου κατήγαγές με 22:16 ὅτι ἐκύκλωσάν με κύνες πολλοί συναγωγὴ πονηρευομένων περιέσχον με ὤρυξαν χεῖράς μου καὶ πόδας 22:17 ἐξηρίθμησα πάντα τὰ ὀστᾶ μου αὐτοὶ δὲ κατενόησαν καὶ ἐπεῖδόν με 22:18 διεμερίσαντο τὰ ἱμάτιά μου ἑαυτοῖς καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν ἱματισμόν μου ἔβαλον κλῆρον 22:19 σὺ δέ κύριε μὴ μακρύνῃς τὴν βοήθειάν μου εἰς τὴν ἀντίλημψίν μου πρόσχες 22:20 ῥῦσαι ἀπὸ ῥομφαίας τὴν ψυχήν μου καὶ ἐκ χειρὸς κυνὸς τὴν μονογενῆ μου 22:21 σῶσόν με ἐκ στόματος λέοντος καὶ ἀπὸ κεράτων μονοκερώτων τὴν ταπείνωσίν μου 22:22διηγήσομαι τὸ ὄνομά σου τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μου ἐν μέσῳ ἐκκλησίας ὑμνήσω σε

כה כִּי לֹא-בָזָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּץ עֱנוּת עָנִי וְלֹא-הִסְתִּיר פָּנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ וּבְשַׁוְּעוֹ אֵלָיו שָׁמֵעַ: כו מֵאִתְּךָ תְהִלָּתִי בְּקָהָל רָב נְדָרַי אֲשַׁלֵּם נֶגֶד יְרֵאָיו: כז יֹאכְלוּ עֲנָוִים | וְיִשְֹבָּעוּ יְהַלְלוּ יְהֹוָה דֹּרְשָׁיו יְחִי לְבַבְכֶם לָעַד: כח יִזְכְּרוּ | וְיָשֻׁבוּ אֶל-יְהֹוָה כָּל-אַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְפָנֶיךָ כָּל-מִשְׁפְּחוֹת גּוֹיִם: כט כִּי לַיהֹוָה הַמְּלוּכָה וּמשֵׁל בַּגּוֹיִם: ל אָכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ | כָּל-דִּשְׁנֵי-אֶרֶץ לְפָנָיו יִכְרְעוּ כָּל-יוֹרְדֵי עָפָר וְנַפְשׁוֹ לֹא חִיָּה: לא זֶרַע יַעַבְדֶנּוּ יְסֻפַּר לַאדֹנָי לַדּוֹר: לב יָבֹאוּ וְיַגִּידוּ צִדְקָתוֹ לְעַם נוֹלָד כִּי עָשָֹה:

כא פצי מקטלין דחרבא נפשי מן אידא דכלבא דרשיעא דמתיל לכלבא רוחא דגושמי׃ כב פרוקני מפום אריא תקיף היך אריא וממלכין דתקיפין ורמין וגיותנין כרימנא קבילתא צלותי׃ כג אחוי גבורת שמך לאחי במצע כנישתא אשבחינך׃ כד דחלייא דיהוה שבחו קדמוי כל זרעא דיעקב הבו ליה יקר ואזדעזעו מיניה כל זרעא דישראל׃ כה מטול ארום דלא בסיר ולא שאיט צלותהון דעניי ולא סליק שכנתיה מביניהון ובצלואיהום קדמוהי מקביל׃ כו מינך כל תושבחתי בכנשת סגיעת עמא נידרי אשלם קביל דחלוי׃ כז ייכלון ענוותני וישבעון ישבחו קדם יהוה דתבעין ליה ישרי רוח נבואה ברעיוני לבכון לבביכון לעלמין׃ כח ידכרון ניכסוי נסוהי ויתובון קדם יהוה כל סייפי ארעא ויסגדון קדמך כל גנסת עממיא׃ כט מטול ארום דמן קדם יהוה מלכותא ושליט בעממיא׃ ל סעודו וסגידו כל דהיני ארעא קדמוי גחנין כל נחתין בי קבורתא ונפש רשיעא לא ייחי׃ לא זרעיה דאברהם יפלחון קדמוי ויחוון כח גבורתא דיהוה לדרא בתראה׃ לג יתובון ייתון בניהון ויתנון צדקתיה לעמיה דעתיד למילד פרישן דעבד׃

22:23 οἱ φοβούμενοι κύριον αἰνέσατε αὐτόν ἅπαν τὸ σπέρμα ιακωβ δοξάσατε αὐτόν φοβηθήτωσαν αὐτὸν ἅπαν τὸ σπέρμα ισραηλ 22:24 ὅτι οὐκ ἐξουδένωσεν οὐδὲ προσώχθισεν τῇ δεήσει τοῦ πτωχοῦ οὐδὲ ἀπέστρεψεν τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ καὶ ἐν τῷ κεκραγέναι με πρὸς αὐτὸν εἰσήκουσέν μου 22:25 παρὰ σοῦ ὁ ἔπαινός μου ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ μεγάλῃ τὰς εὐχάς μου ἀποδώσω ἐνώπιον τῶν φοβουμένων αὐτόν 22:26 φάγονται πένητες καὶ ἐμπλησθήσονται καὶ αἰνέσουσιν κύριον οἱ ἐκζητοῦντες αὐτόν ζήσονται αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν εἰς αἰῶνα αἰῶνος 22:27 μνησθήσονται καὶ ἐπιστραφήσονται πρὸς κύριον πάντα τὰ πέρατα τῆς γῆς καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν ἐνώπιόν σου πᾶσαι αἱ πατριαὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν 22:28 ὅτι τοῦ κυρίου ἡ βασιλεία καὶ αὐτὸς δεσπόζει τῶν ἐθνῶν 22:29 ἔφαγον καὶ προσεκύνησαν πάντες οἱ πίονες τῆς γῆς ἐνώπιον αὐτοῦ προπεσοῦνται πάντες οἱ καταβαίνοντες εἰς τὴν γῆν καὶ ἡ ψυχή μου αὐτῷ ζῇ 22:30 καὶ τὸ σπέρμα μου δουλεύσει αὐτῷ ἀναγγελήσεται τῷ κυρίῳ γενεὰ ἡ ἐρχομένη 22:31 καὶ ἀναγγελοῦσιν τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ λαῷ τῷ τεχθησομένῳ ὅτι ἐποίησεν ὁ κύριος

Tehillim / Psalms 22

A Cry of Anguish and a Song of Praise. For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David. 22:1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. 22:2 O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. 22:3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. 22:4 In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. 22:5 To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed. 22:6 But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. 22:7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, 22:8 ‘Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.’ 22:9 Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. 22:10 Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb. 22:11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help. 22:12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. 22:13 They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion. 22:14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. 22:16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 22:17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 22:18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots. 22:19 But You, O Lord, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 22

22:1 For praise; concerning the strength of the regular morning sacrifice; a psalm of David. 22:2 My God, my God, why have you left me far from my redemption? – are the words of my outcry. 22:3 O God, I call by day and you will not accept my prayer; and by night I have no quiet 22:4 But you are holy, who make the world rest on the psalms of Israel. 22:5 Our fathers hoped in you; they hoped in your word, and you saved them. 22:6 In your presence they prayed and were saved; and on you they relied, and were not disappointed. 22:7 But I am a feeble worm, not a rational man; the reproach of the sons of men, and the butt of the Gentiles. 22:8 All who see me will gloat over me, attacking with their lips; they will shake their heads. 22:9 Let him give praise in the presence of the Lord; and he has delivered him, he saved him because he favored him. 22:10 Because you took me out of the womb; you gave me hope on my mother’s breasts. 22:11 By your aid I was pulled forth from [her] bowels; from my mother’s womb you are my God. 22:12 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, for there is no redeemer. 22:13 The Gentiles have surrounded me, who are like many bulls; the princes of Mathnan have hemmed me in. 22:14. They open their mouths at me like a roaring and ravaging lion. 22:15 Like water I am poured out; all my bones are crushed; my heart is melting like wax within my bowels. 22:16 My strength has dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue is stuck to my palate; and you have brought me to the grave. 22:17 Because the wicked have surrounded me, who are like many dogs; a gathering of evildoers has hemmed me in, biting my hands and feet like a lion. 22:18 I will tell of all the wounds of my bones; those who see me despise me. 22:19 They divide my clothing for themselves; and for my cloak they will cast lots. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 22

For the end, concerning the morning aid, a Psalm of David. 22:1 O God, my God, attend to me: why hast thou forsaken me? the account of my transgressions is far from my salvation. 22:2 O my God, I will cry to thee by day, but thou wilt not hear: and by night, and [it shall] not [be accounted] for folly to me. 22:3 But thou, the praise of Israel, dwellest in a sanctuary. 22:4 Our fathers hoped in thee; they hoped, and thou didst deliver them. 22:5 They cried to thee, and were saved: they hoped in thee, and were not ashamed. 22:6 But I am a worm, and not a man; a reproach of men, and scorn of the people. 22:7 All that saw me mocked me: they spoke with [their] lips, they shook the head, [saying], 22:8 He hoped in the Lord: let him deliver him, let him save him, because he takes pleasure in him. 22:9 For thou art he that drew me out of the womb; my hope from my mother’s breasts. 22:10 I was cast on thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. 22:11 Stand not aloof from me; for affliction is near; for there is no helper. 22:12 Many bullocks have compassed me: fat bulls have beset me round. 22:13 They have opened their mouth against me, as a ravening and roaring lion. 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are loosened: my heart in the midst of my belly is become like melting wax. 22:15 My strength is dried up, like a potsherd; and my tongue is glued to my throat; and thou hast brought me down to the dust of death. 22:16 For many dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked doers has beset me round: they pierced my hands and my feet. 22:17 They counted all my bones; and they observed and looked upon me. 22:18 They parted my garments [among] themselves, and cast lots upon my raiment. 22:19 But thou, O Lord, remove not my help afar off: be ready for mine aid. (LXX)

Tehillim / Psalms 22

22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog. 22:21 Save me from the lion’s mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me. 22:22 I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. 22:23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel. 22:24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard. 22:25 From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. 22:26 The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever! 22:27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations will worship before You. 22:28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s And He rules over the nations. 22:29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive. 22:30 Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. 22:31 They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 22

22:20 You, O Lord, do not be far off; O my strength,[133] hurry to my aid. 22:21 Save my soul from those who slay with the sword; from the power of the dog [save] the breath of my body. 22:22 Redeem me from the mouth of the lion; and from kings who are strong and tall as a bull you have received my prayer. 22:23 I will tell of the might of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the assembly I will praise you. 22:24 O you who fear the Lord, sing praise in his presence; all the seed of Jacob, give him glory; and be afraid of him, all you seed of Israel. 22:25 For he does not despise or scorn the prayer of the poor; and he has not removed his presence from their midst; and when they pray in his presence, he accepts [their prayer]. 22:26 My psalm in the assembly of many people is from you; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear him. 22:27 The humble will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will sing praise in his presence; the spirit of prophecy will dwell in the thoughts of your hearts forever. 22:28 All the ends of the earth will remember his offerings and will repent in the presence of the Lord; and all the families of the Gentiles will bow down before you. 22:29 For kingship is from the presence of the Lord, and he rules over the Gentiles. 22:30 All who are fat on earth have eaten and bowed down; all who descend to the grave prostrate themselves before him; but the soul of the wicked shall not live. 22:31 The seed of Abraham will worship in his presence; and they will tell the mighty greatness of the Lord to a later generation. 22:32. Their children will return and recount his generosity; to his people yet to be born [they will recount] the wonders he performed. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 22

22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my only-begotten one from the power of the dog. 22:21 Save me from the lion’s mouth; and [regard] my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns. 22:22 I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I sing praise to thee. 22:23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye seed of Jacob, glorify him: let all the seed of Israel fear him. 22:24 For he has not despised nor been angry at the supplication of the poor; nor turned away his face from me; but when I cried to him, he heard me. 22:25 My praise is of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. 22:26 The poor shall eat and be satisfied; and they shall praise the Lord that seek him: their heart shall live for ever. 22:27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord: and all the kindred of the nations shall worship before him. 22:28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s; and he is the governor of the nations. 22:29 All the fat ones of the earth have eaten and worshipped: all that go down to the earth shall fall down before him: my soul also lives to him. 22:30 And my seed shall serve him: the generation that is coming shall be reported to the Lord. 22:31 And they shall report his righteousness to the people that shall be born, whom the Lord has made. (LXX)

This week we are looking at Tehillim / Psalms 22:1-31. The Psalm is introduced saying א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד: For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David. It is interesting that the Hebrew words אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר are transliterated into the English bible as “Aijeleth Hashshahar.” The meaning of this phrase is straight forward אַיֶּלֶת (nf. hind, doe, roe) and הַשַּׁחַר (dawn, daybreak, morning) so the psalm is for the choir director concerning the “doe of the morning.” The psalm concerning the doe of the morning is not so strange of a title when considering the burden that is placed upon a doe who is pursued by the hunter early in the morning. Interestingly, it is unknown to the doe that she is being pursued. The doe proceeds unaware that his life is about to end. Examining all of Scripture, we find similar statements in the prophets who ask why the Lord appears to be far off, for example Habbakuk said Habbakuk 1:1-3, 1:1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 1:2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and you will not hear! even cry out to you of violence, and you will not save! 1:3 Why do you show me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. (NIV) Jeremiah the prophet spoke of Israel saying in Jeremiah 14:9 Why are you like a man taken by surprise, like a warrior powerless to save? You are among us, LORD, and we bear your name; do not forsake us! (NIV) Job said in Job 19:7 “Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice. (NIV) And David also said in previous psalms 13:1 For the director of music. A psalm of David. How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? And Psalm 13:2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? (NIV) The doe appears to be the perfect example of the innocent life that is about to be taken by the hunter. The parallel that is drawn in the introductory sentence to Tehillim / Psalms 22 is the Lord appears to be slow to answer when the innocent are crying out for His salvation. Why does the Lord tarry when His children cry out to Him?

Following the introduction to the psalm, David opens saying ב אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי רָחוֹק מִישׁוּעָתִי דִּבְרֵי שַׁאֲגָתִי: 22:1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning. (NASB) Thinking upon this verse, these words remind us of Yeshua’s words while on the cross in Matthew 27:45-46 and Mark 15:33-34. Is it surprising that Yeshua quotes this particular verse from Tehillim / Psalms 22? In His dying breath, He made a prophetic statement directing our attention to this verse and other verses in Tehillim / Psalms 22 that speaks of the spirit of prophecy on who He is and the manner in which the Messiah, the Holy One of God, would save His people. Let’s look at these verses from the Gospels of Matthew and Mark.

Matthew 27:45-46

27:45 Now from the sixth hour darkness fell upon all the land until the ninth hour. 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (NASB)

45Ἀπὸ δὲ ἕκτης ὥρας σκότος ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ἕως ὥρας ἐνάτης. 46περὶ δὲ τὴν ἐνάτην ὥραν ἀνεβόησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγων, Ηλι ηλι λεμα σαβαχθανι; τοῦτ’ ἔστιν, Θεέ μου θεέ μου, ἱνατί με ἐγκατέλιπες;

Mark 15:33-34

15:33 When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. 15:34 At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is translated, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ (NASB)

33Καὶ γενομένης ὥρας ἕκτης σκότος ἐγένετο ἐφ’ ὅλην τὴν γῆν ἕως ὥρας ἐνάτης. 34καὶ τῇ ἐνάτῃ ὥρᾳ ἐβόησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς φωνῇ μεγάλῃ, Ελωι ελωι λεμα σαβαχθανι; ὅ ἐστιν μεθερμηνευόμενον Ὁ θεός μου ὁ θεός μου, εἰς τί ἐγκατέλιπές με;

It is also interesting to note that the Hebrew text from Tehillim / Psalms 22:2 is transliterated into the Greek language. When the Hebrew text is transliterated into another language, it is very important to have a closer look at what is being said.

אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי (Tehillim / Psalms 22:2)

Ηλι ηλι λεμα σαβαχθανι; (Matthew 27:46)

Ελωι ελωι λεμα σαβαχθανι; (Mark 15:34)

The question is why did Yeshua ask this question and for what reason did he quote Tehillim / Psalms 22:2? It is interesting, while searching for the answer on this question, many commentators say one thing or the other with regard to Yeshua not knowing what was going on, or He was crying out for help because He is in pain upon the cross and about to die and some people question whether Yeshua knew why He had been forsaken to die, etc? The main issue at hand is Yeshua is the Son of God, the Messiah, and throughout His ministry He prophetically proclaimed that the Son of Man must be put to death in this particular way. So why would Yeshua make this statement supposedly asking why he was being forsaken? The answer to this question is (i) in the particular use of Yeshua’s words, and (ii) by reason of the prophetic nature of Tehillim / Psalms 22 and the one who will be pierced in his hands and feet. First, let’s look specifically at some of the last words Yeshua used before he died upon the cross. Yeshua said “My God (אֵלִי), My God (אֵלִי), Why (לָמָה), forsaken me (עֲזַבְתָּנִי)” The importance of these Hebrew words are emphasized by the fact that the Apostles Matthew and Mark both transliterated the Hebrew text into the Greek language. Why do you think that is? As we have noted in the past studies on the Psalms, when the Hebrew language is transliterated into English, there are a couple of reasons, (i) it is difficult to translate, or (ii) there is a particular importance to the Hebrew text that needs to be taken into consideration. The Scripture that Yeshua quoted is not particularly difficult to translate, therefore, there is something about these words specifically that need to be examined a little closer.

אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי (Tehillim / Psalms 22:2)

Ηλι ηλι λεμα σαβαχθανι; (Matthew 27:46)

Ελωι ελωι λεμα σαβαχθανι; (Mark 15:34)

The word in particular that commentators have had difficulty with is the word Yeshua used למה (adv. why) God had forsaken him. The Hebrew-Hebrew lexicons and Hebrew Thesaurus give the definition for למה as למה? ; מדוע? ; מאיזו סיבה? ; לאיזו…, the thesaurus defines למה using “why” a more formal word (מדוע) to ask a question, or the words מאיזו סיבה meaning “for which reason,” etc. These definitions do not necessarily provide us with any additional information since they still ask the question “why did Yeshua question?” The solution to this problem is found by etymologically examining the word למה (Etymology: is the study of the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. By an extension, the term “etymology (of a word)” means the origin of a particular word.) Examining the word למה we note that this word is the combination of two words:

ל + מה

Notice that the word למה is the composition of a preposition (ל, “for”) with the word “what” (מה), therefore the literal meaning of למה (adv. why) is “for what?” So the person who asks the question למה (why) is saying “for what reason?” Linguistically, the word “what” is used in the following ways:

“What” (pronoun)

word used in a question to request more information; which; how much; don’t you agree?

“What” (adverb)

word used in a question to begin a prepositional phrase; which; to what extent; how much; word used in a question to stress a certain situation

“What” (adjective)

word used in question to request specific information; which

“What” (noun)

word used in a question to inquire about a thing

Based on these definitions, “what” is used as a question to request more information as a pronoun, to stress a certain situation as an adverb, to request specific information as an adjective, and to inquire about a thing as a noun. Reading the literal translation of this verse: “My God (אֵלִי), My God (אֵלִי), For What (לָמָה), have You forsaken me (עֲזַבְתָּנִי)?” reveals the significance of the words Yeshua is speaking in his dying breath. “For what reason” have You forsaken me? The Father in Heaven has forsaken Yeshua for the reason of the cross! Yeshua was not doubting the very reason he was being crucified, He was stressing the situation and proclaiming the truth of the Torah, that his payment for sin is achieved by bearing our sins upon himself while hanging upon the cross. According to the Torah, in the ritual of the atoning sacrifice, one’s sins are transfered to the korban (to take on the sins of the person bringing the offering before God). In order for Yeshua, having no sin, to bear our iniquities, he needed to die being nailed to the tree (the cross). The nailing to a tree fixes the human body against the growth product of the ground, connecting the person nailed to the earth and therefore taking upon the person the curse of the ground as it is described in Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:22-23.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 21:22-23

21:22 ‘If a man has committed a sin worthy of death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 21:23 his corpse shall not hang all night on the tree, but you shall surely bury him on the same day (for he who is hanged is accursed of God), so that you do not defile your land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance. (NASB)

כב וְכִי-יִהְיֶה בְאִישׁ חֵטְא מִשְׁפַּט-מָוֶת וְהוּמָת וְתָלִיתָ אֹתוֹ עַל-עֵץ: כג לֹא-תָלִין נִבְלָתוֹ עַל-הָעֵץ כִּי-קָבוֹר תִּקְבְּרֶנּוּ בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא כִּי-קִלְלַת אֱלֹהִים תָּלוּי וְלֹא תְטַמֵּא אֶת-אַדְמָתְךָ אֲשֶׁר יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה:

Therefore in order for Yeshua to take our sins and all of the sins of mankind he needed to be nailed to the tree for this purpose of taking upon himself the curse, meaning that He was cursed by God. The reason Yeshua made the statement from Tehillim / Psalms 22 was not because He did not know what was taking place or why God had forsaken Him, but rather to make the statement “For what reason” have you forsaken me? For the reason of the cross, to bear the sins of the world, to make restitution before God as our kinsman redeemer, and to illustrate how David by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote of His method of death “they have pierced his hands and feet,” (Luke 23:33-34) “he can count all his bones,” and they “divide his garments among them casting lots for his clothing.” (John 19:24, Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34). How awesome a God do we serve who has planned our salvation and has a plan for each and every one of us? Hallelujah!

Following Tehillim / Psalms 22:2, David continues saying ג אֱלֹהַי אֶקְרָא יוֹמָם וְלֹא תַעֲנֶה וְלַיְלָה וְלֹא-דוּמִיָּה לִי: ד וְאַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת יִשְֹרָאֵל: ה בְּךָ בָּטְחוּ אֲבֹתֵינוּ בָּטְחוּ וַתְּפַלְּטֵמוֹ: ו אֵלֶיךָ זָעֲקוּ וְנִמְלָטוּ בְּךָ בָטְחוּ וְלֹא-בוֹשׁוּ: ז וְאָנֹכִי תוֹלַעַת וְלֹא-אִישׁ חֶרְפַּת אָדָם וּבְזוּי עָם: ח כָּל-רֹאַי יַלְעִגוּ לִי יַפְטִירוּ בְשָֹפָה יָנִיעוּ רֹאשׁ: 22:2 O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest. 22:3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. 22:4 In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. 22:5 To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed. 22:6 But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. 22:7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, (NASB) Isn’t this an awesome proclamation of David that even though he cries out for help day after day and night after night, the Lord is holy and enthroned in heaven and upon the praises of Israel. Notice the Hebrew text on Tehillim / Psalms 22:4 that states ד וְאַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת יִשְֹרָאֵל: 22:3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. (NASB) The word יוֹשֵׁב “yoshev” is derived from the root word ישב “yashav” meaning to “sit, remain, dwell.” David says that God is Holy and that he “dwells” within the praises of Israel. Most modern translations translate יוֹשֵׁב as “enthroned” instead of “to dwell” or to “inhabit.” The Hebrew text and root word provides the sense of “dwell” or “sit,” and God who is King and Lord is sitting or dwelling is translated to mean “be enthroned.” The idea that God is enthroned in his temple on Zion is reflected in several other places in the Psalms (Tehillim / Psalms 9:11, 29:10, 80:1) and in the prophecy of Ezekiel 10:1. Other Scriptures depict God as the victorious King, placing His people in the Promised Land by His mighty hands (Shemot / Exodus 15:13-18, Tehillim / Psalms 24:7-10, 68:17-24, 132:7-14). The use of the translation “enthroned” does not significantly alter the sense of the verse. What is interesting is that the Hebrew texts states “You are holy dwelling in praises of Israel.” The Lord dwells in our praises because He is truly the One to be praised in all circumstances no matter what has happened or what is happing in our lives. Therefore, when trouble comes we praise His Name and when prosperity comes, we praise His Name! This is very consistent with the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Romans 8:28

8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB)

28οἴδαμεν δὲ ὅτι τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν τὸν θεὸν πάντα συνεργεῖ εἰς ἀγαθόν, τοῖς κατὰ πρόθεσιν κλητοῖς οὖσιν.

Romans 11:30-36

11:30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 11:31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 11:32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all. 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 11:34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 11:35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen. (NASB)

30ὥσπερ γὰρ ὑμεῖς ποτε ἠπειθήσατε τῷ θεῷ, νῦν δὲ ἠλεήθητε τῇ τούτων ἀπειθείᾳ, 31οὕτως καὶ οὗτοι νῦν ἠπείθησαν τῷ ὑμετέρῳ ἐλέει ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ [νῦν] ἐλεηθῶσιν: 32συνέκλεισεν γὰρ ὁ θεὸς τοὺς πάντας εἰς ἀπείθειαν ἵνα τοὺς πάντας ἐλεήσῃ. 33ω βάθος πλούτου καὶ σοφίας καὶ γνώσεως θεοῦ: ὡς ἀνεξεραύνητα τὰ κρίματα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀνεξιχνίαστοι αἱ ὁδοὶ αὐτοῦ. 34Τίς γὰρ ἔγνω νοῦν κυρίου; ἢ τίς σύμβουλος αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο; 35ἢ τίς προέδωκεν αὐτῷ, καὶ ἀνταποδοθήσεται αὐτῷ; 36ὅτι ἐξ αὐτοῦ καὶ δι’ αὐτοῦ καὶ εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα: αὐτῷ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας: ἀμήν.

Paul says that “all things work together for good,” and “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things” therefore “To Him be the glory forever.” The Lord dwells in our praises because He is truly the One to be praised!

With this in mind, David proclaims that he is the Lord’s even from the womb and asks the Lord not to be far off when he calls (Tehillim / Psalms 22:7-11). Let’s examine the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts.

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 22:7-11

22:7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, 22:8 ‘Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.’ 22:9 Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother’s breasts. 22:10 Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother’s womb. 22:11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help. (NASB)

ח כָּל-רֹאַי יַלְעִגוּ לִי יַפְטִירוּ בְשָֹפָה יָנִיעוּ רֹאשׁ: ט גֹּל אֶל-יְהֹוָה יְפַלְּטֵהוּ יַצִּילֵהוּ כִּי חָפֵץ בּוֹ: י כִּי-אַתָּה גֹחִי מִבָּטֶן מַבְטִיחִי עַל-שְׁדֵי אִמִּי: יא עָלֶיךָ הָשְׁלַכְתִּי מֵרָחֶם מִבֶּטֶן אִמִי אֵלִי אָתָּה: יב אַל-תִּרְחַק מִמֶּנִּי כִּי-צָרָה קְרוֹבָה כִּי-אֵין עוֹזֵר:

Targum Pseudo Jonathan

Tehillim / Psalms 22:7-11

22:7 But I am a feeble worm, not a rational man; the reproach of the sons of men, and the butt of the Gentiles. 22:8 All who see me will gloat over me, attacking with their lips; they will shake their heads. 22:9 Let him give praise in the presence of the Lord; and he has delivered him, he saved him because he favored him. 22:10 Because you took me out of the womb; you gave me hope on my mother’s breasts. 22:11 By your aid I was pulled forth from [her] bowels; from my mother’s womb you are my God. (EMC)

ז ואנא זחיל חלש ולא גבר סכל חסודי בנינשא ומתרמרמותא דעממי׃ ח כל דחמיין לי ירהבון יגחנון עלי מתגרין מתנדדין בסיפוותהון יטלטלון ומטלטלין ברישהון׃ ט ישבח שבחית קדם יהוה ושזביה פצא יתיה מטול דאיתרעי ביה׃ י מטול דאת דאנת אפקתני מכריסא אסברתני רוחצני על תדיי אמי אומי׃ יא בסעדך על מימרך איטלקית ממעינא מכריסא דאמי אלי את ״מרחם אומי אלהי אנת׃

Septuagint

Tehillim / Psalms 22:7-11

22:7 All that saw me mocked me: they spoke with [their] lips, they shook the head, [saying], 22:8 He hoped in the Lord: let him deliver him, let him save him, because he takes pleasure in him. 22:9 For thou art he that drew me out of the womb; my hope from my mother’s breasts. 22:10 I was cast on thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly. 22:11 Stand not aloof from me; for affliction is near; for there is no helper. (LXX)

2:7 πάντες οἱ θεωροῦντές με ἐξεμυκτήρισάν με ἐλάλησαν ἐν χείλεσιν ἐκίνησαν κεφαλήν 22:8 ἤλπισεν ἐπὶ κύριον ῥυσάσθω αὐτόν σωσάτω αὐτόν ὅτι θέλει αὐτόν 22:9 ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ ἐκσπάσας με ἐκ γαστρός ἡ ἐλπίς μου ἀπὸ μαστῶν τῆς μητρός μου 22:10 ἐπὶ σὲ ἐπερρίφην ἐκ μήτρας ἐκ κοιλίας μητρός μου θεός μου εἶ σύ 22:11 μὴ ἀποστῇς ἀπ’ ἐμοῦ ὅτι θλῖψις ἐγγύς ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ὁ βοηθῶν

In the Masoretic Text, David says that the people are sneering at him, they separate him with the lip, and wag their heads at him. What does it mean that “they separate with the lip?” (יַפְטִירוּ בְשָֹפָה) The Hebrew text says they “separate, remove” (יַפְטִירוּ) in “language, tongue, lingo, speech, voice” (בְשָֹפָה). So David’s enemies use words to separate themselves from Him. The rabbis of the Septuagint say 22:7 All that saw me mocked me: they spoke with [their] lips, they shook the head, (LXX) and the rabbis of the Targum Pseudo Jonathan say 22:7 But I am a feeble worm, not a rational man; the reproach of the sons of men, and the butt of the Gentiles. 22:8 All who see me will gloat over me, attacking with their lips; they will shake their heads. (EMC) The rabbis use allegory to describe the emotions David is feeling in Tehillim / Psalms 22:7. He is a feeble worm, a irrational man, the reproach of men, and the butt of the Gentiles. In Tehillim / Psalms 22:8, these people are mocking God and David because of His faith and trust in the Lord saying, 22:8 ‘Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.’ (NASB) David’s faith is in the Lord Almighty who made him in the womb, who enabled his birth, and placed him in the safety of his mother’s breasts. He calls out to the Lord to not be afar off from him because affliction is near and there is no one to help. Why do you think that David speaks to the Lord God Almighty in this way? David said previously to this 22:3 Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel. 22:4 In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them. 22:5 To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed. (NASB) “Our fathers put their trust in the Lord” and the Lord delivered them when they cried out to Him. Israel’s praise was because He had delivered them. It is by His mighty and powerful hand that the Lord had shown Himself to be their God and King who is enthroned in their midst. Therefore, praises were raised up to the Lord because of His great and mighty deliverance. It is God’s deliverance of Israel in the past (the Torah) that David stands upon this truth, upon the Scriptures. The most important point of this psalm of David is that even in the midst of crisis, he looks to the final outcome and gives praise to the Lord God in Heaven. David’s confidence calling out to the Lord is built upon his hope that is based upon the Torah and the parallels of God’s saving power in Israel and in his own life. The Lord shows up to save us because He is faithful to His promises to His people. His deeds towards our fathers, according to the Scriptures, is the evidence for His commitment to us today. The Lord delights to hear and answer our prayers showing mercy and to demonstrate His glory. As a result, we praise His holy Name. God is to be praised even if we do not see deliverance, the Scriptures remind us of the plight of God’s servants and the promises of God being made complete in His mercy on us during our lives.

Because of David’s “reproach among men” among the Gentiles, and the struggles he is going through, he says “Many bulls have surrounded me, strong bulls of Bashan have encircled him.” What is the meaning of the phrase “the surrounding of the strong bulls of Bashon?” Bashon is first mentioned in Bereshit / Genesis 14:5 where it is written that Chedorlaomer and his confederates defeated the Raphaim in Ashteroth.

Bereshit / Genesis 14:5

14:5 In the fourteenth year Chedorlaomer and the kings that were with him, came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim and the Zuzim in Ham and the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim, (NASB)

ה וּבְאַרְבַּע עֶשְֹרֵה שָׁנָה בָּא כְדָרְלָעֹמֶר וְהַמְּלָכִים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ וַיַּכּוּ אֶת-רְפָאִים בְּעַשְׁתְּרֹת קַרְנַיִם וְאֶת-הַזּוּזִים בְּהָם וְאֵת הָאֵימִים בְּשָׁוֵה קִרְיָתָיִם:

This is also the location where Og the king of Bashan had made his residence at the time of Israel’s entrance into the Promised Land. Og the king of Bashan came out to fight against Israel and Israel utterly destroyed them (see Bamidbar / Numbers 21:33-35, Devarim / Deuteronomy 3:1-7). The land of Bashan was given to the half tribe of Manasseh (Joshua 13:29-31). This place of Bashan, the city named Golan became a “city of refuge” according to Joshua 21:27. Studying the history of Israel, we learn that Argob in Bashan was one of Solomon’s districts (1 Kings 4:13). The cities of Bashan were conquered by Hazael (2 Kings 10:33) and Jehoash (2 Kings 13:25). We read of Bashan’s rich pastures (Ezekiel 39:18, Tehillim / Psalms 22:12) and oak forests (Isaiah 2:13, Ezekiel 27:6, Zechariah 11:2) and the beauty of its plains (Amos 4:1, Jeremiah 50:19). David says the following in the Psalms saying:

יג סְבָבוּנִי פָּרִים רַבִּים אַבִּירֵי בָשָׁן כִּתְּרוּנִי: יד פָּצוּ עָלַי פִּיהֶם אַרְיֵה טֹרֵף וְשֹׁאֵג: טו כַּמַּיִם נִשְׁפַּכְתִּי וְהִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל-עַצְמוֹתָי הָיָה לִבִּי כַּדּוֹנָג נָמֵס בְּתוֹךְ מֵעָי: טז יָבֵשׁ כַּחֶרֶשֹ | כֹּחִי וּלְשׁוֹנִי מֻדְבָּק מַלְקוֹחָי וְלַעֲפַר-מָוֶת תִּשְׁפְּתֵנִי:

22:12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. 22:13 They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion. 22:14 I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me. 22:15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death. (NASB)

Bashan is a place that is located east of the Jordan River and near the Sea of Galilee. According to the Scriptures, Bashan is a place that is inhabited by the Raphaim. It is interesting to note that sometimes Raphaim is translated as giants in the Scriptures.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 3:11

3:11 (For only Og king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bedstead was an iron bedstead; it is in Rabbah of the sons of Ammon. Its length was nine cubits and its width four cubits by ordinary cubit.) (NASB)

3:11 For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man. (KJV)

יא כִּי רַק-עוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן נִשְׁאַר מִיֶּתֶר הָרְפָאִים הִנֵּה עַרְשֹוֹ עֶרֶשֹ בַּרְזֶל הֲלֹה הִוא בְּרַבַּת בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן תֵּשַׁע אַמּוֹת אָרְכָּהּ וְאַרְבַּע אַמּוֹת רָחְבָּהּ בְּאַמַּת-אִישׁ:

As we can see, the KJV translates Rephaim (הָרְפָאִים) to refer to “giants” whereas the NASB transliterates the Hebrew text into English because it seems to be a bit difficult to translate throughout the Scriptures. In Devarim / Deuteronomy 3:11, Moshe describes these people as “the last of the Rephaim, the king of Bashan.” These people had iron beds measuring 4 cubits wide and 9 cubits long. This is approximately 13 feet long and 5 feet wide. Reading on in Devarim / Deuteronomy, the Torah states:

3:13 ‘The rest of Gilead and all Bashan, the kingdom of Og, I gave to the half-tribe of Manasseh, all the region of Argob (concerning all Bashan, it is called the land of Rephaim. (NASB)

3:13 And the rest of Gilead, and all Bashan, being the kingdom of Og, gave I unto the half tribe of Manasseh; all the region of Argob, with all Bashan, which was called the land of giants. (KJV)

יג וְיֶתֶר הַגִּלְעָד וְכָל-הַבָּשָׁן מַמְלֶכֶת עוֹג נָתַתִּי לַחֲצִי שֵׁבֶט הַמְנַשֶּׁה כֹּל חֶבֶל הָאַרְגֹּב לְכָל-הַבָּשָׁן הַהוּא יִקָּרֵא אֶרֶץ רְפָאִים:

The interesting point about the Raphaim (רְפָאִים) and giants may be connected to the association with the “bulls of Bashan” that David is describing here who are surrounding him. Modern Hebrew Lexicons state that רְפָאִים is a masculine noun meaning “ghosts, spirits of the dead.” Searching the Scriptures for the word Raphaim (רְפָאִים), this word occurs in Isaiah 26:14, Job 26:5, Tehillim / Psalms 88:10, and Mishley / Proverbs 9:18.

Isaiah 26:13-14

26:13 O Lord our God, other masters besides You have ruled us; But through You alone we confess Your name. 26:14 The dead will not live, the departed spirits will not rise; Therefore You have punished and destroyed them, And You have wiped out all remembrance of them. (NASB)

26:13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 26:14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. (KJV)

יג יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּעָלוּנוּ אֲדֹנִים זוּלָתֶךָ לְבַד-בְּךָ נַזְכִּיר שְׁמֶךָ: יד מֵתִים בַּל-יִחְיוּ רְפָאִים בַּל-יָקֻמוּ לָכֵן פָּקַדְתָּ וַתַּשְׁמִידֵם וַתְּאַבֵּד כָּל-זֵכֶר לָמוֹ:

Job 26:5

26:5 ‘The departed spirits tremble Under the waters and their inhabitants. (NASB)

ה הָרְפָאִים יְחֹולָלוּ מִתַּחַת מַיִם וְשֹׁכְנֵיהֶֽם׃

Tehillim / Psalms 88:10

88:10 Will You perform wonders for the dead? Will the departed spirits rise and praise You? Selah (NASB)

יא הֲלַמֵּתִים תַּעֲשֶֹה-פֶּלֶא אִם-רְפָאִים יָקוּמוּ יוֹדוּךָ סֶּלָה:

Mishley / Proverbs 9:18

9:18 But he does not know that the dead are there, That her guests are in the depths of Sheol. (NASB)

יח וְלֹא-יָדַע כִּי-רְפָאִים שָׁם בְּעִמְקֵי שְׁאוֹל קְרֻאֶיהָ:

So, in these Scriptures, we learn that the word Raphaim (רְפָאִים) is translated as “giants” and as the “dead” or “departed spirits.” So when David said יג סְבָבוּנִי פָּרִים רַבִּים אַבִּירֵי בָשָׁן כִּתְּרוּנִי: 22:12 Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me. (NASB) He was not literally referring to “Bulls” surrounding him, but that the evil men like those of the men of Bashan who struck fear into the hearts of the men of Israel. Reading further in the Psalm this is the context.

Tehillim / Psalms 22:16-18

22:16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. 22:17 I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me; 22:18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots. (NASB)

יז כִּי-סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים עֲדַת מְרֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי כָּאֲרִי יָדַי וְרַגְלָי: יח אֲסַפֵּר כָּל-עַצְמוֹתָי הֵמָּה יַבִּיטוּ יִרְאוּ-בִי: יט יְחַלְּקוּ בְגָדַי לָהֶם וְעַל-לְבוּשִׁי יַפִּילוּ גוֹרָל:

David says that “dogs have surrounded him” and “a band of evildoers have encompassed him.” David refers to the Torah while explaining his plight amongst the evil men who are pursuing him. It is interesting studying the Aramaic Targum, the Rabbis say כב פרוקני מפום אריא תקיף היך אריא וממלכין דתקיפין ורמין וגיותנין כרימנא קבילתא צלותי׃ 22:22 Redeem me from the mouth of the lion; and from kings who are strong and tall as a bull you have received my prayer. (EMC) The Rabbis believe David is referring to “kings” who stand as tall and strong as bulls because of the Torah on Bamidbar / Numbers and Devarim / Deuteronomy. Because of these things, he is poured out like water, his bones are out of joint, his heart melts, his strength is dried up, and his tongue cleaves to his mouth, and he lays in wait to die in the dust of the earth (Tehillim / Psalms 22:12-15). In the midst of this, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, David speaks prophetically of the Messiah saying, “they have pierced his hands and feet,” (Luke 23:33-34) “he can count all his bones,” and they “divide his garments among them casting lots for his clothing.” (John 19:24, Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34). The apostles pick up on the Psalm of David which shows the manner in which the Messiah would die and is consistent with Isaiah 53 description of the suffering servant.

David proclaims כג אֲסַפְּרָה שִׁמְךָ לְאֶחָי בְּתוֹךְ קָהָל אֲהַלְלֶךָּ: 22:22 I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You. (NASB) (see Hebrews 2:12) He continues saying כד יִרְאֵי יְהֹוָה | הַלְלוּהוּ כָּל-זֶרַע יַעֲקֹב כַּבְּדוּהוּ וְגוּרוּ מִמֶּנוּ כָּל-זֶרַע יִשְֹרָאֵל: 22:23 You who fear the Lord, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel. (NASB) Those who fear the Lord will praise Him. Those who do not fear the Lord do not give Him praise. How is the fear of the Lord (יִרְאֵי יְהֹוָה) connected to Praise (הַלְלוּהוּ) and glorifying (כַּבְּדוּהוּ) Him? Let’s look at how the Scriptures describe the fear of God.

Moshe said: Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:12, 13:4, and 6:13

6:13 ”Fear the LORD your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name.”

David said: Tehillim / Psalms 33:8, 34:9, 86:11,

33:8 “Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him.”

Solomon said: Ecclesiastes 5:7, 8:12, 12:13,

5:7 “Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore stand in awe of God.”

8:12 “Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.”

12:13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.”

Job said: Job 28:28

28:28 “And he said to man, The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.”

Malachi said: Malachi 2:5, 3:16

3:16 “Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.”

The Apostle Paul said: 2 Corinthians 7:1

7:1 “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.”

Peter said: 1 Peter 1:17, 2:17

2:17 “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.”

The Angels in Heaven said: Revelation 14:7

14:7 “He said in a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.’”

Yeshua said: Matthew 10:28

10:28 “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

According to these men in the Scriptures, the fear of the Lord is a significant factor in our lives as we walk before the Lord. Thinking on the fear of the Lord raises a couple of questions.

  1. How do we gain a fear of the Lord?
  2. How do we know if we have it?
  3. What will be the benefits for acquiring the fear of the Lord?

According to David and Solomon, “Fear of the Lord” means a reverential awe of God.” To completely submission to His rule in our lives. To submit to the Scriptures (the Word of God), etc. Take for example Job, the Scriptures say Job 1:1 “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” The fear of the Lord means also to reject all other gods, and to serve the only one true God with all your heart and soul (Job 1:1, Tehillim / Psalms 128:1, and Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:12). David says in Tehillim / Psalm 128:1 “Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in his ways.” To fear the Lord God means to recognize Him as Creator and to know that His plans and His word stand firm forever. (Tehillim / Psalms 33:8-11, 33:8 Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the people of the world revere him. 33:9 For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm. 33:10 The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. 33:11 But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.)

In the last few verses David says, כה כִּי לֹא-בָזָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּץ עֱנוּת עָנִי וְלֹא-הִסְתִּיר פָּנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ וּבְשַׁוְּעוֹ אֵלָיו שָׁמֵעַ: כו מֵאִתְּךָ תְהִלָּתִי בְּקָהָל רָב נְדָרַי אֲשַׁלֵּם נֶגֶד יְרֵאָיו: כז יֹאכְלוּ עֲנָוִים | וְיִשְֹבָּעוּ יְהַלְלוּ יְהֹוָה דֹּרְשָׁיו יְחִי לְבַבְכֶם לָעַד: כח יִזְכְּרוּ | וְיָשֻׁבוּ אֶל-יְהֹוָה כָּל-אַפְסֵי-אָרֶץ וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְפָנֶיךָ כָּל-מִשְׁפְּחוֹת גּוֹיִם: כט כִּי לַיהֹוָה הַמְּלוּכָה וּמשֵׁל בַּגּוֹיִם: 22:24 For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard. 22:25 From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. 22:26 The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever! 22:27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations will worship before You. 22:28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s And He rules over the nations. (NASB) It is interesting the Targum states כז ייכלון ענוותני וישבעון ישבחו קדם יהוה דתבעין ליה ישרי רוח נבואה ברעיוני לבכון לבביכון לעלמין׃ כח ידכרון ניכסוי נסוהי ויתובון קדם יהוה כל סייפי ארעא ויסגדון קדמך כל גנסת עממיא׃ 22:27 The humble will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will sing praise in his presence; the spirit of prophecy will dwell in the thoughts of your hearts forever. 22:28 All the ends of the earth will remember his offerings and will repent in the presence of the Lord; and all the families of the Gentiles will bow down before you. (EMC) The afflicted are synonymous with the humble before the Lord. Are those who humble themselves before the Lord naturally going to be afflicted by wicked men, or is this a factor of being afflicted by the enemy, the evil one because we are God’s children? The rabbis continue to discuss the one who humbles himself and seeks the Lord will praise the Lord in His presence and the spirit of prophecy will dwell in the thoughts of his heart forever. What is the spirit of prophecy? According to Revelation 19:10, the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Yeshua, 19:10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ (NASB) So when the rabbis state that “those who seek the Lord will sing praise in his presence; the spirit of prophecy will dwell in the thoughts of your hearts forever” this refers to the testimony of God working in our lives? When we give testimony of the mercy of God through Yeshua the Messiah, we speak in the spirit of prophecy. This follows a Torah principle from Bamidbar / Numbers 11:29 that states כט וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ מֹשֶׁה הַמְקַנֵּא אַתָּה לִי וּמִי יִתֵּן כָּל-עַם יְהוָֹה נְבִיאִים כִּי-יִתֵּן יְהוָֹה אֶת-רוּחוֹ עֲלֵיהֶם: 11:29 But Moses said to him, ‘Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put His Spirit upon them!’ (NASB) Joshua was jealous for Moshe because two men were prophesying in the camp. Were these men (Eldad and Medad) giving testimony of the Lord to the people? This seems to be what was happening and a foreshadowing of the Spirit of the Lord dwelling upon men. Previously Moshe was most likely the one who spoke to the people the Word of the Lord and Joshua was jealous. Moshe spoke prophetically of everyone having the spirit of prophecy given from God and the rabbis appear to have this same understanding regarding the testimony of the Lord in those who humble themselves and seek the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

David concludes the psalm saying ל אָכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ | כָּל-דִּשְׁנֵי-אֶרֶץ לְפָנָיו יִכְרְעוּ כָּל-יוֹרְדֵי עָפָר וְנַפְשׁוֹ לֹא חִיָּה: לא זֶרַע יַעַבְדֶנּוּ יְסֻפַּר לַאדֹנָי לַדּוֹר: לב יָבֹאוּ וְיַגִּידוּ צִדְקָתוֹ לְעַם נוֹלָד כִּי עָשָֹה: 22:29 All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive. 22:30 Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation. 22:31 They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it. (NASB) It is interesting here in the last verses of Tehillim / Psalms 22 that David alludes to the resurrection when he says “All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.” The rabbis say ל סעודו וסגידו כל דהיני ארעא קדמוי גחנין כל נחתין בי קבורתא ונפש רשיעא לא ייחי׃ 22:30 All who are fat on earth have eaten and bowed down; all who descend to the grave prostrate themselves before him; but the soul of the wicked shall not live. (EMC) According to the Targum, the rabbis say David’s words refer to the one who dies, whether righteous or wicked, descend to the grave and in doing so prostrate themselves before the Lord. They go on to say that “the soul of the wicked shall not live,” also providing additional evidence on David’s words, they refer to the resurrection of the soul, the wicked will not live and the righteous will. Today, the power of the resurrection is available to those who seek the Lord in Yeshua the Messiah. For those who humble themselves before God, who seek Him, who trust in the work of the Messiah, and live their lives for the Glory of God. If you want this kind of life and relationship with the Lord, you may have it in Yeshua the Messiah!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 22 has 32 parts. Reading through this week’s Midrash we will be looking at Parts 2, 3, 4, 7, 24, and 27. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 22, Parts 2, 3, 4, 7, 24, and 27.

Midrash Tehillim Chapter 22, Parts 2, 3, 4, 7, 24, and 27

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? (Tehillim / Psalms 22:2).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “These words are to be considered in regard to the verse The light of Israel will be for a fire, and His holy one for a flame; and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day (Isaiah 10:17).”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss the light of Israel and its relation to various people and savior figures in the Tanach.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) goes on to expand upon the meaning of the “light of Israel.”
  • The Concluding phrase says “As Haman made a decree to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish all Jews (Esther 3:13), so it was decreed against him and his, it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “A different comment on The light of Israel will be for a fire.”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “Light of Israel refers to Esther who shown like the light of morning for Israel.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss the meaning of the light of Israel and the differences between light and darkness.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) goes on to expand upon the meaning of the light of Israel.
  • The Concluding phrase says “And so God says to the people of Israel, Even as I have done in this world, so will I do in the world to come, for it is said Behold, darkness will cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but upon you the Lord will arise, and His glory will be seen upon you (Isaiah 60:2).”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “A different comment on For the leader; upon Aijeleth hash Shahar (Hind of the dawn).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, Rejoice not against me, O my enemy; when I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me (Micah 7:8).”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis again continue the theme of the light of Israel.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) goes on to expand upon what the light of Israel is and state that the Lord is the light.
  • The Concluding phrase says “After the moon sets, and the stars set, and the planets vanish, there is no darkness deeper than the hour before the world and all that are in it, out of darkness, He brings forth the dawn and gives light to the world.”

Part 7

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “A different exposition of Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me (Micah 7:8).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “The people of Israel say to hostile nations of the earth, Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss Israel’s enemies, the light of the Lord, and the righteous.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) goes on to expand upon the theme of a savior and use the story of Esther as the example.
  • The Concluding phrase says “As soon as David foresaw by the help of the Holy Spirit that O my strength (Aijeleth) was the apostrophe wherewith she could call upon the Holy One blessed be He, David, thinking upon Esther, arranged this Psalm for the leader; upon Aijeleth hash Shahar.”

Part 24

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help (Tehillim / Psalms 22:12).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “When did Esther speak these words?”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis discuss how Esther typifies the one who calls to the Lord to be not far away.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) expand upon Tehillim / Psalms 22:12 using the story of Esther in the courts of king Ahasuerus.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Praise you the Lord from the heavens. Praise him in the heights (Tehillim / Psalms 148:1). At that moment Esther spoke the words But not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.”

Part 27

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) “They look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them (Tehillim / Psalms 22:18-19).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) “the homiletic introduction” to the Midrash says “One said, I will take Esther’s royal cloak and coat; and another said, I will take Esther’s ring and Esther’s armor.”
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis draw a parallel with Esther and the Scripture verses on the parting of garments.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) goes on to expand upon this and explain that it is the Lord who saves Esther drawing on the contexts of how God helped Esther’s fathers described in the Torah and the Exodus from Egypt.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Rabbi Isaac said, If the scepter of a mere mortal brings life to an entire people, how much more life does the scepter of the Holy One blessed be He, bring, for it is written Tend Your people with Your scepter (Micah 7:4).”

Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? (Tehillim / Psalms 22:2).” The rabbis state “These words are to be considered in regard to the verse The light of Israel will be for a fire, and His holy one for a flame; and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day (Isaiah 10:17)” saying literally לאש וקדושו ללהבה “His Holy One will blaze/burn like a fire.” The rabbis are taking a quote from Isaiah 10:17

Isaiah 10:16-18

10:16 Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, will send a wasting disease among his stout warriors; And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame. 10:17 And the light of Israel will become a fire and his Holy One a flame, And it will burn and devour his thorns and his briars in a single day. 10:18 And He will destroy the glory of his forest and of his fruitful garden, both soul and body, And it will be as when a sick man wastes away.

טז לָכֵן יְשַׁלַּח הָאָדוֹן יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת בְּמִשְׁמַנָּיו רָזוֹן וְתַחַת כְּבֹדוֹ יֵקַד יְקֹד כִּיקוֹד אֵשׁ: יז וְהָיָה אוֹר-יִשְֹרָאֵל לְאֵשׁ וּקְדוֹשׁוֹ לְלֶהָבָה וּבָעֲרָה וְאָכְלָה שִׁיתוֹ וּשְׁמִירוֹ בְּיוֹם אֶחָד: יח וּכְבוֹד יַעְרוֹ וְכַרְמִלּוֹ מִנֶּפֶשׁ וְעַד-בָּשָֹר יְכַלֶּה וְהָיָה כִּמְסֹס נֹסֵס:

This section of Scripture from Isaiah we find Isaiah speaking of the idols and graven images of Jerusalem and Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel (10:10 ‘As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols, Whose graven images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria, NASB) and specifically quote from Isaiah 10:17 that God’s Holy One will be a consuming flame. How does the Holy One being a consuming flame relate to the first verse from the Psalm that says “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? (Tehillim / Psalms 22:2)?” When one is forsaken of God, His Holy One is a consuming flame? Being forsaken suggests being outside of God’s will and being like the chaff that is burned (consumed) in the flame and is no more? (see Tehillim / Psalms 1) The rabbis actually go on to explain what they mean in the midrash.

  1. The light of Israel means Hezekiah, His holy one means Isaiah, and it will burn means that Sennacherib will burn, and devour his thorns and his briers means that Senecherib’s hosts will be devoured. Thus when Sennacherib moved upon Jerusalem Isaiah and Hezekiah sat in the Temple, and from between the two of them came forth a fire which devoured Sennacherib and his hosts.
  2. The light of Israel means Mordecai; His holy one means Esther; and it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers means that Haman and his sons will be devoured. Our Masters said, Haman had a hundred sons, then of whom were slain, ten hanged, ten dismembered and thrown to dogs; and the remaining seventy were begging for twelve months from door to door, and at the end were also slain.

According to the rabbis, the “light of Israel” is the “Holy One of God” who is a savior of Israel. The midrash provides two examples, the first is Hezekiah (God’s holy one) and Senecherib and his armies who will burn because of their wickedness. The second is Mordecai (God’s holy one) and Haman and his sons who will burn because of their wickedness. The light of Israel and the Holy One of God is a rabbinic reference to the one who acts as a savior of Israel. Can you think of any examples from the Apostolic Writings that parallel the rabbinic thought on the “light of Israel” and the “Holy One of God” who is a savior of Israel? The first example that comes to mind is from John 1:1-9.

John 1:1-9

1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 1:2 He was in the beginning with God. 1:3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light (φῶς) of men. 1:5 The Light (φῶς) shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 1:6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light (φῶς), so that all might believe through him. 1:8 He was not the Light (φῶς), but he came to testify about the Light (φωτός). 1:9 There was the true Light (φῶς) which, coming into the world, enlightens (φωτίζει) every man. (NASB)

The Apostle John said that Yeshua is the “light of Israel,” and in fact that the Word of God, the Memra (Aramaic for “Word”) the creative work of God, the agent by which God created the world (i.e. Judaic thought), come down from Heaven and become flesh to dwell among the people of God (John 1:14). Here we find a parallel in the rabbinic thought and Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 2, the “light of Israel,” the “Holy One of God,” and the “Savior of Israel.” The Apostle John took this thought to its logical conclusion having lived with Yeshua for three plus years, testifying that Yeshua is the light of Israel and the Holy One of God who was sent to save Israel from her sins. Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 2 concludes saying “How then will one interpret it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day? In this way, as a man measures, so is he measured. As Haman made a decree to destroy, to slay, and to cause to perish all Jews (Esther 3:13), so it was decreed against him and his, it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers.” The rabbis look at the story of Esther and Mordecai and the insurmountable opposition they faced, Haman was attempting to kill all of the Jews in the diaspora in Babylon. Though God is not mentioned throughout the book of Esther, it is evident that God’s hand was at work. The rabbis say the interpretation of “burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day” means that it is meted out to a man in the way that he measures, and so he is measured by God. This sounds like a parallel to Yeshua’s words in Matthew 7:1, to “judge not lest you be judged.” David said in Tehillim / Psalms 18, כו עִם-חָסִיד תִּתְחַסָּד עִם-גְּבַר תָּמִים תִּתַּמָּם: כז עִם-נָבָר תִּתְבָּרָר וְעִם-עִקֵּשׁ תִּתְפַּתָּל: 18:25 With the kind You show Yourself kind; With the blameless You show Yourself blameless; 18:26 With the pure You show Yourself pure, And with the crooked You show Yourself astute. (NASB) We are well advised to show mercy, and to walk blameless and pure before the Lord God Almighty. The reason is the Lord shows Himself to be kind, blameless, and pure, to those who measure out kindness, blamelessness, and purity to others, whereas with the crooked the Lord shows himself to be תִּתְפַּתָּל, from the root word פתל, meaning to “be twisted, bent, curved” written in the Hiphil verbal pattern to have the meaning “to be twisted, bent, to be perverted, struggle, or evasive, wriggle, writhe (in pain).” Essentially, the Lord will cause trouble for those who are crooked or perverse towards others, and this falls right in line with the rabbinic thought process and Yeshua’s words on how we judge others, the way God treats those who do not show mercy and kindness.

The rabbis continue the discussion on the light of Israel in Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 3, that opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “A different comment on The light of Israel will be for a fire.” Immediately the discussion is taken to Esther in the homiletic introduction (פתיחתא, Petihta) saying “the Light of Israel refers to Esther who shown like the light of morning for Israel.” They discuss the contrast between light and darkness with regard to the righteous and the unrighteous.

The verse implies, however, that the Holy One blessed be He, said I will make the day have two faces, a face of light for the people of Israel, and a face of darkness for the nations of the earth of whom Scripture says, Woe to you that desire the day of the Lord! Wherefore, would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light (Amos 5:18).

אלא אמר הקב״ה דיו פרצופין אני עושה את הדבר, אור לישראל, וחשך לאומות העולם, שנאמר הוי המתאוים את יום ה׳ למה [זה] לכם יום ה׳ הוא חשך ולא אור (עמוס ה יח)

The rabbis say that the day has two faces, (i) light for Israel, and (ii) darkness for the nations quoting from the prophet Amos. In that day the wealthy would impose a heavy tax on the poor and the Lord says in Amos 5:14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live; And thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you, Just as you have said! 5:15 Hate evil, love good, And establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the Lord God of hosts May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. 5:16 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, the Lord, ‘There is wailing in all the plazas, And in all the streets they say, ‘Alas! Alas!’ They also call the farmer to mourning And professional mourners to lamentation. 5:17 ‘And in all the vineyards there is wailing, Because I will pass through the midst of you,’ says the Lord. 5:18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord, For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you? It will be darkness and not light; (NASB) The prophet is speaking of the evil that is done against the poor and the innocent and these same people who do these evil deeds long for the great day of the Lord. Amos says הֹוי הַמִּתְאַוִּים אֶת־יֹום יְהוָה לָמָּה־זֶּה לָכֶם יֹום יְהוָה הוּא־חֹשֶׁךְ וְלֹא־אֹֽור׃ 5:18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord, For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you? It will be darkness and not light; (NASB) The people Amos is referring to, do they appear to know they are acting wickedly before the Lord? To be expectant of the coming day of the Lord is something every child of God is longing for; but in that great day, will it be darkness and not light because of the heaviness of sin in your life? The rabbis say that this great day will be either light or darkness depending upon the righteousness of a particular person. Any thoughts on how that works for believers in Yeshua today? The following parable is given to understand the meaning of the light and darkness of the time.

In this world’s use, when a man lights a lamp in his parlor, can he possibly say, Such and such a man who is my friend is free to use the light of the lamp, but my foe is not free to use the light of the lamp? The truth is that all men alike can use the light of a lamp. But the Holy One blessed be He, does things differently. Though all men alike can make use of light in this world, and God gives darkness to all alike in this world, God in the time to come will say only to Israel, Arise, shine, for your light is come and darkness will cover the earth, and gross darkness in the peoples; but on you the Lord will arise (Isaiah 60:2).

בנוהג שבעולם אדם מדליק את הנר בבסילקי שלו, שמא יכול לומר פלוני שהוא אוהבי ישתמש לאור הנר, ושונאי אל ישתמש לאור הנר, [אלא הכל משתמשין כאחד], אבל הקב״ה אינו כן, הכל משתמשין בעולם הזה, ונותן חשך לכלם כאחת בעולם הזה, אבל לעתיד לבא כי הנה החשך יכסה ארץ וערפל לאומים ועליך יזרח ה׳ (ישעיה ס ב)

The contrast between friend and foe on the use of the light, the Lord God gives everyone the opportunity to use the light, or to walk in righteousness, and to Israel in the last day the Lord will cause Israel to shine. In the world to come, the Lord will do good to those who are good and who live with an upright heart. In addition to this, the idea given in the midrash is that our righteousness is as darkness for the gentiles (i.e. unbelievers). The midrash states “Even so, Mordecai and Esther were a darkness for the gentiles; but for the Jews they were a light, for it is said, on account of Mordecai and Esther The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor (Esther 8:16). Why is Esther called Hadassah? Esther means the hidden one; for she remained hidden fast in her chambers; but she came forth into the world when there was need of her to give light to Israel.” Isn’t it interesting how a parallel is drawn to Esther, her name being Hadassah meaning “hidden one” and that she remained hidden until the opportune time for her to be revealed and to be shown forth as a light to Israel? The idea of the hiddenness of Esther who is revealed in God’s timing for a light to Israel is a common theme of the Messiah that we studied back in Tehillim / Psalms 21. Judaism’s understanding of the pre-existence of the hiddenness of the Messiah suggests that the Messiah will be revealed in God’s timing, just as Esther was revealed at the right moment. There are parallels in both the rabbinic literature and the Apostolic Writings on the hiddenness of the Savior of Israel. The use of secrecy in Mark’s Gospel and Yeshua’s commands to keep silent after performing miracles is a testimony to this. Also note that Yeshua silenced the demons he cast out so they would not make known who he is and Yeshua’s commands to the demons not to make known his identity. Yeshua also speaks in parables (Mark.4:10-12) for the purpose of hiding hide his identity. Therefore, the concept of the hidden Messiah is well established in the Judaisms of the first century. The rabbinic mindset of the “hidden One” who is a light to Israel is indeed a biblical concept that was carried on into the Tannaim era and we find it here in the Midrash on Tehillim. The rabbis conclude Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 3 saying “And so God says to the people of Israel, Even as I have done in this world, so will I do in the world to come, for it is said Behold, darkness will cover the earth, and gross darkness the peoples; but upon you the Lord will arise, and His glory will be seen upon you (Isaiah 60:2).” There is something that God does in this world that will also be done in the world to come. His glory will be shown upon us, note that it is not our glory, but rather it is God’s glory that He places upon His children. This sounds very similar to the message of the gospel, placing our faith in Yeshua, the Lord places his righteousness and glory upon each of us.

Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “A different comment on For the leader; upon Aijeleth hash Shahar (Hind of the dawn).” The midrash states that “This verse is to be considered in the light of what Scripture says elsewhere, Rejoice not against me, O my enemy; when I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me (Micah 7:8).” According to this midrash, the Lord God Almighty is the One who is a light to each and every one of us. The rabbis conclude saying “After the moon sets, and the stars set, and the planets vanish, there is no darkness deeper than the hour before the world and all that are in it, out of darkness, He brings forth the dawn and gives light to the world.” Here the rabbis make a reference to the Torah regarding the darkness that was before the creation of the world and the Lord God is the one who gives light. Note the theme of light and darkness throughout the Scriptures. Sin grows in the dark,and we are called to live in the light. The rabbis recognize this theme of light and darkness within the Scriptures and how the Lord is the One who is pure, holy, and righteous that is typified by the light that shines in the darkness. Evil men seek the secrecy of the darkness of night, but those who seek the Lord must come out into the light. Using the allegory of light and darkness coupled with the Lord God Almighty who is full of light, we read the following from the Apostolic Writings from Matthew and John.

John 1:4-13

1:4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 1:5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 1:6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 1:7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 1:8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. 1:9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 1:10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 1:11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (NASB)

John 9:1-5

9:1 As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 9:2 And His disciples asked Him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?’ 9:3 Jesus answered, ‘It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 9:4 ‘We must work the works of Him who sent Me as long as it is day; night is coming when no one can work. 9:5 ‘While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.’ (NASB)

Matthew 5:13-14

5:13 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men. 5:14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; (NASB)

The Apostles recognized like the rabbis do that the light of this world is the Lord God Almighty, and the Lord sent His Word into this world to be the light, the light of men (the Word become flesh, John 1:14), God sent His Messiah the living Word, those who believe upon Him were given the right to become the children of God (John 1:13). Yeshua also used this light and darkness, day and night metaphor in John 9:1-5 to illustrate the truth, that He is the light of the world. Yeshua also said in Matthew 5, that we are also the light of the world. If we live in the truth, believe in God’s word, in His Son Yeshua, and live our lives in righteousness and justice, we are a light to the world. It is interesting that the rabbis say Esther and Mordecai were a darkness for the gentiles but for the Jews they were a light, a light of gladness. In Yeshua’s statement that we are a light to the world, this parallels the midrashic statement Though all men alike can make use of light in this world, and God gives darkness to all alike in this world” in the sense that God gives good things to everyone, we as His children should do likewise. (i.e. pray for our enemies, feed, do good, righteousness, justice, etc).

Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 7 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “A different exposition of Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; when I fall, I will arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me (Micah 7:8).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states “The people of Israel say to hostile nations of the earth, Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy. Why not? Because if I fall, I arise, swift upon a falling there is a rising up.” It is interesting the rabbis focus upon the righteous who fall and rise up again whereas the wicked fall and do not get up. Rabbi Samuel derives this from Mishley / Proverbs 24:16.

Rabbi Samuel drew the same meaning from the verse A righteous man falls seven times, and raises up again (Mishley Proverbs 24:16). But when the wicked fall, they will not rise up again. Upon the stumbling into calamity, Once they fall, there is no rising up for them. Scripture says this again in the verse In one blow their folly will be made manifest, and they will be destroyed (Jeremiah 10:8).

ר׳ שמואל אמר מן הדא, כי שבע יפול צדיק וקם (משלי כד טז), אבל הרשעים יפלו ולא יקומו, תכף לכשלון של רשעים רעה, שנאמר ורשעים יכשלו ברעה (שם שם משלי כ״ד ט״ז), בפעם אחת נופלין ואין להם תקומה, וכן הוא אומר ובאחת יבערו ויכסלו (ירמיה י ח)

Why do the righteous rise seven times after a fall while the wicked do not rise up again? Studying the Scriptures on righteousness, we learn that righteousness is one of the most prominent attributes of the Lord God Almighty in the Scriptures. The righteousness of God is a factor of His holiness and goodness. The righteousness of God is also evident in the way He consistently acts in accord with His own character (His Word, His promises, etc). It is within this context that “righteous” is defined within the context of the Lord who is righteous has show us His righteousness. The Lord has set the standard. The Lord’s purpose for calling Abraham and making a covenant with him was for Abraham to keep the way of the Lord by living in righteousness and justice and to teach his offspring to do likewise. It is within this context that the righteous man, though he may fall seven times will raise up again, because the Lord God who is righteous is with him. This is why the rabbis say “When I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light unto me (Micah 7:8).” (כי אשב בחשך ה׳ אור לי (מיכה שם ז׳ ח׳)) Though calamity may come described as the metaphor of darkness to the righteous, the Lord God Almighty is a light unto the righteous. The rabbis provide examples from Shemot / Exodus, Micah, Habakkuk, Jeremiah, Hosea, Mishley / Proverbs, Daniel, and Esther to illustrate how the Lord raises up and exalts the righteous. The midrash concludes with the rabbis providing the example from Esther saying “Esther being told of this, immediately said to Mordecai, Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me, I also and my maidens will fast in like manner (Esther 4:16). And as she was saying And so I will go into the king, which is not according to the law (Esther 4:16), the people of the palace began to say, Now the king will be angry with Esther, and death will be decreed for her. And every one said, I will take Esther’s apparel, this one saying Me I will take her ornaments, and that one saying Me I will take her royal earrings; and another one saying Me I will take her royal vesture, as is known from Esther’s statement, They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture (Tehillim / Psalms 22:19). Now because Esther perceived and understood what was going on, she prayed and said, Be not far from me O Lord, O my strength, hast You to help me (Tehillim / Psalms 22:20). As soon as David foresaw by the help of the Holy Spirit that O my strength (Aijeleth) was the apostrophe wherewith she could call upon the Holy One blessed be He, David, thinking upon Esther, arranged this Psalm for the leader; upon Aijeleth hash Shahar.” (כיון שידעה אסתר התחילה לומר למרדכי, לך כנוס את כל היהודים (שם אסתר ד טז), וכשאמרה ובכן אבוא אל המלך (שם שם אסתר ד׳), התחילו בני פלטרין אומרים עכשיו הוא כועס עליה, ונגזר עליה מיתה, והיה כל אחד ואחד אומר אני אטול את בגדיה, וזה אומר אני אטול תכשיטיה, [וזה אומר אני אטול את קדשיה, וזה אומר אני אטול את פורפריה שלה של מלכות, שנאמר יחלקו בגדי להם ועל לבושי יפילו גורל (תהלים כב יט), וכיון שהיתה צופה ורואה כן], היתה מתפללת ואומרת ואתה ה׳ אל תרחק אילותי לעזרתי חושה (שם שם תהלים כ״ב כ), כיון שראה דוד ברוח הקדש באיזה לשון עתידה להיות קוראה להקב״ה אילותי, סידר עליה זה המזמור למנצח על אילת השחר.) The rabbis quote Tehillim / Psalms 22:19 as a reference to the wicked taking the ornaments and royal vesture of Esther and dividing them amongst themselves. In the book of Esther, the righteousness and justice of God is the guiding principle, and Esther prayed “Be not far from me O Lord, O my strength, hast You to help me (Tehillim / Psalms 22:20)” knowing the Lord is with the righteous to save the children of God. The midrash states that David foresaw, by the help of the Holy Spirit, that Esther believed the Lord to be her strength, and that he was thinking of Esther when he composed this Psalm. It may be that David was thinking of Esther while composing this Psalm, however there was a prophetic aspect to his words of the Messiah, “they have pierced his hands and feet,” (Luke 23:33-34) “he can count all his bones,” and they “divide his garments among them casting lots for his clothing.” (John 19:24, Matthew 27:35, Mark 15:24, Luke 23:34). These Scriptures were taken having a prophetic meaning by the Apostles and even by Yeshua himself. Words that take on a prophetic meaning, a dual or additional meaning, in the day of their composition may not be obvious at first. Therefore, prophetic words may also have a hidden meaning. Something the rabbis pick up on a theme of a Savior in Tehillim / Psalms 22 and the Midrash provides examples of the prototypical savior in the lives of various people throughout Scripture. The theme of a Savior in the midrash, the hidden nature of the Messiah, the hidden prophetic meaning of Tehillim / Psalms 22, the midrash is speaking loudly regarding the Messiah of God. According to the account of Yeshua’s life, he fulfilled these Scriptures to the letter. Knowing the rabbinic interpretation of this Psalm, was this the reason Yeshua cried out while upon the cross from the first verse of Tehillim / Psalms 22:1, “My God My God Why have you forsaken Me?”

Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 24 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help (Tehillim / Psalms 22:12).” Again the rabbis draw a parallel with the life of Esther stating in the homiletic introduction “When did Esther speak these words?” The rabbis tell the story that king Ahasuerus had seven courts and Esther entered through those courts. Esther stood in the middle court passing through the first, second, and third courts and king Ahaserus gnashed his teeth against Esther saying the king requested queen Vashti to come and she refused, and Esther he did not request and she comes into his courts like a harlot. So the rabbis say it was on account of Esther that David wrote this psalm. Esther went selflessly in before the king knowing that she was laying her life down on behalf of her people to make a request before the king. The parallel we find with Yeshua from Esther’s life is that Yeshua laid down his life so that he would be able to go before the King of the universe and make requests on our behalf.

Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 27 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “They look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them (Tehillim / Psalms 22:18-19).” Similar to Part 7 of Midrash Tehillim 22, the rabbis parallel the dividing of the cloths to Esther saying “One said, I will take Esther’s royal cloak and coat; and another said, I will take Esther’s ring and Esther’s armor. The end of the verse, and cast lots upon my vesture, means, according to rabbi Huna, that they were casting lots for the royal cloak, which it is not seemly for commoners to use.” The people, Esther’s servants, they had already determined she was going to die by entering into the court of the king without being asked. They were casting lots for her royal cloak. Throughout Midrash Tehillim 22, there is a theme of a Savior for Israel. Again, could this be the reason Yeshua quoted from the first verse of Tehillim / Psalms 22 just before he died? Was he proclaiming that He is the Savior Messiah who the rabbis ascribe to Tehillim / Psalms 22? According to the Tanach, there are very clear prophecies concerning the suffering servant which have been understood by the rabbis as relating to the Messiah. For example as we see here in Tehillim / Psalm 22, the rabbis consider this Psalm very messianic in the way they are speaking of the Savior of Israel. Other verses include Zechariah 3:8-10, 12:9-1 1 and 13:5-7, Daniel 9:24-26, and of course Isaiah 53. Take for example Bereshit / Genesis 3:15, we can see the rabbinic understanding that this verse is referring to the Messiah according to the Aramaic Targums. For example from the Targumim Neofiti, Pseudo Jonathan, and FTP Gen, we read the following:

Targum Neofiti

ובעל דבבו אשוי בינך ובין איתתה ובין בניך ובין בנה ויהוי כד יהוון בניה נטרין אורייתא ועבדין פקודייה יהוון מתכוונין לך ומחיי׳ יתך לראשך וקטלין יתך וכד יהוון שבקין פקודי דאוריתא תהוי מתכוין ונכת יתיה בעקבה וממרע יתיה ברם לבריה יהוי אסו ולך חויה לא יהוי אסו דעתידין אינון מעבד שפיותיה בעוקבה ביומא ביומוי דמלכא משיחא׃

Targum Pseudo Jonathan

ודבבו אישוי בינך ובין איתתא בין זרעית בנך ובין זרעית בנהא ויהי כד יהוון בנהא דאיתתא נטרין מצוותא דאורייתא יהוון מכוונין ומחיין יתך על רישך וכד שבקין מצוותא דאורייתא תהוי מתכווין ונכית יתהון בעיקביהון ברם להון יהי אסו ולך לא יהי אסו ועתידין הינון למיעבד שפיותא בעיקבא ביומי מלכא משיחא

Fragment Targum Genesis (FTP Gen)

ובעיל דבבו אישוי בין חיויא ובין אינתתא ובין זרעיית בניך ובין זרעית בנה ויהא כד יהוון בנהא דאיתתא לעיין באוריתא ונטרין פיקודיא יהוון מתכוונין ומחיין יתך ברישך וקטלין יתך וכד ימנעון גרמיהו<ן> בניה דאיתתא דלא לעיין באוריתא ודלא למטור פיקודיא תהוי מתכוין ונכית יתהון בעוקביהון וממרע יתהון ברם לבניא דאינתתא יהוי אסו ולך לא יהוי אסו ברם עתידין אינון איליין <לאיליין> מעבד שופייתא בסוף עקב יומיא ביומוי דמלכא משיחא

The Jewish thinking on Bereshit / Genesis 3:15 explains the seed of the woman as the King Messiah (דמלכא משיחא) and that he will be wounded or pierced in his heel. The Concluding phrase of Midrash Tehillim 22, Part 27 states “Rabbi Isaac said, If the scepter of a mere mortal brings life to an entire people, how much more life does the scepter of the Holy One blessed be He, bring, for it is written Tend Your people with Your scepter (Micah 7:4).” According to the rabbis midrash on Tehillim / Psalms 22, a miracle occurred when king Ahasuerus stretched out his scepter, that it extended from his throne all of the way to the fourth court (thirty two cubits). As Esther walked to the inner court, the scepter decreased in length to its former length. According to this parable, the scepter behaves similar to the arm of king Ahasuerus bringing her in to the inner court. The rabbis conclude that the scepter of the Holy One blessed be He will give much more, even life everlasting. A parallel might be found in Isaiah 53:1 that states א מִי הֶאֱמִין לִשְׁמֻעָתֵנוּ וּזְרוֹעַ יְהֹוָה עַל-מִי נִגְלָתָה: 53:1 Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? (NASB) According to Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:27 we read כז מְעֹנָה אֱלֹהֵי קֶדֶם וּמִתַּחַת זְרֹעֹת עוֹלָם וַיְגָרֶשׁ מִפָּנֶיךָ אוֹיֵב וַיֹּאמֶר הַשְׁמֵד: 33:27 ‘The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; And He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, ‘Destroy!’ (NASB) Here in Isaiah 53:1 and in Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:27, the words זְרֹעֹת and ּזְרוֹעַ both are translated to mean “arms.” The promise that God is giving us in Devarim / Deuteronomy is that the Lord is our refuge and interestingly, the Targum Onkelos paraphrases this as saying כז מְדוֹר אֱלָהָא דִי־מִלְקַדְמִין בְּמֵימְרֵהּ מִתְעֲבֵד עָלְמָא וְתָרִיךְ מִקֳּדָמָךְ סָנְאָה וַאֲמַר שֵׁצִי: “These arms are the Memrah by whom the world was created.” It is in this way that we understand the “Word” of God is the outstretched arm of the Lord, and in the words זְרֹעֹת and ּזְרוֹעַ we learn that God is sowing truth into our lives by His Word and that Yeshua, the word become flesh (John 1:1-14) is the outstretched hand of God for each of us. Herein lies the miracle described in the Midrash on Tehillim 22, Part 27, and the parallel with Yeshua and the outstretched scepter that saves life. Through these verses and throughout the Midrashic literature we see the messianic expectations of the rabbis throughout the centuries. Praise the Lord for sending us His Word in Yeshua the Messiah to save us from our sins. He is the arm of the Lord that was given to save us and to draw us into the inner court of the Lord God Almighty. He has the power to bring us before our Father in Heaven and we can stand with confidence in Yeshua, by His righteousness we are justified. What a wonderful salvation we have. Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 22-Part1-and-2 Notes: Notes_Psalms_22

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!