Psal. 22:1 For the musician at the star of the morning, a psalm of David's.
The above two-word Hebrew phrase אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר has been transliterated as aijeleth ha-shahar (implying some unknown instrument), or translated as doe of the dawn, (a translation that is as literal as mine) or as an idiom morning star. The last translation, as well as other verses in this psalm, has led to controversy over the psalm’s meaning for two thousand years. Some have seen it as a description of Jesus dying on the cross. Others have believed that it represents Israel. Still others believe it is the anguish of David or another psalmist during some particularly troublesome time in his life. For me the question of whom this chapter is describing is not terribly significant. Whoever it refers to, the thrust of the meaning is clear: Bad things happen to “good” people, but faith must persevere, not for our sakes, but for the Lord’s sake. That’s what loving Him with all our heart, soul, and might is all about. For more of my thoughts on this sort of controversy, see my remarks (the second paragraph) following Isai. 53:12. One more remark: I believe the controversial two-word phrase in this verse specifies this psalm as a morning prayer.
אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי רָחוֹק מִישׁוּעָתִי דִּבְרֵי שַׁאֲגָתִי׃ 22:2
Psal. 22:2 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
So far from my saving is my cry of distress.
אֱלֹהַי אֶקְרָא יֹוםָם וְלֹא תַעֲנֶה וְלַיְלָה וְלֹא־דוּמִיָּה לִי׃ 22:3
Psal. 22:3 O my God! I may have cried out daily, and at night,
but You would not answer.
So there was no silence for me.
וְאַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ 22:4
Psal. 22:4 But You are Holy,
inhabiting the praises of Israel.
The second English line seems to be a bit strange. But I suspect that its meaning is apparent: The Lord’s name is found in all the praises of Israel.
בְּךָ בָּטְחוּ אֲבֹתֵינוּ בָּטְחוּ וַתְּפַלְּטֵמוֹ׃ 22:5
Psal. 22:5 In You our ancestors trusted;
they trusted, and You delivered them.
אֵלֶיךָ זָעֲקוּ וְנִמְלָטוּ בְּךָ בָטְחוּ וְלֹא־בוֹשׁוּ׃ 22:6
Psal. 22:6 To You they cried in anguish,
and they were preserved.
In You they trusted,
and they were not disappointed.
וְאָנֹכִי תוֹלַעַת וְלֹא־אִישׁ חֶרְפַּת אָדָם וּבְזוּי עָם׃ 22:7
Psal. 22:7 But I am a worm and not a man,
a reproach of humanity and despised of the people.
כָּל־רֹאַי יַלְעִגוּ לִי יַפְטִירוּ בְשָׂפָה יָנִיעוּ רֹאשׁ׃ 22:8
Psal. 22:8 All who saw me would laugh at me,
they would shake the head, dismiss with words:
גֹּל אֶל־יְהוָה יְפַלְּטֵהוּ יַצִּילֵהוּ כִּי חָפֵץ בּוֹ׃ 22:9
Psal. 22:9 “He trusts in the Lord He would deliver him!
Let Him deliver him, seeing He delights in him!”
כִּי־אַתָּה גֹחִי מִבָּטֶן מַבְטִיחִי עַל־שְׁדֵי אִמִּי׃ 22:10
Psal. 22:10 But You are Who took me from the womb,
Who gave me trust on the breasts of my mother.
עָלֶיךָ הָשְׁלַכְתִּי מֵרָחֶם מִבֶּטֶן אִמִּי אֵלִי אָתָּה׃ 22:11
Psal. 22:11 Upon You was I cast from the womb;
from the bosom of my mother have You been my God.
אַל־תִּרְחַק מִמֶּנִּי כִּי־צָרָה קְרוֹבָה כִּי־אֵין עוֹזֵר׃ 22:12
Psal. 22:12 You would not be far from me,
for trouble was near but there was no protection.
Psal. 22:13 Many bulls had surrounded me;
the bulls of Bashan, they besieged me.
See my remarks about Deut. 32:14 for a description of Bashan.
פָּצוּ עָלַי פִּיהֶם אַרְיֵה טֹרֵף וְשֹׁאֵג׃ 22:14
Psal. 22:14 Their mouths gaped over me,
ravenous lions and roaring.
כַּמַּיִם נִשְׁפַּכְתִּי וְהִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל־עַצְמוֹתָי הָיָה לִבִּי כַּדּוֹנָג נָמֵס בְּתוֹךְ מֵעָי׃ 22:15
Psal. 22:15 Like water I had spilled out,
and all my bones were stretched;
my heart was like wax,
melting within my bowels.
יָבֵשׁ כַּחֶרֶשׂ כֹּחִי וּלְשֹׁונִי מֻדְבָּק מַלְקֹוחָי וְלַעֲפַר־מָוֶת תִּשְׁפְּתֵנִי׃ 22:16
Psal. 22:16 Dried up like pottery was my strength,
and my tongue was sticking to my jaws,
You had brought me as to the dust of death.
כִּי סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים עֲדַת מְרֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי כָּאֲרִי יָדַי וְרַגְלָי׃ 22:17
Psal. 22:17 For dogs had surrounded me;
a swarm of evil-doers struck at me like a lion,
at my hands and my feet.
אֲסַפֵּר כָּל־עַצְמוֹתָי הֵמָּה יַבִּיטוּ יִרְאוּ־בִי׃ 22:18
Psal. 22:18 I might inform all my bones:
They would look, would perceive within me.
יְחַלְּקוּ בְגָדַי לָהֶם וְעַל־לְבוּשִׁי יַפִּילוּ גוֹרָל׃ 22:19
Psal. 22:19 They would separate my garments for themselves,
and upon my clothing they would cast lots.
וְאַתָּה יְהוָה אַל־תִּרְחָק אֱיָלוּתִי לְעֶזְרָתִי חוּשָׁה׃ 22:20
Psal. 22:20 But You, O Lord, could not be far off, O my Protector,
to help me make haste!
הַצִּילָה מֵחֶרֶב נַפְשִׁי מִיַּד־כֶּלֶב יְחִידָתִי׃ 22:21
Psal. 22:21 Deliver my soul from the sword,
from the power of the dog, my Beloved!
הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי מִפִּי אַרְיֵה וּמִקַּרְנֵי רֵמִים עֲנִיתָנִי׃ 22:22
Psal. 22:22 Save me from the mouth of the lion!
And from the horns of the unicorns You answered me.
אֲסַפְּרָה שִׁמְךָ לְאֶחָי בְּתוֹךְ קָהָל אֲהַלְלֶךָּ׃ 22:23
Psal. 22:23 I shall declare Your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I shall praise You.
יִרְאֵי יְהוָה הַלְלוּהוּ כָּל־זֶרַע יַעֲקֹב כַּבְּדוּהוּ וְגוּרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ כָּל־זֶרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ 22:24
Psal. 22:24 You who are in reverence of the Lord praise Him!
All you seed of Jacob glorify Him!
And be afraid of Him, all you seed of Israel!
כִּי לֹא־בָזָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּץ עֱנוּת עָנִי וְלֹא־הִסְתִּיר פָּנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ וּבְשַׁוְּעוֹ אֵלָיו שָׁמֵעַ׃ 22:25
Psal. 22:25 For He does not despise, and does not abhor,
the affliction of the humble,
and He does not hide countenance from him,
and He hears his cries to Him.
מֵאִתְּכָ תְהִלָּתִי בְּקָהָל רָב נְדָרַי אֲשַׁלֵּם נֶגֶד יְרֵאָיו׃ 22:26
Psal. 22:26 My praise about You shall be great in the congregation;
my vows I shall make good before those who revere Him.
יֹאכְלוּ עֲנָוִים וְיִשְׂבָּעוּ יְהַלְלוּ יְהוָה דֹּרְשָׁיו יְחִי לְבַבְכֶם לָעַד׃ 22:27
Psal. 22:27 The meek shall eat and be satisfied;
His seekers shall praise the Lord.
Your “heart” shall live forever.
יִזְכְּרוּ וְיָשֻׁבוּ אֶל־יְהוָה כָּל־אַפְסֵי־אָרֶץ וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְפָנֶיךָ כָּל־מִשְׁפְּחוֹת גּוֹיִם׃ 22:28
Psal. 22:28 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn back to the Lord,
and all the families of nations shall worship before You.
כִּי לַיהוָה הַמְּלוּכָה וּמֹשֵׁל בַּגּוֹיִם׃ 22:29
Psal. 22:39 For the kingdom is the Lord's,
and He rules among the nations.
אָכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ כָּל־דִּשְׁנֵי־אֶרֶץ לְפָנָיו יִכְרְעוּ כָּל־יֹורְדֵי עָפָר וְנַפְשֹׁו לֹא חִיָּה׃ 22:30
Psal. 22:30 All who are fat of the earth have eaten and worshiped;
before Him shall bow down all descenders of the dust,
but none keeps his own soul alive.
זֶרַע יַעַבְדֶנּוּ יְסֻפַּר לַאדֹנָי לַדֹּור׃ 22:31
Psal. 22:31 A seed will serve us;
it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
יָבֹאוּ וְיַגִּידוּ צִדְקָתֹו לְעַם נֹולָד כִּי עָשָׂה׃ 22:32
Psal. 22:32 They shall come and praise his righteousness,
what he did, to a people to be born.