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Psalm 22

Why Have You Forsaken Me?


For the choir director. According to “Doe of the Dawn.”[a]
A psalm by David.

Part One: The Messiah’s Suffering
The Messiah’s Plea

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
My groaning does nothing to save me.
My God, I call out by day, but you do not answer.
I call out by night, but there is no relief for me.[b]

God’s Help in the Past

Yet you are seated as the Holy One, praised by Israel.
In you our fathers trusted.
They trusted and you delivered them.
They cried out to you, and they were rescued.
They trusted in you, and they were not disappointed.

God’s Present Absence

But I am a worm and not a man,
scorned by men and despised by the people.
All who see me mock me. They sneer.
They shake their heads.
They say, “Trust in the Lord.”[c]
“Let the Lord deliver him.
Let him rescue him, if he delights in him.”[d]

The Mutual Love of Father and Son

But you are the one who brought me out of the belly.
You made me trust when I was at my mother’s breasts.
10 I was cast on you from the womb.
From the belly of my mother you have been my God.
11 Do not be distant from me, for distress is near,
and there is no one to help.

The Power of His Enemies

12 Many bulls surround me.
Strong bulls from Bashan encircle me.
13 Enemies open their mouths wide against me,
like a lion that tears its prey and roars.
14 Like water I am poured out.
All my bones are pulled apart.
My heart has become like wax.
It has melted in the middle of my chest.
15 My strength is dried up like broken pottery,
and my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth.
You lay me in the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded me.
A band of evil men has encircled me.
They have pierced[e] my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones.
They stare and gloat over me.
18 They divide my garments among them.
For my clothing they cast lots.

The Greater Power of God

19 But you, O Lord, do not be distant.
O my Strength, come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver my life from the sword,
my only life from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the mouth of the lion.
From the horns of the wild oxen you have answered me.[f]

Part Two: The Messiah’s Glory
The Messiah’s Vow

22 I will declare your name to my brothers.
In the midst of the congregation I will praise you.
23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised nor detested the affliction of the afflicted.
He has not hidden his face from him,
but when he cried out to him, he heard.
25 You are the source of my praise in the great congregation.[g]
I will fulfill my vows in the presence of those who fear him.

The Glory of Messiah’s Kingdom

26 The poor will eat and be satisfied.
Those who seek him will praise the Lord
may he live in your hearts forever![h]
27 All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations will bow down before you.
28 For the kingdom belongs to the Lord,
and he rules over the nations.
29 All the rich of the earth will eat and bow down.
All who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.[i]
30 Descendants will serve him.
For generations people will be told about the Lord.
31 They will come and proclaim his righteousness
    to a people yet to be born—
because he has done it.


  1. Psalm 22:1 This may be the name of the tune. An alternate reading is help at dawn.
  2. Psalm 22:2 Or I am never silent
  3. Psalm 22:8 Literally roll [your troubles] to the Lord
  4. Psalm 22:8 The first part of the quotation is addressed to the suffering Messiah. The second part is addressed to their fellow mockers, so they are marked as two separate quotations.
  5. Psalm 22:16 The reading they have pierced is found in some Hebrew manuscripts, including one of the oldest, as well as in other ancient versions. Most Hebrew manuscripts read like a lion instead of a verb.
  6. Psalm 22:21 Or answer me
  7. Psalm 22:25 This verse may mean that the Son praises the Father in the great congregation (as in verse 22) or that the Father praises the Son in the great congregation. The first option seems to fit the context best.
  8. Psalm 22:26 Or may your hearts live forever
  9. Psalm 22:29 The ancient versions read my soul will live for him rather than my soul will not live.

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