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Psalm 22[a]

For the music director, according to the tune “Morning Doe”;[b] a psalm of David.

22 My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?[c]
I groan in prayer, but help seems far away.[d]
My God, I cry out during the day,
but you do not answer,
and during the night my prayers do not let up.[e]
You are holy;
you sit as king receiving the praises of Israel.[f]
In you our ancestors[g] trusted;
they trusted in you[h] and you rescued them.
To you they cried out, and they were saved;
in you they trusted and they were not disappointed.[i]
But I[j] am a worm,[k] not a man;[l]
people insult me and despise me.[m]
All who see me taunt[n] me;
they mock me[o] and shake their heads.[p]
They say,[q]
“Commit yourself[r] to the Lord!
Let the Lord[s] rescue him!
Let the Lord[t] deliver him, for he delights in him.”[u]
Yes, you are the one who brought me out[v] from the womb
and made me feel secure on my mother’s breasts.
10 I have been dependent on you since birth;[w]
from the time I came out of my mother’s womb you have been my God.[x]
11 Do not remain far away from me,
for trouble is near and I have no one to help me.[y]
12 Many bulls[z] surround me;
powerful bulls of Bashan[aa] hem me in.
13 They[ab] open their mouths to devour me[ac]
like a roaring lion that rips its prey.[ad]
14 My strength drains away like water;[ae]
all my bones are dislocated.
My heart[af] is like wax;
it melts away inside me.
15 The roof of my mouth[ag] is as dry as a piece of pottery;
my tongue sticks to my gums.[ah]
You[ai] set me in the dust of death.[aj]
16 Yes,[ak] wild dogs surround me—
a gang of evil men crowd around me;
like a lion they pin my hands and feet.[al]
17 I can count[am] all my bones;
my enemies[an] are gloating over me in triumph.[ao]
18 They are dividing up my clothes among themselves;
they are rolling dice[ap] for my garments.
19 But you, O Lord, do not remain far away.
You are my source of strength.[aq] Hurry and help me![ar]
20 Deliver me[as] from the sword.
Save[at] my life[au] from the claws[av] of the wild dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lion,[aw]
and from the horns of the wild oxen.[ax]
You have answered me.[ay]
22 I will declare your name to my countrymen.[az]
In the middle of the assembly I will praise you.
23 You loyal followers of the Lord,[ba] praise him.
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him.
All you descendants of Israel, stand in awe of him.[bb]
24 For he did not despise or detest the suffering[bc] of the oppressed.[bd]
He did not ignore him;[be]
when he cried out to him, he responded.[bf]
25 You are the reason I offer praise[bg] in the great assembly;
I will fulfill my promises before the Lord’s loyal followers.[bh]
26 Let the oppressed eat and be filled.[bi]
Let those who seek his help praise the Lord.
May you[bj] live forever!
27 Let all the people of the earth acknowledge the Lord and turn to him.[bk]
Let all the nations[bl] worship you.[bm]
28 For the Lord is king[bn]
and rules over the nations.
29 All the thriving people[bo] of the earth will join the celebration and worship;[bp]
all those who are descending into the grave[bq] will bow before him,
including those who cannot preserve their lives.[br]
30 A whole generation[bs] will serve him;
they will tell the next generation about the Lord.[bt]
31 They will come and tell about his saving deeds;[bu]
they will tell a future generation what he has accomplished.[bv]


  1. Psalm 22:1 sn Psalm 22. The psalmist cries out to the Lord for deliverance from his dangerous enemies, who have surrounded him and threaten his life. Confident that the Lord will intervene, he then vows to thank the Lord publicly for his help and anticipates a time when all people will recognize the Lord’s greatness and worship him.
  2. Psalm 22:1 tn Heb “according to the doe of the dawn.” Apparently this refers to a particular musical tune or style.
  3. Psalm 22:1 sn From the psalmist’s perspective it seems that God has abandoned him, for he fails to answer his cry for help (vv. 1b-2).
  4. Psalm 22:1 tn Heb “far from my deliverance [are] the words of my groaning.” The Hebrew noun שְׁאָגָה (sheʾagah) and its related verb שָׁאַג (shaʾag) are sometimes used of a lion’s roar, but they can also describe human groaning (see Job 3:24 and Pss 32:3 and 38:8.
  5. Psalm 22:2 tn Heb “there is no silence to me.”
  6. Psalm 22:3 tn Heb “[O] one who sits [on] the praises of Israel.” The verb “receiving” is supplied in the translation for clarity. The metaphorical language pictures the Lord as sitting enthroned as king in his temple, receiving the praises that his people Israel offer up to him.
  7. Psalm 22:4 tn Heb “fathers.”
  8. Psalm 22:4 tn The words “in you” are supplied in the translation. They are understood by ellipsis (see the preceding line).
  9. Psalm 22:5 tn Or “were not ashamed.”
  10. Psalm 22:6 tn The grammatical construction (conjunction + pronoun) highlights the contrast between the psalmist’s experience and that of his ancestors. When he considers God’s past reliability, it only heightens his despair and confusion, for God’s present silence stands in stark contrast to his past saving acts.
  11. Psalm 22:6 tn The metaphor expresses the psalmist’s self-perception, which is based on how others treat him (see the following line).
  12. Psalm 22:6 tn Or “not a human being.” The psalmist perceives himself as less than human.
  13. Psalm 22:6 tn Heb “a reproach of man and despised by people.”
  14. Psalm 22:7 tn Or “scoff at, deride, mock.”
  15. Psalm 22:7 tn Heb “they separate with a lip.” Apparently this refers to their verbal taunting.
  16. Psalm 22:7 sn Shake their heads. Apparently this refers to a taunting gesture. See also Job 16:4; Ps 109:25; Lam 2:15.
  17. Psalm 22:8 tn The words “they say” are supplied in the translation for clarification and for stylistic reasons. The psalmist here quotes the sarcastic taunts of his enemies.
  18. Psalm 22:8 tn Heb “roll [yourself].” The Hebrew verb גָּלַל (galal) here has the sense of “commit” (see Prov 16:3). The imperatival form in the Hebrew text indicates the enemies here address the psalmist. Since they refer to him in the third person in the rest of the verse, some prefer to emend the verb to a perfect, “he commits himself to the Lord.”
  19. Psalm 22:8 tn Heb “Let him”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  20. Psalm 22:8 tn Heb “Let him”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  21. Psalm 22:8 tn That is, “for he [the Lord] delights in him [the psalmist].” For other cases where the expression “delight in” refers to God’s delight in a person, see Num 14:8; 1 Kgs 10:9; Pss 18:19; This statement does not necessarily reflect the enemies’ actual belief, but it does reflect the psalmist’s confession. The psalmist’s enemies sarcastically appeal to God to help him, because he claims to be an object of divine favor. However, they probably doubted the reality of his claim.
  22. Psalm 22:9 tn Or “the one who pulled me.” The verb is derived from either גָּחָה (gakhah; see HALOT 187 s.v. גחה) or גִּיחַ (giakh; see BDB 161 s.v. גִּיחַ) and seems to carry the nuance “burst forth” or “pull out.”
  23. Psalm 22:10 tn Heb “upon you I was cast from [the] womb.”
  24. Psalm 22:10 tn Heb “from the womb of my mother you [have been] my God.”sn Despite the enemies’ taunts, the psalmist is certain of his relationship with God, which began from the time of his birth (from the time I came out of my mother’s womb).
  25. Psalm 22:11 tn Heb “and there is no helper.”
  26. Psalm 22:12 sn The psalmist figuratively compares his enemies to dangerous bulls.
  27. Psalm 22:12 sn Bashan, located east of the Jordan River, was well-known for its cattle. See Ezek 39:18; Amos 4:1.
  28. Psalm 22:13 tn “They” refers to the psalmist’s enemies, who in the previous verse are described as “powerful bulls.”
  29. Psalm 22:13 tn Heb “they open against me their mouth[s].” To “open the mouth against” is a Hebrew idiom associated with eating and swallowing (see Ezek 2:8; Lam 2:16).
  30. Psalm 22:13 tn Heb “a lion ripping and roaring.”
  31. Psalm 22:14 tn Heb “like water I am poured out.”
  32. Psalm 22:14 sn The heart is viewed here as the seat of the psalmist’s strength and courage.
  33. Psalm 22:15 tc Heb “my strength” (כֹּחִי, kokhi), but many prefer to emend the text to חִכִּי (khiki, “my palate”; cf. NEB, NRSV “my mouth”) assuming that an error of transposition has occurred in the traditional Hebrew text.
  34. Psalm 22:15 tn Cf. NEB “my jaw”; NASB, NRSV “my jaws”; NIV “the roof of my mouth.”
  35. Psalm 22:15 sn Here the psalmist addresses God and suggests that God is ultimately responsible for what is happening because of his failure to intervene (see vv. 1-2, 11).
  36. Psalm 22:15 sn The imperfect verbal form draws attention to the progressive nature of the action. The psalmist is in the process of dying.
  37. Psalm 22:16 tn Or “for.”
  38. Psalm 22:16 tc The Masoretic text reads “like a lion, my hands and my feet.” The reading is difficult and the ancient versions vary, so the textual difficulty is probably very early. Without a verb, the syntax appears broken and the role of “hands and feet” unclear. One option is to understand the verb of the previous line to apply again, a poetic technique called ellipsis and double duty. But “my hands and feet” would be an odd object for a verb meaning “they encircled.” Otherwise, the broken syntax may represent the emotional outcry of the Psalmist, first mentioning the lion as part of the third person description, but suddenly shifting to the first person perspective and crying out as the lion attacks, pinning down his hands and feet (a scene depicted in ancient Near Eastern art). But this development seems late textually. All the other witnesses have a verb instead of “like a lion.” The LXX says “they dug my hands and feet; the verb ὀρύσσω (orussō) means “to burrow in the ground, to dig.” A Qumran witness seems to read similarly, “they dug.” Instead of the MT’s כארי (kᵉʾariy; like a lion”), the scroll from Nahal Hever has a verb form כארו (kaʾaru) ending with vav instead of yod. Supposing that the א (ʾaleph) is a superfluous spelling variant, the form would be understood as כרו (karu) from the root כרה (karah), meaning “they dug.” In that case, the Qumran scroll and the LXX agree because כרה is one of the two verbs translated in the LXX by ὀρύσσω. But as both these verbs mean “to dig [in the dirt]” this has not helped us understand the context. Assuming that the enemies are still the subject, we might expect “they dug a pit for my hands and feet.” In fact the Hebrew words behind “they dug a pit” look similar (כרו בור) so it is not hard to imagine that one of these two would be overlooked by a scribed and dropped from the text. Some suppose that “to dig [in the ground]” means “to pierce” in reference to hands and feet (possibly from the root כור). Other variants and suggestions include “they bound,” or “they picked clean” (from אָרָה, ʾarah, “to pluck”) my hands and feet. Or “my hands and feet are consumed,” or “worn out.” The latter two assume a copying error of resh for lamed, making the verb come from כלה. P. Craigie (Psalms [WBC], 1:196) opts for this last but also cites Syriac and Akkadian for additional root K-R-H meaning “to be shrunken, shriveled.” The Akkadian verb (karu) is said of body parts and can refer to paralysis, which is the kind of metaphor which occurs in battle contexts elsewhere (e.g. Ps 76:5). It would be very natural to read “my hands and my feet” as the subject of the verb because verb-subject is typical word order. There is no decisive answer to the problem and the NET translation includes the lion imagery (cf. v. 13) and supposes a verb that conveys an attack.
  39. Psalm 22:17 tn The imperfect verbal forms in vv. 17-18 draw attention to the progressive nature of the action.
  40. Psalm 22:17 tn Heb “they.” The masculine form indicates the enemies are in view. The referent (the psalmist’s enemies) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  41. Psalm 22:17 tn Heb “they gaze, they look upon me.”
  42. Psalm 22:18 tn Heb “casting lots.” The precise way in which this would have been done is not certain.
  43. Psalm 22:19 tn Heb “O my strength.”
  44. Psalm 22:19 tn Heb “hurry to my help.”
  45. Psalm 22:20 tn Or “my life.”
  46. Psalm 22:20 tn The verb “save” is supplied in the translation; it is understood by ellipsis (see “deliver” in the preceding line).
  47. Psalm 22:20 tn Heb “my only one.” The psalmist may mean that his life is precious, or that he feels isolated and alone.
  48. Psalm 22:20 tn Heb “from the hand.” Here “hand” is understood by metonymy as a reference to the “paw” and thus the “claws” of the wild dogs.
  49. Psalm 22:21 sn The psalmist again compares his enemies to vicious dogs and ferocious lions (see vv. 13, 16).
  50. Psalm 22:21 tn The Hebrew term רֵמִים (remim) appears to be an alternate spelling of רְאֵמִים (reʾemim, “wild oxen”; see BDB 910 s.v. רְאֵם).
  51. Psalm 22:21 tn Heb “and from the horns of the wild oxen you answer me.” Most take the final verb with the preceding prepositional phrase. Some understand the verb form as a relatively rare precative perfect, expressing a wish or request (see IBHS 494-95 §30.5.4c, d). However, not all grammarians are convinced that the perfect is used as a precative in biblical Hebrew. (See the discussion at Ps 3:7.) Others prefer to take the perfect in its usual indicative sense. The psalmist, perhaps in response to an oracle of salvation, affirms confidently that God has answered him, assuring him that deliverance is on the way. The present translation takes the prepositional phrase as parallel to the preceding “from the mouth of the lion” and as collocated with the verb “rescue” at the beginning of the verse. “You have answered me” is understood as a triumphant shout which marks a sudden shift in tone and introduces the next major section of the psalm. By isolating the statement syntactically, the psalmist highlights the declaration.
  52. Psalm 22:22 tn Or “brothers,” but here the term does not carry a literal familial sense. It refers to the psalmist’s fellow members of the Israelite covenant community (see v. 23).
  53. Psalm 22:23 tn Heb “[you] fearers of the Lord.” See Ps 15:4.
  54. Psalm 22:23 tn Heb “fear him.”
  55. Psalm 22:24 tn Or “affliction”; or “need.”
  56. Psalm 22:24 sn In this verse the psalmist refers to himself in the third person and characterizes himself as oppressed.
  57. Psalm 22:24 tn Heb “he did not hide his face from him.” For other uses of the idiom “hide the face” meaning “ignore,” see Pss 10:11; 13:1; 51:9. Sometimes the idiom carries the stronger idea of “reject” (see Pss 27:9; 88:14).
  58. Psalm 22:24 tn Heb “heard.”
  59. Psalm 22:25 tn Heb “from with you [is] my praise.”
  60. Psalm 22:25 tn Heb “my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.” When asking the Lord for help, the psalmists would typically promise to praise the Lord publicly if he intervened and delivered them.
  61. Psalm 22:26 sn Eat and be filled. In addition to praising the Lord, the psalmist also offers a thank offering to the Lord and invites others to share in a communal meal.
  62. Psalm 22:26 tn Heb “may your heart[s].”
  63. Psalm 22:27 tn Heb “may all the ends of the earth remember and turn to the Lord.” The prefixed verbal forms in v. 27 are understood as jussives (cf. NEB). Another option (cf. NIV, NRSV) is to take the forms as imperfects and translate, “all the people of the earth will acknowledge and turn…and worship.” See vv. 29-32.
  64. Psalm 22:27 tn Heb “families of the nations.”
  65. Psalm 22:27 tn Heb “before you.”
  66. Psalm 22:28 tn Heb “for to the Lord [is] dominion.”
  67. Psalm 22:29 tn Heb “fat [ones].” This apparently refers to those who are healthy and robust, i.e., thriving. In light of the parallelism, some prefer to emend the form to יְשֵׁנֵי (yeshene, “those who sleep [in the earth]”; cf. NAB, NRSV), but דִּשְׁנֵי (dishne, “fat [ones]”) seems to form a merism with “all who descend into the grave” in the following line. The psalmist envisions all people, whether healthy or dying, joining in worship of the Lord.
  68. Psalm 22:29 tn Heb “eat and worship.” The verb forms (a perfect followed by a prefixed form with vav [ו] consecutive) are normally used in narrative to relate completed actions. Here the psalmist uses the forms rhetorically as he envisions a time when the Lord will receive universal worship. The mood is one of wishful thinking and anticipation; this is not prophecy in the strict sense.
  69. Psalm 22:29 tn Heb “all of the ones going down [into] the dust.” This group stands in contrast to those mentioned in the previous line. Together the two form a merism encompassing all human beings—the healthy, the dying, and everyone in between.
  70. Psalm 22:29 tn Heb “and his life he does not revive.”
  71. Psalm 22:30 tn Heb “offspring.”
  72. Psalm 22:30 tn Heb “it will be told concerning the Lord to the generation.” The Hebrew term translated “Lord” here is אֲדֹנָי (ʾadonay).
  73. Psalm 22:31 tn Heb “his righteousness.” Here the noun צִדָקָה (tsidaqah) refers to the Lord’s saving deeds whereby he vindicates the oppressed.
  74. Psalm 22:31 tn Heb “to a people [to be] born that he has acted.” The words “they will tell” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.