My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?
Feasting on the Word
Jesus' words from the cross
Who can get past the first verse? And what preacher of the gospel can forget that these are the words Jesus cried from the cross just before he died (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34)?... James L. Mays reminds us that “citing the first words of a text was, in the tradition of the time, a way of identifying an entire passage.” With this in mind, Mays goes on to claim that with this prayer Jesus “joins the multitudinous company of the afflicted and become one with them in their suffering. In praying as they do, he expounds his total identification with them. He gives all his followers who are afflicted permission and encouragement to pray for help. He shows that faith includes holding the worst of life up to God.” This haunting prayer of Jesus is not just a gasping in the absence—it is no less a grasping of the presence.
SOURCE: Content taken from Key Word Commentary: Thoughts on Every Chapter of the Bible ; Mark Water; Copyright © 2003. Amg Pubs. All rights reserved.
David's preview of the cross
Written one thousand years before the first coming of Christ, this psalm reads as if it were actually recorded by a person standing at the foot of the cross. The very words spoken by Christ from the cross, as well as his thoughts and the injuries he suffered, are recorded here. David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, set forth in this psalm a graphic portrayal of the cross hundreds of years before crucifixion was even invented as a form of capital punishment.
SOURCE: Content taken from Holman Old Testament Commentary Series (20 Volume Set); Holman Reference Editorial Staff (Author); Copyright © 2009. Holman Reference. All rights reserved.
Understanding the Bible Commentary
Ps 22:19–21 / The petitions of the psalm are familiar ones. Deliver my life echoes the taunt or dare of the enemies in verse 8. The same images of the opponents are employed as in the preceding section, first as humans (the sword), then as wild beasts, here listed in reverse order (dogs, lions, and wild oxen).
SOURCE: Content taken from UNDERSTANDING THE BIBLE COMMENTARY SERIES (36 Volumes); W. Ward Gasque, Robert L Hubbard Jr., Robert K Johnston (General Editors); Copyright © 2000. Baker Books. All rights reserved.
God's Justice Bible
Redemption (verse 23 )
This psalm of David hauntingly describes someone tortured by his enemies and (seemingly) abandoned even by God. It lays out the personal horror of injustice and the awful silence of God. Mysteriously, this dreadful situation turns around at Ps 22:23, and the individual’s redemption leads to a feast day for the entire world. One notable feature of this deliverance: the poor will get enough to eat (Ps 23:26). Psalm 22 is quoted many times in the New Testament as applying to Jesus. Its opening verse was on his lips at his crucifixion.
SOURCE: Content taken from GOD'S JUSTICE BIBLE: The flourishing of Creation & the Destruction of Evil notes by Tim Stafford; Copyright © 2016. Zondervan. All rights reserved.
Life Recovery Bible
God cares for you and will help you
Ps 22:6-11 When things aren’t going well, we may experience low self-esteem, feeling like a “worm.” But God cares for us and will help us. Others may mock us, doubting that God can really save us. We should ignore these people because we know God is there to rescue us. He has helped before, ever since our birth, and he will surely continue to help us through the low points in our life. Ps 22:12-21 For many of us, these verses describe the results of our addiction. People may torment us, making fun of our problems. The physical pain described here reminds us of the effects of drugs or alcohol, or the symptoms of withdrawal. When we seek recovery, we have the help of a God who understands our pain. Jesus Christ experienced similar conditions during his earthly life; he also had to face death. He was surrounded, crucified, gawked at, and stripped of his dignity. Jesus knows how we feel, and he is with us through each step in the recovery process.
SOURCE: Content taken from THE LIFE RECOVERY BIBLE notes by Stephen Arterburn & David Stoop. Copyright © 1998, 2017. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE
Feeling exposed and naked
Ps 22:18 It is a great insult to human dignity to rob a person of everything, even his clothing, leaving him naked and destitute. Jesus the Messiah would suffer this humiliating experience on the cross (Matthew 27:35). Most of us will never know the shame and suffering of being penniless and virtually naked in a public place, as many of the Jews experienced during the Nazi holocaust, or even the shame of being homeless on the streets of our cities today. But most of us would feel equally exposed and naked when some sin, secret or not-so-secret, would be uncovered. At that time, we will need to cry out with David, “You are my strength; come quickly to help me” (22:19).
SOURCE: Content taken from LIFE APPLICATION STUDY BIBLE NOTES, Copyright © 2019. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. All rights reserved.
NIV Application Commentary
Responding to God's absence
How do you respond to the apparent absence of God in our world — the endless dehumanization of others in war and genocide, the exploitation of the poor by those in power, the lustful twisting of divinely gifted persons into objects of sexual fantasy? In a whimsical but bitter mood long ago, I composed a little poem that captured my frustration as youthful idealism eroded into adult realism.
Is mankind kind? Or would you mind, If I altered the meter to call him maneater? Not neater or nicer, a constant surpriser is man, Kind he’s not, nor selfless. What we need I am sure is a Manicure.Psalm 22 assures us that the “cure” is at hand. God is present and working for the good purposes for which he created us and the world. That purpose cannot be frustrated but will be accomplished in God’s time. The call in the words and images of this psalm is for us to persevere in faithful reliance on God precisely when he seems most distant!
SOURCE: Content taken from NIV APPLICATION COMMENTARY: OLD TESTAMENT All rights reserved.
Catholic Bible Study
King David’s Toda (thanksgiving) Psalm Prefiguring the Passion of Christ
by Michal Hunt (Agape Bible Study)
The First Reading and the Psalm Reading should be read as a foretelling of Jesus’ humiliation and death on the Cross. Both readings give an accurate description of the abuse Jesus suffered as He submitted Himself without protest into the hands of His enemies. The prophecy of Psalm 22:1 begins with Jesus’ fourth statement from the Cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mt 27:46 quoted in Hebrew and in Mk 15:34 in Aramaic). Psalm 22:8-9 and 17-20 provide a description of Jesus abuse by His enemies and the physical agony of His crucifixion. The abuse we read in the First Reading and in Psalm 22 are repeated in the Gospel Reading. Jesus calls out Psalm 22:1 from the Cross (Mk 15:34). He is mocked and beaten (Ps 22:7-8; 17-18; Mk 14:65; 15:15-20, 22-31), and the Roman guards cast lots for His garment (Ps 22:19; Mk 15:24). His enemies dare Jesus to prove His divinity by saving Himself (Ps 22:8; Mk 15:32). However, Psalm 22 ends in a declaration of triumph (Ps 22:23-24) just as Jesus death on the Cross will end in the triumph of the Resurrection!
Prefigurement of the Passion of the Christ
This moving Psalms of David not only contains Jesus’ first statement from the altar of the Cross from Psalm 22:1 in the response ( see Mt 27:46 and Mk 15:34 ), but it is a vivid description of what took place during Jesus’ crucifixion, a form of capital punishment that was unknown in David’s day. Crucifixion was invented by the Persians and raised to an execution art-form by the Romans. The psalm prefigures the Passion of the Christ:
- The jeering of the crowd like a “pack of evil doers” in Ps 22:16 (see Mt 27:39; Mk 15:29; Lk 23:35, 39)
- The piercing of Jesus’ hands and feet as He is nailed to the Cross in Ps 22:17 (see Jn 19:37 also in fulfillment of Zec 12:10)
- The disjointing of Jesus’ bones as His body, nailed to the wooden cross, is violently up-righted into the prepared hole and then left to hang by His arms in Ps 22:14, 17 (Mk 15:35)
- The taunt of the crowd for God to rescue Jesus if He really belongs to God in Ps 22:7-8 (see Mt 27:40, 43; Mk 15:31-32; Lk 23:35-37)
- The casting of lots for Jesus’ clothing in Ps 22:18 (see Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Ps 22:18 quoted by St. John as fulfilling prophecy in Jn 19:23-24)
- Jesus’ first statement from the Cross in Ps 22:1 (see Mt 27:46; Mk 15:34)
Praise and glory in the liturgical assembly
The psalm ends with the psalmist declaring that He will proclaim God’s name in the liturgical assembly; and then he calls upon Yahweh’s covenant people: “You who fear the LORD, praise him; all you descendants of Jacob, give glory to him; revere him, all you descendants of Israel.” This is the praise and glory we proclaim to Jesus Christ in our liturgical assembly as we remember His Passion and death that God the Father transformed into victory and glory. We who are the universal Christian assembly of Jesus Christ are now the true descendants of Jacob-Israel and the sacred assembly of the new Israel (Gal 3:29; CCC 877).
SOURCE: Michal E. Hunt at Agape Bible Study; used with permission.
PIANO: Francesca Larosa
Psalm 22 – My God, My God, Why Have You Abandoned Me?
Official LIVE video of Psalm 22 ‘My God, My God, Why Have You Abandoned Me?’ (Francesca LaRosa – Psalms WORD FOR WORD) with the vocal line included to help you sing along! (Perfect for cantors to prepare for Sunday mass)
Why have you forsaken me?
Was Jesus really forsaken on the cross? Dr. Brant Pitre discusses Jesus’ cry of dereliction from the cross and how Psalm 22 unlocks the meaning behind this often troubling cry from Jesus.