The Messianic King Of Psalm 22 (Two)

It is written:

“My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.” (Psalm 22:15)


“All the prosperous of the earth Shall eat and worship; All those who go down to the dust Shall bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep himself alive.” (Psalm 22:29)

The context of Psalm 22 (especially its’ musical notations at the beginning of it when studied in comparison with Psalms 19, 20, 21, 23, and 24) demonstrate that this was a prophetic text looking to the Messiah King sent by God. This was further underscored by the prophetic language used of the passage.

There are other indicators, however, that this Psalm is Messianic in nature. The sufferer of Psalm 22 feels abandoned by God and is left to his enemies. They ravage, persecute, torment, and eventually kill the Person in view. This is demonstrated by Psalm 22:15 and 29, where the subject is brought “to death” and goes “down to the dust,” as being one who “cannot keep himself alive.”

Yet then we see something truly amazing!

“Why has the composer of Ps 22 delayed the overt and explicit confirmation of his demise to the conclusion of the psalm? A statement of that sort at v. 21 would possibly seem to have been more appropriate. However, its deferral to the end can be understood in view of what follows. Psalm 23 contains a similar construction using the same noun “( my) life.” The traditional rendering along the lines of, “he restores my soul” (HCSB “renews my life”) of Ps 23: 3 should be understood as a direct response to Ps 22: 29 which states literally, “he brought my life back.” The delay of an explicit death reference to the end of Ps 22 situates it closely to the answer in Ps 23: 3, where the same messianic king is resurrected from the dead. Not only are there matching nouns between Ps 22: 29 and 23: 3—nephesh (“ life”; HCSB “soul”), but also analogous verbal patterns of Piel and Polel. 37 Death in Ps 22 is defeated in Ps 23, and likewise the distance of Ps 22 is dissolved in Ps 23. A closely parallel use of language in Ps 30: 3 to Ps 22: 29 convincingly confirms that it is the messianic king who was not kept alive.” (Robert L. Cole, “Psalm 22: The Suffering Of The Messianic King,” in Michael Rydelnik & Edwin Blum, The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy: Studies and Expositions of the Messiah in the Old Testament, 537 (Kindle Edition); Chicago; Moody Publishers)

We see from this a powerful declaration of this King that even though He has died, He will be resurrected again. When considered with the facts of history, this perfectly describes only one Person: Jesus Christ.

Even more importantly, notice that the death and resurrection of this King will lead to the conversion of the entire world, with people from all the nations surrendering to the God of Israel and declaring allegiance to Him.

Psalm 22:27-All the ends of the world Shall remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations Shall worship before You.

This also reminds us that the King in Psalm 22 would work in such a way that the prophecies made by God to redeem mankind would culminate in the work of this Messiah:

“Verse 27 also has resonance and reference to the Abrahamic covenant of Gn 12: 2, 3 and its reiteration to Jacob in Gn 28: 13, 14. The identical phrase, “all the families of …” in Ps 22: 27b is also found in the Genesis passages of promise to the patriarchs. Reference to the nations of Ps 22: 28 also repeats a common term found in the repeated patriarchal covenant (Gn 18: 18; 22: 18; 26: 4). Likewise, the seed of Ps 22: 23( 2x) and 30 is a dominant term in the patriarchal promises (Gn 13: 15, 16; 17: 7, 8, 10, 19; 22: 17[ 2x], 18; 26: 4[ 2x]; 28: 13, 14; 48: 4). The twice-repeated “worship” of Ps 22: 27-29, 30 and reference to “service” to the king of 22: 30, likewise dominate the patriarchal covenantal declarations (Gn 25: 23; 27: 29, 40; 37: 9, 10; 49: 8). The twice-repeated use of “assembly/ congregation” in Ps 22: 22, 25 also represents a common term in Genesis patriarchal narratives (Gn 28: 3; 35: 11; 48: 4). These numerous linguistic parallels indicate that this third strophe of Ps 22 sees the deliverance and rescue of the messianic king out of death as fulfillment of the eternal covenant with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah. It is through his torment and death and subsequent resurrection that the many nations receive the blessings of Abraham.” (Robert L. Cole, “Psalm 22: The Suffering Of The Messianic King,” in Michael Rydelnik & Edwin Blum, The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy: Studies and Expositions of the Messiah in the Old Testament, 539 (Kindle Edition); Chicago; Moody Publishers)

Summing up what we find in Psalm 22 in regard to Messianic prophecy, Cole writes:

“Psalm 22 is a psalm describing the suffering, torment, and finally death of the messianic king who has been the book’s focus since Pss 1–2. The description of his cruel torment and torture is graphic and certainly was never true of David. Neither did David’s suffering of whatever type ever bring about the worldwide worship and praise depicted in the final strophe of the psalm. David’s words here are prophetic of a future royal descendant according to the covenant made with him. His suffering and death in Ps 22 are followed by glorious resurrection into the paradise of God in Ps 23. This is a theme and topic repeated in psalms before Ps 22 and following as well. His joy and universal worship described in vv. 22-31 following the suffering and death of vv. 1-21 demonstrate that his suffering would have worldwide and universal effect and influence. The interpretation of Psalms and the rest of the Scriptures by Christ in Lk 24: 25-27 and 44-47 is borne out by the Hebrew text of Ps 22 in its context. He did indeed have to suffer these things and “enter into His glory” as the Scriptures, including the Psalms, prophesied.” (Robert L. Cole, “Psalm 22: The Suffering Of The Messianic King,” in Michael Rydelnik & Edwin Blum, The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy: Studies and Expositions of the Messiah in the Old Testament, 539-540 (Kindle Edition); Chicago; Moody Publishers)

When we consider all of these facts, it is little wonder that the Jewish people long before the time of Christ understood Psalm 22 to be a powerful prophecy of the Messiah in its’ breadth and scope.

“On Ps. xxii. 7 [All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, [saying]] (v 8 in the Hebrew) a remarkable comment appears in Yalkut on Is. lx., applying this passage to the Messiah (the second, or son of Ephraim), and using almost the same words in which the Evangelists describe the mocking behaviour of the Jews at the Cross. Ps. xxii. 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] (v 16 in the Hebrew). There is a similarly remarkable application to the Messiah of this verse in Yalkut.” (Alfred Edersheim (Edited by Robert C. Newman), Messianic Passages in the Old Testament as Cited in Rabbinic Literature (IBRI Occasional Papers Book 35), 538-544 (Kindle Edition); Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute

However, as continue in our study of this remarkable passage, we will see many other powerful portrayals of Jesus of Nazareth, the one and only Messiah of God.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.

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