Friday, March 29, 2013

Psalm 22: Literary Structure & Translation

A)  Psalm 22:1-2
  • My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
  • Why are the words of my groaning to you so far from helping me?
  • O my God, I cry out to you by day, but you do not answer, and by night, but I have no rest. 
B)  Psalm 22:3-5
  • Yet you are holy,
 you who are enthroned on the praises of Israel. 
  • In you our fathers trusted;
 they trusted, and you rescued them. 
  • To you they cried and were delivered; 
in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
C)  Psalm 22:6-8
  • But I am a worm and not a man,
 a reproach of men and even despised by the people.  
  • All who see me laugh me to scorn; 
they hurled insults at me.2
  • They shake their heads, saying: “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him;
 let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”3
D)  Psalm 22:9-11
  • But you are the one who pushed me out of the womb, making me trust even from the time I was at my mother's breasts. 
  • Upon you I was cast from the womb,
 and from my mother's belly you have been my God. 
  • Do not be far off from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help.
E)  Psalm 22:12-15a
  • Many bulls encompass me; 
strong bulls of Bashan surround me. They open wide their mouths at me, 
tearing and roaring like a lion. 
  • I am poured out like water,
 and all my bones are out of joint.

  • My heart has become like wax,
 melting within me; my strength is dried up like broken pottery,
 and my tongue sticks to my jaws.4   

F)  Psalm 22:15b
  • You lay me in the dust of death.

E')  Psalm 22:16-18
  • For dogs encompass me;
 a company of evildoers encircles me; 
like a lion5 they have pierced my hands and feet.
  • They6 count all my bones, and 
they stare and gloat over me.
  • They divide my garments among them,
 and for my clothing they cast lots.7
D')  Psalm 22:19-21
  • But you, O Lord, do not be far off from me!
 O you my help, come quickly to my aid!  
  • Deliver my soul from the sword,
 my precious life from the power of the dog! 
  • Save me from the mouth of the lion, from the horns of the wild ox with which you have answered me.8
C')  Psalm 22:22-24
  • I will declare your name to my brethren. In the midst of the congregation I will praise you.9
  • You who fear Yahweh, praise him!
 All you offspring of Jacob, glorify him;
 and stand in awe of him all you offspring of Israel!
  • For he has not despised or abhorred 
the affliction of the afflicted,
 and he has not hidden his face from him,
 but has heard, when he cried to him.
B')  Psalm 22:25-27
  • From you comes my praise in the great congregation;
 my vows I will perform before those who fear him. 
  • The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied;
 those who seek him shall praise Yahweh,
 and may their hearts live forever! 
  • All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to Yahweh, 
and all the families of the nations
 shall worship before you.
A')  Psalm 22:28-31
  • For dominion belongs to Yahweh,
 and he rules over the nations. 
  • All the prosperous ones of the earth shall feast and worship, and all who go down to the dust shall bow before him, even the one whose life cannot be kept alive. 
  • Posterity shall serve him, future generations shall be told about Yahweh, and they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn that he has done it!

1.  Matthew 27:46 provides the typological fulfillment: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"  See further references listed by Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on The Psalms, Volume 1 [Grand Rapids: MI; Kregel Publications; 2011] p. 549
2.  Matthew 27:39 provides the typological fulfillment: "Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads, saying"  [Ibid.]
3.  Matthew 27:43 provides the typological fulfillment: "He trusts in God. Let God now rescue him if he wants him." [Ibid.]
4.  John 19:28 provides the typological fulfillment: He "thirsts" [Ibid. p. 550]
5.  The standard Hebrew Massoretic text contains the reading: "like a lion," but does not retain the verb "they have pierced." However, all of the variant readings and versions contain a verb in its place, with the exception of the Hebrew Targum which includes both readings. I have inserted the phrase "like a lion" according to C.D. Ginsberg's critical notes found in his Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible [New York: KTAV, 1966] p. 969. Ginsberg follows the Targum, which has both: "like a lion" and "they pierced." I also find the literary parallelism (between E and E') to favor its insertion. 
6.  The LXX contains the third-person plural form: "they count all my bones."
7.  John 19:23-24 provides the typological fulfillment: "They divided my garments among them..." See further references listed by Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on The Psalms, Volume 1 [Grand Rapids: MI; Kregel Publications; 2011] p. 550
8.  It is difficult to render the Hebrew ending of this verse literally while still retaining the same poetic style as the beginning of the verse structure. The Hebrew verb is in the perfect tense, and even though most bibles translate it as an imperative to retain the same poetic style (NIV "save me"), I have decided to stick with the more literal rendering of the perfect tense ("you have answered me") because I believe the Psalmist is expressing confidence that his suffering is part of God's providential answer to his prayers. If his sanctification through suffering is part of God's answer to his prayers, so is his sanctification through deliverance from suffering. Hebrews 5:7 provides the typological fulfillment: He was "heard"  [Ibid.]
9.  Hebrews 2:12 provides the typological fulfillment: "I will declare your name to my brethren." [Ibid.]

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