Psalm 22:11
Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 22:11-13. Be not far from me — As to affection and succour; for trouble is near — At hand, and ready to swallow me up; for there is none to help — Thy help therefore will be the more seasonable, because it is most necessary, and thou wilt have the more glory by it, because it will appear that it is thy work alone. Many bulls have compassed me — Wicked, violent, and potent enemies, for such are so called, Ezekiel 39:18; Amos 4:1. Strong bulls of Bashan — Fat and lusty, as the cattle there bred were, and therefore fierce and furious. “By these,” says Dr. Dodd, “are represented the haughty senators, the chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the other great men of Judea; who, after having resolved upon his death, Psalm 2:2, were so insolent as to make their appearance about his cross, and to insult him with their mockeries.” They gaped upon me with their mouths — To tear and devour me, as the following metaphor explains it.

22:11-21 In these verses we have Christ suffering, and Christ praying; by which we are directed to look for crosses, and to look up to God under them. The very manner of Christ's death is described, though not in use among the Jews. They pierced his hands and his feet, which were nailed to the accursed tree, and his whole body was left so to hang as to suffer the most severe pain and torture. His natural force failed, being wasted by the fire of Divine wrath preying upon his spirits. Who then can stand before God's anger? or who knows the power of it? The life of the sinner was forfeited, and the life of the Sacrifice must be the ransom for it. Our Lord Jesus was stripped, when he was crucified, that he might clothe us with the robe of his righteousness. Thus it was written, therefore thus it behoved Christ to suffer. Let all this confirm our faith in him as the true Messiah, and excite our love to him as the best of friends, who loved us, and suffered all this for us. Christ in his agony prayed, prayed earnestly, prayed that the cup might pass from him. When we cannot rejoice in God as our song, yet let us stay ourselves upon him as our strength; and take the comfort of spiritual supports, when we cannot have spiritual delights. He prays to be delivered from the Divine wrath. He that has delivered, doth deliver, and will do so. We should think upon the sufferings and resurrection of Christ, till we feel in our souls the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.Be not far from me - Do not withdraw from me; do not leave or forsake me.

For trouble is near - Near, in the sense that deep sorrow has come upon me; near, in the sense that I am approaching a dreadful death.

For there is none to help - Margin, as in Hebrew, "not a helper." There were those who would have helped, but they could not; there were those who could have helped, but they would not. His friends that stood around the cross were unable to aid him; his foes were unwilling to do it; and he was left to suffer unhelped.

11. From this statement of reasons for the appeal, he renews it, pleading his double extremity, the nearness of trouble, and the absence of a helper.11 Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help

12 Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

13 They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint, my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.

16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.

17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

18 They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.

19 But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.

20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.

21 Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.

The crucified Son of David continues to pour out his complaint and prayer. We need much grace that while reading we may have fellowship with his sufferings. May the blessed Spirit conduct us into a most clear and affecting sight of our Redeemer's woes.

Psalm 22:11

"Be not far from me." This is the petition for which he has been using such varied and powerful pleas. His great woe was that God had forsaken him, his great prayer is that he would be near him. A lively sense of the divine presence is a mighty stay to the heart in times of distress. "For trouble is near; for there is none to help." There are two "fors," as though faith gave a double knock at mercy's gate; that is a powerful prayer which is full of holy reasons and thoughtful arguments. The nearness of trouble is a weighty motive for divine help; this moves our heavenly Father's heart, and brings down his helping hand. It is his glory to be our very present help in trouble. Our Substitute had trouble in his inmost heart, for he said, "the waters have come in, even unto my soul;" well might he cry, "be not far from me." The absence of all other helpers is another telling plea. In our Lord's case none either could or would help him, it was needful that he should tread the winepress alone; yet was it a sore aggravation to find that all his disciples had forsaken him, and lover and friend were put far from him. There is an awfulness about absolute friendlessness which is crushing to the human mind, for man was not made to be alone, and is like a dismembered limb when he has to endure heart-loneliness.

continued...

Be not far from me, to wit, as to affection and succour.

Trouble is near at hand, and ready to swallow me up; and therefore if thou dost not speedily deliver me, it will be too late; which is an argument that David oft useth, as Psalm 6:5 88:11, &c.

There is none to help; thy help therefore will be the more seasonable, because it is most hecessary, and thou wilt have the more of glory by it, because it will appear that it is thy work alone.

Be not far from me,.... Who had been so near unto him, as to take him out of the womb, and to take the care of him ever since; this is to be understood not with respect to the omnipresence of God, who is everywhere, and is not far from any of us; but of his presence, which was now withdrawn from Christ, and he was filled with a sense of divine wrath, and with sorrow and distress; and also of his powerful and assisting presence which he had promised, and Christ expected, and believed he should have, as he had: the reasons for it follow:

for trouble is near; Satan was marching towards him with his principalities and powers, to attack him in the garden and on the cross; Judas, one of his own disciples, was at hand to betray him; a multitude with swords and staves were about to seize him; the sins and chastisement of his people were just going to be laid upon him; the sword of justice was awaked against him, ready to give the blow; the hour of death was near, he was brought to the dust of it, as in Psalm 22:15. A second reason is given,

for there is none to help; none among his disciples: one of them was to betray him, another to deny him, and all to forsake him and flee from him, as they did; nor any among the angels in heaven; for though they ministered to him in the wilderness, and strengthened him in the garden, there were none near him on the cross, that it might be manifest that salvation was wrought out alone by him, Isaiah 63:5; and, indeed, if any of these had been willing to have helped him, it was not in their power to do it, none but God could; and therefore he applies to him, who had promised and was as good as his word, Isaiah 49:8.

Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Be not far from me] The expostulation of Psalm 22:1 is turned into a prayer, again repeated in Psalm 22:19. He urges his plea on the double ground that while Jehovah still stands afar off in seeming indifference, distress is close at hand, and there is no other helper to whom he can look.

11–21. The Psalmist pleads for help with intenser earnestness. The virulence of his foes increases. Strength and endurance are exhausted.

Verse 11. - Be not far from me. The considerations dwelt upon in vers. 3-5, and again in veto. 9, 10, have removed the sense of desertion expressed in vex. 1; and the Sufferer can now confidently call on God to help him. "Be not far from me," he says, for trouble is near. The time is come when aid is most urgently required. For there is none to help; literally, not a helper. David himself had never been in such straits. He had always had friends and followers. Under Saul's persecution he had a friend in Jonathan; he was supported by his father and his brethren (1 Samuel 22:1); in a short time he found himself at the head of four hundred (1 Samuel 22:2), and then of six hundred men (1 Samuel 25:13). In Absalom's rebellion there remained faithful to him the priestly tribe (2 Samuel 15:24) and the Gibborim (2 Samuel 15:18), and others to the number of some thousands (2 Samuel 18:4). But he whom David prefigured, his Antitype, was desexed, was alone - "All the disciples forsook him and fled" (Matthew 26:56) - he was truly one that "had no helper." Psalm 22:11(Heb.: 22:10-12)The sufferer pleads that God should respond to his trust in Him, on the ground that this trust is made an object of mockery. With כּי he establishes the reality of the loving relationship in which he stands to God, at which his foes mock. The intermediate thought, which is not expressed, "and so it really is," is confirmed; and thus כי comes to have an affirmative signification. The verb גּוּח (גּיח) signifies both intransitive: to break forth (from the womb), Job 38:8, and transitive: to push forward (cf. Arab. jchcha), more especially, the fruit of the womb, Micah 4:10. It might be taken here in the first signification: my breaking forth, equivalent to "the cause of my breaking forth" (Hengstenberg, Baur, and others); but there is no need for this metonymy. גּחי is either part. equivalent to גּחי, my pusher forth, i.e., he who causes me to break forth, or, - since גוח in a causative signification cannot be supported, and participles like בּוס stamping and לוט veiling (Ges. 72, rem. 1) are nowhere found with a suffix, - participle of a verb גּחהּ, to draw forth (Hitz.), which perhaps only takes the place, per metaplasmum, of the Pil. גּחח with the uneuphonic מגחחי (Ewald S. 859, Addenda). Psalm 71 has גוזי (Psalm 71:6) instead of גּחי, just as it has מבטחי (Psalm 71:5) instead of מבטיחי. The Hiph. הבטיח does not merely mean to make secure (Hupf.), but to cause to trust. According to biblical conception, there is even in the new-born child, yea in the child yet unborn and only living in the womb, a glimmering consciousness springing up out of the remotest depths of unconsciousness (Psychol. S. 215; transl. p. 254). Therefore, when the praying one says, that from the womb he has been cast

(Note: The Hoph. has o, not u, perhaps in a more neuter sense, more closely approximating the reflexive (cf. Ezekiel 32:19 with Ezekiel 32:32), rather than a purely passive. Such is apparently the feeling of the language, vid., B. Megilla 13a (and also the explanation in Tosefoth).)

upon Jahve, i.e., directed to go to Him, and to Him alone, with all his wants and care (Psalm 55:23, cf. Psalm 71:6), that from the womb onwards Jahve was his God, there is also more in it than the purely objective idea, that he grew up into such a relationship to God. Twice he mentions his mother. Throughout the Old Testament there is never any mention made of a human father, or begetter, to the Messiah, but always only of His mother, or her who bare Him. And the words of the praying one here also imply that the beginning of his life, as regards its outward circumstances, was amidst poverty, which likewise accords with the picture of Christ as drawn both in the Old and New Testaments. On the ground of his fellowship with God, which extends so far back, goes forth the cry for help (Psalm 22:12), which has been faintly heard through all the preceding verses, but now only comes to direct utterance for the first time. The two כּי are alike. That the necessity is near at hand, i.e., urgent, refers back antithetically to the prayer, that God would not remain afar off; no one doth, nor can help except He alone. Here the first section closes.

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