I may tell all my bones: they look and stare on me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 22:17-21. I may tell all my bones — Theodoret observes, that when Christ was extended, and his limbs distorted, on the cross, it might be easy for a spectator literally to tell all his bones. They — Namely, my enemies; look and stare at me — With delight and complacency, at my calamities, and I am a spectacle to earth and heaven. They part my garments among them — This also cannot be applied to David, without a strained and unprecedented metaphor, but was literally fulfilled in Christ, Matthew 27:35; John 19:24. Deliver my soul from the sword — That is, from the rage and violence of mine enemies, as the next clause explains it, and, as the sword is often to be taken in Scripture. My darling — Hebrew, my one, or only one, namely, his soul, as he now said, which he so terms, because it was very dear to him, or because it was left alone, and destitute of friends and helpers. From the power of the dog — “The ravening fury of the dog,” says Dr. Horne, “the lion, and the unicorn, or oryx, (a fierce and untameable creature of the stag kind,) is made use of to describe the rage of the devil, and his instruments, whether spiritual or corporeal. From all these Christ supplicates the Father for deliverance. How great need have we to supplicate for the same through him!”Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 53:2-3. No one can prove that an effect such as is here referred to may not have been produced by the sufferings of the Redeemer.
They look and stare upon me - That is, either my bones - or, my enemies that stand around me. The most obvious construction would refer it to the former - to his bones - as if they stood out prominently and stared him in the face. Rosenmuller understands it in the latter sense, as meaning that his enemies gazed with wonder on such an object. Perhaps this, on the whole, furnishes the best interpretation, as there is something unnatural in speaking of a man's own bones staring or gazing upon him, and as the image of his enemies standing and looking with wonder on one so wretched, so crushed, so broken, is a very striking one. This, too, will better agree with the statement in Isaiah 52:14, "Many were astonished at thee;" and Isaiah 53:2-3, "He hath no form nor comeliness, and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him;" "we hid, as it were, our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not." It accords also better with the statement in the following verse; "they," that is, the same persons referred to, "part my garments amoung them."I may tell all my bones; partly through my leanness, caused by excessive grief, which is much more credible of Christ than of David; and partly by my being stretched out upon the cross.
They look and stare upon me, to wit, with delight and complacency in my calamities, as this phrase is used, Psalm 35:21 37:34 54:7 59:10 Obadiah 1:12. Compare Luke 23:35.
they look and stare upon me; meaning not his bones, but his enemies; which may be understood either by way of contempt, as many Jewish interpreters explain it: so the Scribes and elders of the people, and the people themselves, looked and stared at him on the cross, and mocked at him, and insulted him; or by way of rejoicing, saying, "Aha, aha, our eye hath seen", namely, what they desired and wished for, Psalm 35:21; a sight as was enough to have moved an heart of stone made no impression on them; they had no sympathy with him, no compassion on him, but rejoiced at his misery: this staring agrees with their character as dogs.I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)17. I may tell] i.e. I can count. He is reduced to a living skeleton. Cp. Job 33:21.
they look &c.] While they—they gaze &c. The original expresses the malicious delight with which these monsters of cruelty feast their eyes upon the sorry spectacle.Verse 17. - I may tell all my bones. Our Lord's active life and simple habits would give him a spare frame, while the strain of crucifixion would accentuate and bring into relief every point of his anatomy. He might thus, if so minded, "tell all his bones." They look and stare upon me (comp. Luke 23:35, "And the people stood beholding"). 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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