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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 22


1 2 For the leader; according to "The deer of the dawn." A psalm of David.


My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why so far from my call for help, from my cries of anguish?


My God, I call by day, but you do not answer; by night, but I have no relief.


Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the glory of Israel.


In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you rescued them.


To you they cried out and they escaped; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.


3 But I am a worm, hardly human, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.


All who see me mock me; they curl their lips and jeer; they shake their heads at me:


"You relied on the LORD - let him deliver you; if he loves you, let him rescue you."


Yet you drew me forth from the womb, made me safe at my mother's breast.


Upon you I was thrust from the womb; since birth you are my God.


Do not stay far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.


4 Many bulls surround me; fierce bulls of Bashan encircle me.


They open their mouths against me, lions that rend and roar.


Like water my life drains away; all my bones grow soft. My heart has become like wax, it melts away within me.


5 As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death.


Many dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. So wasted are my hands and feet


that I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat;


they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots.


But you, LORD, do not stay far off; my strength, come quickly to help me.


Deliver me from the sword, my forlorn life from the teeth of the dog.


Save me from the lion's mouth, my poor life from the horns of wild bulls.


6 Then I will proclaim your name to the assembly; in the community I will praise you:


"You who fear the LORD, give praise! All descendants of Jacob, give honor; show reverence, all descendants of Israel!


7 For God has not spurned or disdained the misery of this poor wretch, Did not turn away from me, but heard me when I cried out.


I will offer praise in the great assembly; my vows I will fulfill before those who fear him.


8 The poor will eat their fill; those who seek the LORD will offer praise. May your hearts enjoy life forever!"


All the ends of the earth will worship and turn to the LORD; All the families of nations will bow low before you.


For kingship belongs to the LORD, the ruler over the nations.


9 All who sleep in the earth will bow low before God; All who have gone down into the dust will kneel in homage.


And I will live for the LORD; my descendants will serve you.


The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought.


1 [Psalm 22] A lament unusual in structure and in intensity of feeling. The psalmist's present distress is contrasted with God's past mercy in Psalm 22:2-12. In Psalm 22:13-22 enemies surround the psalmist. The last third is an invitation to praise God ( Psalm 22:23-27), becoming a universal chorus of praise ( Psalm 22:28-31). The psalm is important in the New Testament. Its opening words occur on the lips of the crucified Jesus ( Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46), and several other verses are quoted, or at least alluded to, in the accounts of Jesus' passion ( Matthew 27:35, 43; John 19:24).

2 [1] The deer of the dawn: apparently the title of the melody.

3 [7] I am a worm, hardly human: the psalmist's sense of isolation and dehumanization, an important motif of Psalm 22 is vividly portrayed here.

4 [13-14] Bulls: the enemies of the psalmist are also portrayed in less-than-human form, as wild animals (cf Psalm 22:17, 21-22). Bashan: a grazing land east of the Jordan, famed for its cattle. Cf Deut 32:14; Ezekiel 39:18; Amos 4:1

5 [16] The dust of death: the netherworld, the domain of the dead.

6 [23] In the community I will praise you: the person who offered a thanksgiving sacrifice in the temple recounted to the other worshipers the favor received from God and invited them to share in the sacrificial banquet. The final section ( Psalm 22:24-32) may be a summary or a citation of the psalmist's poem of praise.

7 [25] Turn away: literally, "hides his face from me," an important metaphor for God withdrawing from someone, e.g., Micah 3:4; Isaiah 8:17; Psalm 27:9; 69:18; 88:15.

8 [27] The poor: originally the poor, who were dependent on God; the term ('anawim) came to include the religious sense of "humble, pious, devout."

9 [30] Hebrew unclear. The translation assumes that all on earth ( Psalm 22:27-28) and under the earth ( Psalm 22:29) will worship God.

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