....The material question is, What does the verb mean? The verb—kur— properly means to dig, to bore through, to fierce. Thus used, according to Gesenius, it would mean piercing; and if the word used here is a verb, he supposes that it would refer to the enemies of David as wounding him, or piercing him, "with darts and weapons." He maintains that it is applicable to David literally, and he sees no reason to refer it to the Messiah. But, if so, it is natural to ask why the hands and the feet are mentioned. Certainly it is not usual for darts and spears thrown by an enemy to injure the hands or the feet particulaily; nor is it customary to refer to the hands or the feet when describing the effects produced by the use of those weapons. If the reference were to the enemies of David as wounding him with darts and spears, it would he much more natural to refer to the body in general, without specifying any of the particular members of the body. De Wette renders it fesseln—"they bind my hands and my feet." He remarks, however, in a note, that according to the ancient versions, and the Codices of Kennicott and De Eossi, it means durchiohren—bore through. Aquila, Symmachus, and Jerome in five codices, says he, render it bind. The Septuagint renders it—they pierced. The Latin Vulgate the same, foderunt. See the Syriac. For these reasons it seems to me that the common rendering is the true one, and that the meaning is, that, in some proper sense, the enemies here referred to "pierced or bored through" the hands and the feet of the sufferer. Evidently this could not be literally applied to David, for there is not the least authority for supposing that this ever happened to him; nor, as has been shown, was such a thing prohable. A casual dart, or the stroke of a spear, might indeed strike the hand or the foot; but it would be unusual and remarkable if they should strike those members of the body and leave the other parts uninjured, so as to make this a matter for special notice; and even if they did strike those parts, it would be every way unlikely that they would pierce them, or bore them through. Such an event would be so improbable that we may assume that it did not occur, unless there was the most decisive evidence of the fact. Nor is there the least probability that the enemies of David would pierce his hands and feet deliberately and of design. I say nothing in regard to the fact that they never had him in their possession so that they could do it; it is sufficient to say that this was not a mode of punishing one who was taken captive in war. Conquerors slew their captives; they made them pass under yokes; they put them under saws and harrows of iron (comp. 2 Sam. xii. 3; 1 Chron. xx. 3); but there is not the slightest evidence that they ever tortured captives in war by piercing the hands and the feet. But, as has been remarked above, there is every reason to believe that this was the ordinary mode of crucifixion. I conclude, therefore, that this must have had original reference to the Messiah. It is no objection to the interpretation that this passage is not expressly referred to as having been fulfilled in the Redeemer; for there are undoubtedly many passages in the prophets which refer to the Messiah, which are not formally applied to him in the New Testament. To make it certain that the prophecy referred to him, and was fulfilled in him, it is not necessary that we should find on record an actual application of the passage to him. All that is necessary in the case is, that it should he a prophecy; that it should have been spoken before the event; and that to him it should be fairly applicable.
17. I may tell all my bones. That is, I may count them. They are so prominent, so hare, that I can see them and count their number. The idea here is that of emaciation from continued suffering or from some other cause. As applied to the Redeemer, it would denote the effect of long protracted suffering and anxiety on his frame, as rendering it crushed, weakened, emaciated. Comp. Notes on Isa. lii. 14; liii. 2, 3. No one can prove that an effect sach 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. Rosenmiiller 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 Isa. lii. 14, "Many were astonished at thee;" and Isa. liii. 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 among them."
18. They part my garments among them. They divide; they apportion. This refers merely to the fact that they made such a division or distribution of his garments; the manner in which it was done, is specified in the other part of the verse. The word garments is a general term, and would be applicable to any part of the raiment, And, cast lots upon my vesture. That is, upon the part here represented by the word vesture, they cask lots. There was a general division of his garments by agreement, or in some other mode not involving the use of the lot; on some particular portion, here indicated by the word vesture, the lot was east to determine whoso it should be. The word thus rendered vesture—lebush—does not necessarily denote any particular article of raiment, as distinguished from what is meant by the word rendered garments. Both are general terms denoting clothing, raiment, vestment; and either of the terms might be applied to any article of apparel. The original words used here would not necessarily designate one article of raiment as disposed of without the lot and another specified portion by the lot. But although it could not be argued beforehand from the mere use of the language that such would be the case, yet if that should occur, it would be natural and not improper to apply the language in that sense, and as therein completely fulfilled. As a matter of fact this was literally fulfilled in the crucifixion of the Saviour. By remarkable circumstances which no human sagacity could have foreseen or anticipated, there occurred a general division of a portion of his raiment, without an appeal to the lot, among the soldiers who were engaged in crucifying him, and a specific disposal of one article of his raiment by the lot, Matt, xxvii. 35; Luke xxiii. 34; John xix. 23,24. It never occurred in the life of David, as far as we know, or have reason to believe, that his enemies stripped him, and divided his garments among themselves; and the description here, therefore, could be applicable only to some one else. It was completely fulfilled in the Saviour; and this verse, therefore, furnishes the fullest proof that the psalm refers to him. At the same time it should he observed that these circumstances are such that an impostor could not have secured the correspondence of the events with the prediction. The events referred to were not under the control of him whose garments were thus divided. They depended wholly on others; and by no art or plan could an impostor have so arranged matters that all these things should have appeared to be fulfilled in himself.
19. But oe not thou far from me, O Loed. O Jehovah. Others—all others—have forsaken me, and left me to perish. Now, in the day of my desertion and my peril, be thou near to me. See ver. 11. This is the burden of the prayer in the whole psalm, that God would not leave him, but sustain and deliver him. Comp. ver. 1. O my strength. Source of my strength; thou on whom I rely for support and deliverance. Haste thee to help me. Help me speedily. Come to support me; come to deliver me from these dreadful sorrows. This is not necessarily a prayer to be rescued from death, but it would be applicable to deliverance from those deep mental sorrows that had come upon him—from this abandonment to unutterable woes.
20. Deliver my soul from the sword. The word soul here means life, and denotes a living person. It is equivalent to "deliver me." The sword is used to denote an instrument of death, or anything that pierces like a sword. Comp. 2 Sam. xi. 24,25. As applied to the Saviour here, it may mean those extreme mental sufferings that were like the piercing of a sword. My darling. Marg., my only one. Prof. Alexander, my lonely one. De Wette, my life. The Hebrew word—yahhid—means one alone, only, as of an only child;—then one alone, forsaken, solitary, wretched, Ps. xv. 16; lxviii. 6;—then it means one only, the only one, in the sense of most dear, darling. Here, according to Gesenius (Lex.), it is used poetically for life, as being something most dear, or as denoting all that we have, and, therefore, most precious. Comp. Job . 4. This is the most probable interpretation here, as it would thus correspond with the expression in the first part of the verse, "deliver my soul." From the power of the dog. [Marg., as in Heb., from the hand. The enemy is represented, as in ver. 16, as a dog (see Notes on that verse); and then that enemy is spoken of as inflicting death by his hand. There a little incongruity in speaking of a dog as having hands, but the image before the mind is that of the enemy with the character of a dog, and thus there is no impropriety in using in reference to him the language which commonly applied to a man.
21. Save me from the lion's mouth. [his enemies represented as fierce and ravening lions, comp. ver. 13. For thou hast heard me. The word heard in this place is equivalent to saved—saved in answer to prayer. The act of hearing the prayer, and answering it, is regarded as so identical, or the one as so certainly following from the other, that they may be spoken of like the same thing. From the horns of the unicorns. The idea here is that he cried to God when exposed what is here called "the horns of the unicorns." That is, when surrounded by enemies as fierce and violent as wild beasts,—as if he were among "unicorns" seeking his life,-— had called upon God, and God had heard him. This would refer to some former period of his life, when surrounded by dangers, or exposed to the attacks of wicked men, and when he had called upon God, and had been heard. There were not a few occasions alike in the life of David and in the life of the Saviour, to which this would be applicable. The fact that he had thus been delivered from danger, is now urged as an argument why God was to be regarded as able to deliver him again, and why the prayer might be offered that he would do it; comp. vers. 9-11. To see the force of this it is not necessary to be able to determine with accuracy what is meant here by the word rendered unicorn, or whether the psalmist referred to the animal now denoted by that term. The existence of such an animal was long regarded as fabulous; but though it has been proved that there is such an animal, it is not necessary to suppose that the psalmist referred to it. Gesenius renders the word—reem—buffalo (Lex.), So also De Wette. See Notes on Job xxxix. 9,10, where the meaning of the word is fully considered. The word occurs elsewhere only in Numb, xxiii. 22; xxir. 8; Deut. xxxiii. 17; Ps. xxix. 6; xcii. 10; Isa. xxxiv. 7, in all which places it is rendered unicorn, or unicorns.
22. I will declare thy name. I will make thee known; that is, thine existence; thy perfections; thy law; thy method of salvation. As the result or effect of the interposition which he desired, and for which he prayed, he says that he would diffuse a knowledge of God. This is an expression of true piety, and is a statement of what in a pure mind, will always be consequent on a gracious Divine interposition,—a purpose to make the character of the benefactor known. Comp. Ps. li. 12,13; xviii. 48,49. As applicable to the Redeemer, it means that he would make the name of God known to men, or that through him that name would he made known. Unto my brethren. Comp. John xx. 17; Rom. viii. 29. The word brethren would embrace literally brothers; kinsfolk; countrymen; then, those of the same opinion, profession, or religion; then, in a still larger sense, the human race as descended from a common parent. As having reference to the Redeemer, it would embrace here not only those who were his immediate followers and whom he called brethren,—-not only those of his own nation,—hut the human family in general, towards whom he consented to sustain this relation. Comp. Notes on Heb. ii. 10 —12, where this passage is quoted and expressly applied to our Saviour. In the midst of the congregation. Among the people assembled to worship there. See Notes on Heb. ii. 12. This is the place where praise is commonly celebrated, and he says that there he would make known the goodness of God. Comp. Isa. xxxviii. 19, 20. It is not necessary to show that this was literally done by the Redeemer. It is enough to observe that this is the usual language of piety, and that the effect of his work has been to cause the praises of God to be celebrated in tens of thousands of the congregations of his saints.
23. Ye that fear the Lord. A phrase denoting those who are pious. Praise him. This is language which may be supposed to be addressed by the speaker in the great congregation. In the previous verse he had said that he would praise God "in the midst of the congregation;" he here speaks as if he were in that congregation, and addressing them. He, therefore, calls on them to praise and honour God. All ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him. The descendants of Jacob; that is, all who are true worshippers of God. And fear him. Honour him, worship him. See Notes on Ps. v. 7. All ye the seed of Israel. Another name for Jacob (Gen. xxxii. 28), and designed to denote also all who are true worshippers of Jehovah.
24. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted. This expresses the belief that his prayer had been heard. The fact that he had been, thus heard is here assigned to be the ground or reason for the exhortation in the previous verse, addressed to all the pious. The Lord had heard his prayer, and this was a reason why others should also confide in the Lord, and feel assured that he would likewise hear their prayers. Neither hath he hid his face from him. That is, permanently, constantly, finally, completely. He has not wholly abandoned me, but though he seemed to forsake me, it was for a time only; and his friendship has not been ultimately and for ever withdrawn. lt was indeed the foundation of all the petitions in this psalm that the Lord had hid his face from the sufferer (ver. 1) ; but, from this verse, it seems that it was only for a time. That which he passed through was a temporary darkness, succeeded by the clear manifestations of the Divine favour. The Lord heard his prayer; the Lord showed that he had not utterly forsaken him. But when he cried unto him, he heard. Showing that now he had the evidence and the assurance that his prayer had been heard. As applicable to the Redeemer on the cross, this means that though the darkness seemed to continue till death, yet it was not an utter forsaking. His prayer was heard; his work was accepted; the great object for which he came into the world would he accomplished; he himself would rise triumphantly from his sufferings; and the cause which he came to establish, and for which lie died, would finally prevail in the world. Comp. Heh. v. 7,8; John xi. 42; Isa. liii. 11,12.
25. My praise shall be of thee. That is, I will praise thee. I will call to remembrance thy goodness, and will unite with others in celebrating thy faithfulness and loving-kindness. In the great congregation. See Notes on ver. 22. I will pay my vows before them that fear him. In the presence of his worshippers. That is, he would keep the vows which in his afflictions he had made, that he would praise and serve God. These vows or promises were of the nature of a debt which he says he would remember to pay. Of the Redeemer, this need not be understood personally, but it means that as the result of his prayer having been heard, the worship of God would be celebrated by those who feared him. The solemn worship of the people of God—the praises which they offer to the Most High—may be regarded as worship paid by the Redeemer himself, for he does it in the persons and services of those whom he redeemed. All the praises which proceed from their hearts and lips are the fruit of his "vows," of his fidelity, and his prayers.
26. The meek shall eat and be satisfied. The word meek—anavim—means here rather afflicted, distressed, miserable. This is its usual meaning. It is employed sometimes in the sense of mild or meek (comp. Num. xii. 3); but. it here manifestly denotes the afflicted; the poor; the distressed. When it is said that they would "eat and he satisfied" the idea. is that of prosperity or abundance; and the statement is, that, as the result of the Redeemer's work, blessings in abundance would he imparted to the poor and the distressed—those who had been destitute, forsaken, and friendless. They shall praise the Lord that seek him. Those that worship God, or the pious, shall see abundant cause to praise God. They will not merely call upon him by earnest prayer, but they will render him thanks for his mercies. Your heart shall live for ever. The hearts of those that worship God. Their hearts would not faint or be discouraged. They would exult and rejoice continually. In other words, their joy and their praise would never die away.
27. All the ends of the world. All parts of the earth; all nations. The earth is frequently represented in the Scriptures as having limits or boundaries; as spread out; as having corners, etc. Comp. Isa. xi. 12; Jer. ix. 26; xxv. 23; xlix. 32; Rev.vii. 1. This language is in accordance with the prevailing modes of thinking, in; the same way as we say, "the sun rises;" "the sun sets," etc. Shall remember. The nations are often represented as forgetting God; that jis, they act as if they had once known him, and had then forgotten him. See Job viii. 13.; Ps. ix. 17; 1.22; Rom. i. 21. Here it is said that they I would again call God to remembrance, it is, they would worship him as the true God. If And turn unto the BD. Turn away from their idols worship the living God. And all kindreds of the nations. All the families. The numerous families upon the earth that constitute the great family of mankind. Shall worship before thee. Shall worship thy presence; that is, shall worship thee. The language is derived from the act of worshipping God in the tabernacle or the temple, before the visible symbol of his presence there, applicable to the Redeemer, this language is in accordance with what uniformly said of him and his work, that the world would bo converted to the living and true God. Comp. on Ps. ii. 8.
28. For the kingdom is the Lord's. The dominion belongs of right to
Jehovah, the true God. See Matt.13; Ps. xlvii. 7,8. And he is the governor among the nations. He is the rightful governor or ruler among the nations. This is an assertion of the absolute right of Jehovah to reign over the nations of the earth, and the expression of an assurance on the part of the Messiah that, as the consequence of his work, thes empire of Jehovah over the tions would he actually established, Comp. Notes on.Dan. vii. 13,14,27; and on 1 Cor. xv. 24-28.
29. All they that he fat upon the earth. The general meaning of this is, that all classes of persons will come and worship the true God;—not the poor and needy only, the afflicted, and the oppressed, but the rich and the prosperous. There are three classes mentioned as representing
—(1) the rich and prosperous; (2) they who bow down, to the dust, or the crushed and the oppressed; (3) those who are approaching the grave, and have no power to keep themselves alive. The first class comprises those who are mentioned here as being fat. This image is often used to denote prosperity: Jndg. iii. 29 ; Job xv. 27; Ps. xvii. 10; Ixxiii. 4 (Heb.); Deut. xxxi. 20; xxxii. 15. The meaning is, that the rich, the great, the prosperous would be among the multitudes who would be converted to the living God. Shall eat and worship. This expression is derived from the custom of offering sacrifices, and of feasting upon portions of the animal that was slain. In accordance with this, the blessings of salvation are often represented as a feast to which all are invited. See Notes on Isa. xxv. 6. Comp. Luke xiv. 16. All they that go down to the dust. All those descending to the dust. Those who are bowed down to the dust; who are crushed, broken, and oppressed;—the poor, the sad, the sorrowful. Salvation is for them, as well as for the rich and the great. Shall bow before him. Shall worship before the true God. And none can keep alive his own soul. Or rather, and he who cannot keep his soul (that is, himself) alive. So the Hebrew properly means, and this accords better with the connexion. The class here represented is composed of those who are ready to perish, who are about to die,—the aged—the infirm—the sick—the dying. These, thus helpless, feeble, and sad, shall also become interested in the great plan of salvation, and shall turn unto the Lord. These classes would represent all the dwellers on the earth; and the affirmation is equivalent to a statement that men of all classes would be converted, and would partake of the blessings of salvation.
30. A seed shall serve him. A people; a race. The word used here, is rendered seed-—zera—means properly a sowing ; then, a planting, plantation; then, seed sown—of plants, trees, or grain; and then, a generation of men,—children, off-iring, posterity: Gen. iii. 15; xiii. i; xv. 5,13; .ei al. Hence it means race, stock, or family. It is used here as denoting those who belong to the he family of God; his children. Comp. Isa. vi. 13; lxv. 9, 23. The eaning here is, that, as the result the work performed by the sufferer, any would be brought to serve God.
It. To wit, the seed mentioned; the people referred to. Shall be counted to the Lord for a generation. The word here rendered Lord not Jehovah, but Adonai,—a word which is often used as a name of God,—and should not be printed here small capitals. Prof. Alexander renders this, it seems to me improperly, "It shall be related of the lord to the next generation." So De Wette and Hengstenberg. But the common rendering appears to me furnish a better signification, and be more in accordance with the meaning of the original. According to this the idea is, that the seed—the people referred to—would be reckoned to the Lord as a generation of his own people, a race, a tribe, a family pertaining to him. They would be regarded as such by him; they would
so estimated by mankind. They would not be a generation of aliens or strangers, but a generation of his people and friends. Comp. Ps. lxxxvii.
31. They shall come. That is, there were those who would thus come. Who these would be is not specified, the obvious sense is, that some would rise up to do this; that the succession of such men would be kept up in age to age, making known these great facts and truths to succeeding generations. The language would be applicable to a class of men called, from age to age, to proclaim these truths, and set apart to this work. It is a fair application of the verse to refer it to those who have been actually designated for such an office,— the ministers of religion appointed to keep up the memory of the great work of redemption in the world. Thus understood, the passage is a proper carrying out of the great truths stated in the psalm—that, in virtue of the sufferings of the Redeemer, God would be made known to men; that his worship would be kept up in the earth; that distant generations would serve him. And shall declare his righteousness. No language could better describe the actual office of the ministers of the Gospel as appointed to set forth the "righteousness" of God, to vindicate his government and laws, and to state the way in which men may be made righteous, or may be justified. Comp. Rom. i. 17; iii. 26. "Unto a people that shall be born." To future generations. That he hath done this. That God has done or accomplished what is stated in this psalm; that is, on the supposition that it refers to the Messiah, that he has caused an atonement to be made for mankind, or that redemption has been provided through the sufferings of the Messiah.
I have given what seems to me to be a fair exposition of this psalm, referring it wholly to the Messiah. No part of the interpretation, on this view of the psalm, seems to me to be forced or unnatural, and as thus interpreted it seems to me to have as fair and obvious an applicability to him as even the liii. chapter of Isaiah, or any other portion of the prophecies. The scene in the psalm is the cross, the Redeemer suffering for the sins of man. The main features of the psalm relate to the course of thoughts which then passed through the mind of the Redeemer; his sorrow at the idea of being abandoned by God; his confidence in God; the remembrance of his early hopes; his emotions at the
taunts and revilings of his enemies; his conseionsness of prostrated strength; his feelings as the soldiers pierced his hands and his feet, and as they proceeded to divide his raiment; His prayer that his enemies might not be suffered to accomplish their design, or to defeat the work of redemption; his purpose to make God known to men; his assurance that the effect of his sufferings would be to bring the dwellers on the earth to serve God, and to make his name and his righteousness known to far distant times. I regard the whole psalm, therefore, as applicable to the Messiah alone; and believing it to be inspired, I cannot but feel that we have here a most interesting and affecting account, given long before it occurred, of what actually passed through the mind of the Redeemer when on the cross,—an account more full than we have anywhere else in the Bible. Other statements pertain more particularly to the external events of the crucifixion; here we have a record in anticipation of what actually passed through Christ's own mind in those hours of unspeakable anguish when he made an atonement for the sins of the world.
A WONDERFUL PSALM, AND A VERY FINE EXPOUNDING OF
IT BY THE LATE OLD ALBERT BARNES IN HIS BIBLE
THE FATHER BEING PURE HOLY PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS
HAD TO STAND AWAY FOR A WHILE, WHILE HIS SON TOOK
ALL THE SINS OF MANKIND UPON HIMSELF. JESUS BECAME
SIN FOR US, THE SINLESS FOR THE SINNERS, THAT WE
COULD BE MADE RIGHTEOUS, RECEIVE GRACE, THROUGH
THE SACRIFICE ON THE CROSS; SO HAVE ETERNAL LIFE
IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.
A BEAUTIFUL INSPIRING PSALM FOR THE PASSOVER AND
FEAST OF UNLEAVENED BREAD.