The Treasury of David

Psalm 22

Title. “To the chief Musician upon Aijeleth Shahar. A Psalm of David.” This ode of singular excellence was committed to the most excellent of the temple songsters; the chief among ten thousand is worthy to be extolled by the chief Musician; no meaner singer must have charge of such a strain; we must see to it that we call up our best abilities when Jesus is the theme of praise. The words Aijeleth Shahar are enigmatical, and their meaning is uncertain; some refer them to a musical instrument used upon mournful occasions, but the majority adhere to the translation of our margin, “Concerning the kind of the morning.” This last interpretation is the subject of much enquiry and conjecture. Calmet believed that the psalm was addressed to the music master who presided over the band called the “Morning Hind, “and Adam Clarke thinks this to be the most likely of all the conjectural interpretations, although he himself inclines to the belief that no interpretation should be attempted, and believes that it is a merely arbitrary and unmeaning title, such as Orientals have always been in the habit of appending to their songs. Our Lord Jesus is so often compared to a hind, and his cruel huntings are so pathetically described in this most affecting psalm, that we cannot but believe that the title indicates the Lord Jesus under a well known poetical metaphor; at any rate, Jesus is the Hind of the morning concerning whom David here sings.

Subject. This is beyond all others The Psalm Of The Cross. It may have been actually repeated word by word by our Lord when hanging on the tree; it would be too bold to say that it was so, but even a casual reader may see that it might have been. It begins with, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” and ends, according to some, in the original with “It is finished.” For plaintive expressions uprising from unutterable depths of woe we may say of this psalm, “there is none like it.” It is the photograph of our Lord’s saddest hours, the record of his dying words, the lachrymatory of his last tears, the memorial of his expiring joys. David and his afflictions may be here in a very modified sense, but, as the star is concealed by the light of the sun, he who sees Jesus will probably neither see nor care to see David. Before us we have a description both of the darkness and of the glory of the cross, the sufferings of Christ and the glory which shall follow. Oh for grace to draw near and see this great sight! We should read reverently, putting off our shoes from off our feet, as Moses did at the burning bush, for if there be holy ground anywhere in Scripture it is in this psalm.

Division. From Psalms 22:1-21 is a most pitiful cry for help, and from Psalms 22:21-31 is a most precious foretaste of deliverance. The first division may be subdivided at the Psalms 22:10, from Psalms 22:1-10 being an appeal based upon covenant relationship; and from Psalms
The Treasury of David.

Psalm 22:26

Exposition

The meek shall eat and be satisfied. Mark how the dying Lover of our souls solaces himself with the result of his death. The spiritually poor find a feast in Jesus, they feed upon him to the satisfaction of their hearts, they were famished until he gave himself for them, but now they are filled with royal dainties. The thought of the joy of his people gave comfort to our expiring Lord. Note the characters who partake of the benefit of his passion; “the meek,” the humble and lowly. Lord, make us so. Note also the certainty that gospel provisions shall not be wasted, “they shall eat;” and the sure result of such eating, “and be satisfied.”

They shall praise the Lord that seek him. For a while they may keep a fast, but their thanksgiving days must and shall come.

Your heart shall live for ever. Your spirits shall not fail through trial, you shall not die of grief, immortal joys shall be your portion. Thus Jesus speaks even from the cross to the troubled seeker. If his dying words are so assuring, what consolation may we not find in the truth that he ever liveth to make intercession for us! They who eat at Jesus’ table receive the fulfilment of the promise, “Whosoever eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him; your heart shall live for ever. A spiritual banquet is prepared in the church for the “meek” and lowly in heart. The death of Christ was the sacrifice for sin; his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed. The poor in spirit feed on this provision, in their hearts by faith, and are satisfied; and thus, whilst they “seek” the Lord, they “praise” him also, and their “hearts” (or souls), are preserved unto eternal life. Practical Illustrations of the “Book of Psalms”, 1826.

The meek. Bonaventure engraved this sweet saying of our Lord, “Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart”, in his study. O that this saying was engraved upon all your foreheads, and upon all your hearts! Charles Bradbury.

They shall praise the Lord that seek him; your heart shall live for ever. Now, I would fain know the man that ever went about to form such laws as should bind the hearts of men, or prepare such rewards as should reach the souls and consciences of men! Truly, if any mortal man should make a law that his subjects should love him with all their hearts and souls, and not dare, upon peril of his greatest indignation, to entertain a traitorous thought against his royal person, but presently confess it to him, or else he would be avenged on him, he would deserve to be more laughed at for his pride and folly, than Xerxes for casting his fetters into the Hellespont, to chain the waves into his obedience; or Caligula, that threatened the air, if it durst rain when he was at his pastimes, who durst not himself so much as look into the air when it thundered. Certainly a madhouse would be more fit for such a person than a throne, who should so far forfeit his reason, as to think that the thoughts and hearts of men were within his jurisdiction. William Gurnall.

Your heart, that is, not your outward man, but the hidden man of the heart (Ezekiel 36:26); the new man which is created after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness, shall live for ever. The life which animates it is the life of the Spirit of God. John Stevenson.

Hints to the Village Preacher

Spiritual feasting. The guests, the food, the host, and the satisfaction.

(second clause). Seekers who shall be singers. Who they are? What they shall do? When? and what is the reason for expecting that they shall?
The Treasury of David.

Singing Psalms

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