Psalms 22:20 MEANING

Psalm 22:20
Verse 20. - Deliver my soul from the sword. "The sword" symbolizes the authority of the Roman governor - that authority by which Christ was actually put to death. If he prayed, even on the cross, to be delivered from it, the prayer must have been offered with the reservations previously made in Gethsemane, "If it be possible" (Matthew 26:39); "If thou be willing" (Luke 22:42); "Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." The human will in Christ was in favour of the deliverance; the Divine will, the same in Christ as in his Father, was against it. My darling - literally, my only one - from the power of the dog. By "my darling" there is no doubt that the soul is intended, both here and in Psalm 35:17. It seems to be so called as the most precious thing that each man possesses (see Matthew 16:26). "The dog" is used, not of an individual, but of the class, and is best explained, like the "dogs" in ver. 16, of the executioners.

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.Deliver my soul from the sword,.... Wicked men, whose tongues were as a sharp sword, reproaching and blaspheming him, and bearing false witness against him; and crying out, "Crucify him, crucify him", Luke 23:21; see Psalm 17:12; or any instrument of violence, as the iron bar with which the legs of the malefactors crucified with him were broken, which he escaped; and the spear which pierced his side, after he had commended his soul or spirit into the hands of his Father; or a violent death; for though his death had the appearance of one, he was taken in a violent manner, and condemned to be put to death, and was crucified, yet his life was not taken away by men; he laid it down, and gave up his breath himself;

my darling from the power of the dog, or "my only one" (i); meaning his life or soul, as before; so called, not because there is but one soul in the body, but because it was dear and valuable to him; and hence we render it "darling", an only one being usually the darling of its parents; so a man's life is dear to him, all that he has will he give for it, Job 2:4. Christ's life was a more precious life than any man's, and peculiarly his own, in such sense as another man's, is not his own; and his soul also was an only one, it was not polluted with original sin, as the souls of other men are; it was pure and holy: the word here used is sometimes rendered "desolate" and "solitary"; see Psalm 25:16; and it may have this sense here, and be translated "my lonely" or "solitary one" (k); he being forsaken by God, and deserted by his disciples; his soul was in darkness, sorrow, and distress, wherefore he prays it might be delivered "from the power of the dog"; either Satan is so called for his malice and envy, who had put it into the heart of Judas to betray him, and had filled the Pharisees with envy at him, and who through it delivered him to Pilate; or the impure, cruel, and wicked Roman soldiers, and in short all his crucifiers; called in the plural number "dogs"; see Gill on Psalm 22:16.

(i) "unicam meam", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Tiguriue version, Cocceius, Junius & Tremellius. (k) "Solitariam meam", Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.

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