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John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible

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PSALM XXII. Chapter Overview

It is confessed that David was a type of Christ, and that many passages of the Psalms, though literally understood of David, yet had a further and mystical reference to Christ. But there are some other passages, which were directly, and immediately intended for, and are properly to be understood of the Messiah; though withal there may be some respect and allusion to the state of the penman himself. And this seems to be the state of this psalm, which is understood of the Messiah, by the Hebrew doctors themselves, and by Christ himself and by his apostles. And there are many passages in it, which were literally accomplished in him, and cannot be understood of any other. In this psalm David speaks of the humiliation of Christ, verse 1-21.
Of the exaltation of Christ, verse 22-31.
To the chief musician upon Aijeleth Shahar, A psalm of David.

Title of the psalm. Shahar-This was the title of some musical instrument, name, or song, which was usually sung in the morning.

Verse 1
My God - Who art my friend and father, though now thou frownest upon me. The repetition denotes, the depth of his distress, which made him cry so earnestly. Forsaken - Withdrawn the light of thy countenance, the supports and comforts of thy spirit, and filled me with the terrors of thy wrath: this was in part verified in David, but much more fully in Christ. Roaring - My out-cries forced from me, by my miseries.

Verse 3
But thou art - Just and true in all thy ways, this he adds to strengthen his faith, and to enforce his prayers, and prevail with God for the honour of his holy name, to hear and help him. Inhabitest - Whom thy people are perpetually praising.

Verse 6
A worm - Neglected and despised. People - Not only of the great men, but also of the common people. Which doth not so truly agree to David as to Christ.

Verse 7
Shoot out - They gape with their mouths, in mockery. This and the next verse are applied to Christ, Matthew 27:39,43.

Verse 12
Bulls - Wicked and violent, and potent enemies; for such are so called, Ezekiel 39:18; Amos 4:1. Of Bashan - As the cattle there bred were, and therefore fierce and furious.

Verse 14
Water - My spirits are spent and gone like water which once spilt can never be recovered; my very flesh is melted within me, and I am become as weak as water. Bones - I am as unable to help myself, and as full of torment, as if all my bones were disjointed. Wax - Melted, through fear and overwhelming grief.

Verse 15
Dried - I have in a manner no more moisture left in me, than is in a dry potsherd. Cleaveth - Through excessive thirst and drought. Death - Thy providence, delivering me into the power of mine enemies, and by thy terrors in my soul.

Verse 16
Dogs - So he calls his enemies for their insatiable greediness, and implacable fierceness against him. Pierced - These words cannot with any probability be applied to David, but were properly and literally verified in Christ.

Verse 17
May tell - By my being stretched out upon the cross.

Verse 18
They part - This also cannot be applied to David, but was literally fulfilled in Christ, Matthew 27:35; John 19:24.

Verse 20
Darling - Heb. my only one; his soul, which he so calls, because it was left alone and destitute of friends and helpers.

Verse 21
Heard - Answered and delivered me.

Verse 22
Declare - When thou hast delivered me. Thy name - that power and faithfulness and goodness, which thou hast manifested on my behalf. Congregations - The same whom he calls the congregation, and the seed of Jacob and Israel: which also does not so fitly agree to David, who never gives this title to any, but such as were near a-kin to him, as it does to Christ, who extends this name to all his disciples, Matthew 12:48,49, and to whom this very text is applied, Hebrews 2:11,12.

Verse 24
Abhorred - He did not turn away his face from it, as men do from things which they abhor. From him - For ever: tho' he did so for a time.

Verse 25
Great congregation - In the universal church, of Jews and Gentiles.

Verse 26
Satisfied - This is doubtless to be understood, of those spiritual blessings, that grace and peace, and comfort, which all believing souls have in the sense of God's love, the pardon of their sins, and the influences of God's spirit. Seek him - That seek his favour. Your heart - He speaks of the same persons still, though there be a change from the third to the second person, as is usual in these poetical books. For ever - Your comfort shall not be short and transitory, as worldly comforts are, but everlasting.

Verse 27
The world - All nations from one end of the world to the other. So this is an evident prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles, and a clear proof, that this psalm immediately speaks of Christ; to whom alone, this and divers other passages of it, belong. Remember - They shall remember their former wickedness with grief and shame, and fear; particularly in worshiping dead and impotent idols. They shall remember their great and manifold obligation to God, which they had quite forgotten, his patience in sparing them so long, in the midst of all their impieties, and in giving his son for them: they shall remember the gracious words and glorious works of Christ, what he did, and suffered for them; which possibly divers of them had been eye and ear-witnesses of. The Lord - Into the only true God, and unto Jesus Christ, to whom this name of Jehovah is often ascribed in scripture.

Verse 28
For - This is added as a reason, why the Gentiles should be converted, because God is not only God and the Lord of the Jews, but also of the Gentiles, and of all nations.

Verse 29
Fat - Kings and princes, and the great men of the world. Shall eat - Shall feed upon the bread of life, Christ and all his benefits. Worship - This is added to shew what kind of eating he spoke of. Go down - That is, all mankind, for none can escape death.

Verse 30
A seed - Christ shall not want a seed or posterity, for though the Jewish nation will generally reject him, the Gentiles shall come in their stead. A generation - That believing seed shall be reputed both by God and men, The generation, or people of the Lord, as the Jews formerly were.

Verse 31
They - The seed last mentioned. Come - From Judea and Jerusalem (from whence the gospel was first to go forth) to the Gentile world, to the several parts whereof the apostles went upon this errand. His - God's righteousness: his wonderful grace and mercy unto mankind, in giving them Christ and the gospel; for righteousness is often put for mercy or kindness. Unto - Unto succeeding generations. Whereby David gives us a key to understand this psalm, and teaches us that he speaks not here of himself, but of things which were to be done in after-ages, even of the spreading of the gospel among the Gentiles, in the time of the New Testament. That he - They shall declare that this is the work of God, and not of man.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalm 22". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes
on the Whole Bible". <>. 1765.  


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