Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 22:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? - Show me the cause why thou hast abandoned me to my enemies; and why thou seemest to disregard my prayers and cries? For a full illustration of this passage, I beg the reader to refer to my note on Matthew 27:46.

The words of my roaring? - שאגתי shaagathi, The Vulgate, Septuagint, Syriac, Ethiopic, and Arabic, with the Anglo-Saxon, make use of terms which may be thus translated: "My sins (or foolishness) are the cause why deliverance is so far from me." It appears that these versions have read שגגתי shegagathi, "my sin of ignorance," instead of שאגתי shaagathi, "my roaring:" but no MS. extant supports this reading.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

My God, my God - These are the very words uttered by the Saviour when on the cross Matthew 27:46; and he evidently used them as best adapted of all the words that could have been chosen to express the extremity of his sorrow. The fact that he employed them may be referred to as “some” evidence that the psalm was designed to refer to him; though it must be admitted that this circumstance is no conclusive proof of such a design, since he might have used words having originally another reference, as best fitted to express his own sufferings. The language is abrupt, and is uttered without any previous intimation of what would produce or cause it. It comes from the midst of suffering - from one enduring intense agony - as if a new form of sorrow suddenly came upon him which he was unable to endure. That new form of suffering was the feeling that now he was forsaken by the last friend of the wretched - God himself. We may suppose that he had patiently borne all the other forms of trial, but the moment the thought strikes him that he is forsaken of God, he cries out in the bitterness of his soul, under the pressure of anguish which is no longer to be borne. All other forms of suffering he could bear. All others he had borne. But this crushes him; overpowers him; is beyond all that the soul can sustain - for the soul may bear all else but this. It is to be observed, however, that the sufferer himself still has confidence in God. He addresses him as his God, though he seems to have forsaken him: “My God; My God.”

Why hast thou forsaken me? - Why hast thou abandoned me, or left me to myself, to suffer unaided and alone? As applicable to the Saviour, this refers to those dreadful moments on the cross when, forsaken by people, he seemed also to be forsaken by God Himself. God did not interpose to rescue him, but left him to bear those dreadful agonies alone. He bore the burden of the world‘s atonement by himself. He was overwhelmed with grief, and crushed with pain, for the sins of the world, as well as the agonies of the cross, had come upon him. But there was evidently more than this; “what” more we are unable fully to understand! There was a higher sense in which he was forsaken of God, for no mere physical sufferings, no pains of dying even on the cross, would have extorted this cry. If he had enjoyed the light of his Father‘s countenance; if these had been merely physical sufferings; if there was nothing else than what is apparent to our view in the record of those sufferings, we cannot suppose that this cry would have been heard even on the cross.

There is evidently some sense in which it was true that the dying Saviour was given up to darkness - to mental trouble, to despair, “as if” He who is the last hope of the suffering and the dying - the Father of mercies - had withdrawn from him; as if he were personally; a sinner; as if he were himself guilty or blameworthy on account of the sins for which he was making an expiation. In some sense he experienced what the sinner will himself experience when, for his own sins, he will be at last forsaken of God, and abandoned to despair. Every word in this wonderful exclamation may be supposed to be emphatic. “Why.” What is the cause? How is it to be accounted for? What end is to be answered by it? “Hast thou.” Thou, my Father; thou, the comforter of those in trouble; thou, to whom the suffering and the dying may look when all else fails. “Forsaken.” Left me to suffer alone; withdrawn the light of thy countenance - the comfort of thy presence - the joy of thy manifested favor. “Me.” Thy well-beloved Son; me. whom thou hast sent into the world to accomplish thine own work in redeeming man; me, against whom no sin can be charged, whose life has been perfectly pure and holy; why, now, in the extremity of these sufferings, hast thou forsaken me, and added to the agony of the cross the deeper agony of being abandoned by the God whom I love, the Father who loved me before the foundation of the world, John 17:24. There is a reason why God should forsake the wicked; but why should he forsake his own pure and holy Son in the agonies of death?

Why art thou so far from helping me? - Margin, from my salvation. So the Hebrew. The idea is that of one who stood so far off that he could not hear the cry, or that he could not reach out the hand to deliver. Compare Psalm 10:1.

And from the words of my roaring - The word used here properly denotes the roaring of a lion, Job 4:10; Isaiah 5:29; Zechariah 11:3; and then the outcry or the groaning of a person in great pain, Job 3:24; Psalm 32:3. It refers here to a loud cry for help or deliverance, and is descriptive of the intense suffering of the Redeemer on the cross. Compare Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The Spirit of Christ, which was in the prophets, testifies in this psalm, clearly and fully, the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. We have a sorrowful complaint of God's withdrawings. This may be applied to any child of God, pressed down, overwhelmed with grief and terror. Spiritual desertions are the saints' sorest afflictions; but even their complaint of these burdens is a sign of spiritual life, and spiritual senses exercised. To cry our, My God, why am I sick? why am I poor? savours of discontent and worldliness. But, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" is the language of a heart binding up its happiness in God's favour. This must be applied to Christ. In the first words of this complaint, he poured out his soul before God when he was upon the cross, Mt 27:46. Being truly man, Christ felt a natural unwillingness to pass through such great sorrows, yet his zeal and love prevailed. Christ declared the holiness of God, his heavenly Father, in his sharpest sufferings; nay, declared them to be a proof of it, for which he would be continually praised by his Israel, more than for all other deliverances they received. Never any that hoped in thee, were made ashamed of their hope; never any that sought thee, sought thee in vain. Here is a complaint of the contempt and reproach of men. The Saviour here spoke of the abject state to which he was reduced. The history of Christ's sufferings, and of his birth, explains this prophecy.