Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 22:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Many bulls have compassed me - The bull is the emblem of brutal strength, that gores and tramples down all before it. Such was Absalom, Ahithophel, and others, who rose up in rebellion against David; and such were the Jewish rulers who conspired against Christ.

Strong bulls of Bashan - Bashan was a district beyond Jordan, very fertile, where they were accustomed to fatten cattle, which became, in consequence of the excellent pasture, the largest, as well as the fattest, in the country. See Calmet. All in whose hands were the chief power and influence became David's enemies; for Absalom had stolen away the hearts of all Israel. Against Christ, the chiefs both of Jews and Gentiles were united.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Many bulls have compassed me - Men with the fierceness and fury of bulls. Compare Isaiah 51:20; Psalm 68:30.

Strong bulls of Bashan - The country of Bashan embraced the territory which was on the east of the Jordan, north of Gilead, which was given to the half tribe of Manasseh: compare Genesis 14:5 with Joshua 12:4-6. It was distinguished as pasture land for its richness. Its trees and its breed of cattle are frequently referred to in the Scriptures. Thus in Deuteronomy 32:14, “rams of the breed of Bashan” are mentioned; in Isaiah 2:13, Zechariah 11:2, “oaks of Bashan” are mentioned in connection with the cedars of Lebanon; in Amos 4:1, “the kine of Bashan” are mentioned. The bulls of Bashan are here alluded to as remarkable for their size, their strength, and their fierceness; and are designed to represent men that were fierce, savage, and violent. As applied to the Redeemer, the allusion is to the fierce and cruel men that persecuted him and sought his life. No one can doubt that the allusion is applicable to his persecutors and murderers; and no one can show that the thought indicated by this phrase also may not have passed through the mind of the Redeemer when on the cross.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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.