TO THE CHIEF MUSICIAN UPON AJELETH H SHAHAR. A PSALM OF DAVID.
This heading can also be translated (S.R. Hirsch) as:
<<TO HIM WHO GRANTS VICTORY. UPON THE STRENGTHENING POWER OF THE DAWNING OF
THE DAY. A PSALM OF DAVID.>>.
<<AJELETH H SHAHAR>> "Ayelet HaShachar" can mean "THE STRENGTHENING POWER
OF THE DAWNING OF THE DAY" as S.R. Hirsch says though the Radak suggests that it simply means a type of musical instrument.
The Radak (Rabbi David Kimchi) points out that the previous Psalm (21) an
be understood as pertinent to both King David and his descendant, the
future Messiah. The same may be said about the present one which however
may also be understood as referring to Israel in general or specifically to Judah.
[Psalms 22:1] MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME? WHY ART THOU SO
FAR FROM HELPING ME, AND FROM THE WORDS OF MY ROARING?
The Radak says the Community of Israel utters this cry from the depths of
persecution. Every person at some time or other has dark moments and
fears the Almighty has abandoned him.
[Psalms 22:2] O MY GOD, I CRY IN THE DAY TIME, BUT THOU HEAREST NOT; AND IN
THE NIGHT SEASON, AND AM NOT SILENT.
It is true. The Jews prayed day and night for help. In a sense they were
always helped but there were many dark moments when this help was not
apparent. One can always say that maybe they were not always worthy of
being helped but that is too easy an answer. It can be said about anyone
one at any time. There are some things we cannot completely understand.
Nevertheless we are all required to live and fear God, to do the best we can
and understand as well as we can according to our situation.
[Psalms 22:3] BUT THOU ART HOLY, O THOU THAT INHABITEST THE PRAISES OF ISRAEL.
God reveals Himself through Israel and via the prayers, praises, and
supplications of Israelites in thought, word, and deed.
[Psalms 22:4] OUR FATHERS TRUSTED IN THEE: THEY TRUSTED, AND THOU DIDST
[Psalms 22:5] THEY CRIED UNTO THEE, AND WERE DELIVERED: THEY TRUSTED IN
THEE, AND WERE NOT CONFOUNDED.
Our forefathers were better than us at times. They trusted in God, called
upon Him, and were delivered.
[Psalms 22:6] BUT I AM A WORM, AND NO MAN; A REPROACH OF MEN, AND DESPISED
OF THE PEOPLE.
I am not as good as my ancestors neither am I necessarily better than those
around me. Nevertheless I ask for God to help me.
[Psalms 22:7] ALL THEY THAT SEE ME LAUGH ME TO SCORN: THEY SHOOT OUT THE
LIP, THEY SHAKE THE HEAD, SAYING,
[Psalms 22:8] HE TRUSTED ON THE LORD THAT HE WOULD DELIVER HIM: LET HIM
DELIVER HIM, SEEING HE DELIGHTED IN HIM.
People sometimes mock those who fear God. The Nazis used to mock the Jews
and how there was nobody to help them.
[Psalms 22:9] BUT THOU ART HE THAT TOOK ME OUT OF THE WOMB: THOU DIDST MAKE
ME HOPE WHEN I WAS UPON MY MOTHER'S BREASTS.
David was chosen from birth. This made him different and set apart. It
happens that they who are succesful in one area lack something in another.
Sometimes the path an individual must walk along is not known unto him. He
suffers failure and alienation and cannot understand why. He may feel
different from those around him and not understood why he cannot get along
in the same way as everybody else seems to do.
[Psalms 22:10] I WAS CAST UPON THEE FROM THE WOMB: THOU ART MY GOD FROM MY
David was faithful from the beginning. Many of us have also been faithful
according to our own understanding from an early time but have fallen down
[Psalms 22:11] BE NOT FAR FROM ME; FOR TROUBLE IS NEAR; FOR THERE IS NONE
God is the one who can help us and who will do so.
[Psalms 22:12] MANY BULLS HAVE COMPASSED ME: STRONG BULLS OF BASHAN HAVE
BESET ME ROUND.
Bashan was east of the Jordan and good grazing country. Together with the
Gilead Bashan was given to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh who were
grazers of sheep and cattle as explained in the Book of Numbers (ch.32).
The bulls of Bashan were apparently known for their exceptional strength and ferocity.
[Psalms 22:13] THEY GAPED UPON ME WITH THEIR MOUTHS, AS A RAVENING AND A
The Radak points out that a lion after it kills its prey and begins to
devour it roars in triumph. So too, did some of the nazis celebrate after
killing Jews. Today the Nazi-Palestinians celebrtate after murdering Jewish
women and children. Remember the pictures of Israeli soldiers that the
Palestinian mob tore to pieces and ripped apart soaking their hands up to
the arms in their blood and holding their blood-soaked arms up for the rest
to see while roaring jubilantly.
[Psalms 22:14] I AM POURED OUT LIKE WATER, AND ALL MY BONES ARE OUT OF
JOINT: MY HEART IS LIKE WAX; IT IS MELTED IN THE MIDST OF MY BOWELS.
[Psalms 22:15] MY STRENGTH IS DRIED UP LIKE A POTSHERD; AND MY TONGUE
CLEAVETH TO MY JAWS; AND THOU HAST BROUGHT ME INTO THE DUST OF DEATH.
[Psalms 22:16] FOR DOGS HAVE COMPASSED ME: THE ASSEMBLY OF THE WICKED HAVE
INCLOSED ME: THEY PIERCED MY HANDS AND MY FEET.
<<THEY PIERCED MY HANDS AND MY FEET>>: The simple meaning of the hebrew
definitely does not read this way but rather,
<<FOR DOGS HAVE SURROUNDED ME, A GANG OF EVILDOERS ENCOMPASSED ME,
[attacked me ] LIKE A LION [against] MY HANDS AND FEET [so that I canot
defend myself]. >>
It is known that even an athletic youth who is not used to fighting who is
suddenly punched in the face is liable to burst into tears due to shock and
shame more than actual pain. So to the trauma of people who have been
attacked and resisted is much less than that of they who did not
resist. The Jews in Exile who were attacked by their neighbors and the
authorities were often incapable of resisting even if they had wished to do
so. After centuries of negative conditioning even the will to resist was
[Psalms 22:17] I MAY TELL ALL MY BONES: THEY LOOK AND STARE UPON ME.
Reember the opictures of concentration camp victims with tall their ribs
[Psalms 22:18] THEY PART MY GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND CAST LOTS UPON MY
<<THEY PART MY GARMENTS AMONG THEM>>: Piles and piles of clothes neatly
sorted and packed away for the benefit of the German "Home" population
during the Holocaust. The property of the Jewish people was taken from
them and distributed among the local population who competed with each
other for their share. There was not always enough to go around. After WW2
Germany paid reparations to some Jewish families but they say that if the
German Government had actually attempted to restore Jewish property to its
rightful owners it would have caused a Civil War.
[Psalms 22:19] BUT BE NOT THOU FAR FROM ME, O LORD: O MY STRENGTH, HASTE
THEE TO HELP ME.
Also can be understood to say: God do not take my strength away. Speedily
give me my strength so that I may save myself.
[Psalms 22:20] DELIVER MY SOUL FROM THE SWORD; MY DARLING FROM THE POWER OF
People who hate Jews are like dogs frothing away at the mouth and closing
in for the kill at the moment of weakness.
[Psalms 22:21] SAVE ME FROM THE LION'S MOUTH: FOR THOU HAST HEARD ME FROM
THE HORNS OF THE UNICORNS.
The lion and unicorn were symbols of Israel.
"GOD BROUGHT THEM OUT OF EGYPT; HE HATH AS IT WERE THE STRENGTH OF AN
UNICORN" [Numbers 23:22]
A unicorn 96 In Hebrew 93raem94: a 93raem94 is sometimes described as a
kind of ancient giant (auroch-type) buffalo-like bull that once existed (in
AKKADIAN 93RIMU94) or an antelope BUT the name was also applied to a
[In our magazine Brit-Am Truth no.6 there was a detailed article with
illustrations on this matter]. It is translated as unicorn in the
Septuagint (Greek translation) and major early commentators (Saadia Gaon,
Yehudah HaLevi, etc) understood it to mean unicorn. Unicorns were depicted
in Egyptian and Assyrian heraldic emblems. 93Unicorn94 is how the name
was understood 96 aside from the question as to whether unicorns ever existed,
it is enough that the concept was known. The unicorn became the emblem of
Scotland: the Scottish coat of arms has two unicorns. When Scotland united
with England the lion and the unicorn were together on the British coat of
arms. The Midrash says that 93raem94 (unicorn) was the symbol of Manasseh.
In our passage Israel is likened to a unicorn. Only in Britain does the
unicorn appear as a national symbol.
"BEHOLD, THE PEOPLE SHALL RISE UP AS A GREAT LION, AND LIFT UP HIMSELF AS A
YOUNG LION: HE SHALL NOT LIE DOWN UNTIL HE EAT OF THE PREY, AND DRINK THE
BLOOD OF THE SLAIN" [Numbers 23:24] .
Here we have Israel likened to a lion; above Israel was likened to a
unicorn. The lion and the unicorn feature on the British national coat of
arms as the official symbol of Britain. The Jews are also symbolized by a lion.
Perhaps Judah is here asking for help from "Israel" when the Lost Ten
Tribes act against Judah?
Alternately it may be said that when Israel in general (Judah and Joseph)
do the will of the Almighty the strength and prowess of the lion and
unicorn are given unto them but when they go against the will of the
Almighty this strength is used against them.
[Psalms 22:22] I WILL DECLARE THY NAME UNTO MY BRETHREN: IN THE MIDST OF
THE CONGREGATION WILL I PRAISE THEE.
Radak: <<"MY BRETHREN"85We who are in Exile will tell of miracles and
wonders done for us by God in our captivity to the Ten tribes who were
exiled to HALAH, and HABOR [2-Kings 17:6] and the power of other nations
did not rule over them as it did over us>>.
[Psalms 22:23] YE THAT FEAR THE LORD, PRAISE HIM; ALL YE THE SEED OF
JACOB, GLORIFY HIM; AND FEAR HIM, ALL YE THE SEED OF ISRAEL.
All the House of Israel are called upon to praise God.
[Psalms 22:24] FOR HE HATH NOT DESPISED NOR ABHORRED THE AFFLICTION OF THE
AFFLICTED; NEITHER HATH HE HID HIS FACE FROM HIM; BUT WHEN HE CRIED UNTO
HIM, HE HEARD.
In the last Days there will be troubles. The Final Salvation will