Psalm 22:1-15 - Oh how my soul has forsaken my flesh

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

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1 eli, eli, why have you forsaken me? *

and are so far from my cry

and from the words of my distress?

2 elohay, I cry in the daytime, but you do not answer; *

by night as well, but I find no rest.

3 Yet you are the Holy One, *

enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4 Our forefathers put their trust in you; *

they trusted, and you delivered them.

5 They cried out to you and were delivered; *

they trusted in you and were not put to shame.

6 But as for me, I am a worm and no man, *

scorned by all and despised by the people.

7 All who see me laugh me to scorn; *

they curl their lips and wag their heads, saying,

8 "He trusted in Yahweh; let him deliver him; *

let him rescue him, if he delights in him."

9 Yet you are he who took me out of the womb, *

and kept me safe upon my mother's breast.

10 I have been entrusted to you ever since I was born; *

you were eli when I was still in my mother's womb.

11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, *

and there is none to help.

12 Many young bulls encircle me; *

strong bulls of Bashan surround me.

13 They open wide their jaws at me, *

like a ravening and a roaring lion.

14 I am poured out like water;

all my bones are out of joint; *

my heart within my breast is melting wax.

15 My mouth is dried out like a pot-sherd;

my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; *

and you have laid me in the dust of the grave.


This is the accompanying Psalm for the Track 1 Old Testament reading from Job 23. It will be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor on the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 23], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow Job saying, “Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power? No; but he would give heed to me.” This pai will precede a reading from Hebrews, where Paul wrote, “Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where Jesus said, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!”

This Psalm was begun by Jesus as he died on the cross, according to Matthew 27:46. Matthew recorded that Jesus sang out the Hebrew that begins verse one, not writing in Greek what Jesus cried out. It is a known Psalm to Jews, so they would have recognized those words as Psalm 22; and, they would not have heard them as Jesus blaming Yahweh. In Matthew 27:47, he wrote, “When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

In the Abarim Publications Biblical Dictionary they write this:

“In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known

as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in

Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach

and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.”

That explanation is found on their page that states the meaning of the name “Elijah.” That meaning is said to be “Yah[weh] Is God.” Thus, those near the cross as Jesus was about to die heard him begin a known Psalm, where David’s use of “eli” was not clearly known, as to what “eli” meant; but after Elijah had come and ascended, he was expected to come back. The verse told in Matthew’s Gospel tell of them holding up a sponge soaked in vinegar to Jesus’ lips, saying, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.” By saying Jews heard “eli” and did not know what that meant, means Christians and Jews now read that word and (like Abarim Publications said: “In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity” – wrongly) have no clue as to what it truly means.

In these fifteen verses of Psalm 22, you will note where I returned the English mistranslations from “my God” to the Hebrew written: eli, eli, elohay, and eli. None of these words should bring about a capitalized word that would indicate “Yahweh.” David knew Yahweh as his One God, and the true God of Israel; and, he wrote the name Yahweh in verse eight. A focus on a complaint against Yahweh is not what David wrote here in his song; and, that must be seen as why these verses from Psalm 22 are the companion reading to Job 23, where Job likewise made pleas about forsakenness.

When Abarim Publications states, “In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim),” the truth in that says “el” is a singular “god” [or “angel, spirit”], from the “elohim” or many “gods” [or “angels, spirits”]. When one realizes the eternal qualities of an “el,” they are no different than those of a “soul.” This means a “soul” is the “god” of one’s body of flesh. A “soul” is “ruach” from Yahweh, as the “breath, life, spirit” that animates dead matter, which is given by Yahweh at birth and returned to Yahweh at death. For a “soul” to remain with Yahweh after death, it has to have married Him prior; and, such a divine marriage means a life of service in the flesh, prior to death. Without that divine marriage, a human being is no different than the animals of the world, who live, die, and repeat, using the same souls reincarnated. Because Jesus cried out the beginning verse to Psalm 22, he knew death was near.

When one realizes that “eli” is a modification of the word “el,” so it states the possessive [in Greek it would be the genitive case], the word states, “my god.” It is vital to realize that one (a human being’s soul) cannot possess Yahweh. Only Yahweh can possess a soul. In all such cases, the name of Yahweh would be stated, as “Yahweh elohim.” The possessive is then a statement of one’s own soul, as saying, “god of me.” Thus, David began Psalm 22 with the cries about his own soul having misled him away from Yahweh, causing himself to be forsaken. David was possibly channeling the soul of Job, who cried out in Job 23 about his own soul having done something that caused Yahweh to forsake him. Jesus sang that verse because, like Job, Jesus’ time of death was a test of the truth of his divine soul.

Now, when the element of being an “elohim” is seen as a higher level of possession, by Yahweh (or a demon), to cry out “my god, my god, why have you forsaken me?” is not an expectation that a soul has turned away from serving its flesh – it cannot do that. A spiritual possessor is then who the cry is made to. In the story of Job, he was a “blameless and upright man,” not because he was a ‘righteous dude’ [a Ferris Buehler’s Day Off line], but because Yahweh had married his soul and made him become one of Yahweh’s elohim – an angel in the flesh. During his time of pain and agony, when Satan attacked his commitment to Yahweh, Yahweh had become a silent presence within Job’s soul-flesh being. As a truly righteous man, Job counted on that inner link, which was how he communicated to Yahweh directly. While Satan had the power to test Job, Job’s “el” had indeed forsaken him. David sang about that testing in song, divinely led to feel the pain and agony of being lost, while knowing one is married to Yahweh and totally committed to that marriage and its vows. Jesus, likewise, knew he could not count on any divine assistance as he died, as death was his test, while Yahweh had forbid Satan from killing Job and releasing his soul.

In David’s song writing experiences, it is vital to see that he was not writing his ideas from the top of his head. He was divinely inspired to write meaningful and lasting songs, which were his legacy, more than his role as the King of Israel. In Psalm 22, it can be seen that David was divinely led to see the distant past and the distant future, knowing the truth of emotions felt by both Job and Jesus. As such, this should not be seen as a life story of David, as that would be too narrow-minded and specific to be why Yahweh would inspire David to write these words. One can assume, because Jesus had yet to be born and the Book of Job was known by David, that David was prophetically writing while seeing a past event he knew of. David would have fully understood the pains of both Job and Jesus, as he was likewise a Yahweh elohim, who knew the fear of losing the presence of Yahweh within. As such, all readers of this Psalm forever should feel the pain and agony of losing touch with Yahweh, knowing life is worthless without His presence and His comforting Word.

When this is seen, the verses of Psalm 22 are rather clear in their statements about oneself [a “self” equals a “soul”] not being able to communicate with Yahweh like before. This is a song that can only be understood by a wife of Yahweh, as a soul that has known the power and comfort from His presence within one’s being; but now that presence seems to have left. That sensation is a test of one’s faith.

Verse one then asks oneself what happened to the inner voice that answered prayers and provided guidance.

Verse two uses “elohay,” which takes the plural “elohim” and uses it “with first-person singular personal pronoun as possessor.” This is again a statement of “my god,” which repeats “eli” as the inner guide. Here, the timing of day and night means the inner whispers of silent prayers and the expectation of divinely inspired dreams have stopped.

Verse three sings of the “elohim” that possess all in Israel – those who retain Yahweh as an el – which is the only reason the people can consider themselves “holy” [from “qadosh”], thereby saints.

Verse four sings of the “trust” [from “batach”] that has been throughout the history of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Such “trust” can only come from maintenance of the marriage vows, which are those of the Covenant stated by Yahweh.

Verse five then sings of the wives of Yahweh crying out [from “zaaq”] for help and being “delivered” [from “malat”], which means the cries came from times of sin, when souls realized they had turned away from Yahweh. To cry out was then an act of repentance.

Verse six then speaks of the root of evil, which turns a soul away from Yahweh. This form of “elohim” is a “worm,” which finds a way into the inner reaches of one’s soul, influencing it to sin. This is the ‘reproach” [from “cherpah”] that the people “despise” [from “bazah”].

Verse seven then sings of the visible evidence of sin, as an outer manifestation of an inner spirit. The sores that covered the body of Job was seen in that way; and, this speaks of why the Jews would likewise reject lepers, the lame, the mute, the blind, and those of all imperfections of body.

In verse eight, David uses the name “Yahweh,” saying Job was “committed” [from “galal”] in marriage to Yahweh. In this verse comes the reason some Jews said to let Elijah come save Jesus. This verse is sung in ridicule for those who as perceived to be sinners, because of their outer appearances.

Verse nine then sings metaphorically of the ways that material things become the surrogate “elohim” that act as signs that Yahweh is caring for His children. In this, the promise of a land of milk and honey can be seen as the “sugar teat” that the land became, after the child was deliver from the womb of the wilderness. Still, the land is not the truth of Yahweh, as the truth of Yahweh is Spiritual.

Verse ten then sings of the “god” [from “eli”] that is the inner soul having been reborn, as a possession of the divine Spirit. It says the soul has become the “mother” [from “em”] of an “el” within, which makes Yahweh the Father of that inner “god.”

Verse eleven then sings of the dependence on that inner “el,” which is the “god of me” [from “eli”]. It is the inner voice that answers prayers when troubles arise and comforts one with an inner strength. It is the voice that leads one to a life of righteousness.

Verse twelve then sings of the influences of outer els or the pagan “gods” that were depicted as “bulls” [from “par”]. These are those who pray to the false gods of Ba’al.

Verse thirteen then sings of the inner “god” becoming as fearsome as a “lion” [from “ari”], when it meets pagans and false idols. This brings out condemnations, which erupt as “raging roars” [from “taraph shaag”].

Verse fourteen then sings of the fluidity of one’s being, when one’s emotions erupt uncontrollably. They flood outward. This then causes the body to tremble and the heart (the center of courage) to melt. To react to outer influences is to distract one’s soul from the inner truth that is a soul married to Yahweh.

Verse fifteen then sings of the strength that comes from being stable, rather than emotional. Rather than flowing freely like water, one becomes like a dry river bed. The voice becomes mute, as the “tongue clings to the jaw.” This means oneself has to cease trying to project onto others, what only Yahweh can brings within their souls. This verse then sings of the death of the self-ego, so the soul no longer tries to command its own being.

As the companion reading for the Job offering, to be sung aloud on the twentieth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson is to realize the “god” of one’s flesh is one’s soul. That soul can just as easily (if not easier) marry a demon spirit and become led by the lures of things in the material realm. When one has surrounded oneself with worldly powers, then one will find how quickly they fail one in times of trouble. The lesson is to find the sacrifice of one’s soul to Yahweh, which demands much word maintaining the vows of the Law. That is merely the first step, as one must die of self-ego and submit one’s soul fully to Yahweh. One must become one of His wives, as the “god of me” will be an inner voice that leads one to righteousness. The lesson is to be prepared to be tested in this commitment to Him.

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