Psalm 22:22-30 - A descendant of salvation's song of praise

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

22 Praise the Lord, you that fear him; *

stand in awe of him, O offspring of Israel;

all you of Jacob's line, give glory.

23 For he does not despise nor abhor the poor in their poverty;

neither does he hide his face from them; *

but when they cry to him he hears them.

24 My praise is of him in the great assembly; *

I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.

25 The poor shall eat and be satisfied,

and those who seek the Lord shall praise him: *

"May your heart live for ever!"

26 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, *

and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.

27 For kingship belongs to the Lord; *

he rules over the nations.

28 To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; *

all who go down to the dust fall before him.

29 My soul shall live for him;

my descendants shall serve him; *

they shall be known as the Lord's for ever.

30 They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn *

the saving deeds that he has done.


This is the Psalm selection for the second Sunday in Lent, Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will be read aloud in some manner or sung by a cantor, accompanying an Old Testament reading about the covenant between God and Abram (Genesis), an Epistle of Paul where he spoke of Jesus in comparison to Abraham (Romans), and the Gospel selection from Mark, where Jesus told his followers to raise up their stakes if they were to follow him. This song of praise by David is read (in parts) on other lectionary schedule occasions.

In verse 22 [verse 23, according to the BibleHub Interlinear translations], David announced that all the descendants of "Yahweh" [rather than “the Lord”] must praise Him, saying all the offspring of Israel must respect Him with honor and glory. Relative to this second Sunday in Lent, when the story of the covenant between Yahweh and Abram is told, those descendants [specifically those of Jacob’s line] are the ones promised to be a multitude of nations. This multiplicity must now be seen not as many countries or the control of empires, but the people who, like David, give praise to Yahweh.

In verse 23 [24] we read, “[Yahweh] does he hide his face from them.”

There the word “pā·nāw” is written [a form of “panim”], meaning “his face.” This should be read as supporting detail to the Genesis reading, when God spoke to Abram, telling him, “walk before me” [“hiṯ·hal·lêḵ lə·p̄ā·nay”], where "le-panay" is translated as "before me." The usage actually says, “walk with my face upon you.” Therefore, what David said in this verse is from personal experience from himself have worn the face of God, as one who deeply loved God with all his heart and gave Yahweh praise for all his successes in life. By saying God “does not hide his face from them,” “them” becomes all descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who live dedicated lives to Yahweh, as did Abram and David [and all in between of similar devotion].

In verse 24 [25], David sang, “I will perform my vows in the presence of those who worship him.” Here, the Hebrew “nə·ḏā·ray” is written [from “neder”], where “a vow” must be seen as a covenant that binds one to God. The covenant God made to Abram was “a vow,” but the covenant of one means an equal covenant from another. This says Abram made his “vows” to Yahweh, as equal promises made to one another. This means “neder” becomes a statement of a marriage, where the blessing given by Yahweh to one of His faithful wives, also says that faithful wife owes God the same blessing of commitment.

In verse 25 [26], the song confirms the “vows” to be based on a love of God, which can only be upheld when fully committed through marriage [one’s soul merged with God’s Holy Spirit – a divine possession of Master to servant]. Here, David sang out: “those who seek the Lord shall praise him: “May your heart live for ever!”

This says the kingdom of God is within one’s heart. Each body with a heart that is totally committed to God then has a soul that loves God for eternity [“for ever”]. Important here is David saying he was not the only one filled with God’s Holy Spirit, as all in Israel who likewise had God abiding in their hearts, they [like David] had sought that presence. Seeking “Yahweh” [rather than “the Lord”] means doing everything necessary to make Yahweh see the beauty of one’s soul in the flesh, so Yahweh will seek marriage with one in return.

When David sang these words, he was saying Israel was not great because all were descended from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – by birthright or blood – but because divine descendants will always be like their forefathers and seek to serve Yahweh with all their hearts, all their souls, and all their minds. That is a bond of love, which brings about marriage to the Holy Spirit.

In verses 26 and 27 [27-28], David sang out the promise made by God to Abram, singing:

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall bow before him.

For kingship belongs to the Lord; he rules over the nations.

In these verses is a statement that the “nations” [“gō·w·yim,” the plural of “goy”] are the creations of “families” [“miš·pə·ḥō·wṯ,” plural of “mishpachah”]. This means each individual is a solitary “nation unto the Lord” [Yahweh], through absolute love and devotion, such that the presence of Yahweh within leads all other “family” members to likewise see the value of God’s presence and also seek to love and serve the Lord. Israel was a "family" under David, so all served Yahweh in kind. In this way Abraham was given a son through Sarah, who became “family,” and foreshadowed this model. That is how the covenant would become a multitude of nations. Rather than see a country under a king as a nation, where subservience is to that king, the subservience of a covenant of vows is to God as the king of the individual, making each a wife of Yahweh become a nation under God. Israel under David was a multitude of nations all married to the Lord [Yahweh].

In verse 28 [29] is found above, “all who go down to the dust fall before him.” Cut off from that line is Hebrew that translates to say, “even himself cannot be kept alive” [from “wə·nap̄·šōw lō ḥî·yāh”]. Here, David acknowledged the human flesh was bound to die, thus a return to the dust of the world, from which it came. All “dust” [“aphar”] is lifeless and only from receiving the breath of life from God can matter become animated. Thus, David sang that “even the soul” [where “wə·nap̄” comes from “nephesh,” meaning “a soul, living being, life, self, person, desire, passion, appetite, emotion” – Strong’s], which will be released upon death of the body of flesh, “cannot live.”

That is David knowing that death of the body releases an eternal soul, but the soul remains captive to the past deeds of the flesh. As such, the soul becomes sentenced to a return to a new body of flesh [eternal death, not life], if one’s life past had not been a marriage of that flesh’s soul to God. Thus he wrote, “To him [Yahweh] alone [totally] all who sleep in the earth [born in a dead body of matter] bow down in worship [become married to Yahweh for the promise of eternal life after death of the body].”

This realization of the afterlife caused David to then sing in verse 29 [30], “My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; they shall be known as the Lord's for ever.” Here, when one is talking about souls, for David to say “my soul shall live for [Yahweh]” says he was married to the Holy Spirit. Therefore, a covenant of marriage had been made between David and Yahweh. The promise made to David was then the same as that made to Abram – eternal life of the soul.

When David then added, “my descendants shall serve [Yahweh],” that is not a statement of bloodline, but a statement that says all who follow after David, those who also marry their souls to the Holy Spirit, they will be the “descendants” spiritually. David had physical sons and daughters, but only those [and those of Israel] who came to know God as His wives [like David] would also gain eternal life.

When these selected verses end [verse 30 above, verse 31 in BibleHub] with David singing, “They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn the saving deeds that he has done,” the “saving deeds” are those acts based on a total commitment to do the works of Yahweh. In the Hebrew that is written here is the word “ṣiḏ·qā·ṯōw” {from “tsedaqah”], which clearly is a statement that the “saving” element is “righteousness.” When this is sang by David as the legacy of himself and the nation of people called Israel [after the divine name given to Jacob in marriage] is and can only be seen through acts of “righteousness.” Thus, when David sang, “my descendants shall serve him,” he then made that service be known as acts of “righteousness.” Nothing less can ever make one a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Israel or David.

It is also important to read "people yet unborn" [from "nō·w·lāḏ," meaning "to bring forth, beget, bear"] as those souls in the flesh that have no yet been led to wear the face of Yahweh, through marriage to His Holy Spirit. This becomes an important link between the Genesis presentation of a covenant between God and Abram and the Gospel reading in Mark, where Jesus is found teaching those who had yet to receive that Holy Spirit and be reborn as Jesus Christ. That means "people yet unborn" is everyone in the world who has not committed his or her soul to serving the One God through lives of righteousness.

As a song of praise to God that is sung aloud on the second Sunday in Lent, these words of David perfectly explain the meaning of the covenant made between God and Abram [including his wife Sarai]. It perfect cements the meaning stated by Paul, in his letter to the Christians of Rome [all converted Jews], when he wrote: “For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.” Furthermore, David confirmed in his psalm that not only must Jesus suffer rejection, death and resurrection, but all who are the descendants of the Most High must make the same sacrifices of self to Yahweh, in order for their souls to be saved eternally.

As a song of praise for Yahweh during a time dedicated to a personal sacrifice to God, as a test of one's commitment to live righteously, one should feel the presence of Yahweh in one's heart, if one is going to find a Lenten test a natural state of being, where only love permeates. If one is straining to go forty days without one trivial delight the world offers, one is missing the point of David's praise. One must feel the love that exudes from a marriage to Yahweh as a normal state of being, where sacrifice has become a way of life.

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