Updated: May 7
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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 choice that will be read aloud in unison or sung by a cantor on the fifth Sunday of Easter, Year B, according to the lectionary of the Episcopal Church. This song will follow the mandatory reading from the Acts of the Apostles (chapter 8), which says, “He asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He replied, “How can I, unless someone guides me?’” A reading from John’s first epistle will follow, which says, “God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.” Finally, this song of praise will precede a Gospel reading from John, where Jesus said, “Whoever does not abide in me is thrown away like a branch and withers.”
The numbering of some Psalms do not always match, from version to version. In the BibleHub Interlinear version of this Psalm 22 it shows thirty-one verses, with the last being numbered above [NRSV] as 30. This means the verses numbered by the NRSV are numbered 25 – 31 by BibleHub. Psalm 22 has nothing missing, as the different numberings are relative to how some break up what is written.
Psalm 22 is read in its entirety on Good Friday. The NRSV gives this Psalm the title: “Plea for Deliverance from Suffering and Hostility.” BibleHub lists it as: “Psalm of the Cross,” which is due to the prophetic verses found in this song of lament that apply to the crucifixion of Jesus. This Psalm is divided into sections that are read at different times in the lectionary schedule. As such, the last section is read after Easter Sunday, where these verses reflect the hope of revival that comes from the resurrected Lord, after the pain and suffering has passed. The first and second sections will be read during the Ordinary season after Pentecost (Year B and Year C), with the last section read today also read during Lent (Year B). This attention says Psalm 22 makes it an important one to become familiar with.
The first verse [not read today] is one Jesus began to recite while on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?” That was not Jesus questioning Yahweh, his Father, but David writing while filled with the Holy Spirit about all who will reject God within them. Jesus recited the first verse of this song. This makes Psalm 22 be a song of lament, leading to David foreseeing this scene: “they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.” [verse 18] Still, the lament turns to rescue, which is the praise of this reading, begun in verse 22 as: “I will tell of your name to my brothers [“lə·’e·ḥāy”]; in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”
Verse 25 [NRSV 24] repeats this. It begins with “in the great assembly” [“rāḇ bə·qā·hāl” from “qahal”], which means a large “assembly, convocation, or congregation.” The word “rab” means “much, many, or great,” such that this must be read [relative to David] as all of Israel, or all of the twelve tribes who claim devotion to the One God Yahweh. The Israelites were “those who worship him,” where the Hebrew “yə·rê·’āw” is actually a statement saying, “those who fear him.” Fear of God is the only fear allowed to those who serve Yahweh. Therefore, “my vows in the presence” [correctly “my vows I will complete in the face of”] are vows of marriage, so one has Yahweh within one’s being [i.e.: united with one’s soul, in one’s flesh]. It is from that complete submission that one’s own face is lowered so one then wears the face of Yahweh.
Verse 26 [NRSV 25] then places immediate focus on what one “eats” [“yō·ḵə·lū”], which after marriage to Yahweh must be seen as spiritual food. Thus, the word “anav,” which means “poor, afflicted, humble, meek” is not a statement about one’s material status in the world, but rather a statement about all who have yet to marry Yahweh. All are spiritually impoverished before that time, thus seeking spiritual uplifting. Being fed spiritual food by God satisfies all spiritual needs, eliminating all fears.
When verse 26 sings, “those who seek the Lord shall praise him: "May your heart live for ever!", this is incorrect as a declaration for eternal God to live forever. Instead, it says those who seek Yahweh [led to the altar of marriage] will then “let live your heart forever.” That says the soul of the one who loves Yahweh [“lə·ḇaḇ·ḵem” – “your heart”] will find the reward of eternal salvation, as “heart” means “inner man, mind, will, heart.” (Strong’s Usage)
When verse 27 [NRSV 26] sings, “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord; and all the families of the nations shall worship before him,” this becomes prophetic of Christianity and its spread around the world, when Yahweh would become available to Gentiles. This still reverts one back to verse 25, where marriage vows are statements of seekers, not those forced [at the point of a sword] to convert and call themselves “Christian.” Those from all over the world must seek to join as one with God, which is love that can only come from the heart.
When this verse sings, “yiz·kə·rū wə·yā·šu·ḇū ‘el-Yah·weh” or “shall remember and return to Yahweh,” the memory of God can only be from that space between physical incarnations, when one’s soul returns to be judged by Yahweh, before returning to a body of flesh. Because this memory is spread around the world, the presumption can be a reference to those souls who were once Israelites, but those who rejected marriage to Yahweh. Seen as those condemned to death in the wilderness [and many other examples] says their judgment was to come back as Gentiles [not sent to hell], having forsaken their birthright as Israelites. Their memories of past lives [or life] will be when they were taught to know Yahweh as their God.
This dispersal of lost souls all around the globe will then give rise to families and nations that will have some influence of the spiritual, which would develop into religions to false gods and philosophies. Those religions would then preach fear of gods, which would turn into fear of the priests who served those gods. Those pagan beliefs, having forgotten Yahweh, while retaining some sense of "god," will make them lost souls still. They would be the cause of Israel's collapse into ruin, so many Israelites would be scattered to the four corners of the earth. Still, having once known Yahweh will be the seed of insight within a list of souls, which will remain with those souls and draw them to seek the truth, life after life. When found, their memories of Yahweh will return, like they had become prodigal sons redeemed.
Verse 28 [NRSV 27] is one that needs to be read spiritually, so the metaphor can rise to the forefront. The translation says, “For kingship belongs to the Lord; he rules over the nations,” which leads one to think that Yahweh is the king of nations. That was not true for David, as Israel rejected that arrangement when the elders told Samuel to tell Yahweh to give them a human king, like other nations. When Jesus was asked by Pilate, “Are you a king?” Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this realm.” Thus, one must read this verse and see “nations” [“goy” – also meaning “people”] as each body of flesh ruled over by an individual soul. Each soul rules over the 'nation' of self. When that soul submits to Yahweh in marriage, God Anoints a new king [Jesus] to reign over that 'nation,' with the collective becoming His empire of 'nations' (Christianity).
Verse 29 [NRSV 28] then sings, “To him alone all who sleep in the earth bow down in worship; all who go down to the dust fall before him.” This speaks about the eternity of Yahweh's reign as King. The metaphor of “sleep” and “dust” speaks of the mortality of all human life on earth, which makes a body of flesh become metaphor for a prison in which an unsaved soul must continuously return. Here, this verse is confusing, as to how someone came to this translation. To remove the confusion, the Hebrew needs to be closely analyzed.
The verse begins by stating, “’ā·ḵə·lū way·yiš·ta·ḥăw·wū kāl- diš·nê- ’e·reṣ,” which literally says, “shall eat and bow down all the prosperous of the earth.” In that, the first word returns the reader back to verse 26 , which began [NRSV] “The poor shall eat and be satisfied.” That verse and this verse each begin by stating “shall eat” [“yō·ḵə·lū” and “’ā·ḵə·lū”]. That has been ignored in this verse’s translation; but the point is the same, where spiritual food becomes the truth fed to the poor and the rich. It says the knowledge of Yahweh makes Him the ruler who even the “prosperous” [or “fat” – “dashen”] will “bow down before,” upon their deaths. That is when one either eats one’s words of self-importance, or one rejoices for having eaten the manna supplied to one by Yahweh.
Either way, all souls will be released when their bodies of flesh are no longer able to support spiritual animation; and, the return to the “dust” [“aphar”] from which those bodies came means death. The NRSV translation that ends the verse, saying “fall before him” actually says “even himself” [the “fat” of “self-worth”] “cannot keep alive” (or, “no human lives forever, no matter how rich with material wealth they are”). All must prostrate their souls before the Almighty God for judgment.
Verse 30 [NRSV 29] then says, “My soul shall live for him; my descendants shall serve him; they shall be known as the Lord's for ever.” This sings praises to Yahweh, as a soul who has married Yahweh and led those after him or her to likewise marry Him. Here, the Hebrew word “zera” begins this short verse, which means “a sowing, seed, offspring,” implying “posterity.” That intent led the translators to use the “vine of truth” concept that shows all descendants who serve Yahweh must come from one who lived for Him. Thus, “zera” leads to “ya·‘aḇ·ḏen·nū,” which says “shall serve him.”
The translation that says, “they shall be known as the Lord's for ever,” actually says, “they will be counted as those of the lord’s generation” [“yə·sup·par la·ḏō·nāy lad·dō·wr”]. In that, the word “lad·dō·wr” must be seen as where the Lord dwells, which becomes reinforcement that one is a nation unto Yahweh. Those who truly know Yahweh will be those who submit self so Yahweh lives in their hearts, with Jesus reborn as their Lord. It is that "generation" or "dwelling" that is the living branches of the vine made of truth. [John 15 reference.]
Finally, verse 31 [NRSV 30] says, “They shall come and make known to a people yet unborn the saving deeds that he has done.” This is a good translation that says all who have been sown with the seed of God’s Love in their souls will seek the same as returning servants, as souls returning to become Apostles and Saints that will lead seekers to find a marriage proposal from Yahweh awaits their decision. Those saintly human beings have prophesied of Jesus and Yahweh and Salvation [writers of Biblical books], so seekers can find themselves new teachers of truth [again married to Yahweh] and new pupils [those led to their first marriage to Him].
As the Psalm reading for the fifth Sunday of Easter, it sings praises to the love of Yahweh that saves souls. All Christians are now the same as were all Israelites, as the same Yahweh is King of all who have faith in Him. That faith can only come from a marriage that makes Yahweh personally known to one’s soul, felt throughout one’s flesh. It is this depth of personal experience that leads one into ministry, to save other souls that are lost. That marriage brings about the resurrection of Jesus, as a new Anointed one, which demands adjustment to that divine level of obedience and commitment. The Easter season is the time to find that comfort as Christ reborn on earth.