Verse 46. "My God! My God! why hast thou forsaken me!" - These words are quoted by our Lord from Psa. xxii. 1; they are of very great importance, and should be carefully considered.
Some suppose "that the divinity had now departed from Christ, and that his human nature was left unsupported to bear the punishment due to men for their sins." But this is by no means to be admitted, as it would deprive his sacrifice of its infinite merit, and consequently leave the sin of the world without an atonement. Take deity away from any redeeming act of Christ, and redemption is ruined. Others imagine that our Lord spoke these words to the Jews only, to prove to them that he was the Messiah. "The Jews," say they, "believed this psalm to speak of the Messiah: they quoted the eighth verse of it against Christ-He trusted in God that he would deliver him; let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. (See ver. 43.) To which our Lord immediately answers, My God! my God! etc , thus showing that he was the person of whom the psalmist prophesied." I have doubts concerning the propriety of this interpretation.
It has been asked, What language is it that our Lord spoke? Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. Some say it is Hebrew-others Syriac. I say, as the evangelists quote it, it is neither. St. Matthew comes nearest the Hebrew, yntbz[ hml yla yla Eli, Eli, lamah azabthani, in the words, hli, hli, lama sabactani, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani.
And St. Mark comes nearest the Syriac, Mark xv. 34, Alohi, Alohi, l'mono shebachtheni, in the words elwi, elwi, lamma sabacqani, Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabachthani. It is worthy of note, that a Hebrew MS. of the twelfth century, instead of yntbz[ azabthani, forsaken me, reads yntjkŹ shechachthani, FORGOTTEN me. This word makes a very good sense, and comes nearer to the sabachthani of the evangelists. It may be observed also, that the words, Why hast thou FORGOTTEN me? are often used by David and others, in times of oppression and distress. See Psalm xlii. 9.
Some have taken occasion from these words to depreciate the character of our blessed Lord. "They are unworthy," say they, "of a man who suffers, conscious of his innocence, and argue imbecility, impatience, and despair." This is by no means fairly deducible from the passage. However, some think that the words, as they stand in the Hebrew and Syriac, are capable of a translation which destroys all objections, and obviates every difficulty. The particle hml lamah, may be translated, to what-to whom-to what kind or sort-to what purpose or profit: Genesis xxv. 32; Gen. xxxii. 29; xxxiii. 15; Job ix. 29;