Verse 31. "Unto a people that shall be born " - That is, one generation shall continue to announce unto another the true religion of the Lord Jesus; so that it shall be for ever propagated in the earth. Of his kingdom there shall be no end.
ANALYSIS OF THE TWENTY-SECOND PSALM
This Psalm concerns the Messiah, his passion, and his kingdom. Though, in some sense, it, may be applied to David as a type, yet Christ is the thing signified, and therefore it is primarily and principally verified of and in him; for he is brought in here, speaking, First, Of his dereliction; then showing his passion, and the cruelty of his enemies.
Secondly, Entreating ease and deliverance from his sufferings.
Thirdly, Promising thanks to God; foretelling the preaching of the Gospel, and the enlargement of his kingdom by the accession of all nations.
There are three chief parts in this Psalm: - I. Our saviour's complaint, and the causes of it: prophetically expressing his sufferings nearly throughout the whole Psalm.
II. His petition and prayer that God would not absent himself, but deliver and save him, ver. 3-5, 9-11, 19-21.
III. His thanksgiving and prophetic declaration concerning the conversion of the Gentiles; ver. 22-31.
I. He begins with a heavy complaint of dereliction in his extremity; and that he was not heard, though he prayed with strong crying and tears: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" &c. The words are repeated to show the deep anguish of his heart.
2. He shows how well-grounded his complaint was: for God had dealt with him contrary to his usual method; for when his saints called upon him, he heard them in their distress. Martyres si non eripuit, tum non deseruit. "If he did not deliver the martyrs, yet he did not desert them in their sufferings." His case was more grievous than any that had gone before. Of this he speaks particularly in the three succeeding verses, ver. 3-5, by which he reminds God of his promise: "Call on me in the time of trouble, and I will deliver thee." Of this they who went before had experience: and as he was the same God still, why should this Sufferer only be deserted? for they were heard and comforted.
1. "Thou art holy," propitious and benevolent. "Thou dwellest in the praises of Israel;" thou art continually helping them, and they are continually praising thee for this help.
To prove all this he brings the example of the fathers: - 2. "Our fathers trusted in thee, and thou didst deliver them." 3. "They cried unto thee-and were not confounded." But my case is worse than any other: "I am a worm, and am no man." He then details his sufferings: - 1. The scoffs and scorns cast upon him: "I am become the reproach of men, and the despised among the people." 2. Their contempt is expressed both by words and gestures: "All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip-and shake the head." 3. They laboured to deprive him of his God. They uttered this insulting sarcasm: "He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him; let him deliver him, since he delighted in him." II. He now breaks off the narration of his sufferings, has immediate recourse to God, refutes their irony, shows his confidence in God, and prays for assistance. This he strengthens by three arguments drawn from God's goodness towards him: - 1. His generation and birth: "Thou-tookest me out of my mother's womb." 2. His sustenance and support ever since: "Thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts; - thou art my God from my mother's belly." In a word, he was his saviour, Protector, and Preserver.
3. Trouble is near, and there is none to help. Therefore, "Be not far from me." Now he returns to the narration of his passion, in which he sets forth the despite, cruelty, and rage of the Jews towards him, whom he compares to bulls, lions, dogs, &c., ver. 16.
1. They apprehended him: "Many bulls have compassed me;" &c.
2. They longed to condemn and devour him: "They gaped on me with their mouths, as a ravening and roaring lion." 3. This was the cruelty of the lions and bulls, the chief rulers, and chief priests; and now follows the ravin of the dogs, the "multitude of the people:" they were the "assembly of the wicked; " and being stirred up by the priests and rulers, "they compassed him round about." 4. They crucify him. And his passion is foretold, with what he should suffer in body and soul.
1. "I am poured out like water." My blood is poured out freely; and no more account taken of it, than if it were water spilt on the ground.
2. "All my bones (when hung on the cross) are out of joint." 3. "My heart (at the sense of God's hatred to sin) is dissolved and melted like wax." 4. "My strength (my animal spirits and muscular energy) is dried up like a potsherd;" or like a pot, whose fluid is evaporated by hanging long over a fierce fire.
5. "My tongue (for thirst) cleaveth to my jaws." 6. "Thou hast brought me to death-to the dust of death:" to the grave.
7. "They pierced my hands and my feet." I am crucified also, and die upon the cross.
8. By my long hanging upon the cross, my bones are so disjointed that they may be easily told: "I may tell all my bones." 9. "They look and stare upon me." They feel no compassion, but take pleasure in my agonies. This is an affection which is characteristic only of a devil.
10. "They part my garments among them." They delighted in his destruction for the sake of his spoils.
Having thus far described his sufferings, and the malice of his enemies, he begins again to pray; which is, in effect, the same with that ejaculation with which Christ gave up the ghost: "Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit."Be not thou far from me, O Lord."Deliver my soul from the sword, my darling from the power of the dog."Save me from the lion's mouth," &c.
III. This part, which is a profession of thanks for deliverance, contains a clear prophecy of the resurrection of Christ; that, having conquered death and Satan, he was to reign and gather a Church out of all nations, which was to continue for ever. This is amplified, First, By a public profession of the benefit received from God: "I will declare thy name in the midst of the congregation, I will pay my vows." In which we have, 1. The propagation, proclamation, and preaching of the gospel: "I will declare thy name;" which is amplified, (1.) By the notation of the objects to whom preached, honoured here by the name of, 1. Brethren. 2. Those that fear the Lord. 3. The seed of Jacob, the seed of Israel. 4. The meek or poor. 5. The fat-rich, great, or eminent of the earth. 6. They that go down to the dust.
(2.) By the place: "The midst of the congregation" - the great congregation, i.e., both among the Jews and among the Gentiles.
(3.) By the worship they were to pay:
1. Praise. 2. Paying of vows. 3.
Fear, or religious reverence.
2. An exhortation to his brethren, &c., to do this duty; and they must be fit for it, for every one is not fit to take God's name in his mouth.
It is, Ye that fear the Lord-the seed of Jacob-the seed of Israel, fear him, serve the Lord in fear, rejoice before him with reverence. Give him both external and internal worship.
3. And to engage them to this, he gives two reasons: Reason 1. Drawn from God's goodness, his acceptance of our worship, hearing our prayers, and affording help when we call: "For the Lord hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted. When he cried to him, he heard him." Reason 2. The great good that should happen to them who would believe and accept the Gospel; whom he calls here the meek, that is, the humble, broken-hearted, the penitent, the heavy laden; those who are oppressed with the burden of their sins, and astonished at a sense of God's wrath. To them are made three promises of comfort: - 1. "They shall eat, and be satisfied." They shall be fed with the word and ordinances of God.
2. "They shall praise the Lord for his mercy;" seeking his favour in his ordinances, which, under the Gospel, are generally eucharistical.
3. "Their heart shall live for ever;" their conscience being quieted and pacified, and freed from a sense of God's wrath.
Secondly, The prophet proceeds, and shows us the amplitude of these benefits; that they belong, not only to the Jews but to the Gentiles, by whose conversion the kingdom of Christ is to be enlarged.
1. "All the ends of the world," being warned by the preaching of the Gospel, and allured by these promises, shall remember- consider the lamentable condition in which they are, and deplore their former estate, impiety, and idolatry. And the mercy of God being now manifested to them-2.
They shall cast away their gods, turn from their evil ways, and seek that God from whom they have been alienated. And being converted-3.
They shall embrace a new form of religion under the Gospel: "All the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee." 4. Of which the reason is, because Christ is advanced to the throne; all power is given to him: "For the kingdom is the Lord's, and he is governor among the people." 5. He then shows the two kinds of people who should become subjects of the kingdom; in effect, rich and poor.
1. "The fat upon the earth." The wealthy, the mighty; kings, princes, great men, are to be called into the kingdom, that they may be partakers of its grace: "All they that be fat upon the earth," &c.
2. "They also that go down to the dust." That is, the poor, the neglected, who draw out their life in misery, and sit, as it were, in the dust; those who are perpetual mourners, and have, as it were, perpetual dust and ashes upon their heads: "These shall bow before him." Lastly. He amplifies the greatness of this benefit by the perpetuity of Christ's kingdom. It was not a feast of one hour, it was to continue.
1. "A seed shall serve him." But this and the preceding clause may signify the psalmist's resolution to live to God himself, and to show others the same way. See the notes.
This seed, however, shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. It shall be a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and called by Christ's own name- CHRISTIANS.
2. When one generation is past, another shall come up to perform this duty, being instructed by their fathers: "They shall come and declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born." Manebit semper ecclesia, "the Church is immortal." 3. He concludes with the cause of all. Why called, justified, sanctified, saved. He hath done it; the GOD, the Author of all; the Fountain of all grace; the Giver of Jesus Christ, and eternal life through him. For by him, and of him, and through him, are all things; and to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever!