Many years ago back in the 1970s I was watching the old Nationwide programme on the television and for some reason they had a rabbi on. He was asked why Jesus had said “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” His answer was that Jesus was merely quoting Psalm 22. From a worldly point of this might appear to be correct. Though they was something that did not seem quite right to me with his explanation.
It ignores the spiritual dimension. Psalm 22 was written by King David. Yet there is no indication as to which point in his life. To Christians this is regarded as one of the Messianic psalms. In the first part of the psalm the author appears to be suffering the hallmarks of crucifixion “all my bones are out of joint” (v14); Dogs [foreigners] have surrounded me; a band of evil men have encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet. (v16); “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.” (v18). But David did not suffer crucifixion but died in his bed at a grand old age. One could therefore argue that David had a vision of of Jesus being crucified. If so, then one could equally argue that David had quoted Jesus. Furthermore the book of Revelation refers to the “Lamb slain from the creation [foundation] of the world” 13.8, would support this view.
The psalm ends on a more positive note where the psalmist says “they will proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn – for he has done it,” (v31). The last part of which could be translated as “It is finished.”
The question arises as to which time in David’s life did he write this psalm? If one rephrases the question as to which time in his life did he need to have a vision of the future Messiah dying for his sin. If one thinks along those lines, then there is the possibility that it occurred in the aftermath of his affair with Bathsheba after it had been exposed by Nathan the prophet. True, that Psalm 51 is also attributed to this period with its “Create in me a clean heart. But could not Psalm 22 also be from that time? Why not?
About a year or so earlier than these events David had the idea of building the first temple in Jerusalem, but the Lord forbade him from doing so, leaving the honour to David’s son. But Nathan’s prophecy also referred to the future Messiah as being David’s son. David knew that his existing son’s were not good enough persons to be the Messiah. So, it is just possible that when David espied he was looking for a perfect woman to bear a perfect son. Tragedy followed when in order to cover up his infidelity he had Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah the Hittite, put to death. Nathan the same prophet that proclaimed that proclaimed that that his son would live forever, now proclaimed that Bathsheba’s son would die because of his sin. David prayed earnestly for the babe’s health to be restored, prostrating himself before the Lord for days without eating. When he was in this position he would have been in a similar position to a man being crucified, albeit in a horizontal rather than vertical one. After the child died David must have realised that the son who would reign forever would have to be another descendant. He hoped, no doubt, that it would be Solomon his next son borne by Bathsheba. He would build the Temple. In doing so, what was the will of the father was accomplished by the son. But Solomon turned away from the Lord in his later years, so any hope that he might have been the Messiah was misplaced. A thousand years later another Son of David would pray “not My will but Yours” to His heavenly Father – The will of the Father was accomplished by the Son. He accomplished it by dying on the cross for the sins of the world. For those who died in the past like David and those who would live in future like you and me. It is possible that when Paul spoke about being crucified with Christ he was alluding to Psalm 22, in the David must have had vision of Jesus dying in his place. ;Likewise, we can say that we have been crucified with Christ – The Lamb Slain before the foundation of the world.