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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

1. STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM.—Ps. 22 is represented by Bickell as consisting of five stanzas, each comprising four alternately heptasyllabic and tetrasyllabic iambic verses. As to its expression, many think the psalm consists of two metaphorical descriptions, the first being taken from the shepherd’s care for his flock (vv. 1–4), the second from the host’s liberality. But Hengstenberg’s view, that the whole psalm describes the shepherd’s care for his flock and makes this a figure of God’s watchful providence, seems more probable. Rest is afforded to the weary, refreshment and deliverance to the wretched, protection to those in danger, food and drink to the hungry and thirsty. Thus the unity of the psalm is better guarded, and the shepherd’s office is more fully complied with. According to the first view, the most essential part of the pastor’s duty, that of feeding the flock, is wholly neglected.

2. AUTHOR OF THE PSALM.—From its title, its place in the collection of Davidic psalms, and its characteristic beauty of language and loving trust in God’s goodness, we infer that king David is its author. Hitzig by endeavoring to attribute it to Jeremias rather than to David has given another proof of unsound criticism. All agree that it must have been composed in moments of deep interior peace.

3. SUBJECT OF THE PSALM.—Opinions: 1. The loving care of God for the Israelites in the desert is the theme of the psalm (Chald.). 2. The psalm refers to David anointed king in his father’s house, and envied by his brothers. Cf. 1 Kings 16. (Muntinghe). 3. David persecuted by Saul and bereft of all, except divine, help is the subject of the psalm (Paulus, etc.). 4. David sustained by the provisions of Abigail (1 Kings 25:20) has expressed his praise of that special providence in Ps. 22 (Anonym.). 5. The psalm refers to the peaceful time immediately after David’s inauguration, when he probably for a short while returned to his former occupation of keeping sheep (Le Blanc). 6. The psalm celebrates the peaceful time after the wars shortly following David’s accession to the throne of Juda (Muis, Rudinger). 7. David describes in the psalm how by God’s providence he and his followers, encamped across the Jordan during the time of Absolom’s rebellion, were provided with food and all the necessaries of life (Michaelis, Maurer, etc.). 8. Others believe that the psalm refers to the peaceful period after the overthrow of Absolom. 9. The Jews after their return from the Babylonian captivity are the subject of the psalm (Athanas., Calmet). 10. Genebrard in his commentary states that the Jews employ nearly the whole psalm as a blessing at table, thus referring it literally to God’s benefits of food and drink. 11. Comparing the allegory contained in this psalm with Is. 40:9, 11 ff.; Ezech. 34:12 ff.; John 10:11 ff., we must infer that its spiritual meaning applies to Christ, “the good Shepherd,” and to Christ’s pastoral care for his flock. Since the principal food and drink which Christ gives to his sheep is his own flesh and blood, the spiritual sense of the psalm applies also to the Holy Eucharist. The patristic testimonies confirming the Messianic explanation of the psalm may be seen in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica, ii. p. 25 (ed. Tailhan). The Midrash on Num. sect. 21 has the following Messianic explanation of verse 5: “God said to the Israelites: In the days of the Messias, I will prepare before you a table, and the Gentiles by seeing this will be confused, as the Psalmist says; Thou hast prepared … and as the prophet says: Behold, my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty” (Is. 65:13).

4. THE TITLE OF THE PSALM indicates its authorship, and fully confirms the view we have expressed on this question.

PS. 22

The Lord ruleth me, and I shall want nothing.

He hath set me in a place of pasture;

He hath brought me up on the waters of refreshment,

He hath converted my soul.

He hath led me on the paths of justice

For his own name’s sake;

For though I should walk in the midst of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evils.

For thou art with me;

Thy rod and thy staff,

They have comforted me.

Thou hast prepared a table before me,

Against them that afflict me;

Thou hast anointed my head with oil,

And my chalice which inebriateth me

How goodly is it! and thy mercy will follow me

All the days of my life;

And that I may dwell in the house of the Lord,

Unto length of days.

The psalm is literally fulfilled in Christ’s active and tender charity for all. He not only left his heavenly hosts for the good of mankind, but he also gathered the lost sheep of the Gentiles into the one fold of his true Church. And he continues the same line of action towards every single member of the human race.








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