Psalm Twenty two – Translation of the Song

22,1 For the Leader; on Ayeleth haShahar. A Song by David.
22,2 My God, my God, why have You abandoned me? Far from my deliverance, far from the roars that I utter.
22,3 My God, I cry out all the day, but You do not answer, and all the night, but no quietude for me.
22,4 And yet You are holy, dwelling in the praises of Israel.
22,5 In You trusted our fathers, trusted, and You rescued them.
22,6 To You they called in distress, and they escaped; in You they trusted, and they were not disappointed.
22,7 But myself, I am a worm, and not a man; insulted by men, and despised by the nation.
22,8 All who see me ridicule me; they dismiss me with a curl of the lips, with a  shake of the head:
22,9 ”Roll your way to ADONAI! He will rescue him, He will save him, for He desires good for him.”
22,10 For You burst me out of the belly; You ensured my trust when I was on my mother’s breasts.
22,11 I was propelled to You from the womb, from my mother’s belly to You, my God.
22,12 Do not distance Yourself from me, for torment is nearby, for there is no one to help.
22,13 Strong bulls have surrounded me; the mighty bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
22,14 They have opened wide their mouths at me — a ravenous, roaring lion.
22,15 Like water, I was spilled out, and all my bones came apart;
my heart was like wax, melted in my bowels.
22,16 Dried up like clay is my strength, and my tongue cleaves to my palate, and You will set me in the dust of death.
22,17 For the curs have surrounded me; a pack of evildoers has closed in on me; the prey of a lion, my hands and my feet.
22,18 I speak for all my bones. They watch and stare at me.
22,19 They will divide my raiments among them, and for my garments they will cast lots.
22,20 But You ADONAI be not distant; You, my strength, hasten to my aid.
22,21 Save from sword my soul; from the grip of the cur my essence.
22,22 Deliver  me from the mouth of the lion; from the horns of the bull You did answer me.
22,23 I will speak Your name to my brothers; within the congregation I will praise You:
22,24 “Those who are in awe of ADONAI, praise Him. All the seed of Jacob, glorify Him. And fear Him, all the seed of Israel.
22,25 For He did not despise and did not detest the pleading prayer of the needy, and did not conceal His face from him;
when he implored Him, He heard.”
22,26 From You comes my praise in the multitude of the congregation; my vows I will fulfill in front of those who are in awe of Him.
22,27 The humble will eat and be satisfied; they will praise ADONAI those who are in search of Him.
May your hearts live forever.
22,28 One end of the earth to the other will remember and return to ADONAI and all the family of nations will bow down before You.
22,29 For ADONAI’s is the kingship and He rules the nations.
22,30 Eat and bow down, all of earth’s fattened; before Him kneel, all those who will go down to the dust, those whose souls cannot be revived.
22,31 A seed will worship Him and will tell of the Master to the generations to follow.
22,32 They will come and declare His righteousness to a people being born, all that He has done.  

Notes on Translation, Psalm 22:

v.1: “on” indicates that “Ayeleth haShahar” is a musical instrument. The literal translation of the Hebrew, however, is “deer of the sunrise” or “radiant deer”. (See Commentary, Psalm 22)
v. 4: “praises” translates the Hebrew word תְּהִלּוֹת or “Tehillim”, which is the Jewish title of “The Book of Psalms”.

v. 6: the word בוֹשׁוּ, translated here as “disappointed”, also has the meaning of “shame” or “embarrassment”.

v. 7: “man”, in the first instance of the word in the verse, is the Hebrew אִישׁ; in the second, אָדָם. The singer, in employing two different words, is re-iterating his despair that he is, without God’s full presence, no longer a man; and that, accordingly, he is scorned by all men — by all the children of Adam.

v. 9: Biblical Hebrew lacks quotation marks. Accordingly, the verse can be interpreted as the jeers the singer suffers from those who ridicule him — as it is here interpreted– or, without quotation marks, it can be the singer’s own self-reassurances that God will indeed deliver him. If the latter, the verse is in abrupt contrast to the preceding eight, which grieve only God’s absence.

v. 11: “womb” in Hebrew, רָחֶם, has the same root as “mercy”, רַחֲמִים.

v. 13: Bashan is first mentioned in the Tanach in Genesis 14:5. The region of Argob, in Bashan, came under Solomon’s rule with the defeat of the king of Bashan (1 Kings4:13).

v. 15: the Hebrew word for “bones” can also be translated “essence”. For a fuller explanation, see “Notes on Translation, Psalm 6”, verse 3.

v. 16: the Hebrew word for “clay” can also be read “soundless”.

v. 17: the Hebrew reads literally, “like a lion, my hands and my feet”. That he is not comparing his limbs to those of a lion is evident from his previous description of his lack of strength. Moreover, the “pack” of his enemies surround him; his limbs, therefore, their prey.

v. 18: “speak” in Hebrew — סִפֵּר — has the same root as “count”, סָפַר.

v. 20: “strength” in Hebrew, אֱיָל, has the same root as “deer”, “ayeleth”, of verse 1.

v. 21: “essence” here does not relate to “bones” of verse 15 (see Notes, v. 15). The words are not the same. Here its additional meaning is “one and only”.

v. 21: the Hebrew is actually “the hand” –מִיַּד–, not “the grip”. The English translation thus takes note of the fact that the “curs” are humans; whereas the Hebrew emphasizes their animality.

v. 24: “Israel” refers to the Israelite nation but also to Jacob, mentioned first in the verse. Jacob, after wrestling with an angel, received the name “Israel” (see Genesis 32:28 and 35:10).

v. 26: “fulfill” in Hebrew, אֲשַׁלֵּם, shares a common root with “shalom”, שָׁלוֹם, the Hebrew word usually translated “peace”.

v. 28: the Hebrew reads, literally, “all the edges of the earth”.

v. 30: the Hebrew word for “fattened” is translated in Psalm 23, verse 5, as “enriched”.

v. 31: “seed” is the Biblical word most often used for “descendants”.

These translations are by Rabbi Maccabi and Dr. Rosenberg. The translations are as close to the literal Hebrew as possible.

Click here to study “Literary analysis of Psalm 22”

King James Psalms 22 Translation:

[1] My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?
[2] O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent.
[3] But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.
[4] Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them.
[5] They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded.
[6] But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
[7] All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head saying,
[8] He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.
[9] But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.
[10] I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.
[11] Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.
[12] Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.
[13] They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.
[14] I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
[15] My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.
[16] For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
[17] I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
[18] They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
[19] But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
[20] Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
[21] Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
[22] I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.
[23] Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.
[24] For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.
[25] My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.
[26] The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.
[27] All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.
[28] For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and he is the governor among the nations.
[29] All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
[30] A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
[31] They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.