Psalm 22 foreshadowed the crucifixion of Jesus

Bible passage: Psalm 22
Prophet: David
Written: About 1000 BC (3000 years ago)

This article is contributed by Ray Konig, the author of Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Prophet, Jesus the Miracle Worker, and 100 Fulfilled Bible Prophecies.

By Ray Konig
Published: April 28, 2024

Psalm 22 is often regarded as a remarkable prophecy that accurately predicted many details that Jesus suffered during his crucifixion.

This psalm was written by King David about 3,000 years ago, which is about 1,000 years before the crucifixion of Jesus.

In Psalm 22, David writes poetically and prophetically of a chosen one of God who is surrounded by enemies, immobilized, mocked and attacked, sustaining injuries to his hands and feet.

These details are remarkably consistent with the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ crucifixion, during which he was surrounded by enemies, immobilized, mocked and attacked, sustaining injuries to his hands and feet.

The similarities are many and they include:

• Psalm 22:1 opens with the words My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus recites these words as he is dying on the cross (Matthew 27:46), for the sins of others, drawing our attention to Psalm 22, which he was in the act of fulfilling.

• Psalm 22:7 speaks of a chosen one of God as being mocked, as was Jesus before and during the crucifixion (Luke 22:63, 23:36).

• Psalm 22:8 speaks of the chosen one as being mocked for trusting in God, as was Jesus after being nailed to the cross (Matthew 27:43).

• Psalm 22:9-10 notes that the chosen one was chosen before birth, as was Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25). His birth was foretold by God in the Old Testament (Isaiah 7:13-14, Isaiah 9:6-7, Micah 5:1-4).

• Psalm 22:14-15 notes that the chosen one experiences extreme dehydration and physical agony, as does Jesus (John 19:16-37).

• Psalm 22:16 notes that the chosen one is surrounded and has his hands and feet pierced. During his execution, Jesus was surrounded by enemies and his hands and feet were pierced with nails as part of the Roman crucifixion process (Luke 24:37-40; John 20:24-29).

• Psalm 22:18 speaks of onlookers gambling for pieces of clothing that belonged to the chosen one. During Jesus’ crucifixion, Roman soldiers gambled, by casting lots, for articles of clothing that had belonged to Jesus (Matthew 27:35).

Many Christian scholars have written about their views of the significance of Psalm 22 and the crucifixion of Jesus. The late Charles Briggs, who had been a professor at the Union Theological Seminary, said “These sufferings [of Psalm 22] transcend those of any historical sufferer, with the single exception of Jesus Christ. They find their exact counterpart in the sufferings of the cross.... This ideal is a Messianic ideal, and finds its only historical realization in Jesus Christ.”

Another reason that Psalm 22 is viewed as a remarkable prophecy is that its details accurately coincide with a form of crucifixion that was used by the Romans about 2,000 years ago. This particular form of crucifixion is not known to have existed when Psalm 22 was written about 3,000 years ago.

In fact, the earliest records attesting to this form of crucifixion, which involved the use of nails and wooden crosses, are from the first century of this era, which is when Jesus was crucified.

These records include the four Gospels of the New Testament, as well as the writings of Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian, who wrote about the form of crucifixion used by the Romans. Josephus writes that the Romans relied on nails and crosses, in his book The Wars of the Jews, Book V, chapter 11, section 1.

Also, in 1968, the skeletal remains of a man named Jehohanan, with a nail driven through a heel, were found in a burial site in East Jerusalem. Scholars at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, including Nicu Haas, have proposed that Jehohanan was crucified during the first century of this era, which concides with the timing of Jesus’ crucifixion by the Romans.

Some commentators have claimed that crucifixion existed many centuries before the time of the Romans. But, it should be noted that these commentators are using a very broad definition of “crucifixion,” to include hanging and impalement. Again, the earliest known historical records that attest to the form of crucifixion that involves nails and crosses, and the piercing of hands and feet, are from the first century of this era, which is when Jesus was crucified by the Romans.

There is an additional similarity between Psalm 22 and Jesus that has been widely overlooked by commentators throughout the ages, even though it is an outwardly remarkable detail -- the predicted impact that was to follow the chosen one’s suffering:

All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to Yahweh. All the relatives of the nations shall worship before you. (Psalm 22:27, WEB)

David wrote these words about 3,000 years ago, after describing the suffering of God’s chosen one in the first part of Psalm 22.

These words find extreme fulfillment today, as hundreds of millions of people (Christians), all over the world, worship Yahweh, the God of Israel.

In fact, Christianity, which believes that Jesus died for the sins of others, in a manner that fulfills Psalm 22, is the world’s largest and most widespread religion, with an estimated 2.3 billion followers, who reside in more than 95 percent of the world’s nations, in fulfillment of Psalm 22:27.

The prophetic promise that the Messiah would have a worldwide spiritual impact, as alluded to in Psalm 22:27, is discussed in more detail in the book, Jesus the Messiah, by Ray Konig.

© Ray Konig.

Ray Konig is the author of Jesus the Messiah, Jesus the Prophet, Jesus the Miracle Worker, and 100 Fulfilled Bible Prophecies.

Here is the World English Bible translation for Psalm 22:

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?

2 My God, I cry in the daytime, but you don’t answer; in the night season, and am not silent.

3 But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel.

4 Our fathers trusted in you. They trusted, and you delivered them.

5 They cried to you, and were delivered. They trusted in you, and were not disappointed.

6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.

7 All those who see me mock me. They insult me with their lips. They shake their heads, saying,

8 “He trusts in Yahweh. Let him deliver him. Let him rescue him, since he delights in him.”

9 But you brought me out of the womb. You made me trust while at my mother’s breasts.

10 I was thrown on you from my mother’s womb. You are my God since my mother bore me.

11 Don’t be far from me, for trouble is near. For there is no one to help.

12 Many bulls have surrounded me. Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

13 They open their mouths wide against me, lions tearing prey and roaring.

14 I am poured out like water. All my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax. It is melted within me.

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have brought me into the dust of death.

16 For dogs have surrounded me. A company of evildoers have enclosed me. They have pierced my hands and feet.

17 I can count all of my bones. They look and stare at me.

18 They divide my garments among them. They cast lots for my clothing.

19 But don’t be far off, Yahweh. You are my help. Hurry to help me!

20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog.

21 Save me from the lion’s mouth! Yes, you have rescued me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my brothers. Among the assembly, I will praise you.

23 You who fear Yahweh, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify him! Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!

24 For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, Neither has he hidden his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard.

25 My praise of you comes in the great assembly. I will pay my vows before those who fear him.

26 The humble shall eat and be satisfied. They shall praise Yahweh who seek after him. Let your hearts live forever.

27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to Yahweh. All the relatives of the nations shall worship before you.

28 For the kingdom is Yahweh’s. He is the ruler over the nations.

29 All the rich ones of the earth shall eat and worship. All those who go down to the dust shall bow before him, even he who can’t keep his soul alive.

30 Posterity shall serve him. Future generations shall be told about the Lord.

31 They shall come and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born, for he has done it. (Psalm 22, WEB)