Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Col, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
Augustine immediately identifies Psalm 22 as one “spoken in the person of The Crucified. For from the head of this Psalm are the words which He cried out, whilest hanging on the Cross” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320529). The cry expressing forsakenness is because here Christ is bearing “the old man” who is far separated from God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320535). For this reason, in verse 2, Augustine observes the cry to God is not heard, in the day or night. Augustine notes that this should serve as an encouragement to cry out to God all the more, as He hears when we depend on Him (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320541). It is the one who calls on him earnestly, as the “praise of Israel” (v. 3), who is heard, the one who hopes in God as did the patriarchs (v. 4). They were saved due to their hope in God.
On the contrary, in verse 6, Jesus called on the Father at his death, when he was not even accepted by people. His humility brought scorn upon him (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320548). The laughing (v. 7) and derision (v. 8) were directly applied to Jesus, born of a woman, also, as Augustine recognizes, born from the Jews, who were covered in drakness (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320554). He was strengthened by God according to all the means given in Israel (v. 10) and depended on the Father in his earthly life (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320561). However, in his arrest, trial, and execution Jesus was surrounded by opponents (v. 12). Their mouths were opened against Christ. Augustine recognizes that Jesus’ accusers were not speaking the Scripture but their own desire, which was for His destruction (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320567). As a result, in verse 14, He was “poured out like water.” Augustine compares this to melting wax. His strength was dried up (v. 15). Augustine notes this is “not as hay, but a potsherd, which is made stronger by fire” (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320573). When Jesus could speak, his words were solid, but he was prevented from some speech (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320573). Yet in the last day, He was surrounded by “dogs” (v. 16) who would attack Him. As He was stretched on the cross (v. 17) his bones were visible. His captors took His clothing (v. 18) and still the Lord did not bring help (v. 19) (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320580). The plea, then, is that God woudl rescue His Son, in soul and body. Augustine again notes the importance ofthe body of Christ in His state of humility (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320586).
In the end, the Lord, once rescued, will declare God’s praise to all (v. 22). The Psalm then calls all Israel, all who fear the Lord, to sing praise to God, who, in verse 24, has not despised the poor one (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320593). This is the pure praise of God, that He is the one who cares for the poor and humble, just as He does for the crucified Christ. He gives abundance even to the poor (v. 26) (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320599). In this way God calls all the world to turn to Him (v. 27). God’s kingdom is the sufficiency of the people (v. 28), both poor and rich (v. 29). This, Augustine says, drives people to live in Him (v. 31). They are born in Hm by faith (Augustine Psalms, loc. 320618).