My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art Thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? Psalm 22:1
Words: From the Old Version psalter, by Thomas Sternhold (1500–1549) & John Hopkins. The first verse echoes Jesus’ cry from the cross in Mark 15:34. The verses that talk of piercing of hands and feet, the division of garments, and casting lots for the coat are based on Psalm 22’s prophetic references to Christ’s crucifixion.
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O God, my God, wherefore dost Thou
Forsake me utterly?
And helpest not when I do make
My great complaint and cry?
To Thee, my God, e’en all day long
I do both cry and call;
I cease not all the night, and yet
Thou hearest not at all.
But Thou that in Thy holy place
For evermore dost dwell;
Thou art the joy, the comfort, and
Glory of Israel:
And Him in whom our fathers old
Had all their hope and stay;
Who, when they put their trust in Thee,
Delivered them alway.
They were preservèd ever when
They called upon Thy name;
And for the faith they had in Thee,
They were not put to shame.
But I am now become more like
A worm than to a man,
An outcast, whom the people scorn
With all the spite they can.
All men despise as they behold
Me walking on the way:
They grin, make mouths, and nod their heads,
And on this wise do say.
This man did glory in the Lord,
His favor and His love:
Let Him redeem and help him now,
His power if he will prove.
But from the prison of the womb
I was by Thee released;
Thou didst preserve me still in hope,
Whilst I did suck the breast:
I was committed from my birth
With Thee to have abode;
Since I came from my mother’s womb,
Thou hast been still my God.
Then, Lord, depart not now from me
In this my present grief,
Since I have none to be my help,
My succor and relief.
For many bulls do compass me,
That be full strong of head;
Yea, bulls so fat, as though they had
In Bashan field been fed.
They gape upon me greedily,
As though they would me slay;
Much like a lion roaring out,
And ramping for his prey.
But I drop down like water shed,
My joints in sunder break,
My heart doth in my body melt
Like wax, I am so weak.
My strength doth like a potsherd dry,
My tongue it cleaveth fast
Unto my jaws, and I am brought
To dust of death at last.
For many dogs do compass me,
In council they do meet,
Conspiring still against my life,
Piercing my hands and feet.
I was tormented so that I
Might all my bones have told,
Whilst they do look and stare at me,
When they do me behold.
My garments they divided have
In parts among them all;
And for my coat they did cast lots
To whom it should befall.
Therefore, I pray Thee, be not far
From me at my great need,
But rather, since Thou art my strength,
To help me, Lord, make speed:
And from the sword save Thou my soul
By Thy might and Thy power,
And ever keep my darling dear
From dogs that would devour;
And from the lion’s mouth that would
Me all in sunder tear;
From ’midst the horns of unicorns,
O Lord, Thou didst me hear.
When shall I to my brethren all
Thy Majesty record,
And in Thy Church shall praise the name
Of Thee, the living Lord.
All ye that fear Him, praise the Lord,
Thou, Jacob, Him adore,
And all ye seed of Israel,
Fear Him for evermore.
For He despises not the poor,
He hideth not away
His countenance when they do call,
But hears them when they pray,
Among the folk that fear the Lord,
I will therefore proclaim
Thy praise, and keep my promise made
For setting forth Thy name.
The poor shall eat and be sufficed;
Such as their minds do give
To seek the Lord, and praise His name,
Their hearts shall ever live.
The coasts of all the earth shall praise
The Lord, and seek His grace;
The heathen folk shall worship all
Before His blessèd face.
The kingdoms of the heathen folk
The Lord shall have therefore;
And he shall be their governor
And king for evermore.
The rich men of His goodly gifts
Shall taste and feed also,
And in His presence worship Him,
And bow their knees full low.
And all that shall go down to dust,
Of life by Him shall taste;
A seed shall serve and worship Him,
Till time away shall waste.
They shall declare and plainly show
His truth and righteousness,
Unto a people yet unborn,
Who shall His name confess.