Scripture Verse

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.

Music: He­re­ford (Ou­se­ley) Fred­er­ick A. G. Ou­se­ley, in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1861 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

  • Hunnys me­lo­dy from Se­ven Sobs of a Sor­row­ful Soul, 1585 (🔊 pdf nwc)
  • Old Mar­tyrs Psalms (Ed­in­burgh Scot­land: 1615) (🔊 pdf nwc)

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Stern­hold or Hop­kins (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Frederick A. Gore-Ouseley (1825–1889)


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.