Y’shua in prophecy – Part 1- Psalm 22

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crown of thornsWe will, in this walk as believers in Y’shua, be confronted with people who do not believe in Y’shua. Some may want to talk to us about our belief in Y’shua as the Messiah. Some will challenge us. However, even if you are not confronted with these people, you may read an article written to disprove Y’shua’s Messiahship.

Is your faith and your understanding of prophecy such that you will not doubt, but stand firm in your belief? Can you prove from the Tanakh that Y’shua is indeed the prophesied Messiah? We have been challanged quite a bit when we celebrated Sukkot in Jerusalem this year, and we have seen once again how little seeds of doubt are planted when we are confronted with this. Our Scriptural foundation must be strong enough not to be moved. We need to equip ourselves, because as we have said before, there are many people out there that will try anything to convince us that we are wrong, they will attempt to sow doubt in our minds. If we do not have a firm foundation, we will doubt, and if we hear the lies often enough, we may believe them.

Y’shua said in Matthew 24 that we are to see to it that we are not deceived.

Matthew 24:4
4 And Y’shua answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.

This is the purpose of this article and the ones that will follow. We want to equip ourselves and you to be able to stand firm in our belief in Y’shua.

We will, in this study, focus on Psalm 22 to show you, that not only is this prophecy about Y’shua, but also how He made it manifest to the people that He fulfilled it with His death on the stake.

Psalm 22, a prophecy

You probably have noticed that there are quite a few resemblances in this psalm with Y’shua’s sacrificial death. This psalm was written by King David approximately a thousand years before Y”shua. Here is what is written in the bible Knowledge Commentary about this psalm.

No known incident in the life of David fits the details of this psalm. The expressions describe an execution, not an illness; yet that execution is more appropriate to Y’shua’s crucifixion than David’s experience. The Gospel writers also saw connections between some of the words in this psalm (vv. 8, 16, 18) and other events in Christ’s Passion. Also Hebrews 2:12 quotes Psalm 22:22. Thus the church has understood this psalm to be typological of the death of Y’shua Messiah. This means that David used many poetic expressions to portray his immense sufferings, but these poetic words became literally true of the suffering of Y’shua Messiah at His enemies’ hands. The interesting feature of this psalm is that it does not include one word of confession of sin, and no imprecation against enemies. It is primarily the account of a righteous man who was being put to death by wicked men. 1

This psalm was written as a prophecy and was fulfilled when Y’shua died at the execution stake. There is also something amazingly significant about this psalm. Something, we cannot see or understand just by reading the text. It can only be seen if we dig a bit deeper into history; and that is what we are going to do.

Y’shua quoting Scripture

In ancient times, the books of the Bible, including the psalms, were not numbered like we have them today. Furthermore, scholars did not each have their own Torah scroll; they studied the Scriptures and learned it by heart. In that way, they always had access to the Scriptures. If they wanted to quote a passage from Scripture, they would recite the first line, and every learned person would know which passage they are referring to. It is, for this reason, very significant that Y’shua cried out to YHVH “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” just before He died. When Y’shua cried out those words, He was quoting the very first line of Psalm 22 (Psalm 21 in the Hebrew Bible), testifying to the fulfillment of prophecy. Those who heard this, knowing this psalm, would have realized, in awe, that what just took place was, in fact; the fulfillment of that psalm.

Matthew 27:46
46 About the ninth hour Y’shua cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My Elohim, My Elohim, why have You forsaken Me?”

This is an exact quote from the first verse of Psalm 22.

Psalm 22:1
1 My Elohim, my Elohim, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

Is this not absolutely amazing? When Y’shua cried out those words, his disciples, the high priest, elders and scribes would have known what has occurred. In the book of Luke, we see Y’shua explaining to His disciples what would happen to Him, He was preparing them. When He said these words, they would have been convinced that what He said was true.

Luke 18:31–33
31 Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. 32 “For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, 33 and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.”

We do not know for sure if all of these people were still present when Y’shua died; they may have been, but if not, the message would have been conveyed to them.

How many resemblances do you think exist between this psalm and the crucifixion of Y’shua? We will point out five of the most obvious elements that were fulfilled, one being quite controversial. However, we would like you to search and see if you can find more. Please share your findings with us, either via the comments below or via e-mail.

The second element of this prophecy that was fulfilled was that Y’shua was despised by people.

Y’shua was despised by people

In Psalm 22, we find a description of how Y’shua would be despised and scoffed at by people.

Psalm 22:6–8
6 But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people. 7 All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, saying, 8 “Commit yourself to YHVH; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him.”

We see this fulfilled in Matther 27:41-43

Matthew 27:41–43
41 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, 42 “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 “He trusts in Elohim; let Elohim rescue Him now, if He delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of Elohim.’ ”

See here, they even use the exact words fro Scripture (we have bolded it for easy reference.)

Y’shua was thirsty

We continue in Psalm 22 with the third element: it was prophesied that Y’shua would be thirsty.

Psalm 22:15

15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death.

We read about Y’shua being thirsty in the book of John.

John 19:28
28 After this, Y’shua, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.”

However, the fourth and most convincing,clue, is found in verse 16.

They pierced Y’shua’s hands and feet

Psalm 22:16
16 For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.

We know that crucifixion was practiced by the Romans in the time of Y’shua. This piercing of His hands and feet refers to that.

Ancient Greek has two verbs for crucify: ana-stauro (ἀνασταυρόω), from stauros, “stake”, and apo-tumpanizo (ἀποτυμπανίζω) “crucify on a plank.” [3] together with anaskolopizo (ἀνασκολοπίζω “impale”). In earlier pre-Roman Greek texts anastauro usually means “impale.”[4][5][6]

The English term cross derives from the Latin word crux.[7] The Latin term crux literally means “in general, a tree, frame, or otherwooden instruments of execution, on which criminals were impaled or hanged” and “in particular, a cross“.2

Matthew 27:35pierced hands
35 And when they had crucified Him…

There is great contoversy linked to this phrase. We shall discuss this in detail after we have finished the next point.

They cast lots for His clothing

Verse 18 refers to where Y’shua’s garments were divided and how they cast lots to decide who would get His clothing.

Psalm 22:18
18 They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

Matthew 27:35
35 And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves by casting lots.

The great controversy

The phrase “they pierced my hands and my feet” has caused great controversy and still does in some circles. Why is that?

When you speak to any Rabbi or Jewish scholar they would disagree with you and say that the Christian translaters fiddled with the text to suit their theology. They would be able to prove this from the Masoretic text. They say the correct translation is not “pierced” but “lion.” Here is how the Complete Jewish Bible renders it.

Psalm 22:17
17 Dogs are all around me, a pack of villains closes in on me like a lion [at] my hands and feet.

We have great respect for David Stern, and although his translation seem correct when you study the available Lexicons, we do not agree with this translation. David Stern paraphrased from the Jewish Publication Society of America Version, which used the Masoretic text for their translation.3

The Masoretic text, uses the word “ari”

787 אֲרִי (ʾǎrî): n.masc.; ≡ Str 738; TWOT 158a—1. LN 4.14 lion, i.e., a large, strong mammal that hunts its prey, with the associative meanings of strength and fierceness (Nu 23:24) see also 793, note: for NIV et. al. text in Ps 22:17, see 4125; for a cj of the same verse, see 4128; 2. LN 4.14 unit: כְּפִיר אֲרִי (kep̄îr ʾǎrî) a young lion (Jdg 14:5);4

If you look at how this Lexicon defines the word, you may wonder why we don’t agree. It would seem that Stern is correct in his translation. However, we will prove to you that this word was either wrongly transcribed or changed in the Masoretic text. The “vav” was changed to a “yod.” It could be a Scribal error or was it done on purpose? Could it be to suit another theology? A theology that does not want to accept Y’shua as the prophesied Messiah?

When you read this definition, you will notice a note stating that for Psalm 22:17, you should also look at line 4125. Let us do that.

4125 I. כָּרָה (kā·rā(h)): v.; ≡ Str 3738; TWOT 1033—1. LN 19.55 (qal) dig into the ground (Ge 26:25; Ex 21:33; Nu 21:18; Ps 7:16[EB 15]; Ps 57:7[EB 6]; 119:85; Pr 26:27; Jer 18:20, 22+); (nif) be dug into the ground (Ps 94:13+); 2. LN 19.14–19.26 (qal) hew stone, i.e., to hollow out rock (Ge 50:5; 2Ch 16:14+); 3. LN 19.14–19.26 (qal) pierce, cut, i.e., run through a mass with a sharp object (Ps 22:17; 40:7[EB 6]+)4

This gives us a more accurate description. Where does this come from? The writers of the Lexicon must have found a reference pointing to this. We need to find this.

We do find it in the Septuagint. The Septuagint pre-dates the Masoretic text and renders this word as “to dig a trench.” This already brings us one step closer to the truth.


We will be doing a few articles in a new format in future to explain the relation and differences between the Septuagint, Masoretic text and the Dead sea Scrolls. It is a fascinating study that has opened our eyes to many things. If you are not subscribed yet, please do so in order not to miss this.

Let us continue. We find some more proof in the Dead Sea Scrolls. These also pre-date the Masoretic text by a few hundred years and confirms the Septuagint translation in a lot of cases. So much so, that the Septuagint can in most cases be considered the more correct when compared with the Masoretic text.

Some people consider the Dead Sea Scrolls as “garbage” in the sense that they believe these were scrolls that contained errors and were, for this reason, “buried” in the caves; similar to the Genizah that was found in Cairo. This is not the case, but we shall go into all the detail in the series about Qumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Here is what is written about Psalm 22 in the Dead Sea Scroll Bible.

Psalm 22 is a favorite among Christians since it is often linked in the New Testament with the suffering and death of Y’shua. A well-known and controversial reading is found in verse 16, where the Masoretic Text reads “Like a lion are my hands and feet,” whereas the Septuagint has “They have pierced my hands and feet.” Among the scrolls the reading in question is found only in the Psalms scroll found at Naḥal Ḥever (abbreviated 5/6ḤevPs), which reads “They have pierced my hands and my feet”! 5

Here is a quote from the Lexham Bible Dictionary about this discrepancy:

The Variant Readings in Psalm 22:17b (English 22:16b) and New Testament Exegesis. Some readings among the Psalms scrolls are significant for New Testament exegesis. One example is in Psalm 22, which is represented by two scrolls from Qumran (4QPsf and 4QPsw) and one from Nahal Hever (5/6HevPs). This Psalm is quoted or referred to several times in the Gospels, especially in relation to Y’shua’s suffering and crucifixion. In the Masoretic Text, the second part of verse 17 (English Psa 22:16) is puzzling:

For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me.

Like a lion are my hands and my feet.

In 1611, the King James Bible translated “they pierced my hands and my feet” following the Septuagint by using a verbal form instead of “like a lion.” Some scholars, however, have deemed this a corrupt reading in the Greek Bible’s attempt to translate the difficult Hebrew “Like a lion are my hands and my feet,” which makes little sense in context. The Psalms scroll from Nahal Hever—the only one to preserve the key part of the verse in question—reads “they have pierced my hands and my feet,” thus confirming that the Hebrew text used by the Septuagint translator contained this reading, not the one in the MT. It has been adopted by most English Bibles, including the AMP, ESV, GWORD, ISV, HCSB, NASB, NIV, NJB, NKJV, NLT-SE, RSV, and NIV. The reading in the MT, “like a lion,” is retained by the CJB and JPS.6

Is this not a fascinating discovery? The reading of the context confirms this already, as the “like a lion are my hands and feet” does not make any sense at all. However, something not making sense to us is not a good enough reason to change it. It is however a reason to dig deeper and search more and that is what we did like others have done before us.


This discovery teamed with the other references to Y’shua’s sacrificial death on the stake, proves without a doubt that this Psalm is indeed prophetic. Read the whole psalm again and you will also see future prophecy in it. The psalm finishes of with a very significantHe has performed it which reminds us of Y’shua’s words in John 19:30 “ It is accomplished.”

We will continue to point out to you how Y’shua fulfilled the prophesies spoken of Him in the Tanakh to help you to make your foundation strong in Him and to hopefully guide you past the pitfalls that are created by anti-missionaries. We need to be alert, we live in a time of deception. Our responsibility is to search for the truth. Do not believe everything you hear, in fact do not believe anything unless you have checked it out yourself.

It was very evident from our recent visit to Israel, more specifically, to Jerusalem that deception is on the increase. You would not believe how many people we found who are consciously deceiving others. People who perceive themselves to be someone they are not, prophets and kings and messiahs.

Be alert and do as the Apostle Paul instructed us to do: work out your salvation with fear and trembling!

Philippians 2:12–16
12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is Elohim who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14 Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15 so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of Elohim above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Messiah I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain.

Please subcribe to make sure you don’t miss the follow-up articles in this series. You can read Part 2 here: “Y’shua in Prophecy – Part 2 – The sign of Jonah”


  1. Ross, A. P. (1985). Psalms. (J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck, Red.)The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_Bible_translations
  4. Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  5. Abegg, M., Jr., Flint, P., & Ulrich, E. (1999). The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (pp. 518–519). New York: HarperOne.
  6. Flint, P. W. (2012). Dead Sea Scrolls, Psalms. In (J. D. Barry & L. Wentz, Eds.)The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

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4 responses to “Y’shua in prophecy – Part 1- Psalm 22”

  1. Joseph Callahan

    Thanks for “digging” and sharing.
    Wonderful article:):)

  2. […] Those who knew prophecy would not have had any difficulty to understand what was meant by this. We have seen earlier how “the Branch” refers to the Messiah. The part “King of the Jews” was meant for mockery, but was also quite significant. YHVH was still giving those who did not believe revelation, similar to what we have seen in the previous two studies about the Sign of Jonah and Psalm 22. […]

  3. Great job both of you! I sadly didn’t even realize this was an issue even though I have preached through this Psalm. Shame on me! I appreciated your insight and hope others will comprehend it and apply it. Many blessings and hope to see you next week on Sabbath. Sorry about tomorrow.

  4. Lou

    Thank you for a very insiteful article on Psalm 22. Like a lion… is incredibly disingenuous, but interesting in light of Christ being the Lion of the tribe of Juda. I’m constantly amazed at how the minds of unbelievers work.

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