Mark’s Use of Psalm 22 --- A Davidic Jesus?

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robert j
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Mark’s Use of Psalm 22 --- A Davidic Jesus?

Post by robert j »

From another Thread:
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote: Thu Feb 08, 2024 3:38 am
... GMark 15, Mark alludes several times to Psalm 22 (LXX 21), a psalm of King David ...

imho the allusion to psalm 22 is not a fulfillment of scriptures, it's not a prophecy. Rather, it could mean that Jesus undergoes the experience of King David and is in some way David.
Why do you think that the author of GMark intended to express a Davidic understanding of Jesus with his use of Psalm 22?

The events and experiences described throughout Psalm 22 certainly do not seem to be those of David. Interpretations over time have suggested David, as well as a son of David, King Hezekiah, Ephraim, other figures from the scriptures, and of course, Jesus.

It seems that Justin provided the earliest extant Christian commentary on Mark and Psalm 22, focused on a Christological interpretation ---

And again in other words, through another prophet, He says, They pierced My hands and My feet, and for My vesture they cast lots. And indeed David, the king and prophet, who uttered these things, suffered none of them; but Jesus Christ stretched forth His hands, being crucified by the Jews speaking against Him, and denying that He was the Christ. And as the prophet spoke, they tormented Him, and set Him on the judgment-seat, and said, Judge us. (Justin Martyr, First Apology, 35)

Justin: Now I will demonstrate to you that the whole Psalm refers thus to Christ, by the words which I shall again explain. What is said at first—'O God, my God, attend to me: why have You forsaken me?'— announced from the beginning that which was to be said in the time of Christ. For when crucified, He spoke: 'O God, my God, why have You forsaken me?' (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 99)

Psalm 22 is not a central text for Jewish expectations for a Davidic messianic figure in the Jewish scriptures. The earliest extant Jewish interpretation of Psalm 22 is apparently found in the Pesiqta Rabbati, where the suffering of Ephraim (ben Joseph, ben Jacob) is emphasized ---

This teaches that in the future, in the month of Nisan, the Fathers of the World [Patriarchs] will arise and say to him: Ephraim, our
righteous [true] Messiah, even though we are your fathers, you are greater than we are, because you suffered [for] the iniquities of our children and terrible ordeals came upon you, such as did not come upon earlier [generations] or later ones. For the sake of Israel you [experienced] anguish, derision, and mockery among the nations of the world [Ps. 22:7-8]. … and your skin cleaved to your bones [Ps. 22:18], and your body was as dry as a piece of wood; and your eyes did not see light, and your skin is shriveled on your bones [Ps. 22:18], and your body was dried up like wood and your eyes grew dim from fasting—your strength is dried up like a potsherd (Ps. 22:16)—all these [afflictions happened] on account of the iniquities of our children. … They said: Ephraim, our righteous Messiah, may your mind be at rest, since you put to rest the mind of your Creator and our minds. (Pesiqta Rabbati 37:2)


… One mercy refers to the hour when he is in prison, since the nations of the world will gnash their teeth, wink their eyes, nod their heads, open their lips, as is said: All those who see me mock me; they move the lip, they shake their head (Ps. 22:8) … they roar at him like lions and fancy devouring him [Ps. 22:14] …I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels (Ps. 22:15). And they roar at him like lions and fancy devouring him [Ps. 22:14], as it is said, All our enemies have opened their mouths against us… The Holy One will say to him: Ephraim, Messiah of my righteousness do not be afraid of them, because all of them will die from the breath of your mouth … (Pesiqta Rabbati 37:4)

It’s possible that the rabbinic interpretations may have been intended to push-back against Christological interpretations. But regardless of the motive, the Pesiqta Rabbati demonstrates that it is entirely feasible to infer a suffering non-Davidic figure from the events described in Psalm 22.

The author of GMark pushes back against the concept of a Davidic Jesus throughout his story. And the expectations of a king-like figure riding into Jerusalem on a young foal (Mark 11:1-7, Zechariah 9:9), and the expectations expressed by the crowd of a kingly redeemer, “Blessed is the coming of our father, David.” (Mark 11:10) --- are all dashed by the author of GMark with the execution of Jesus.

I think Mark’s use of Psalm 22 was intended to emphasize the role of Jesus as a suffering servant in the same light as in Isaiah 53 and in Paul --- in which he succeeded in his stated purpose ---

For even the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45)

robert j
Last edited by robert j on Fri Feb 09, 2024 6:58 pm, edited 6 times in total.
rgprice
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Re: Mark’s Use of Psalm 22

Post by rgprice »

Yeah, I don't think there was any Davidic intent here either. Just read all of Psalm 22, it is quite obvious why the writer chose it.

19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
20 Deliver me from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dogs.
21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

22 I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.

23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.


25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
those who seek the Lord will praise him—
may your hearts live forever!


27 All the ends of the earth
will remember and turn to the Lord,
and all the families of the nations
will bow down before him,
28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
and he rules over the nations.

29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
those who cannot keep themselves alive.
30 Posterity will serve him;
future generations will be told about the Lord.
31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it!

The amazing thing is just how right this writer was to use this psalm...
Kunigunde Kreuzerin
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Re: Mark’s Use of Psalm 22

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin »

robert j wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 11:00 am Why do you think that the author of GMark intended to express a Davidic understanding of Jesus with his use of Psalm 22?

The events and experiences described throughout in the Psalm certainly do not seem to be those of David. Interpretations over time have suggested David, as well as a son of David, King Hezekiah, Queen Esther, other figures from the scriptures, and of course, Jesus.
imho because Mark explicitly states how to understand Psalms of David. It's not my own idea, I just use Mark 12:36-37 as a reading instruction

12:35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

robert j
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Re: Mark’s Use of Psalm 22

Post by robert j »

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 11:34 am
robert j wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 11:00 am Why do you think that the author of GMark intended to express a Davidic understanding of Jesus with his use of Psalm 22?

The events and experiences described throughout in the Psalm certainly do not seem to be those of David. Interpretations over time have suggested David, as well as a son of David, King Hezekiah, Queen Esther, other figures from the scriptures, and of course, Jesus.
imho because Mark explicitly states how to understand Psalms of David. It's not my own idea, I just use Mark 12:36-37 as a reading instruction

12:35 And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, “How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36 David himself, in the Holy Spirit, declared, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet.”’ 37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.

I have difficulty in reading this passage as any anything other than rejection of the Davidic nature of Jesus, through the lips of Jesus no less. Especially when the short citation from Psalm 110 is bracketed by ---

How do the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? ... (Mark 12:35)

Beware of the scribes... These will receive greater judgment. (Mark 12:38-40)

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Re: Mark’s Use of Psalm 22

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin »

robert j wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 11:56 am I have difficulty in reading this passage as any anything other than rejection of the Davidic nature of Jesus, through the lips of Jesus no less. Especially when the short citation from Psalm 110 is bracketed by ---
I just wanted to note why, as Mark understands it, the „I“ that speaks in the Davidic Psalms is David himself.

I'm not suggesting that Jesus has a Davidic "nature", certainly not. But rather that Jesus merges with David in his death and suffers David's suffering. Just as the Baptist suffers the fate of Elijah and in his death is Elijah in a sense. Perhaps the best way to put it is in Pauline terms: baptized into the sufferings of David.
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Re: Mark’s Use of Psalm 22 --- A Davidic Jesus?

Post by davidmartin »

The author of GMark pushes back against the concept of a Davidic Jesus throughout his story. And the expectations of a king-like figure riding into Jerusalem on a young foal (Mark 11:1-7, Zechariah 9:9), and the expectations expressed by the crowd of a kingly redeemer, “Blessed is the coming of our father, David.” (Mark 11:10) --- are all dashed by the author of GMark with the execution of Jesus
I tend to see it the other way around. These events provide confirmation that Jesus is the Messiah even if they are not occurring in the expected way
Maybe I see what you mean but in that case it would almost imply those that might have thought he was the Messiah were mistaken and he is something kind of other or different?
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Re: Mark’s Use of Psalm 22 --- A Davidic Jesus?

Post by Peter Kirby »

davidmartin wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:23 pm Maybe I see what you mean but in that case it would almost imply those that might have thought he was the Messiah were mistaken
Oddly enough, I am starting to think this is a valid interpretation. I've put together enough to post on it soon.
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Re: Mark’s Use of Psalm 22 --- A Davidic Jesus?

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin »

davidmartin wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:23 pm I tend to see it the other way around. These events provide confirmation that Jesus is the Messiah even if they are not occurring in the expected way
That's how I see it too. Mark had to somehow explain why Jesus is the “Christ”.
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Re: Mark’s Use of Psalm 22 --- A Davidic Jesus?

Post by davidmartin »

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:32 pm
davidmartin wrote: Fri Feb 09, 2024 12:23 pm I tend to see it the other way around. These events provide confirmation that Jesus is the Messiah even if they are not occurring in the expected way
That's how I see it too. Mark had to somehow explain why Jesus is the “Christ”.
I'm assuming that's the tradition the gospels are working from. A Messianic understanding of Jesus
it is something rather lacking in the epistles though.. like, very lacking or non-existant
but curious how each of the gospels treats this, how do they differ in this Messianic understanding? I'll admit, I haven't studied it before
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Mark’s Use of Psalm 22

Post by GakuseiDon »

What do people make of the passage "And the common people heard him gladly" in connection with the comment about David's Lord?

Mark 12[28] And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
[29] And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
[30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
[31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
[32] And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
[33] And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
[34] And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
[35] And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the Son of David?
[36] For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
[37] David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
[38] And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
[39] And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
[40] Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.

[41] And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
[42] And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
[43] And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
[44] For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Why did the common people hear him gladly? I don't understand that part. Is this something that can be extracted explicitly from Mark?

From what I can see, it has something to do with the how much value a sacrifice is worth. "Loving God", etc, is worth "more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices". Jesus ends by giving the story of the poor widow who cast in more than the rich, relatively speaking. I can understand the common people hearing that part gladly. But since it is right after the part about Christ being the Son of David, there is more to it than that.

Since I favor the idea that the Ebionites were a continuation of the initial Christian church, and that the Ebionites believed that anyone could be a Christ as long as they held perfectly to the laws of God, I see Mark saying that being a "Christ" isn't just about being a Son of David but loving God.

I think people on this board get hung up on the word "Messiah" by reading into it ideas that are anachronistic. What would it have meant to the readers of Mark? People were thought to be anointed by God but without being descendants of David. gMark has:

Mark 13[21] And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:
[22] For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

So why do you all on this board think "the common people heard him gladly"?
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