Question 74. Doesn’t a straightforward reading of Psalm 22 indicate David is talking in poetic language about his own sufferings, not about the Messiah?

A reader recently sent in the following observation with a question:

Psalm 22 seems to be one of the strongest and most detailed Messianic prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures, except for one thing: There is nothing in the psalm itself (that I can see) to suggest that it is a Messianic prophecy at all. Why not just take the straightforward reading that David is talking about his own sufferings, using poetic language to describe the attacks of his enemies?

So, in this and the next two posts of Arnold Answers we will be dealing with questions of whether several of the Messianic Psalms were speaking of the life of David, or indeed referring to the Messiah.

I would certainly agree that Psalm 22 is a strong and detailed prophecy about the Messiah. However, a passage that is on an even “stronger” level would be Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Most Messianic Jews would testify that this was the main passage that led them to believe in Yeshua the Messiah. As for Psalm 22, following the rules of Hebrew grammar and noting the number of details given, it simply cannot fit within the life of David. Furthermore, the text is not connected to a particular incident in David’s life, as many of his other psalms are. Even taking into account the highly poetic language, the basic events of David’s life do not correspond to this psalm. It fits much better with the kind of death that the Messiah would die.

Have more questions? Send them to

Learn more about Ariel Ministries and enjoy our many online resources. To make this and other resources available, Ariel Ministries relies upon donations from people like you. If you feel the Lord would have you be a partner in this ministry through financial support, please go to Ariel Ministries Giving. Thank you!

Arnold Answers with founder and director of Ariel Ministries, Dr. Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum.