The Suffering of Christ as Rejected and Betrayed
The Suffering of Christ as Rejected and Betrayed
Psalm 109. This is a Psalm of David which was likely written during the rebellion of Absalom, as he was feeling the rejection of many in Israel who followed Absalom, especially his old friend and counsellor Ahithophel. This Psalm is a Messianic Psalm, in that it gives us the expressions of Christ as rejected and betrayed. It is beautiful to consider that Psalm 110 is the answer of Jehovah to this prayer! Psalm 109 is “the sufferings of Christ”, and Psalm 110 is “the glory that should follow”! Parts of the Psalm are prophetic of Judas, as v.8 is quoted in Acts 1:20, although it is also prophetic of the wicked apostate Jews in general, of whom Judas is but a specimen. Similarly, the expressions are those of Christ, although not every part can be said to be of Christ exclusively. It is the spirit of Christ in the remnant, who experience the betrayal of the their natural brethren.
To the chief Musician. Of David. A Psalm.
1 O God of my praise, be not silent:
2 For the mouth of the wicked man and the mouth of deceit are opened against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue,
3 And with words of hatred have they encompassed me; and they fight against me without a cause.
4 For my love they are mine adversaries; but I give myself unto prayer.
5 And they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love.
vv.1-5 The Suffering of Christ as Rejected and Betrayed. The Psalm opens with the cry of Christ in the midst of His sufferings as rejected and betrayed. He calls on God to answer His prayer. He speaks in v.2 of the slander of “the wicked man” against Him. Perhaps this refers to the betrayal of Judas, or else generally of the lying witnesses (“they”) brought against our Lord. There was nothing in our Lord that deserved the hatred and opposition to Himself (v.3). In fact, what He encountered was the opposite; “for my love they are mine adversaries… and they have rewarded me evil for good, and hatred for my love”. How painful this was! But the Lord “when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet. 2:23).
6 Set a wicked man over him, and let the adversary stand at his right hand;
7 When he shall be judged, let him go out guilty, and let his prayer become sin;
8 “Let his days be few, let another take his office;” [quoted Acts 1:20]
9 Let his sons be fatherless, and his wife a widow;
10 Let his sons be vagabonds and beg, and let them seek their bread far from their desolate places;
11 Let the usurer cast the net over all that he hath, and let strangers despoil his labour;
12 Let there be none to extend kindness unto him, neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children;
13 Let his posterity be cut off; in the generation following let their name be blotted out:
14 Let the iniquity of his fathers be remembered with Jehovah, and let not the sin of his mother be blotted out;
15 Let them be before Jehovah continually, that he may cut off the memory of them from the earth:
16 Because he remembered not to shew kindness, but persecuted the afflicted and needy man, and the broken in heart, to slay him.
17 And he loved cursing; so let it come unto him. And he delighted not in blessing; and let it be far from him.
18 And he clothed himself with cursing like his vestment; so let it come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones;
19 Let it be unto him as a garment with which he covereth himself, and for a girdle wherewith he is constantly girded.
20 Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from Jehovah, and of them that speak evil against my soul.
vv.6-20 A Prayer for Judgment on Judas and the Wicked. While the Lord never threatened His adversaries, He did lift up His prayers to God for righteous vindication (1 Pet. 2:23). Most strikingly, we have the application of these verses to Judas. In John 13 we find that “having dipped the morsel, he [Jesus] gives it to Judas son of Simon, Iscariote. And, after the morsel, then entered Satan into him. Jesus therefore says to him, What thou doest, do more quickly”. This would seem to fit with v.6, where a “wicked” one is over him, and “the adversary” is at his right hand; i.e. Judas fell under the control of Satan. Verse 8 is quoted by Peter in Acts 1:20 to show that Judas’ office as an apostle was to be given to another. Not everything in this Psalm can be applied literally to Judas, however. For instance, we cannot take vv.9-10 to mean that Judas had a wife and children.1 No doubt David wrote this in view of Ahithopel, who did have a wife and children, and whose office was later filled by another, possibly Jehoiada the son of Benaiah (1 Chron. 27:34). There are ten statements that contain the word “let” (vv.6-15), and these are the imprecatory prayers of Christ for God to allow His government to fall on the wicked Jews and Judas. Then vv.16-17 breaks in and gives further moral reasons for the governmental judgments. The prayer in v.19 is that the very thing that the adversaries loved would be used by God to afflict them in judgment. There is often a solemn irony in the government of God. The section is concluded with a call for these judgments to fall on the Lord’s adversaries; “Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from Jehovah, and of them that speak evil against my soul”.
21 But do “thou” for me, Jehovah, Lord, for thy name’s sake; because thy loving-kindness is good, deliver me:
22 For I am afflicted and needy, and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I am gone like a shadow when it lengtheneth; I am tossed about like the locust;
24 My knees are failing through fasting, and my flesh hath lost its fatness;
25 And I am become a reproach unto them; when they look upon me they shake their heads.
26 Help me, Jehovah my God; save me according to thy loving-kindness:
27 That they may know that this is thy hand; that “thou”, Jehovah, hast done it.
28 Let “them” curse, but bless “thou”; when they rise up, let them be ashamed, and let thy servant rejoice.
29 Let mine adversaries be clothed with confusion, and let them cover themselves with their shame as with a mantle.
vv.21-29 A Prayer for Deliverance. These verses are a cry of the suffering Christ for deliverance, expressing to Jehovah Adonai the afflictions He has endured. The highest reason for deliverance is put first; “for thy name’s sake”. Christ was afflicted not only physically, but personally as this Psalm implies; “my heart is wounded within me”. He felt that His death was fast approaching (vv.23-24). He was a reproach to the Jews, and they would shake their heads at Him; “And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads” (Matt. 27:39). The Lord cries out for deliverance in His distress, “Help me, Jehovah my God; save me according to thy loving-kindness”. He longed that Jehovah’s hand would be declared in salvation (v.27), that the godly with Christ may be blessed (v.28), and that His adversaries would be put to confusion and shame (v.29).
30 I will greatly celebrate Jehovah with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.
31 For he standeth at the right hand of the needy, to save him from those that judge his soul.
vv.30-31 Anticipating Deliverance. The closing verses of the Psalm describe Christ anticipating deliverance, and leading the resulting praise “among the multitude”. His confidence is that Jehovah will not forsake the needy, but stand at His right hand (c.p. v.6) to strengthen Him, and “save him from those that judge his soul”.
- I have said that the application of the psalm was not exclusively to Judas. The greater part of it is in the plural number. Up to verse 5 from the outset, the enmity of the wicked, of the band of Jews hostile to Christ, and hostile to the godly remnant, is spoken of. Judas was a special instance of this wicked hatred against Christ. But I have no doubt of the general application of even this part, and that the judgments called for are general, and no prophetic revelation that Judas had wife and children or anything of the sort. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.