Psalm 22:12

ESV Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
NIV Many bulls surround me; strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
NASB Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
CSB Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me.
NLT My enemies surround me like a herd of bulls; fierce bulls of Bashan have hemmed me in!
KJV Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

What does Psalm 22:12 mean?

The description given in this psalm does not literally match any known incident in David's life. Since it describes an execution, not merely persecution, it's clear that David is using imagery to explain His angst. This lack of a literal occurrence in Davd's life also makes these words a potent prediction of what Jesus, the Messiah, would experience during His crucifixion (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46).

Part of the comparison is to the "bulls of Bashan." Bashan was an area east of the Sea of Galilee. It stretched from the Yarmuk River to Mount Hermon. Today, Bashan is known as the Golan Heights. The wild bulls of Bashan banded together to attack their victim. They surrounded their prey, and then ferociously pounced on the helpless victim. Jesus' enemies—political authorities and religious leaders, like the bulls of Bashan, banded together and viciously attacked Jesus.

When the believers prayed after the Jewish council had released Peter and John, they quoted from another prophetic passage, Psalm 2, and said, "The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord against his Anointed" (Acts 4:26). They said further, "for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever [God's] hand and [God's] plan had predestined to take place [the act of crucifying Jesus]" (Acts 4:27–28).
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