Psalm 22:17 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Psalm 22:17, NIV: All my bones are on display; people stare and gloat over me.

Psalm 22:17, ESV: I can count all my bones— they stare and gloat over me;

Psalm 22:17, KJV: I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.

Psalm 22:17, NASB: I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;

Psalm 22:17, NLT: I can count all my bones. My enemies stare at me and gloat.

Psalm 22:17, CSB: I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me.

What does Psalm 22:17 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

This part of Psalm 22 continues to describe David's anguish, using the imagery of someone being abused and executed by his enemies. This is not something which literally happened to David, so these words symbolize his pain, instead. At the same time, this passage is a vivid prediction of the suffering of Jesus, the Messiah (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46).

The reference to "counting bones" depicts someone emaciated and stripped naked. A jarring characteristic seen in photographs of concentration camp victims is the prominence of ribs, spine, and joints due to starvation. That level of abuse comes with intense pain and weakness, as well as the shame of being exposed.

David's words in this verse, once again, apply to Jesus during His execution. The suffering Jesus experienced on the cross was excruciating. He did not deserve to suffer, but He did so voluntarily as our substitute. We deserve to die and bear the penalty of our sin. Romans 6:23 announces that "the wages of sin is death." First Corinthians 15:3 says clearly, "Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures." Galatians 1:4 points out that He voluntarily gave Himself for our sins. Galatians 3:13 indicates He redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us by dying on the cross.

Remembering how Jesus died on the cross, the apostle Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:19 that He shed His blood to redeem us. Although Jesus could have summoned more than twelve legions of angels to rescue Him from the cross (Matthew 26:53), He chose to bear the agony of being a public spectacle on our behalf.