Ridiculed

Have you ever been mocked or publicly ridiculed in front of other people? The hurt and emptiness of your soul, leaves you in utter desolation. The feelings of rejection and helplessness are indescribable. From the deepest parts of your innermost being comes a wave of emotions that thrust you up against a wall of fear and torment. When you are accused of things that you did not do; when those whom you believed were your closest friends; abandon you and leave you all alone in a cold dark place of your soul and no one comes to comfort you.

David was writing his words from Psalm 22:7, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. His purpose is to inform the reader of the details concerning the events that would surround the Messiah’s sacrifice for the sins of the world. The purpose of prophecy is always to prove that the words that are being spoken, are true, because God is their source.

I am the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who else can tell you what is going to happen in the days ahead? Let them tell you if they can and prove their power. Let them do as I have done since ancient times. —Isaiah 44:6-7 (NLT 1996)

David records the incredible details of the Messiah’s rejection: The people will shoot out their lip and shake their heads at their disgust with Him.

Psalms 22:7 “All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head…”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Matthew 27:39 “And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads…”

Matthew 27:41-44 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.

Ridiculed

The term “shoot out the lip” was an Old Testament phrase which carried with it, the idea of ridicule and scorn. When someone is thoroughly disgusted with another person, he will often push out his lips in disgust or use a pointing motion towards the object of his disgust. This is very common in many cultures around the world.

In the final hours of Jesus’ life, He was all alone; even God had forsaken Him while He was on the cross. The humiliation that Jesus felt; the sorrow, fear, and anguish that racked His body and mind. All of these horrible experiences were eternally unknown to God. The Creator of all things had observed the sorrow of men and the suffering that they endured through countless generations on the earth, because of sin, but He had never Himself been physically tortured or had gone through the horrors of death. Imagine the feelings that the Lord experienced as these horrible events were thrust upon Him. Everything that Jesus suffered-through and endured, He did for us. He stood up against the full wrath of evil men when they so brutalized Him, that He was barely recognizable as a human being.

Isaiah 52:14 Just as many were astonished at you, So His visage was marred more than any man, And His form more than the sons of men…

David vividly describes the horrors of ridicule and rejection that the Messiah would experience. All these graphic descriptions are perfectly fulfilled in the treatment that Jesus endured when He was tortured and died for us.

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David continues his description of the ridicule inflicted upon the Messiah, in part two of this chapter.

Those who see the Messiah as He is crucified, will hate Him and mock Him.

Psalms 22:16a “For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.”

New Testament Fulfillment:

Luke 23:35-36 “And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” The soldiers also mocked Him…”

Dogs Surround Me:

The term “dogs” is a Hebrew reference to the Gentiles. Jesus echoed this in His conversation with the woman from Canaan.

Matthew 15:22, 26 And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed. 2But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

If we are not careful here, we might assume that Jesus was disparaging this woman who came to Him for help. The Lord was not calling this woman a little dog, He was telling her that the Jews thought of her as a dog. Jesus wants to increase the faith of this dear woman, so he puts her off on her first approach for help. She will not be dissuaded, and she continues to humbly request the Lord’s mercy. Though she comes from the hated people of Canaan, her faith in seeking the Lord, compels Jesus to grant her request. God is not concerned with what people might think of us. He is concerned what we think about Him. Anyone can come to Jesus and find forgiveness for their sins, and gain eternal life.

Matthew 15:27-28 And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

This dear woman tells Jesus, “I might be a little dog, but I still believe that you can help me.” Now that is what faith is all about. Nothing was going to stop this woman from seeking help from the Lord, because she believed that He was the Messiah.

We learn here that the common thought amongst the Jews of this time period was that the Gentiles who were in Jerusalem, particularly the Romans, were “dogs”.

When David writes that “dogs have surrounded me”, he is referring to the Gentiles who were near Jesus cross mocking Him and ridiculing Him for believing that He was the Messiah.

A second possibility is discovered in the Jewish writings of Tosef, Git 7:1 and Git 70b. Because the crucified were only one or two feet above the ground, the bodies of the condemned were accessible to the wild dogs who roamed the land at that time. These ancient Hebrew writings describe one of the ways that death was determined to have occurred for a person crucified, was by the presence of feral dogs in the area who would come and began to feed on the flesh of the feet and legs of the person crucified. These animals were able to gain access to the dead on the cross because of their near proximity to the ground. [1]

Can any of us imagine what it would be like to be hanging naked before the world—our hands and feet are nailed to a filthy, splintered, old cross that countless other men have already died upon? While we are in agony, people standing near to watch us suffer, begin to spit upon us, laugh and scorn us to further shame. People standing nearby who mocked and ridiculed Jesus while He was suffering, only added to His torment. When he was near death, the wild dogs began to gather nearby, waiting for the right moment when they cold begin to eat His flesh.

How horrendous this must have been for Jesus—who had committed no sin, nor had He done anything wrong. Why was Jesus on the cross, if He was innocent? He was suffering because of our sins, not His own. He took all of our transgressions and hung on this cross to pay for the wrongs that we have done.

The people who were laughing and mocking Jesus, were experiencing the forgiveness of the very sins they were committing, while, Jesus was dying for them.

Those who watched Jesus die, had no idea—what He was accomplishing. They could not fathom the heights of His love, nor the depths of sorrow that He was willing to plunge into, in order to make the forgiveness of their sins possible.

What emotions did the Father feel when He watched His Son suffer so greatly, while the “dogs” who stood nearby were laughing at Him? It is no wonder that the New Testament records the response that God will have later for those who have rejected Jesus sacrifice for their sins:

Hebrews 10:29-31 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The LORD will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

For the present time, we can all thank the Lord that He has thus far; withheld the vengeance that Paul described in Hebrews chapter 10. We all still have the opportunity to turn to Jesus in humility and repentance and be saved. The day is fast approaching when no one will have this opportunity again.

Those who “enclosed” Jesus at His cross (Psalm 222:16a), had misunderstood the purpose for His presence there. They had not taken the time to really listen to His words, and consider that God was amongst them.

One of the most painful things in life is to be misunderstood by the people that you care the most about. Years ago, due to a misunderstanding and the continuance of false accusations by gossip, many of my close friends abandoned me and no longer called me their friend. They did not really know what had happened, and never gave me a chance to explain the truth to them. They had made conclusions, based on gossip that others had told them, without any real knowledge of the truth. These dearest and closest friends, never came to me and gave me a chance to tell them my side of the story. In years that followed, when I saw them on the street or in other public places, they avoided me or would not speak to me at all.

The pain of that misunderstanding and the loss of fellowship with my friends—is to the present day, a great source of suffering for me. In all that happened during that experience, I was able to identify with the suffering that Jesus experienced when everything that He had done was misunderstood and no real chance was given for Him to tell those concerned, what was really happening.

We must continue to love the ones who bring us the most pain, even though they will not receive us again. We do not have the right to hold bitterness or resentment for the suffering that others have caused us. If we will call ourselves amongst those who follow Jesus, then we must do as He has done. We must love those who hate and despise us. Though they continue to berate and insinuate, we must appreciate, that God views them as His beloved.


[1] Tosef, Git 7:1 and Git 70b, As the exact time of death was not ascertainable, the fact that a man was seen hanging on a cross was not sufficient evidence of his death (Yev. 16:3). It might be otherwise when wild beasts or birds had already attacked him at vital parts of the body (Yev. 120b).