Psalm 22 was written by David and written about his own calamities. But as his words were superintended by God, it is clear that this was ultimately pointing forward to the suffering Jesus would endure. The Savior, in fact, quotes the first verse as He hangs on the cross.
While this foreshadowing is not limited to these three verses, we’ll take a look specifically at verses 16-18:
16 For dogs encompass me; a company of evildoers encircles me; they have pierced my hands and feet-
17 I can count all my bones- they stare and gloat over me;
18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. – Psalm 22:16-18
These dogs in verse 16 aren’t literally dogs, but they’re what we see in the verse’s parallel: a company of evildoers encircling David. And this group subjected him to three different sufferings that Jesus would ultimately endure.
1. They pierced his hands and feet
We don’t exactly know how this applied in David’s situation, but the words are a clear picture for what Jesus would endure. Roman soldiers would hammer nails into both of His hands and through both of His feet as they crucified Him.
2. They gloated over his suffering
The phrase, I can count all my bones, speaks to the emaciation and the wasting away of David, something that the Savior would experience from being scourged viciously. And while he could count his bones, they stare and gloat over him.
This was fulfilled in the Savior:
And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” – Luke 23:35
They stared at Jesus and gloated over Him.
3. They divided his clothing
Verse 18 says, they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. This is a bit of psychological torment they were inflicting on David, as if to say, “You are going to die soon, so we’re taking your clothes.” This, too, was done to the Savior:
And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. – Matthew 27:35
The Roman soldiers cast lots (like rolling dice) for the Savior’s clothes, fulfilling Psalm 22:18.
It is utterly amazing to see the wisdom of God in foretelling His Son’s suffering through the experiences and words of David. And it’s heart-wrenching to recall some of what the Savior endured for sinners like us. It was all part of the plan from the beginning, and we see that clearly in this passage, written hundreds of years before the Lord would experience it.