February 24, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
The Prize and the Pursuit
The Hind of the Dawn and the Beasts
Over the next few months of Monday Meditations, we will study Psalm 22 together in detail.
Hebrew scholars tell us that one possible translation of the superscript to Psalm 22, “Aijeleth-Shahar,” is “hind of the dawn.” If so, this only heightens the sense of pursuit and cruelty of those described in the Psalm. Elsewhere we are reminded that the hind is marked by sure-footedness (Hab 3:19); a care and sensitivity for her young (Jer 14:5); and speed (2 Sam 22:34). They were its only defense in a landscape of danger and death. Escape from those that pursue her was aided by all these qualities. Yet in this instance, the “hind of the dawn” was taken captive.
In contrast to the sensitivity and nature of the hind, the enemies are characterized as being bulls, lions, the wild ox, and dogs. With rapacious fury and unquenchable hatred they pursued their prey. Intent on total destruction and conquest, they pursued relentlessly and mercilessly. The strong bulls of Bashan would crush and trample beneath their feet. Without pity or mercy they would crush their prey. The lion, ferocious and wild, would tear and rend. The dogs, the unclean animals, would be marked by the intensity and relentless nature of their attack. It might be possible to link the bulls with the leaders of the nation (Amos 4:1), the lion with Satan who instigated and energized, and the dogs with Gentiles. But in the imagery of the Psalm, the main truth to grasp is the savagery of the hunters and the sensitivity of the prey.
His foes at Calvary were many and mighty. With cruel and vindictive hatred they had plotted and ensnared their victim. While He was upon the cross, they gloated with self-righteous joy, full of the pride of their supposed vindication; they surrounded Him and taunted their captive to add to His suffering. Like hunters cornering, surrounding, and closing in on their prey, they milled about the cross trying to intensify His sufferings by their blasphemy and taunts.
And “the hind of the dawn” not only willingly delivered Himself into the hands of His hunters, but moved into the darkness of “the night season” to accomplish and provide a redemption that He said had to be proclaimed first to those who were His hunters (Luke 24:47). The hind of the dawn in the darkness of the night; the hind of the dawn forsaken; the hind of the dawn brought into the dust of death!
1. Look at the various references to the hind in Scripture and bring all those thoughts to the cross. For example, in Genesis 49:21 Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth goodly words. What “good words” did the Lord Jesus speak on the cross?
2. Why does Jeremiah, when wishing to show how great the famine was, illustrate it from the unusual occurrence of the hind forsaking her young? What does this say about the “forsaking” of Calvary?