Aijeleth Shahar or Ayelet HaShachar (Hebrew: "hind of the dawn") is found in the title of the Psalm. It is probably the name of some song or tune to the measure of which the psalm was to be chanted. Some, however, understand by the name some instrument of music, or an allegorical allusion to the subject of the psalm.
In the most general sense, Psalm 22 is about a person who is crying out to God to save him from the taunts and torments of his enemies, and (in the last ten verses) thanking God for rescuing him.
Jewish interpretations of Tehillim 22 identify the individual in the Psalm with a royal figure, usually King David or Queen Esther. There is no evidence of the Psalm being used in a Jewish messianic context.
The Psalm is also interpreted as referring to the plight of the Jewish people and their distress and alienation in exile.  For instance, the phrase "But I am a worm" (Hebrew: ואנכי תולעת) refers to Israel, similarly to Isaiah 41 "Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye men of Israel; I help thee, saith the LORD, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel."
- Is recited on the Fast of Esther.
- Verse 4 is part of the opening paragraph of Uva Letzion.
- Verse 26 is found in the repetition of the Amidah during Rosh Hashanah.
- Verse 29 is a part of Az Yashir. It is recited following the passage from Exodus. On Rosh Hashanah, it is found in the repetition of the Amidah.
- "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Psalm 22:1; Mark 15:34; Matthew 27:46)
- "They hurl insults, shaking their heads." (Psalm 22:7; Mark 15:29; Matthew 27:39)
- "They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment." (Psalm 22:18; Mark 15:24; Matthew 27:35; Luke 23:34; John 19:24)
- "I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you." (Psalm 22:22; Hebrews 2:12)
Christians also contend "They have pierced my hands and my feet" (Psalm 22:16), and "I can count all my bones" (Psalm 22:17) indicate the manner of Jesus's crucifixion, being nailed to the cross (John 20:25) and also that, per the Levitical code, no bones of the sacrifice (Numbers 9:11-13) may be broken. (Christians' view Jesus as an atoning sacrifice)
In the Roman Rite, prior to the implementation of the Mass of Paul VI, this psalm was sung at the Stripping of the Altar on Maundy Thursday to signify the stripping of Christ's garments before crucifixion. The psalm was preceded and followed by the antiphon "Diviserunt sibi vestimenta mea: et super vestem meam miserunt sortem" (They divided my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment). The chanting of this psalm was suppressed in the 1970 revisions to the Mass.
In popular culture
- Psalm 22
- Writing and Reading the Scroll of Isaiah: Studies of an Interpretative Tradition, p.413
- Isaiah 41
- The Artscroll Tehillim p. 329
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur p. 155
- The Complete Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah p. 353
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur p. 80
- The Complete Artscroll Machzor for Rosh Hashanah p. 321
- 12px "Stripping of an Altar". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913.
- Psalm 22 in Parallel English (JPS translation) and Hebrew
- Text of Psalm 22 in English, New International Version