on Psalms 69 :21
They gave me also gall for my meat - Even the food, necessary to preserve us in their slavery, was frequently mingled with what rendered it unpleasant and disgusting, though not absolutely unwholesome. And vinegar, sour small wines, was given us for our beverage. This is applied to our Lord, Matthew 27:34, where the reader is requested to consult the notes.
on Psalms 69 :21
They gave me also - My enemies; all persons around me. No one would show me even so much kindness as to give me food when I was hungry, or drink when I was thirsty. They utterly forsook me; they left me to die unpitied. Nay, they did more than this. When I was perishing with hunger, they not only refused to give me wholesome food, but they mocked my sufferings by giving me a bitter and poisonous herb for food, and vinegar for my drink.
Gall for my meat - For my food. Or, they gave me this "instead" of wholesome food. The word here rendered "gall" - ראשׁ rô'sh - is the same "in form" which is commonly rendered "head," and occurs in this sense very often in the Scriptures. It is also used to denote a "poisonous plant," perhaps from the idea that the plant referred to was distinguished for, or remarkable for its "head" - as the poppy; and "then" the name may have been given also to some other similar plants. The word then comes to denote poison; venom; anything poisonous; and then, anything very bad-tasted; "bitter." It is rendered "gall," as here, in Deuteronomy 29:18; Jeremiah 8:14; Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15; Lamentations 3:5, Lamentations 3:19; Amos 6:12; "venom" in Deuteronomy 32:33; "poison," in Job 20:16; and "hemlock," in Hosea 10:4. In Deuteronomy 29:18, it is rendered, in the margin, "rosh," or "a poisonful herb." It does not occur elsewhere with any such signification. It may not be possible to determine precisely what is denoted here by the word, but it undoubtedly refers to some poisonous, bitter, deadly, stupefying substance given to a sufferer, "instead" of that which would be wholesome food, or suited to sustain life.
And in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink - Instead of giving me pure water, they gave me sour wine - vinegar - that which would not slake my thirst, or which would not answer the purpose of drink. The form of trial here referred to is that where one is dying of thirst, and where, instead of giving water to assuage the thirst, one should give, in mockery, that which could not be drunk, or which would answer none of the purposes required. The word translated "vinegar" - חמץ chômets - is rendered in the ancient versions "sour grapes," but the proper signification here seems to be vinegar - the usual meaning of the word. What is here stated to have been done to David was also done to the dying Saviour, though without any intimation that the passage here had an original reference to him - or that what was done to him was intended to be a fulfillment of what is here said. See Matthew 27:34, Matthew 27:48; Mark 15:23; John 19:29. In the case of the Saviour, they first gave him vinegar mingled with myrrh - a usual custom in reference to those who were crucified - for the purpose of deadening the pain, or stupefying the sufferer. Matthew 27:34. At a subsequent part of the crucifixion they gave him vinegar, extended to him in a sponge affixed to a reed. Matthew 27:48; John 19:29. This was for a different purpose. It was to allay his thirst, and it seems (as the former may have been) to have been an act of kindness or compassion on the part of those who were appointed to crucify him. The former he refused to take, because he came to suffer; the latter he just tasted as he died. John 19:30. The "coincidence" in the cases of David and the Saviour was remarkable; but in the case of the Saviour no further use is made of what occurred to David than to employ the "language" which he employed to describe his own sufferings. The one was not, in any proper sense, a "type" of the other; nor does the language in the psalm refer to the Saviour.
on Psalms 69 :21
69:21 Gall - Instead of giving me that comfort which my condition required, they added to my afflictions. Vinegar - These things were metaphorically fulfilled in David, but properly in Christ, the description of whose sufferings was principally intended here by the Holy Ghost.