He said, "I thirst". (John 19:28 ESV)

They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink. (Psalm 69:21 ESV)

So, now John compares "I thirst" with Psalm, so now my doubt is, did this happen "They gave me poison for food"?

How does John 19:28 fulfill Ps. 69:21 in regards to "they gave me poison for food", a response could include another text not previously mentioned Source

  • Welcome to BHSE! We're a little different here, please read our Site Directives as you ask and answer questions-Thank you!
    – Tau
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 4:00
  • This is a good question; my fear is someone will VTC(Vote to Close) it because it is searching for a text, rather than asking for an understanding of one. If you could re-phrase the question to say something like, "How does John 19:28 fulfill Ps. 69:21 in regards to "they gave me poison for food", a response could include another text not previously mentioned, yet it would remain "On text, On Topic" in regards to Site Directives. Thank you!
    – Tau
    Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 4:07
  • Gud one there @Tau, I thought "searching for a text" was allowed, but still, I edited it for u. :) Commented Apr 4, 2015 at 6:05

3 Answers 3


The fulfilment of Psalm 69:21 in John 19:28-29

Properly speaking John 19:28 and the 'I thirst' statement of John 19:28 is linked to Ps 69:3 which says: "I am weary with my crying; My throat is dry; My eyes fail while I wait for my God." it is John 19:29 that could be linked to Ps 69:21, the commentator notes:

The connection of the Markan Death Story, and to a lesser extent the Johannine Death Story, with Psalm 22 is unmistakable. But the Death Stories in both Mark and John can likewise be linked to statements in Psalm 69, where the victim’s “throat is parched” (Ps 69:3) and he is given “vinegar for [his] thirst” (Ps 69:21).1

The bitter food

In Matthew 27:34 we read, Matthew 27:34 "they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink." [NKJV]

in the LXX that verse reads as follows, Matthew 27:34 ἔδωκαν αὐτῷ πιεῖν οἶνον μετὰ χολῆς μεμιγμένον· καὶ γευσάμενος οὐκ ἠθέλησεν πιεῖν.

Now compare that to Psalm 69:21 in the LXX which reads, καὶ ἔδωκαν εἰς τὸ βρῶμά μου χολὴν καὶ εἰς τὴν δίψαν μου ἐπότισάν με ὄξος.

Notice is is the same word, though in a different form (Matt 27:34 is genitive whereas Ps 69:21 is accusative). Mark tells us this bitter substance was Myrrh, Mark 15:23 "Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh (ἐσμυρνισμένον) to drink...". Myrrh is fragrant resin gum with a bitter taste.

One commentator writes:

What David was offered in metaphor, Jesus was offered in fact, according to Matt 27:34, 48, where the Greek words for gall and vinegar are those that the LXX uses here, Matthew, however does not claim this is a prophetic fulfilment, although John 19:28 speaks of Jesus' thirst in such terms.2

An allusion or a fulfilment of prophecy?

It should be noted that John does not specifically say that the drink that was offered to Jesus is a fulfilment of scripture, he says that Jesus' statement, "I thirst" is a fulfilment of scripture, John 19:28 "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" "

Therefore to expect a verse that speaks of Jesus being given 'poison for food' seems to demanding something the bible never implies needs to be there. The most one could argue is that the crucifixion accounts allude to Psalm 69:21. Nowhere to the claim to be fulfilment of it.

1 Borchert, G. L. (2002). John 12–21 (Vol. 25B, p. 271). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

2 Kidner, D. (1973). Psalms 1-72 (p266). IVP acedemic, Inter-varsity press


Short answer: Psalm 69:21 is itself an allusion to Obadiah, and to Deuteronomy 32:32-33.

Obadiah is a minor prophet and, coincidentally only has 21 verses. Jesus alludes to Obadiah verses 1-4 which relates to the incoming judgment on Edom but is applying it to Capernaum. IE: Anywhere you see "Edom", think "Capernaum":

[Oba 1:1-4 NLT] (1) This is the vision that the Sovereign LORD revealed to Obadiah concerning the land of Edom. We have heard a message from the LORD that an ambassador was sent to the nations to say, "Get ready, everyone! Let's assemble our armies and attack Edom!" (2) The LORD says to Edom, "I will cut you down to size among the nations; you will be greatly despised. (3) You have been deceived by your own pride because you live in a rock fortress and make your home high in the mountains. 'Who can ever reach us way up here?' you ask boastfully. (4) But even if you soar as high as eagles and build your nest among the stars, I will bring you crashing down," says the LORD.

However, in John 19:28 he alludes to the rest of Obadiah and applies it to Jerusalem! This is because Obadiah is description of the vengeance that he will wreak upon Edom, which by my reading is now Jerusalem, for their cruelty in Israel's desperate need. So in this way Obadiah's prophecy becomes clear: It is prophecy of the cruelty with which the messiah is treated and vengeance that follows in the form of the First Jewish-Roman War circa 70ad:

[Oba 1:5-21 NLT] (5) "If thieves came at night and robbed you (what a disaster awaits you!), they would not take everything. Those who harvest grapes always leave a few for the poor. But your enemies will wipe you out completely! (6) Every nook and cranny of Edom will be searched and looted. Every treasure will be found and taken. (7) "All your allies will turn against you. They will help to chase you from your land. They will promise you peace while plotting to deceive and destroy you. Your trusted friends will set traps for you, and you won't even know about it. (8) At that time not a single wise person will be left in the whole land of Edom," says the LORD. "For on the mountains of Edom I will destroy everyone who has understanding. (9) The mightiest warriors of Teman will be terrified, and everyone on the mountains of Edom will be cut down in the slaughter. (10) "Because of the violence you did to your close relatives in Israel, you will be filled with shame and destroyed forever. (11) When they were invaded, you stood aloof, refusing to help them. Foreign invaders carried off their wealth and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem, but you acted like one of Israel's enemies. (12) "You should not have gloated when they exiled your relatives to distant lands. You should not have rejoiced when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune. You should not have spoken arrogantly in that terrible time of trouble. (13) You should not have plundered the land of Israel when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have gloated over their destruction when they were suffering such calamity. You should not have seized their wealth when they were suffering such calamity. (14) You should not have stood at the crossroads, killing those who tried to escape. You should not have captured the survivors and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble. (15) "The day is near when I, the LORD, will judge all godless nations! As you have done to Israel, so it will be done to you. All your evil deeds will fall back on your own heads. (16) Just as you swallowed up my people on my holy mountain, so you and the surrounding nations will swallow the punishment I pour out on you. Yes, all you nations will drink and stagger and disappear from history. (17) "But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance. (18) The people of Israel will be a raging fire, and Edom a field of dry stubble. The descendants of Joseph will be a flame roaring across the field, devouring everything. There will be no survivors in Edom. I, the LORD, have spoken! (19) "Then my people living in the Negev will occupy the mountains of Edom. Those living in the foothills of Judah will possess the Philistine plains and take over the fields of Ephraim and Samaria. And the people of Benjamin will occupy the land of Gilead. (20) The exiles of Israel will return to their land and occupy the Phoenician coast as far north as Zarephath. The captives from Jerusalem exiled in the north will return home and resettle the towns of the Negev. (21) Those who have been rescued will go up to Mount Zion in Jerusalem to rule over the mountains of Edom. And the LORD himself will be king!"

The "wine of Sodom" is described in Deuteronomy, referring to their grapes as gall:

[Deu 32:32-33 ASV] (32) For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, And of the fields of Gomorrah: Their grapes are grapes of gall, Their clusters are bitter: (33) Their wine is the poison of serpents, And the cruel venom of asps.

God says he is holding back on vengeance for the blood of the righteous until later:

Deu 32:34-36 ASV Is not this laid up in store with me, Sealed up among my treasures? (35) Vengeance is mine, and recompense, At the time when their foot shall slide: For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things that are to come upon them shall make haste. (36) For Jehovah will judge his people, And repent himself for his servants; When he seeth that their power is gone, And there is none remaining, shut up or left at large.

Jesus said that the current generation is THE GENERATION upon which the long "store up" wrath will fall:

[Mat 23:33-39 ASV] (33) Ye serpents, ye offspring of vipers, how shall ye escape the judgment of hell? (34) Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: some of them shall ye kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: (35) that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of Abel the righteous unto the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom ye slew between the sanctuary and the altar. (36) Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. (37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (38) Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. (39) For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The judgment arrived within 40 years of Jesus' pronouncement in the form of the war with Rome:

[Luk 21:20-24 ASV] (20) But when ye see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that her desolation is at hand. (21) Then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains; and let them that are in the midst of her depart out; and let not them that are in the country enter therein. (22) For these are days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. (23) Woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days! for there shall be great distress upon the land, and wrath unto this people. (24) And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led captive into all the nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.

It is this horrific day of judgment that is described in the Revelation.



  • You may want to consider if you are misreading the Song of Moses. Jewish commentators see God interrupting His judicial process (vv 26-27) to acknowledge a risk to His honor should other nations see Israel destroyed. "So God reverses Himself, cancels the just pronounced punishment, and decides to punish Israel's enemies so as to vindicate Israel (vv. 28-42)." [Bernard M. Levinson] IOW the verses 32:32-36 apply to the other nations, not to Israel. Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 15:39
  • Many verses read well both ways. I find Jesus', Paul's, Peter's, etc. usage of the passage to clearly be about Israel. And Deut 32:15-20 is very clear. Regardless of how it was originally used, Jesus uses it for his generation.
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 15:48
  • The Song of Moses can be broken into sections: 1) Introduction with summoning of witnesses [vv. 1-3]. 2) Summary of accusation of Israel's disloyalty [vv. 4-6]. 3) Recital of God's loving actions on Israel's behalf as the basis for the charge [vv.7-14]. 4) Indictment of Israel as disloyal [vv. 15-18]. 5) Declaration of of the decision to punish Israel [vv. 19-25]. 6) God's reverses Himself to cancel the just proclaimed punishment [vv.26-27]. 7). Punish Israel's enemies so as to vindicate Israel (vv. 28-42) 8) Conclusion with a call for the divine council to praise God for His actions. [v 43]. Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 16:19
  • Do you disagree that Jesus used the Deut passage as I suggested in my answer?
    – Ruminator
    Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 16:24
  • So what you are doing is to correctly attribute vv 15-20 as applying to Israel but failing to follow the progression by also applying vv 32-36 to Israel instead of the other nations against which they are pronounced. So even if all of Deut 32 is applicable at this moment during the Crucifixion, you may be conflating pronouncements against both Israel and Rome to arrive at an "Israel only" conclusion. Commented Jul 24, 2019 at 16:25

I take the view that Psalm 69 is not a prophetic psalm that was fulfilled by Jesus being given sour wine during the crucifixion. The OP's interpretation works only if the crucifixion is viewed through a narrow lens, namely vs. 21, which refers to sour wine. It's true that Jesus was given sour wine on the cross. But Psalm 69 is not about Jesus, it is about a sufferer (perhaps David) whose situation and attitude is very different from that of Jesus.

When Jesus suffered on the cross, he prayed to God: "Father forgive them for they know what they do." But in Psalm 69 the speaker responds to his suffering to calling down God's wrath about his enemies:

23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see; and make their loins tremble continually. 24 Pour out thy indignation upon them, and let thy burning anger overtake them... Add to them punishment upon punishment; may they have no acquittal from thee.

Conclusion: John does not in fact directly connect Jesus' saying "I thirst" with Psalm 69, although some commentators do make this connection. In fact, the speaker in Psalm 69:21 cannot be Jesus nor does the psalm predict what happened on the cross. Jesus loved his enemies and prayed that God would forgive those who persecuted him. The author of Psalm 69 prayed exactly the opposite.

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