Psalm 22:6 – I am a worm

The text:

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people.   (Psalm 22:6)




The worm (‘towla’ or ‘tola’ath’ in Hebrew) of this Psalm bares the scientific name ‘coccus ilicis’.

A worm reminds us if an earthworm that is easily crushed under foot, but the ‘coccus ilicis’ (the Crimson worm) is actually more of an insect than a worm.
The male has wings and flies around. The female looks more like a maggot and cannot fly.




The female coccus ilicis.

Psalm 22 DE WORM 2




Several ‘worms’ can be seen in this illustration, attached to a branch

Notice that these ‘worms’ are not alone in being coloured red; the branch and the leaves are too.



The OLB translates as follows:

  • worm, scarlet dye, crimson
  • worm - the female ‘coccus ilicis’
  • the dye made from the dried body of the female ‘coccus ilicis’

This coccus ilicis ‘worm’ is a very special ‘worm’.
When the time has arrived for the female coccus ilicis to bare her young:

  • she attaches herself to a tree or branch.
  • she attaches herself so strongly, that she is unable to detach herself.
  • while doing so she makes a hard shield to protect the little eggs she lays under herself.
  • when the larvae hatch, they live protected under her body and feed themselves with their living mother.
  • when the little young worms are able to look after themselves after a few days, the mother dies.
    A scarlet red liquid leaks out at that moment, which colours not only the wood to which they are attached, but the little young worms as well, for the rest of their lives.
  • three days after the death of the mother, her body loses its scarlet red colour and changes into a kind of white wax, which falls to the ground like snow.

Awesome symbolism:

God has put splendid illustration in nature, from creation onwards, with this ‘worm’ – of the sacrifice that Jesus would for mankind.
King David described the reason why Jesus died, and the manner in which He was to die, in Psalm 22, 1,000 years before the birth of Christ.

The worm attaches itself to the wood in order to die there.
Jesus died on a wooden cross, to which He had voluntarily allowed Himself to be nailed.

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there.   (Luke 23:33)

… Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.    (John 19:30)

The worm attaches itself to the wood in order to bring forth new life.
Jesus allowed Himself to be crucified because that was the only way to bring eternal redemption for sin. Jesus died on the cross:

… thus obtaining eternal redemption.   (Hebrews 9:12)

All the prophets testify about him (Jesus) that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.   (Acts 10:43)

Very truly I (Jesus) tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.   (John 5:24)

and, once made perfect, he (Jesus) became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.   (Hebrews 5:9)

The worm protects her offspring.
Jesus said in the high priestly prayer:

While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction   (Judas Iscariot) so that Scripture would be fulfilled.   (John 17:12)

And concerning the children:

See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.   (Matthew 18:10)

The larvae stay alive by eating their living mother. Jesus said

 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.   (John 6:51)

The larvae are permanently coloured scarlet red by the death of the mother.
The scarlet red colour is the colour of blood, blood with which God confirms a covenant, as in the time of Moses.

Then he (Moses) took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.”
Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”   (Exodus 24:7-8)

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.   (Hebrews 9:22)

In the present time too, God makes a covenant with everyone who believes in Jesus Christ:

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith.
(Romans 3:23-25)

Those who accede to the covenant by faith in Jesus Christ receive the purifying work of His blood:

… through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood.   (1 Peter 1:2)

The worm is transformed three days after her death.
Jesus was transformed, three days after His death on the cross.
He was raised from the dead in a new, immortal body, a heavenly body, which, in heaven, will be like the disciples saw when Jesus was transfigured on the mountain:

… His clothes became dazzling white, whiter than anyone in the world could bleach them.   (Mark 9:3)

The male coccus ilicis.





t is remarkable that the female and male coccus ilicis are totally different and that only the male form of this ‘worm’ is able to fly.

It is possible that God has given an image of the Holy Spirit, who creates new life, in the male coccus ilicis.



As the angel Gabriel said to Mary:

The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.   (Luke 1:35)

And the Holy Spirit, who raises a person to new life in Jesus Christ, for:

When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment …   (John 16:8-11)

… no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.   (1 Corinthians 12:3)

See also the study Mark 15:34 - My God, my God.


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Psalm 22:6 - I am a worm.