Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

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JoeWallack
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Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by JoeWallack » Wed Dec 02, 2015 8:53 am

"Pierced" through the hands (and feet), Jews to blame, you give love one another, a bad name

This Thread is a resurrection of my award winning Thread at the ye olde FRDB:

Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Determining Who's Original And Who's Lion?

which I have faith is one of the best discussions ever there. This thread had it all, qadmas, pashtas and azlas, Rabbis, Priests and nuns and wild dogs and roaring cats living together - Mass hysteria! Featuring me, spin, Apikorus, Schmuelman!, Jeffery, the (assistant) Professor, Gibson, Private Benjamin and the usual gang of clods and idiots.

The discussion centered around the likely original for an offending word of Psalm 22:17 (22:16 in the Christian Bible):

Psalm 22:16
For dogs have compassed me: A company of evil-doers have inclosed me; They pierced my hands and my feet. (ASV)
Our own Tenorikuma (Paul Davidson) has awakened the Force of this Thread with his own, what King (of Comedy) Larry David would say, is a "pretty, pretty good" article at his excellent blog:

A Few Remarks on the Problem of Psalm 22:16

I now have a first edition of my own related article at my new blog:

Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Determining Who's Original And Who's Lion? Nahal Hever Fragment

Focusing on the related Nahal Hever fragment. For those not familiar with the Nahal Hever issue, Christians who use a (mis)translation of "pierced" for 22:17 claim the Nahal Hever fragment is a key piece of support (due to age). This fragment is badly faded so it's uncertain what the final letter of the offending word is. Apologists want it to be the letter which is not supported by the Masoretic tradition. While the resulting word would not have any known meaning, it would get Christians closer to a word, which would still not mean "pierced" but would be closer to "pierced" than "like a lion".

My article gives the following points to conclude it likely that the offending word of Nahal Hever is in lion with the Masoretic tradition:
  • 1) The superior Masoretic transmission clearly prefers yod.

    2) The meaning of the word with a vav would be unknown.

    3) Yods and vavs of the time were very similar in script

    4) The fragment is very difficult to read
A special treat at Paul Davidson's site is that a member of the translation committee for the NIV:
Dogs(A) surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce[a](B) my hands and my feet.

[a]Psalm 22:16 Dead Sea Scrolls and some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Septuagint and Syriac; most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text me, / like a lion
David Instone-Brewer, has taken an interest in the issue.

Anyway, everyone is welcome to comment, except for Harvey Dubish. For those who need points sharply explained, like outhouse, I even have lots of simple pictures. And, for every comment that Neil Godfrey makes, he will receive a free comment from rob. Enjoy!


Joseph

The New Porphyry

Nota Ben = I'd be especially interested in what you think about "the word" at Nahal Hever.

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Re: Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by rakovsky » Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:49 am

Septuagint says gouged I think, and Septuagint was written before the Christian - Jewish debates. So I think the Christian reading is right even though it could create problems theologically for the rabbis' side of the debates and even if Jesus didn't resurrect.

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Re: Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by JoeWallack » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:32 pm

rakovsky wrote:Septuagint says gouged I think, and Septuagint was written before the Christian - Jewish debates. So I think the Christian reading is right even though it could create problems theologically for the rabbis' side of the debates and even if Jesus didn't resurrect.
JW:
And exactly what do you think this correct Christian reading is?


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Re: Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Dec 03, 2015 9:51 pm

I am not entirely sure when the LXX of Isaiah was written. The Aristeas story only pertains to the Pentateuch.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by JoeWallack » Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:43 pm

JW:
For those following at home here is where the related exchange starts between me and David Instone-Brewer:

https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.com/ ... omment-989

He has confessed that he thinks the likely translation of the offending word at Nahal Hever with a vav at the end is "pierced". I have asked him that considering that such a word is nowhere else to be found in Hebrew writings, what is his basis for concluding that "pierced" is likely.


Joseph

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Re: Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by rakovsky » Sat Dec 05, 2015 2:57 pm

The Dead Sea Scroll of Psalm 22 says not kari, but ka'aru, I think. Since the ending letter is a u, not an i, it definitely cannot mean "like a lion", because lion is "ari", not "aru".

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Re: Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by JoeWallack » Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:39 am

JW:
A recent exchange at my Blog:

Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Determining Who's Original And Who's Lion? Nahal Hever Fragment
Steve said...

Hi Joe,

Interesting article about Psalms 22. I'm sympathetic to your argument, but the resulting sentence:

"...a band of evildoers has encompassed me, like a lion, my hands and feet."

doesn't seem to make grammatical sense.

Something like these would make more sense:

1. "...a band of evildoers has encompassed me, like a lion, piercing my hands and feet." This would make the connection between the lion and the hand and feet.

2. "...a band of evildoers has encompassed me, binding my hands and feet." This omits the mention of the lion, but makes the connection between "encompassed me" and hands and feet.

Note that I'm not saying there is any evidence for these, but that they make grammatical sense, while the translation you propose is confusing. Maybe it makes sense in the original language?

I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on this point.

Cheers!
JoeWallack said...

Hi Steve. I agree that it is a grammatical problem. In the Jewish Bible as a whole, there are a few instances of the equivalent of a sentence with no explicit verb but an implied verb (usually "at"/"near" which would be the implied verb here). But this is rare. And in the Psalms I'm not aware of any sentences lacking a verb.

Regarding the overall evidence though the Manuscript evidence is overwhelming for "like a lion". I'm also not aware of any Rabbinic evidence against it:

http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo ... rashi=true

"like a lion, my hands and feet: As though they are crushed in a lion’s mouth, and so did Hezekiah say (in Isa. 38: 13): “like a lion, so it would break all my bones.”

The Internal evidence outside of the lack of a verb also strongly supports "like a lion":

1) Lions have already been invoked.

2) There is a general use of wild animals.

3) A lion here completes a chiastic structure of animals.

4) In the entire Psalm the speaker is only threatened, never physically harmed. The basic theme is to save the speaker from physical harm.

5) The Psalm is poetry, not narrative, and poetry is more likely to bend the rules of grammar.

Further strengthening "like a lion" is that there is no reasonable alternative supported by a minimum of evidence.

As far as The Difficult Reading Principle:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lectio_difficilior_potior

while it is probably the most important criterion for Textual Criticism of The Christian Bible that is not the case for The Jewish Bible:

1) We can not demonstrate this criterion for Jewish manuscripts.

2) Rabbinic commentary seems more interested in wondering why there are unusual words than in wondering if they should be some other word.

3) Jewish scribes often indicate that the meaning is uncertain.

4) Jewish tradition inventoried (preserved) textual variation rather than eliminate it.

Thus the Jewish style is to recognize the evidence against "like a lion" rather than ignore it. But when you add up all the evidence there are numerous good reasons to prefer "like a lion" and no good reason for any specific alternative.

Joseph
Unlike:

The Ending of Mark

and

Isaiah 53

Psalm 22:17 is still a popular subject in Polemics with no shortage of Apologists/Christian Bible scholars claiming that "pierced" is either an acceptable or at least tolerable translation. This will eventually change of course and we already see the brave and truthful NRSV moving away from "pierced":

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... B;NRSV;ESV


Joseph

The New Porphyry

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Re: Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by iskander » Wed Apr 27, 2016 9:53 am

Secret Alias wrote:I am not entirely sure when the LXX of Isaiah was written. The Aristeas story only pertains to the Pentateuch.

Lawrence Schhiffman :
beowulf wrote:...

Lawrence Schiffman writes that "as for the reading of the Torah, it is virtually certain that the Greek Bible texts, of which the Septuagint is an example, were in use ".He adds, " The Septuagint began to take shape in the third century BCE in response to the need of the Alexandrian Jewish community. By the second century the books of the latter prophets, then the former , were translated as well. Some of the Writings had also been translated by the beginning of the second century BCE ,whereas others were rendered into Greek only in the first century."

Lawrence Schiffman :From Text to Tradition, A History of Second Temple and Rabbinic Judaism

Page 89, 92.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=648#p13281

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3kW ... er&f=false
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Re: Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by iskander » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:53 pm

added for completeness
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Re: Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion?

Post by rakovsky » Fri Dec 09, 2016 3:39 pm

JoeWallack wrote:Psalm 22:17 is still a popular subject in Polemics with no shortage of Apologists/Christian Bible scholars claiming that "pierced" is either an acceptable or at least tolerable translation. This will eventually change of course and we already see the brave and truthful NRSV moving away from "pierced":
I think it will be hard to get rid of apologists saying "pierced" is at least tolerable, since something like it is found in a minority of the Masoretic scripts, as well as in the LXX and Dead Sea Scrolls.

Since "like a lion" is in most Masoretic scripts, "like a lion" is rationally defensible. But since the grammar is off and it's not in the plurality of traditions, then the alternative view IMO is more persuasive.
Last edited by rakovsky on Fri Dec 09, 2016 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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