Psalm 22:16 like a lion they mauled, the emendation question

Schmuel schmuel at
Sun Sep 15 07:54:58 EDT 2002

Shalom b-Hebrew,

Psalm 22:16 - KJB
For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me:
they pierced my hands and my feet.

Psalms 22:16 (
ybs kxrs kxy vlsvny mdbq mlqvxy vljpr-mvt tsptny.

In the Jewish translations this is Psalm 22:17 and we have "like a lion" or 
a similar usage..
(perhaps in some "Christian" translations, but almost all have pierced)

There are many issues involved, minority readings, an aleph, awkwardness, 
context, DSS.
(I can offer a few links on all those issues, but I don't wish to get to 

However I just want mostly to focus on one question .
... that of the possible emendations in the Jewish translations to make a 
"lion" reading smooth...

  "like a" ... and
  "they maul" or "they seize"

Psalm 22:16  - JPS-1985
Dogs surround me;  a pack of evil ones close in on me,
like lions (they maul) my hands and feet...

Rashi mentions Isaiah 38:13 JPS
Then it was as though a lion were breaking all my bones; ....

or Jay Green Interlinear
...Like a lion, so he shatters all my bones

... as a lion, so will he break all my bones

So the "like a", even if it is not innate in karu, seems to be 
translated/emendated :-)
similarly in another passage by all translators...

  (that is one aspect of the question, how does one add a "as a" or "like 
a", is it simply
   translators contextual choice, or is it the nature of the words ..
    is there a specific way this can or should be shown in the Hebrew text ?)

Continuing.. next aspect..

Now in the JPS-1985 translation (they maul) is simply a translator's 
properly put in parenthesis, to smooth the text which literally, in their 
view of using "lion",
would make little sense...

"like lions my hands and feet..."

Such an addition (they maul) seemingly should have an additional verb, are 
there many other
similar examples where such a vital verb is clearly missing in the Hebrew 
text ?
How do translator's or scholars look upon such an addition ?

For dogs surround me; the assembly of the wicked encircle me;
they seize my hands and my feet like a lion.

Here again we go back to a major pronoun-verb emendation "they seize",
this time without parenthesis.. (although I am using the CD edition, not 
the text)

I would like the experts view of such additions/emendations by the 

Are they common in the Tanach.. ?
Are they "legitimate" or "ok" or "marginal" or "dubious" .. (in your 
opinion) :-)

And any other comments, examples, grammar and what-have-you...


Side question, anybody heard of Brusius, who made some comments about this,
(mentioned in the Haydock encyclopedia..) .. seeking more info turned up 


Others have looked at this.. "like a lion, 'my hands, my feet' " as a 
verbal exclamatory by the
writer whose hands are being mauled or licked or something :-)
That usage would open up its own questions.....


Thank you for your assistance


schmuel at

Messianic_Apologetic-subscribe at

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