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

Moshe Shulman mshulman at
Sun Sep 15 08:42:56 EDT 2002

At 07:54 AM 9/15/02 -0400, you wrote:

It seems that G-d made a serious oversight in that the words of the Tenach 
were in Hebrew and not in English. He made it so easy for people to become 

>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.

First I would point out that the best Christian (mis)translation is the 
Douay version which has:

"For many dogs have encompassed me: the council of the malignant hath 
besieged me. They have dug my hands and feet."

While there are some problems I see, it is at least consistent in 
translating KARU according to its theory that it is a verb, and what root 
it has. It is the only one I have seen that has done that, although the 
Christian Lexicons that try to support the Christian translation all attest 
to that begin the correct translation of the root word KVR.

The primary problem I have seen in English speakers is a misunderstanding 
of Hebrew poetic forms. For example the following  with punctuation removed 
presents no problem:

"The council of the malignant hath besieged me like a lion at my hands and 

Makes perfect  sense. We understand it and the imagery is clear. Now if we 
add the first clause that appears in the Hebrew poetry we get:

"For many dogs have encompassed me. The council of the malignant hath 
besieged me like a lion at my hands and feet."

 From here we can see how the JPS has translated it:

"For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evil-doers have inclosed me; 
like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet."

Because of the punctuation used (which does not appear in the Hebrew) there 
is a need to add who the subject is (which was obvious in the Hebrew.)

>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...

The JPS 1985 is not a literal translation, but uses a style which tries to 
be more explanative, and less of a tool for teaching Biblical Hebrew.

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

As I said, it would have been easier if G-d had taught all those ancient 
Hebrews English so that we wouldn't need any of those pesky translations.

Moshe Shulman   outreach at 718-436-7705
Messiah Truth/Judaism's Answer:
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