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

Jason A. Hare language_lover64801 at
Mon Sep 16 14:31:50 EDT 2002


Let me preface by stating that I truly appreciate and agree with your
analyses.  This topic has been brought up on B-Hebrew (by Schmuel) because
of another list we are on.  All of the replies to the thread are greatly
appreciated by me (as I'm sure by him).

It's clear that I've only been a (far-off) lurker lately, but that's
because life has been so busy.  Wish I could participate more in the list
(as before), but it's good to still see some familiar faces/names on the
posts.  :-)

One question (as it is to my demerit):

"Lion" appears two other times in Psalm 22.  Is there any significance to
the fact that both of the other times (surrounding the questioned verse)
use the longer form of the word 'FRY"H rather than ':ARIY (as is assumed
in verse 16)?  In other words (and maybe this is straining), why would
David alternate between these two words, or is that a common feature of
passages like this?

I must state that I really like how you joined the two apparent phrases in
the passage to eliminate the need for a verb in the second (which should
have been apparent to me in the first place).


P.S. Tzom qal ug'mar khamitah tovah. :-D

> 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
> confused.
> >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
> feet."
> 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.
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