[b-hebrew] 22nd Psalm - Verb Object Again

David Kimbrough (CLWA) dkimbrough at clwa.org
Thu Dec 4 18:00:24 EST 2003

In a earlier posting, I suggested that a different way to look a the
question of how to translate the emended word "karu" that has been proposed
to replace the word "ka'ariy" in the 22nd Psalm was to look at the object
that the verb in question took in other parts of the old testament.  I
pointed out that of the 15 times that "karah" derived words are used in the
OT other than the 22nd Psalm, the object is was always something that could
be "dug" but not "pierced" (with the possible exception of the 40th Psalm),
irrespective of whether the verb in question was actually translated as
"dig".  These verb objects included pit, well, land, grave, Translating the
emended word "karu" to read "they dug" would be consistent with the previous
uses while "they pierced" is not.

Dr. Kirk responded that he believed that my logic was flawed and stated
that..."It depends on the premise that this cannot be a unique collocation
of verb and noun (or noun and noun)."   I would agree that such a premise
would be unsound; however my argument is not based on this assumption.
Rather it is based on the assumption that a word is used is instrumental in
determing how it is translated. 

Specifically the example I found were these: Gen 26:25 "there Isaac's
servants digged a well.", Gen 50:5 "I die in my grave which I have digged
for me in the land of Canaan". Exd 21:33 "And if a man shall ...shall dig a
pit", Num 21:18 "...the nobles of the people digged [the well]...", 2Ch
16:14 "And they buried him in his own sepulchres, which he had made [karah]
for himself in the city..." Job 6:27 Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and
ye dig [a pit] for your friend." Psa 7:15 He made [kara] a pit , and digged
it, and is fallen into the ditch he made" .  Psa 40:6 Sacrifice and offering
thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened [karah] Psa 57:6 "they
have digged a pit before me" Psa 94:13 "That thou mayest give him rest  from
the days of adversity , until the pit be digged for the wicked." Psa 119:85
"The proud have digged pits for me" Pro 16:27 "An ungodly man diggeth up
evil", Pro 26:27 "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein", Jer 18:20 "for
they have digged a pit for my soul" Jer 18:22 "...they have digged a pit to
take me"

In each case, the image is of someone using an implement to remove earth or
rock to form a hollow out space, such a pit, well, or grave.  In the case of
Pro 16:27, a hollowed out space in created in the ground and something
(evil) is brought out, or "unearthed".   In English, this sort of activity
is generally associated with the verb dig and not pierce.   The possible
exception is Psa 40, which is translated by the NIV as "pierced my ear" but
most translate as "opened my ear", or possibly associated with "digging out
earwax".  In every other case, substituting the word dig for the "karah"
derived verb makes sense even when the KJV did not translate it as dig, such
as Psa 7:15 and 2Ch 16:14 while pierce works in none of them.  Given this
pattern, what would lead a translator to translate the emended word "karu"
as "pierce" in regards to Psa 20, recognizing the apparent translation of
"they dug my hands and my feet" makes no sense.  The immediate context
describes the speaker as being surrounded by a pack of dogs or band of
villains.  There is nothing in these images that immediately suggests that
"piercing" any extremity is appropriate. 

dkimbrough at clwa.org

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list