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

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Thu Dec 4 18:39:27 EST 2003

On 04/12/2003 15:00, David Kimbrough (CLWA) wrote:

>Dr. Kirk ...
Mr. Kirk, or Peter, please.

>... 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. 
Sorry if I misunderstood you - and if I was a bit harsh with you a few 
days ago, when actually I was feeling rather ill.

>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". ...
This is an interesting metaphor. In English we speak of digging up 
concealed information etc., and we tend to understand the version you 
quote of this verse, "An ungodly man diggeth up evil", in those terms 
and wonder why unearthing or exposing evil is called ungodly; but the 
NIV reading is "A scoundrel plots evil" and suggests a rather different 
image, that the evil is like a pit which is a hidden trap. The latter 
fits better with the usage of KRH in which in every case the object is 
the resulting cavity rather than something found within it.

>...  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". ...
I will admit that my argument above suggests a meaning of forming the 
ear cavity.

>... 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, ...
I think we are talking about Psalm 22, not 20 or 24.

>... 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
Your argument is now quite a bit stronger, but still has a serious 
weakness. You assume that Hebrew and English words cover the same 
semantic fields, such that if "dig" is inappopriate in the context in 
English KRH does not fit that context in Hebrew. But it is very possible 
(a priori, without looking at the evidence) that this one Hebrew word 
can be used both for English "dig" (object: a pit or grave) and for 
English "pierce" (object: a part of the body). I could find many 
examples of that kind of extended meaning of a word. One quick one: the 
very common verb NTN covers the semantic fields corresponding to both 
"give" and "put" in English. When we do look at the evidence for this 
hypothesis about KRH, we find some evidence for it in that in Psalm 40 
KRH is used with a body part as an object and in away which corresponds 
well with a known Israelite custom of piercing the ear of a voluntary 
slave (Exodus 20:6), which seems to fit the context in that verse better 
than the idea of forming the ear by digging out the ear cavity. And we 
also have the very important evidence in Psalm 22 that a verb very like 
KRH was used with body parts as an object, at least in the most ancient 
surviving Hebrew MSS, and was understood by the LXX translators as 
equivalent to KRH although translated into rather odd looking Greek.

But for me the most telling evidence against "like a lion" is that both 
DSS and LXX agree against it.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

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