[b-hebrew] 22 nd Psalm

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Fri Nov 21 17:30:24 EST 2003

On 21/11/2003 13:53, David Kimbrough (CLWA) wrote:

>I am new to this board so bear with me.  I have a question on the last part
>of the 16th verse of the 22nd Psalm .  I you will forgive my crude
>transliteration, the ketib reads:  "K'ariy Yadiy Regeliy".  The qere
>substitutes "Kari" (no aleph) for "K'ariy" (with an aleph). ...
Technically, in BHS at least, this is not an issue of ketiv and qere but 
an issue of emending the Hebrew text on the basis of the other 
manuscripts and translations.

>... K'ariy would
>seem to mean "like a lion" although I have read some translations that make
>it plural.  The ketib then seems to lack a verb. ...
The form in BHS is actually ka'ariy, the first a is a qamets indicating 
a definite article, so a more literal rendering would be "like the 
lion". It is not an objection that there is no verb because the verb "to 
be", in the present tense, is usually omitted in Hebrew. So the meaning 
of this version would have to be "my hands and my feet are like the lion".

>... The qere would seem to be
>from the root "karah" and is universally translated into English as "they
>pierced". ...
The suggested emended Hebrew text is karu, a double emendation (alef 
dropped, yod replaced by vav). This seems to mean "they made a hole". In 
most cases the object is a pit or cistern, and so the appropriate verb 
in English is "dig". In Psalm 40:6 (Hebrew v.7) the object is an ear, 
which can hardly be dug, but can be pierced (cf. Exodus 21:6, where a 
different verb is used).

>... However if I am not mistaken, "karah" means "to dig" (qal) not
>"pierce".  This would be consistent with the Septuagint which translates the
>same phrase (which is listed in the LXX in Psalm 21:17) as "orukan xeirav
>mou kai podav".  Oruko means "to dig".   I believe this is the only place in
>the Old Testament where a word from the root 'krh" is translated as
>"pierce".  Everywhere it is usually translated as "dig".
Not in Psalm 40:6.

>Is "like a lion" a reasonable translation?  It looks singular to me but is
>there some reason to translate it as a plural?  Is "kari" a third person
>plural perfect qal of k-r-h?  If so, is it more reasonable translated as
>"they dug" or "they pierced"?  If not, what might it mean?  Is this just
>hopelessly corrupted?
"They dug my hands and feet" is meaningless. "They made holes in my 
hands and feet" is meaningful. But it does rely on an emended Hebrew 
text. The alef could have been added to the Hebrew text originally to 
indicate the long a sound (qamets) as sometimes in DSS as well as much 
later Hebrew, although not usually in the Hebrew Bible, and then been 
misinterpreted by the Masoretes.

I hope this helps you.

>Thanks in advance for your patience.
>dkimbrough at clwa.org

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

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