[b-Hebrew] 22 nd Psalm

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Tue Nov 25 07:17:54 EST 2003

On 24/11/2003 20:00, Jason Hare wrote:

>English translations are only attempts at explaining the meaning of the
>original. The JPS offered this as their translation in 1917:
>"For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evil-doers have inclosed me;
>like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet."
>I just have to say that this translation makes sense to me given the
>context. I don't know that "like a lion are my hands and feet" would make
>all that much sense. I can't see this since in the context he is describing
>himself as the victim of a type of ambush.
>"To be" is not dropped from the Hebrew. It is just not there. Do not think
>of it as reverse translation (English to Hebrew). Rather, realize that they
>are two distinct languages from two groups of people who think
>distinctively. Perhaps this phrase (KA'ARI YADAY V'RAGLAY) made perfect
>sense to the original audience. Rather, though, I think that the
>justification for the textual emendation can be found to favor this as the
>original reading. The emendation would have been made in order to try and
>"make sense" out of the confusion.
Jason, what you say would make sense if ka'ari were the original 
reading. Your interpretation does make sense, though it is not very 
tidy. The problem seems to be that there is no ancient (pre-Masoretic) 
evidence for ka'ari. The evidence from DSS and ancient versions seems to 
favour the reading ka'aru, understood by the Septuagint translators as 
"they dug" and in various other ways by other ancient translators (e.g. 
Aquila "they bound up", Symmachus "as seeking to bind" - perhaps 
deriving the form from 'rr "curse" as the Greek verb can also mean 
"curse"). It is easy to understand how copyists changed the obscure 
ka'aru to the meaningful ka'ari, but hard to explain how the opposite 
change took place, and became sufficiently firmly established that it is 
attested as the Septuagint Vorlage, in the DSS, and in some Masoretic MSS.

So I continue to prefer ka'aru, or at least kaf-alef-resh-vav, as the 
best text. There is then of course the issue of how to understand that. 
Maybe some form of 'rr "curse" or 'rh "pluck" with the k- preposition is 
a possibility. But so is a variant form of krh or kwr "dig".

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

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