[b-hebrew] Psalm 22 - the Masorah of Isaiah 38:13 and Numbers 24:9

schmuel schmuel at nyc.rr.com
Wed Oct 4 09:11:34 EDT 2006

Hi Folks,

  I know that raising up a Psalm 22 question often starts a spate of posts that largely
rehash earlier positions.  That is not my purpose here (although of course it is very 
legitimate posting) more to simply focus on particular technical issues.

  Here is one that has come up on the Masorah, and there is little documentation
about this about this anywhere.  I have not seen it mentioned in the JBL articles,
although I have missed it. 

   A while back John Gill wrote in his commentary -

"in the small Masorah on the text it is observed that the word is twice used as here pointed, but in two different senses; this is one of the places; the other is Isaiah 38:13; where the sense requires it should be read "as a lion": wherefore, according to the authors of that note, it must have a different sense here, and not to be understood of a lion; the larger Masorah, in Numbers 24:9; observes the word is to be found in two places, in that place and in Psalm 22:16; and adds to that, it is written wrak, "they pierced";

For reference I am giving the verses (KJB)

Isaiah 38:13 
I reckoned till morning, that, as a lion, so will he break all my bones :
from day even to night wilt thou make an end of me. 

Psalms 22:16 
For dogs have compassed me: 
the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me:
they pierced my hands and my feet. 

Numbers 24:9 
He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: 
who shall stir him up? 
Blessed is he that blesseth thee, 
and cursed is he that curseth thee. 

Glenn Miller has ..

Keil and Delitzsch bring this data to light in their discussion of this passage:
"Perceiving this [difficulty of the translation 'like a lion' in the context], the Masora on Isa xxxviii. 13 observes, that k'ari in the two passages in which it occurs (Ps. xxii. 17, Isa. xxxviii. 13), occurs in two different meanings, just as the Midrash then also understands k'ri in the Psalm as a verb used of marking with conjuring, magic characters"

   The John Gill material has been critiqued on a number of points.
eg. it is said that it is written wrak should be "it is read wrak" and that
using the word "pierced" has to be seen as the Gill view, not the Masorah.

  If helpful I can include the critique but I would like to hear the thoughts here
outside of a slightly politicized discussion. We see there is overlap from Gill
with the Keil and Delitzsch reference, giving Gill some support on the lesser
Masorah reference, if the K & D material is properly represented

Steven Avery


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