[b-hebrew] Psalm 22 - the Masorah of Isaiah 38:13 and Numbers 24:9
Bryant J. Williams III
bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Wed Oct 4 20:32:09 EDT 2006
Below is the entire quote from John Gill, Gill's Expositor, Chronicles to
Psalms, Volume 3, page 621, starting with "They have pierced my hands and
"They have pierced my hands and feet; by nailing them to the cross, which,
though not related by the evangelists, is plainly suggested in John xx. 25,
27. and is referred to in others passages of Scripture, Zech. xii.10. Rev.
i.7. and clearly points at the kind of death Christ should die; the death of
the cross, a shameful and painful one. In this clause there is a various
reading; in some copies in the margin it is, 'as a lion my hands and my
feet,' but in the text, ' they have dug or pierced my hands and my feet;'
both are joined together in the Targums, biting as a lion my hands and my
feet; as it is by other interpreters (Amamae Antiharb. Bibl. p. 743) and
Schultens (Origin. Heb. 1.1. c. 12. s. 8. Vid. Jacob. Alting. Dissert.
Philolog. 5. s. 27-34) retains the latter, rendering the preceding clause in
connexion with it thus, 'the assembly of the wicked have broken me to
pieces, 'as a lion, my hands and my feet.'' In the Targum, in the king of
Spain's Bible, the phrase, 'as a lion', is left out. The modern Jews are for
retaining the marginal reading, though without any good sense, and are
therefore sometimes charged with a wilful and malicious corruption of the
text; but without sufficient proof, since the different reading in some
copies might be originally occasioned by the similarity of the letters (yod)
and (waw); and therefore finding it in their copies, or margin sometimes
(KAPH-ALEPH-RESH-WAW), and sometimes (KAPH-ALEPH-RESH-YOD), have chose that
which best suits their purpose, and is not to be wondered at; however, their
masoretic notes, continued by them, sufficiently clear them from such an
imputation, and direct to athe true reading of the words; in the small
Masorah on the text it is observed that hte word is twice used as here
pointed, but two different senses; this one of the places; the other is Isa.
xxxviii. 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 Numb.
xxiv. 9. observes the word is to be found in two places, in that and in
Psal.xxii. 16. and adds to that, it is written (KAPH-ALEPH-RESH-WAW), 'they
pierced;' and Ben Chayyim confirms (In Maarcath 'ALEPH'; fol. 10. 2. ad
Calc. Buxtorf. Bible.) this reading, and says he found it so written in some
correct copies, and in the margin (KAPH-ALEPH-RESH-YOD); and so it is
written in several manuscipts; and is confirmed by the Arabic, Syriac,
Ethiopic, Greek and the Vulgate Latin versions; in which it is rendered,
'they dug my hands and my feet;' and so took it to be a verb and not a noun;
so Apollinarius is his metaphrase; and which is also confirmed the points;
though taking (KAPH-ALEPH-RESH-YOD) for a participle, as the Targum, that
reading may be admitted, as it is by some learned men (Pocock, Miscell. c.
4. p. 59, 60. Pfeiffer. Exercitat. 8. s. 37. Carpzov. Critic. Sacr. p. 838,
839. Alting. ut supra. s. 48, 49.), who render it 'digging' or 'piercing,
and so has the same sense, deriving the word either from (KAPH-ALEPH-RESH)
or (KAPH-WAW-RESH), which signify to dig, pierce, or make hollow; and there
are many instances of plural words which end in (YOD), the same (MEM)
omitted, being cut off by an apocope; see 2 Sam. xxiii. 8. 2 Kings xi. 4,
19. Lam. iii. 14. Ezek. xxxii. 30. and either way the words are expressive
of the same thing, and manifestly point to the sufferings of Chris, and that
kind of death he should die, the death of the cross, and the nailing of his
hands and feet to it, wherby they were pierced. This passage is sometimes
applied by the Jews (Pesikta in Yalkut, par. 2. fol. 56.4) themselves to
The Isaiah 38:13 verse is found in Volume 5, Isaiah to Lamentations, page
"I reckoned till morning, &c.] Or, 'I set my time till the morning;' he
fixed and settled it in his mind that he could live no longer than to the
morning, if he lived so long; he thought he should have died before the
night came on, and, now it was come, the utmost he could propose to himself
was to live till morning; that was the longest time he could reckon of.
According to the accents, it should rendered, 'I reckoned till morning as a
lion;' or, ' I am like until the morning as lion;' or, 'I likened until the
morning (God) as a lion;' I compared him to one; which agrees with what
follows. The Targum is, ' Iroared until morning, as lion roars;' through the
force of the disease, and the padin he was in; or rather, 'I laid my bones
together until the morning 'as a lion;' so indeed as a lion God hath broken
all 'my bones:' so will he break all my bones;..."
Thus, it appears that the word in question has the idea of "dug, pierced,
hallowed out, etc." I think it was Peter Kirk who may have made the same
suggestion. Either way one wants to translate the word, whether "dug" or
"pierced," it still comes out in the same place. One has to "pierce" the
ground, skin, etc. in order to dig or hallow something out.
Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message -----
From: "schmuel" <schmuel at nyc.rr.com>
To: "b-hebrew-lists.ibiblio.org" <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Wednesday, October 04, 2006 6:11 AM
Subject: [b-hebrew] Psalm 22 - the Masorah of Isaiah 38:13 and Numbers 24:9
> Hi Folks,
> I know that raising up a Psalm 22 question often starts a spate of posts
> 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
> about this about this anywhere. I have not seen it mentioned in the JBL
> 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
> 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
> "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
> 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
> outside of a slightly politicized discussion. We see there is overlap from
> with the Keil and Delitzsch reference, giving Gill some support on the
> Masorah reference, if the K & D material is properly represented
> Steven Avery
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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