[b-hebrew] Psalm 22 Translation Help

JBarach at aol.com JBarach at aol.com
Wed Sep 13 18:09:55 EDT 2006

BHaverim --
After a few years away from this list, I've returned in need of Hebrew  help. 
I'm working my way through the psalms, largely because we use them each  week 
in our church's liturgy and because I'd like eventually to have the church  
chanting good translations of them, and I've come to Psalm 22 this week.  
(1) Any suggestions on Psalm 22:16, which is often rendered "They pierced  my 
hands and my feet"?

The word rendered "they pierced" (LXX and many English translations) looks  
like it's actually "Like a lion"   But then it's hard to make sense of  the 
flow of the line ("Like a lion [they clawed?] my hands and my feet"  perhaps).  
As far as I can tell, though, there's no way to get "they  pierced" from the 
root of this Hebrew word.  On the other hand, they *did*  actually pierce Jesus' 
hands and feet.  On the third hand, this verse isn't  explicitly cited in 
connection with that piercing....
(2) How do you understand the last word of v. 21 (yehidati)?  It seems  to 
mean "my only one" and to be parallel with "my soul/life" (naphshi) in the  
previous stich.  Does it mean "my only life" -- that is, I only have one  and it's 
precious to me?
(3) How about Psalm 22:21?  The cola are nicely balanced:
     Rescue me from the mouth of the lion
     And from the horns of the wild oxen you have  answered me
But the second line doesn't make a lot of sense in English (maybe not in  
Hebrew either?).  It appears to mean "You have answered my request, which  was 
that you would deliver me from the horns of the wild oxen."  And so  some 
English translations treat the two "from" clauses together and connect them  with 
"rescue" and make the "answered" clause separate:
     Rescue me from the mouth of the lion
     And from the horns of the wild oxen!
    You have answered me.
The gist turns out to be the same -- the cry has been answered -- but is  
there something to the first translation that better gets at the meaning of the  
Hebrew than the second, more interpretive one?
John Barach   (541) 531-2906
Pastor, Reformation Covenant Church (CREC)
706 Beekman Avenue
Medford, OR  97501
_http://barach.us_ (http://barach.us) 

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