[b-hebrew] Psalm 22:16 - daqar as pierced ?

Moshe Shulman mshulman at ix.netcom.com
Fri Sep 29 17:45:20 EDT 2006

I will not have time to address all the questions before Yom Kippur, 
but I would like to make a short post that summarizes how I see the 
issues, and strip away some of the 'biases' that exist so we can 
discuss what the text really said and meant.

There are two issues: 1. What the true original text said 2. What the 
proper translation of the text should be.

As to 1, I admit that my feelings are that the MT reading is the 
original. I believe that the 'error' of the LXX/GB is based on a 
defective text (similar to the DSS one which I will discuss shortly.) 
This defect made the translator see the word as a verb and not an 
adverb as the MT sees it. As to the DSS text, if you look at it and 
compare the way the yod is written and the vov is written, you will 
see that stylistically there are reasons to accept the text as having 
an elongated yod. If you look at every yod in the text it is not a 
short stroke but a short stroke with a 'hat'. (A short line to the 
left.) The vovs do not have this. IF we look at the letter in 
question, it has this hat. I believe that shows that it is a yod. The 
translator of the LXX/GB may have had the same type of text, or even 
one with the misplaced aleph, and that is the source of his translation.

2. The translations of both present problems, but they are simple to 
explain away (without using exegetical translations.) In fact, by so 
doing there really is not much of a difference as to what the verse 
is saying. The MT translation problem is that it should have the word 
'et' so that it comes out 'like a lion at my hands and feet.' which 
is descriptive of how the subject is being surrounded by enemies who 
have animal like characteristics. (A common theme in this chapter of 
Psalms.) We do find many times the word 'et' being missing when it 
would 'sound' better if it were there, so it is not such a problem, 
but it is difficult. On the other hand if we translate literally the 
way the LXX/GB saw it as 'dug', we see a similar allusion there. 
'They dug my hands and feet.' This fits in quite well with the 
comparisons to his enemies as dogs and lions, and their attacking him 
in a digging fashion, as opposed to 'piercing' fits quite well. 'The 
word 'pierce' is an exegetical translation used to support a 
Christological interpretation, whereas the MT or even using the word 
dug, as in the LXX/GB give similar imagery without the editorializing.

Moshe Shulman   outreach at judaismsanswer.com 718-436-7705
Judaism's Answer:  http://www.judaismsanswer.com/

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