[b-hebrew] prosthetic aleph in Ps 22:17?

Michael J Miles mjmorthotics0 at msn.com
Sun Dec 6 12:08:50 EST 2009

I find myself with the MT as usual; the sense of the assaulters as a lion 
attacking His hands and feet in the Anointed's sufferings.  After reading 
Keil and Delitzsch in E-Sword's program I find the whole matter covered 
well, which I here offer, without needing to transliterate the Hebrew font 
for those not able to read it since it may be gotten so readily and free on 
the net, if this is kindly premitted: Mike:

Psa 22:16-18
(Heb.: 22:17-19)A continuation, referring back to Psa_22:12, of the 
complaint of him who is dying and is already as it were dead. In the animal 
name כְּלָבִים, figuratively descriptive of character, beside shamelessness 
and meanness, special prominence is given to the propensity for biting and 
worrying, i.e., for persecuting; hence Symmachus and Theodotion render it 
θηράται κυνηγέται. In Psa_22:17 עֲדַת מְרֵעִים takes the place of כלבים; 
and this again is followed by הִקִּיף in the plur. (to do anything in a 
circle, to surround by forming a circle round, a climactic synonym, like 
כִּתֵּר to סָבַב) either per attractionem (cf. Psa_140:10; 1Sa_2:4), or on 
account of the collective עֵדָה. Tertullian renders it synagoga maleficorum, 
Jerome concilium pessimorum. But a faction gathered together for some evil 
purpose is also called עֵדָה, e.g., עֲדַת קֹרַח. In Psa_22:17 the meaning of 
כָּֽאֲרִי, instar leonis, is either that, selecting a point of attack, they 
make the rounds of his hands and feet, just as a lion does its prey upon 
which it springs as soon as its prey stirs; or, that, standing round about 
him like lions, they make all defence impossible to his hands, and all 
escape impossible to his feet. But whether we take this יָדַי וְרַגְלָי as 
accusative of the members beside the accusative of the person (vid., 
Psa_17:11), or as the object of the הִקִּיפוּ to be supplied from Psa_22:17, 
it still remains harsh and drawling so far as the language is concerned. 
Perceiving this, the Masora on Isa_38:13 observes, that כָּֽאֲרִי, in the 
two passages in which it occurs (Psa_22:17; Isa_38:13), occurs in two 
different meanings (לישׁני בתרי); just as the Midrash then also understands 
כארי in the Psalm as a verb used of marking with conjuring, magic 
(Note: Hupfeld suspects this Masoretic remark (קמצין בתרי לישׁני כָּֽאֲרִי 
ב) as a Christian interpolation, but it occurs in the alphabetical Masoreth 
register ותרויהון בתרי לישׁני ב ב. Even Elias Levita speaks of it with 
astonishment (in his מסרת המסרת [ed. Ginsburg, p. 253]) without doubting its 
genuineness, which must therefore have been confirmed, to his mind, by MS 
authority. Heidenheim also cites it in his edition of the Pentateuch, `ynym 
m'wr, on Num_24:9; and down to the present time no suspicion has been 
expressed on the part of Jewish critics, although all kinds of 
unsatisfactory attempts have been made to explain this Masoretic remark 
(e.g., in the periodical Biccure ha-'Ittim).)
Is the meaning of the Masora that כָּֽאֲרִי, in the passage before us, is 
equivalent to כָּֽאֲרִים? If so the form would be doubly Aramaic: both the 
participial form כָּאֵר (which only occurs in Hebrew in verbs med. E) and 
the apocopated plural, the occurrence of which in Hebrew is certainly, with 
Gesenius and Ewald, to be acknowledged in rare instances (vid., Psa_45:9, 
and compare on the other hand 2Sa_22:44), but which would here be a 
capricious form of expression most liable to be misapprehended. If כארי is 
to be understood as a verb, then it ought to be read כֹּֽאֲרֵי. Tradition is 
here manifestly unreliable. Even in MSS the readings כָּֽאֲרוּ and כָּֽאֲרֵי 
are found. The former is attested both by the Masora on Num_24:9 and by 
Jacob ben Chajim in the Masora finalis as the MS Chethîb.
(Note: The authenticity of this statement of the Masora כארי ידי ורגלי כארו 
כתיב may be disputed, especially since Jacob ben Chajim became a convert to 
Christianity, and other Masoretic testimonies do not mention a קרי וכתיב to 
כארי; nevertheless, in this instance, it would be premature to say that this 
statement is interpolated. Ant. Hulsius in his edition of the Psalter (1650) 
has written כארו in the margin according to the text of the Complutensis.)
Even the Targum, which renders mordent sicut leo manus et pedes meos, bears 
witness to the ancient hesitancy between the substantival and verbal 
rendering of the כארי. The other ancient versions have, without any doubt, 
read כארו. Aquila in the 1st edition of his translation rendered it 
ᾔσχυαν (from the Aramaic and Talmudic כָּאַר = כָּעַר to soil, part. 
כָּאוּר, dirty, nasty); but this is not applicable to hands and feet, and 
therefore has nothing to stand upon. In the 2nd edition of his translation 
the same Aquila had instead of this, like Symmachus, “they have bound,”
(Note: Also in Jerome's independent translation the reading vinxerunt is 
found by the side of fixerunt, just as Abraham of Zante paraphrases it in 
his paraphrase of the Psalter in rhyme גַּם כָּֽאֲרִי יָדַי וְרַגְלַי 
אָסָרוּ. The want of a verb is too perceptible. Saadia supplies it in a 
different way “they compass me as a lion, to crush my hands and feet.”)
after כר, Arab. krr, to twist, lace; but this rendering is improbable since 
the Hebrew has other words for “to bind,” constringere. On the other hand 
nothing of any weight can be urged against the rendering of the lxx ὤρυξαν 
(Peshîto בזעו, Vulg. foderunt, Jer. fixerunt); for (1) even if we do not 
suppose any special verb כָּֽאֲרוּ ,כָּאַר can be expanded from כָּֽרוּ 
(כוּר) = כָּֽרֽוּ (כָּרָה) just in the same manner as רָֽאֲמָה, Zec_14:10 
from רָמָה, cf. קָֽאֲמַיָּא Dan_7:16. And (2) that כוּר and כָּרָה can 
signify not merely to dig out and dig into, engrave, but also to dig 
through, pierce, is shown, - apart from the derivative מְכֵרָה (the 
similarity of the sound of which to μάχαιρα from the root μαχ, maksh, 
mraksh, is only accidental), - by the double meaning of the verbs נָקַר, 
ὀρύσσειν (e.g., ὀρύσσειν τὸν ἰσθμόν Herod. i. 174), fodere (hastâ); 
the lxx version of Psa_40:7 would also support this meaning, if κατετρήσω 
(from κατατιτρᾶν) in that passage had been the original reading instead of 
κατηρτίσω. If כָּֽאֲרוּ be read, then Psa_22:17, applied to David, perhaps 
under the influence of the figure of the attacking dogs (Böhl), says that 
the wicked bored into his hands and feet, and thus have made him fast, so 
that he is inevitably abandoned to their inhuman desires. The fulfilment in 
the nailing of the hands and (at least, the binding fast) of the feet of the 
Crucified One to the cross is clear. This is not the only passage in which 
it is predicated that the future Christ shall be murderously pierced; but it 
is the same in Isa_53:5 where He is said to be pierced (מְחֹלָל) on account 
of our sins, and in Zec_12:10, where Jahve describes Himself as 
ἐκκεντηθείς in Him.
Thus, therefore, the reading כָּֽאֲרוּ might at least have an equal right to 
be recognised with the present recepta, for which Hupfeld and Hitzig demand 
exclusive recognition; while Böttcher, - who reads כֹּֽאֲרֵי, and gives this 
the meaning“springing round about (after the manner of dogs), - regards the 
sicut leo as “a production of meagre Jewish wit;” and also Thenius after 
taking all possible pains to clear it up gives it up as hopeless, and with 
Meier, adopting a different division of the verse, renders it: “a mob of the 
wicked has encompassed me like lions. On my hands and feet I can count all 
my bones.” But then, how כָּֽאֲרִי comes limping on after the rest! And how 
lamely does יָדַי וְרַגְלַי precede Psa_22:18! How unnaturally does it limit 
עַצְמֹותָי, with which one chiefly associates the thought of the breast and 
ribs, to the hands and feet! אֲסַפֵּר is potientialis. Above in Psa_22:15 he 
has said that his bones are out of joint.  There is no more reason for 
regarding this “I can count etc.” as referring to emaciation from grief, 
than there is for regarding the former as referring to writing with agony. 
He can count them because he is forcibly stretched out, and thereby all his 
bones stand out. In this condition he is a mockery to his foes. הִבִּיט 
signifies the turning of one's gaze to anything, רָאָה בְּ the fixing of 
one's sight upon it with pleasure. In Psa_22:19 a new feature is added to 
those that extend far beyond David himself: they part my garments among 
them.... It does not say they purpose doing it, they do it merely in their 
mind, but they do it in reality. This never happened to David, or at least 
not in the literal sense of his words, in which it has happened to Christ. 
In Him Psa_22:19 and Psa_22:19 are literally fulfilled. The parting of the 
בְּגָדֹים by the soldiers dividing his ἰμάτια among them into four parts; 
the casting lots upon the לְבוּשׁ by their not dividing the χιτὼν 
ἄῤῥαφος, but casting lots for it, Joh_19:23. לְבוּשׁ is the garment 
which is put on the body that it may not be bare; בְּגָדֹים the clothes, 
which one wraps around one's self for a covering; hence לבושׁ is punningly 
explained in B. Sabbath 77b by לא בושׁה (with which one has no need to be 
ashamed of being naked) in distinction from גלימא, a mantle (that through 
which one appears כגולם, because it conceals the outline of the body). In 
Job_24:7, and frequently, לבושׁ is an undergarment, or shirt, what in Arabic 
is called absolutely Arab. ṯwb, thôb “the garment,” or expressed according 
to the Roman distinction: the tunica in distinction from the toga, whose 
exact designation is מְעִיל. With Psa_22:19 of this Psalm it is exactly as 
with Zec_9:9, cf. Mat_21:5; in this instance also, the fulfilment has 
realised that which, in both phases of the synonymous expression, is 
seemingly identical.
(Note: On such fulfilments of prophecy, literal beyond all expectation, 
vid., Saat auf Hoffnung iii., 3, 47-51.)

From: "Jason Hare" <jaihare at gmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, December 05, 2009 5:16 PM
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] prosthetic aleph in Ps 22:17?

> Karl and Steve,
> Are we then against the idea that the MSS could be correct with its
> "ka'ari"? There are basically three sections of this verse. It seems that
> the first two establish the meaning, and we don't need a verb for the 
> third:
> כִּי סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים עֲדַת מְרֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי כָּאֲרִי יָדַי
> וְרַגְלָי׃
> "For dogs have surrounded me;
> a community of evil-doers has encircled me,
> like a lion [at] my hands and my feet."
> If a lion stands before you, ready to attack, you are completely frozen.
> You're afraid that if you move your hand to the left or take a step to the
> right, he will pounce. You are completely unable to move. David was
> expressing that he felt pinned in, that he was surrounded and unable to 
> move
> at all.
> What is so difficult about the MS reading that you feel it needs to be
> changed or that the DSS makes better sense?
> Thanks,
> Jason A. Hare
> Rehovot, Israel
> _______________________________________________
> b-hebrew mailing list
> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-hebrew

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