Psalm 22:16 - the Ben Hayim rabbinic Bible and the Drusius report - chiastic structure

Steven Avery

AV1611 - Steven Avery - 2008



Ver. 17. Dogs. The pagan soldiers, who were instigated by the Jews, (Matt. xv. 26. C.) or the latter are here styled dogs, as they are by S. Paul. Phil. iii. 2. S. Jer. The evangelists could scarcely have explained the authors, and manner of our Saviour’s death more particularly; so that we might entitle this “the Passion of Jesus Christ, according to David.” W. Dug. The Jews have here, and God knows in how many other places, corrupted their text; reading “like a lion,” though it have no sense, to avoid so clear a prophecy. W. They deep cari in the text, though it (Amama) or the margin had formerly the proper reading, caru. The Chal. has both, “they have bitten like a lion,” &c. in some editions only; which shews the antiquity of this variation, (H.) as the author, Joseph the blind, is supposed to have lived in the 4th century, though this is uncertain. C. All the ancient versions of the Sept. Syr. &c. agree with us, as the Prot. do likewise. Even the Masora intimates that cari has not here the sense “of like a lion,” as it has Isai. xxxviii. 13; and, though it might be pointed so as to signify the same as caru, they have rejected that punctuation, and obstinately maintain their reading, in opposition to many MSS. seen by Ben. Chaim, &c. Bert. Kennicott mentions another MS. in the Bod. Lib. which has caru, with cari in the margin; and observes that Dr. Pocock, nevertheless, maintains the accuracy of the Heb. edit. in this, as well as in every other instance, asserting that car is perfodit, and cari the part. Benoni, perfodientes, with the m omitted. “But as this omission is very irregular, and never proper but before a suffixed pronoun, or in construct.; and as the ancient versions express it…as a verb, there seems to be but little doubt that this word was originally cru or caru, with an a inserted to express the kametz.” Dis. 1. p. 500. The proposed interpretation would be rejected by the Jews, while they would exult in their error being countenanced by us. C. Diss. This reason is perhaps (H.) weak, as their conversion is not expected; if by means of it, the Heb. Bible may be reconciled with the versions; “the council…hath besieged me, digging my hands.” Bert. But this expedient is at least doubtful; (H.) suggested only by Prot. who maintained the integrity of the Heb. text, which is now given up; and the Jews seem inexcusable, though the variation might originally arise (C.) from a mistake of transcribers. Houbig. They ought not to have rejected caru even from the margin, which they confess was once in the text, as it is still in very correct copies. Drusius informs us that a Jew threatened Bomberg, when he designed to adopt this correction, that if he did, he would prevent any of his brethren from purchasing a single copy. The pusillanimity of Christians, and the obstinacy of the Jews, keep therefore the text in its present state. Amama, p. 461. Ximenes had the courage to insert caru in his Polyglot. C. In the edition of S. Jerom, 1533, caru appears indeed in the margin; as he translated fixerunt, “they pierced,” and cru in that of Mont. with o over cari, perhaps as a sing that the former was formerly in the margin, or should be translated, as it is by Pagnin, foderunt; though Mont. alters it for circumdederunt me, sicut leo manus meas, in obedience to the Jews. H. Thus we behold what dissensions the alteration of a single u or i may occasion; (Ps. xv. 10.) and yet these are letters which the Jews seem to have treated with little ceremony, (H.) changing in 100 instances, (C.) or omitting them, since the introduction of the vowel points; (Houbig.) and they are so easily mistaken, that the greatest attention is requisite to make the distinction. However, one jot or one tittle shall not pass of the law till all be fulfilled. Matt. v. 18. H. See Zac. xii. 10.
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New member

I really think that " ka'ari' like a lion, was absent in the original reading based on the chiastic structure that is found in Psalms 22.

• First of all :
everytime " Ka'ari" occurs in the Tanach there is always a verb attached to it.
E g :
Gen 49:9 , Nb 23:24 ; 24:9 , Is38:13 , Jer 2:30; 12:8 ;49:19 ; 50:44 , Ezech 22:25 ; Hos 11:10 , Mc 5:7 ,Ps 7:3 ; 10:9 ; 17:12 , except in Ps 22:16 (17)?? There must be a verb .

• Same thing with " hands " and " feet" , though not always juxtaposed to each other .
Jg 1:6-8 , Ex 30:21.

Everybody knows that a verb is missing in here , then the Rabbis came to fix it with their interpolation , adding words to give meaning to the meaningless phrase going
" like lion [ they maul] my hands and my feet ".

Have you ever heard of Dr Meir Malul a modern Jewish scholar( not a Messianic neither a Christian) who commented on Psalms 22 based on its chiastic structure ?
He concluded that the presence of the word " Ka'ari" in the v 16 (17) is perplexing. .

He is basing it on the connection between " the Complaints & Requests " , where animals like " bulls ,lion , dogs" are mentioned both in the Complaints then in the Requests .

•The complaint found in v12 (13) &v13 ( 14) ,the psalmist mentioned:
Bulls and Lion.
That complaint corresponds to the request in the v21 (22) where
" Wild oxen and Lion" are mentioned.
v12 (13)-13(14) <=> v 21(22)
Bulls <=> • Wild oxen
• Lion <=> • Lion

•Same thing , the complaint in the v16 (17) mentions , according to the Masoretic text :
" Dogs and Lion" which corresponds to the request in v20 where " Dog and Sword" are mentioned.
v16 (17 ) <=> v20 ( 21) .
Dogs <=> • Dog
• Lion <=> • Sword ???
( Was expecting" lion" in here).

Based on this connection" Complaints & Requests ", we can have its chiastic structure like this :
•v12 (13) - v13 (14) <=> v21
•v16 (17) <=> v20 .

B- Lion
C- Dogs
D- Lion
C'- Dog
B'- Lion
A'- Wild Oxen

Each pet has its couple:
A -Bulls <=> A'-wild oxen
B-Lion <=> B'-Lion
C-Dogs <=>C'-Dog
D-Lion <=> D'-sword ?????

D & D' are incompatible !

If the psalmist mentioned " lion" in the complaint in the v 16(17) , logically " Lion" would be mentioned as well , in the corresponding request in the v20 (21).
Instead it has "sword "!
There must be something in the complaint that matches that " Sword " mentioned in the Request. And it's not " Lion" !

If we put " they perforated my hands and my feet " , it really matches " deliver me from the SWORD " , which leads us to conclude that
" ka'ari" was absent in the original reading based on the textual evidence .

I stick with the reading provided by ancient sources ( DSS Qumran ,Nachal Hever , some of the Masoretic text) .
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Steven Avery

Thanks, Nash88.

Just for documentation, from my link archives, here are some times that chiastic structure is mentioned in relation to Psalm 22:16.

(2006) FRDB - Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Determining Who's Original And Who's Lion?

(2011) FRDB - What do the DSS say Psalm 22:16 says?

(2017) BCHF - Psalm 22: an alternative explanation

(2017) BCHF - Psalm 22:17, Hebrew Text, "Like A Lion". Who's Lion? - rakovsky

rakovsky also has this site on the prophecies of the Messiah's resurrection:
(F) Psalm 22: From the Dust of Death to Praising God in the Congregation


contras try their own chiastic structure

Paul Davidson Quotes Paul Tobin and Brent A. Strawn

Brent A. Strawn, “Psalm 22:17b: More Guessing”, JBL 119/3 (2000)

Paul Tobin - contra skeptic
Psalm 22:16: A Prophecy of the Crucifixion?


Psalm 22 - Biblical Chiasm Exchange
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