Pierced My Hands and My Feet, or Like a Lion My Hands and My Feet?
A. Amplification as a clarification of Old Testament mystery or subtlety
The wording of verses 8 & 16 in Psalm 22 is much disputed, but verse 16 is the one subjected to the most commentary. We cover verse 16 first, and then conclude with a discussion of verse 8.
Summary: There are two different historic readings of verse 16, and we will discover that each has its place in text history. The earlier rendering of the Masoretic Text applies to all but the last few centuries of Old Testament history, being amplified after Babylonian Captivity, in preparation for the work of the church. The amplification was the work of the scribe Ezra and a great team of Hebrew prophets, priests & scribes.
Details: The amplification concept, introduced in essay 6c, applies especially to passages noted for veiled Christology, like Ps.22:16. It serves to clarify Hebrew-text partial revelation that made Christology mysterious in the Old-Testament era, and clarification served a critical need for new understanding of the mission of the church before the New Testament was established in permanent form. The Ps.22:16 amplified verse is preserved in a small number of standard manuscripts of the Masoretic Text and is supported by the oldest Hebrew manuscript containing Ps.22 among the Dead Sea scrolls and by Old Testament
translations of eastern & western churches, which includes the Septuagint (LXX).
In 16th-century Reformation days, when the Masoretic Text emerged from a long history of absence, the true church didn’t
lose this amplified verse. God didn't fail His church, for here the KJV follows the ancient versions (and a few Hebrew manuscripts that should be the work of Ezra et al); doubtless our KJV translators realized these texts clarified Messianic
mystery observed in most Hebrew manuscripts. Evidently, God preserved His revelation by guiding the translators, revealing His authorization of them to translate His Word.
Later translators followed this course, likely seeing the truth of it.
Discussion: Comparing the LXX and Masoretic texts reveals to us a veiled prophecy fulfilled by providential amplification. Most Masoretic-Text manuscripts have like a lion my hands and my feet, and the LXX amplifies the verse to reveal it as Messianic, rendering they pierced my hands and my feet. Historically, the Jews have been said to alter the verse in the Hebrew to remove the reference to Christ, and Christians have been said to add it in the LXX. All this is most unlikely in view of the reverence of both camps for scripture. Actually, it appears Providence ordained a change that amplifies Messianic revelation to reveal its ultimate purpose. What the Masoretic Text says in veiled fashion, through symbolism & partial wording, is that the fury of the roaring lion Satan was unleashed on someone, in an assault involving the hands & feet (the actual early sense would be, Like a lion they attacked me as they pierced my hands and feet). The common portion, my hands and my feet links the two readings, and amplification adds the crucial words they pierced. This unveils the meaning of the mysterious rendering in the Masoretic Text, and presents the rest of the language to reveal the assault as the cruel piercing of Christ's hands and feet on the Cross by empowerment of satan who is symbolized by a roaring lion. Indeed, Ps.22:13 identifies the one motivating enemies of Jesus at the Cross, the roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (satan, 1Pet.5:8). Ps.22:13 They gaped upon me with their mouths (loudly accused Him) as a ravening (devouring) roaring lion. Ps.22:13 correlates with the early sense, providing proof of that sense. Ps.22:16 amplification likely was be-stowed through the prophet Zechariah (see Zech.12:10.
Amplification advances the passage language to present its Messianic importance. In this case amplification presents boldly revealed Christology, which is characteristic of the New Testament, and served the need of the early church before the New Testament became available in permanent written form, whereas the lion reading is characteristic of the veiled Christology of the Hebrew Old Testament.
Thus, contrary to scholars, the note on the lion in the Masoretic Text is appropriate. This is a symbolic reference to the ultimate enemy of Christ in the Crucifixion, as seen by comparing verse 16 with verses 20‑21 in the KJV Psalm 22. In this comparison both the KJV and Masoretic Text speak of dogs (Roman soldiers disrespectful of true God and man) around the crucified Messiah. And both the KJV and Masoretic Text speak of a deliverance sought from the power of the dog and the lion’s mouth. This shows the relevance of the unique Masoretic-Text reference to the lion, in lieu of piercing. What we learn by comparing verse 16 with verses 20‑21 in the KJV is that the power of the Roman‑soldier dog derives from the mouth of the roaring (lying) lion satan accusing Christ in the person of the lying priests and scribes. The unique note in the Masoretic Text regarding the lion is fully relevant since it reveals the same symbolism of an alliance of dogs and a lion attacking Christ noted in the KJV verses 20-21 and the Masoretic Text. The latter, as expected of an unamplified text with a veiled message, presents the mysterious lion/dog alliance in both places. The KJV verse 16, following the amplified ancient versions, clarifies the mysterious words, identifying them as the very words in the mind of Jesus Christ on the Cross, words known only to God. The KJV Ps.22:16 speaks of Roman-soldier dogs and lying priests & scribes as empowered by the lying roaring lion satan in a cruel attack in the piercing of Jesus' hands and feet.
In the New Testament era, Masoretic-Text mystery is clarified in church translations since the mystery is past, and prophecy fulfillment is needed. The amplified rendering transfers clarified Christology of Old Testament mystery to later Hebrew manuscripts. KJV translators evidently recognized amplification here, judging by their retention of its effects in many passages, and this, in conjunction with passage context and the ancient versions, would determine their rendering. Modern translators & text critics accept the pierced reading on the basis of the ancient versions, the verse context and the language of a few supportive manuscripts, but show no evidence of recognizing the amplification concept that authenticates both renderings.
The role of a divinely-amplified Hebrew text
Now how could ancient translations clarify Ps.22:16 mystery? They could draw on
providential Hebrew-text amplification in late pre-New Testament history that would be imparted to later manuscripts of the standard Masoretic Text in the final stage of canonization. Today, a few standard manuscripts of the Masoretic Text and certain qere (marginal notes of the standard text) * contain the Ps.22:16 amplified form, they pierced my hands and my feet, indicating amplification of the standard Hebrew text late in its history. Further, a Dead-Sea scroll fragment (world's oldest text of Psalms 22, from Nahal Hever) has the pierced reading (here the Hebrew is that for dug, an equivalent to pierced), further verifying a separate amplified Hebrew text.
*see www.Christianthinktank.com/ps22cheat.html - also Gren, C. R. Piercing the Ambiguities of Psalm 22:16 and the Messiah's Mission JETS 48/2. June 2005. p287
The Hebrew texts supporting the pierced reading should be part of the final stage of canonization enacted by Ezra the great scribe and a large team of 120 prophets, priests & scribes comprising the Great Synagogue group that undertook restoration of Judah and the scriptures after the Babylonian Captivity. The main purpose of the amplified text readings would be to reveal the mystery of Christology previously characteristic of Messianic passages so that the Hebrews would have the necessary proof of the identity of Messiah, and would thus embrace His person and ministry to enter into the New Testament plan of God for all His people. Unfortunately, Judah stubbornly clung to the old Tenach, the earlier text of the Old Testament and its mystery Christology, but in the Millennium, that situation will be eternally corrected.
KJV translators would see the amplification, and with ancient Old Latin (through the Vulgate), LXX, Peshitta, Ethiopic & Arabic versions, rightly render the verse for the church, For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. Ps.22:21 resolves the lion mystery, relating all the ketiv (text readings) and qere by the full meaning. The symbolism & partial language are evident as Christ is openly declared in the church era, and the ketiv lion has a role now evident in Psalm 22. The KJV edifies churches, amplifies ketiv mystery and shows a lion/dog alliance as the cause of the cruel piercing of Jesus. The amplified Ps.22:16 reflects a dispensational change that will edify a future Israel of the Millennium, and lead the nation to accept the amplified text, and follow Christ faithfully (Zech.13:6-9, 12:10).
Hebrew text, mainly through its church-era translations, revealed to
the world Christology as the basis of faith in God that had been
taught in veiled form in the Old Testament, and thus was not a new
inappropriate doctrine. Rather, it marked fulfillment of God's
promises in the Old Testament, and so was entirely authoritative.
history of Hebrew-text amplification
Amplification appears in various standard books of the Hebrew canon. Chronicles and Psalms act as commentary that amplifies Samuel/Kings, largely from the viewpoint of David in Psalms. Proverbs, Song of Solomon & Ecclesiastes act as amplified personal commentary from Solomon’s view of his reign in Kings. Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther im- part amplified knowledge of post-exilic trials of Hebrews in the dispersion due to disobedience to God. Lamentations acts as amplified commentary from Jeremiah’s viewpoint in relation to Judah’s woeful state and the Babylonian conquest. Ruth acts as amplified commentary on hopeful matters for Israel during trouble of the Judges period. The first Bible book, Job, qualifies as poetic commentary amplifying hardship that is part of the lifestyle of all God’s people from their earliest history, showing that it concludes in a happy end, especially the ultimate end in the Messiah and the general resurrection (Job 19:25,26).
A substantially-amplified text that introduced Chronicles as a step in the unveiling of a standard Hebrew Text would arise in the 5th century B.C. in Palestine (See topic 6c for the evidence of amplification in Chronicles). It would derive from manuscripts relating to the scribe Ezra, the inspired author of the book of Ezra & inspired traditional author of Chronicles. Historically, Ezra had a role in finalizing and restoring the text in Judah after Babylonian exile, with assistance of many scribes and Great-Synagogue scholars, said to include Zechariah, Haggai and Malachi, linkng Ezra to Messianic texts of these prophets,* so it's logical to tie Ezra to a parallel Hebrew text amplifying Christology. He evidently introduced amplification in post-exilic Chronicles, plus limited amplific- ation of pre-exilic books. His authority would ensure acceptance of amplification by orthodox Jews to avoid a possible view of amplification as corruption, such as viewing Chronicles as a corrupt abbreviated form of Samuel/Kings.* Clarke’s Commentary. Introduction to the book of Ezra.
Some history pointing to amplification of the Hebrew text
An amplified standard text introducing
Chronicles in the 5th century B.C. as part of standard-text
completion would offer a pattern for the advancement of amplification development. Later it would motivate the 5th-4th century B.C. mildly-altered non- authoritative Samaritan Pentateuch patterned
after the standard Hebrew Pentateuch, but having some false additions that could temporarily be explained as following the amplification pattern. A final genuine amplification step, the source of amplification on the piercing of our Savior's hands and feet in Ps.22:16, logically would be based on
labors of Ezra et al producing the final stage of canonization, and serving as the basis for the 3rd-2nd century B.C. LXX. This amplification history can help explain the stories of providential intervention in generation of the LXX. It can also explain why the LXX has many points of textual agreement with the Qumran Samuel A Hebrew manuscript related to Chronicles & the Samaritan Pentateuch, the LXX & Chronicles being related
to a progressively-amplified
Hebrew text (the LXX eventually became corrupt). Further, this text-history sequence would explain the dual text-type in standard temple
manuscripts of Judea in the 2nd-1st centuries B.C,* the historic stand- ard text being paralleled by
an orthodox amplified Hebrew text
by Ezra et al. of the 5th century B.C. This dual-text history would be unadvertised due to later resultant confusion in generations unfamiliar with all the work of Ezra & his team.
*Talmon, S. 1975. Qumran and the History of the Biblical Text. Ed. F.M Cross & S. Talmon. Harvard U. Press. Cambridge MA. p27
That certain manuscripts of the standard Masoretic Text exhibit the pierced reading is indicative of an amplified Hebrew text paralleling the standard one. Further, certain New-Testament readings that appear in both the Septuagint and a Hebrew Dead-Sea scroll can be said to amplify the standard Masoretic Text, like Hebrews 1:6 that adds information to Deuteronomy 32:43, as noted below.
KJV: Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.
LXX: Rejoice you heavens with Him, and let all the angels of God worship Him; rejoice you Gentiles with His people, and let all the sons of God strengthen themselves in Him; for he shall avenge the blood of His sons, and he shall render vengeance to his adversaries...
Heb.1:6, KJV: And again, when he bringeth the First Begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
The LXX-type reading can be said to amplify Deuteronomy here in that the underlined portion adds to the Deuteronomy verse a rejoicing that goes far beyond that of vengeance, and the angels & God's people, who are all sons of God by creation, can rejoice in an ultimate mercy & glory, which in the Hebrews epistle, logically proves to be the First Advent of Christ, the ultimate Son of God. The LXX verse is found in a Hebrew Dead-Sea scroll, which indicates the underlined portion in Hebrews derives originally from a Hebrew text reflecting the LXX, and several Hebrew Dead-Sea scrolls are defined as being of an LXX nature, which is indicative of an an amplified Hebrew text from which the LXX derived. The amplification in the Hebrew scroll itself may derive from Psalm 97:7 that has a similar rendering.
Which type of Hebrew text applies today?
We come now to the question of which form of the Masoretic Text applies after text finalization by Ezra and his team of scholars, the historic standard or the amplified, for they present somewhat different readings at certain passages. Actually, both apply. The historic standard text rightly presents veiled Christology, in accord with God's will for the Old Testament era, and the amplified rightly presents clarification of veiled Christology as God's will for the church era & beyond, to verify that Christ has always been God's ultimate plan. The amplified text, as it appears in our KJV, is to be that of true biblical churches, and amplified passages are to be received the way that inspired books of Chronicles, Ezra & Nehemiah were received as a product of the God-ordained work of Ezra and his team of scholars. The historic standard text is vital to illustrate the mystery of veiled Christology, and the amplified text is vital to reveal God's plan in the church era, the two together ensuring against confusion. But scholars today are still confused, and they confuse others, speaking of supposed text corruption because they don't recognize amplification as God's plan for His Word; that confusion, in lieu of enlightenment, is a price paid by people who trust scholar opinion in preference to trusting God 's preservation of His Word.
B. Translation Accuracy & Resolving Difficult Grammar
Controversy in verse 8 centers on the portion noted below.
KJV: He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let Him deliver him...
NASV: Commit yourself to the Lord; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him...
NIV: He trusts in the Lord: let the Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him.
Contrasting the KJV and NASV reveals a disagreement in the nature of the initial verb, which can be an infinitive or an imperative. Scholars can't be certain which is correct since the spelling can indicate either the imperative or the infinitive absolute expressed as perfect tense (infinitive-absolute verbs can be in the perfect or imperfect form when they complement the main verb, which is deliver here - see Pratico, G.D. & Van Pelt, M.V. Basics of Biblical Hebrew. Zond. para. 21:6).*
*The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary claims the imperative applies, quoting the verb in passages like Ps.37:5 & Prov. 16:3 where it can be rendered commit; there it is rendered that way in the KJV, but here the term is used in the same sense as trust, and has no sense of a true imperative, being simply a matter of counsel or advice (the Ps.37:5 reads Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass; Prov.16:3 reads, Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established). In Ps.22:8 the term rendered commit is not truly an imperative, but has the sense of advice in a sarcastic sense so that it can be replaced by trust. Thus context offers the solution to the rendering, and the related language of the context teaches the perfect tense trusted, as discussed below.
The resolution of this matter is crucial since the verse proves to be a prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament ~1000 years later at the Cross, prophecy verifying Jesus Christ as the Son of David, God's Messiah, as noted in Mt.27. The NASV Commit yourself would nullify the sense of prophecy fulfillment.
The fulfillment of Psalm 22:16 in Matthew 27:43
KJV: He trusted in God; let him deliver him...
NASV: He trusts in God; Let Him deliver Him...
NIV: He trusts in God. Let God rescue him.
Clearly, the KJV provides the sense of Ps.22:8 prophecy fulfillment, though one might wonder why the KJV doesn't include in Matthew the Psalm clause that he would deliver him. This is just a matter of different styles of expression in Hebrew poetry of Psalms and Greek prose of Matthew. The Psalms appear in poetic form that often adds words not essential to the meaning, being included as a matter of style, and the very same concept in prose is expressed without such added words. Thus the Greek and KJV express as prose exactly what the Hebrew expresses as poetry.
The NASV Commit yourself in Ps.22:8 appears as he trusts in Matthew, removing all sense of prophecy fulfillment, to indicate error. This Psalm language is incorrect due to use of the 2nd-person (you of the imperative) directly associated with 3rd-person him. The common explanation of scholars for this is that the first clause is directed to the Savior, and the second is an aside to parties standing near to the speakers. Even if that were true, the language would still be awkward, but the NASV semicolon after the first clause seems to allow a possibility of a pause after the first clause, and thus a possibility of a change in who the words are directed to. However, use of a semicolon misrepresents Hebrew-text punctuation. The Hebrew uses accent markers, rather than punctuation such as we are accustomed to, and for use of a semicolon to be correct, there would have to be what is called a disjunctive accent associated with the word Lord. Instead, there is the opposite, a conjunctive accent indicating language continuance in a direct relationship without a pause, which is why the KJV inserts the word that at the point of the accent. For the NASV language to be correct, the Hebrew text would have to read, Commit yourself to the Lord that He would deliver him, combining the second & third persons to produce grammatically-impossible language. Beyond question, the Hebrew perfect verb, He trusted in the KJV is correct, and a prophecy on Christ as the Son of David, God's Messiah, is fulfilled.
The NIV comes closer to KJV language in both Ps.22:8 and Mt.27:43, yet shows major inaccuracy. First, it offers the improper pause after the first clause, breaking up the passage into three clauses to distort Hebrew poetic style. Hebrew poetry utilizes parallelism, a concept in an initial clause commonly being repeated in a following one, but in different language. The resultant latter two clauses in our text portion now become the focus of parallelism, and both would read the exact same way, saying let him deliver him; let him deliver him in stark redundancy not characteristic of Hebrew poetry. To avoid this, the second clause is made to read the Lord, which is wrong translation since it actually says him in the Hebrew. By rendering the Lord in place of him, and making one of the two deliver verbs read rescue, the NIV committee avoided the redundancy problem, and gave an appearance of fairly typical parallelism, but the rendering is improper, and is also inaccurate for contextual reasons, as noted below.
Now a major problem occurs by use of rescue as part of the effort to impart normal parallelism. Use of rescue for differentiation from deliver is improper since, while the two verbs are different in the Hebrew, they have exactly the same meaning in this context; indeed modern translators prove they cannot distinguish between the two Hebrew verbs to justify use of rescue, for the NASV & ESV offer deliver first and rescue second, while the NIV & NKJV offer the opposite with rescue first and deliver second. And a far more profound reason why use of rescue would be erroneous is that it would signify the Savior being removed from the Cross to prevent his death, when that death is vital to our salvation (e.g. a lifeguard saves the life of a person that he rescues from drowning, and a fire-fighter saves the life of a person that he rescues from a burning building). On the other hand, deliver is correct in both cases since in this context it signifies that the Savior was delivered from the agony of the Cross by death, and was delivered from death by the Resurrection, in keeping with God's plan for our salvation.
Finally, this matter relates to the reason why the priests, scribes & elders of Israel are the ones uttering the words that we are dealing with, the fact that their words prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Jesus Christ is the Son of David, God's Messiah, the One David spoke of in Ps.22, as verified by Matthew. These men hated the Savior, for He often exposed their hypocrisy, sin and self-serving ways, and they sought to deny His Messianic claim; yet they wound up verifying it even as they mocked Him while He hung upon the Cross, the last thing in the world that they would willingly do. The only way they could have spoken these words is through God's control of their speech, without their awareness, as they mocked the Savior.
That God would do such a thing relates also to the method of scripture inspiration, His dictation of words to the minds of human writers, and a direction to write only what is given to them, without changing their normal style of expression (essay 8 makes a case for the general form of scripture inspiration as word-for-word dictation by the Holy Spirit that does not interfere with normal writing style or operation of human faculties of the writers). With God as the true author of these words, there is no way that rescue can apply here since that would contradict His salvation doctrine.