Gospel of God

seekGodstruth.com 

SeekGodsTruth.com

 

Gospel of God → The Prophesied Messiah → A person who atones for sin →

Psalm 22 - the crucified one

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

Psalm 22 - the crucified one

 

 

Psalm 22 appears to be describing a crucifixion, with verse 16 (in Hebrew/English translations this is verse 17, off by adding one) stating the piercing of hands and feet.  This is Psalm 22:

 

Psalm 22:

1     My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.

2     O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.

3     Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

4     In You our fathers trusted; They trusted and You delivered them.

5     To You they cried out and were delivered; In You they trusted and were not disappointed.

6     But I am a worm and not a man, A reproach of men and despised by the people.

7     All who see me sneer at me; They separate with the lip, they wag the head, `saying,`

8     "Commit yourself to the LORD; let Him deliver him; Let Him rescue him, because He delights in him."

9     Yet You are He who brought me forth from the womb; You made me trust when upon my mother's breasts.

10   Upon You I was cast from birth; You have been my God from my mother's womb.

11   Be not far from me, for trouble is near; For there is none to help.

12   Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

13   They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion.

14   I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.

15   My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You lay me in the dust of death.

16   For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me; They pierced my hands and my feet.

17   I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;

18   They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

19   But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance.

20   Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog.

21   Save me from the lion's mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.

22   I will tell of Your name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.

23   You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him,

     all you descendants of Israel.

24   For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Nor has He hidden His face from him;

     But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.

25   From You comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him.

26   The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!

27   All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before You.

28   For the kingdom is the LORD's And He rules over the nations.

29   All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship, All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him,

     Even he who cannot keep his soul alive.

30   Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the Lord to the coming generation.

31   They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.   (NASB)

 

 

 

The view that does not believe Psalm 22 prophesies Jesus'/Yeshua's crucifixion, say that the words 'they pierced' (Hebrew k'aru) in verse 16/17: "They pierced my hands and feet", should really be 'like a lion' (Hebrew k'ari) which will make verse 16/17 read: "Like a lion my hands and feet".  

 

There is a difference of the final letter in the two words; a yod (י) in k'ari (like a lion) and a waw (ו) in k'aru (they pierced) as seen below in Hebrew  (note Hebrew reads left to right) :

 

כארי

= k'ari, 'like a lion'

 

 

כארו

= k'aru, 'pierced'

 

However, “Like a lion my hands and feet” makes absolutely no sense. Nevertheless, they proceed to accuse believers in Jesus/Yeshua as the Messiah of changing the text of Psalm 22:16/17.

 

 

 

Given below are some reasons why pierced/k’aru is the correct translation and why the Tanakh did indeed foretell of Jesus’ crucifixion:

 

 

 

1) Believers in Jesus as the Messiah are accused of changing “like a lion/k’ari” to “pierced/k’aru”. However, it is those who say it is not “pierced”, but “like a lion” who add to the words of God to change the meaning in order to support their translation.

 

For example, given below are four of the more reputable Jewish translations of the Tanakh into English. Notice that they all insert additional words in the translations to make “Like a lion my hand and feet” make sense. This immediately shows that the ‘like a lion’ position is faulty and has to resort to adding to the word of God to “make” it make sense.

 

 

Artscroll Stone:

Inserts ‘the prey of’ to ‘like a lion’

 

“For dogs have surrounded me; a pack of evildoers has enclosed me, like [the prey of] a lion are my hands and feet.”

 

 

JPS:

Inserts ‘they maul’ to ‘like lions’

 

“Dogs surround me; a pack of evil ones closes in on me, like lions [they maul] my hands and feet.”

 

 

Koren Jerusalem:

Inserts ‘they seize’ to ‘like a lion’

 

“For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they seize my hands and feet like a lion.”

 

 

Soncino:

Inserts ‘they are at’ to ‘like a lion’

 

“For dogs have encompassed me; A company of evildoers have inclosed me; Like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet.”

 

 

The Tanakh tells us to not add to God’s words:

 

Proverbs 30:

6     Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.   (NASB)

 

 

 

 

2) Those who believe it should be k’ari (like a lion) instead of k’aru (pierced) accuse those who believe Jesus is the Messiah of tampering with the text and translation of Psalm 22:16/17 to make it look like a crucifixion to fit the “Christian” gospel. However, it is the ancient scribes who have a lying pen that the Tanakh warns us about:

 

Jeremiah 8:

8     "How can you say, 'We are wise, And the law of the LORD is with us'?

      But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie.

9     "The wise men are put to shame, They are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD,

      And what kind of wisdom do they have?   (NASB)

 

 

An example of “scribal” traditions changing the meaning of God’s words can be found in Zechariah 2 where the scribes did not want to give God the features of a man and also confuse who it is that is speaking. In the JPS, it says the following (in the Tanakh, Zechariah 2 begins with the last 4 verses of the previous chapter which in English Bibles is Zechariah 1:18-21, so the verse count in Zechariah 2 has 4 additional verses):

 

 

JPS:

 

Zechariah 2:

12   For thus said the LORD of Hosts – He who sent me after glory – concerning the nations that have taken you as spoil:

     “Whoever touches you touches the pupil of his own eye.

13   For I will lift My hand against them, and they shall be spoil for those they enslaved.”

     – Then you shall know that I was sent by the LORD of Hosts.

14   Shout for joy, Fair Zion! For lo, I come; and I will dwell in your midst – declares the LORD.

15   In that day many nations will attach themselves to the LORD and become His people,

     and He will dwell in your midst Then you will know that I was sent to you by the LORD of Hosts.

 

Comment: The notation in the JPS indicates that “his own eye” in verse 12 (English Bibles verse 8) was a scribal change for “My eye” (Soncino also states this) according to ancient Jewish tradition. The JPS indicates that “His people” and “He will” in verse 15 (English Bibles verse 11) were also scribal changes for “My people” and “I will”. Most Tanakhs do specify “My people” and “I will” in verse 15, but they all use “His own eye” instead of “My eye” in verse 12.

 

 

Given below is a standard reading in an English Bible.

 

AKJV:

 

Zechariah 2:

8     For thus said the LORD of hosts; After the glory has he sent me to the nations which spoiled you:

     for he that touches you touches the apple of his eye.

9     For, behold, I will shake my hand on them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants:

     and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me.

10   Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, see, I come, and I will dwell in the middle of you, said the LORD.

11   And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the middle of you,

     and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.

 

Comment: Note that English Bibles still retain “His eye” in verse 8 which shows how deeply engrained scribal changes can be.

 

 

 

 

3)   The Septuagint, the Syriac Peshitta and a small set of Masoretic manuscripts including the most authoritative from medieval times, all indicate it is k’aru (pierced). Add to this the understanding of some ancient rabbis as seen in the midrash ‘Pesikta Rabbati’ that interprets Psalm 22 as the suffering messiah, Messiah Ben Yosef, then we know a messianic person, not a nation is suffering. This shows that the claim of “Christian tampering” of the Hebrew text is unfounded and false. It is not a “Christian problem”, but a Hebrew issue and the Hebrew text shows it should be k’aru (pierced) and not k’ari (like a lion).

 

 

 

4)   To highlight item #3 above, the independent testimony of the Dead Sea Scrolls (discovered in 1947) which is the oldest set of Hebrew manuscripts yet found, also indicates it is k’aru (pierced). The significance of the find is that it shows us the accuracy of the transmission of the Tanakh, and this independent and ancient source says it is k’aru.  Therefore, k'ari (like a lion) came later and is falsely covering up the true words of God.

 

 

 

5)   The internal pattern of Psalm 22 reveals it is ‘they pierced’ and not ‘like a lion’ my hands & feet.

 

This is seen in two ways:

 

#1:

 

The sequence of the appearance of the raging beasts begins with bulls, then lions, then dogs. These same wild beasts are then repeated later, but in the reverse sequence of dogs, then lions, then bulls.

This can be seen as follows:

 

bull => lion => dog   ||   dog => lion => bull

 

 

#2

 

The representations of these beasts are given with the descriptions of the beasts/attackers and their predatory actions using verbs, toward the one who is being afflicted (this is the first sequence where they approach and attack).

 

Then the victim calls out for help to God for His saving actions, also using verbs, to save the victim from these beasts and their actions (this is the second sequence).

 

 

The translation of “like a lion” instead of “they pierced” is clearly seen as being out of place and not fitting into the flow and pattern of the psalm. "Like a lion" is revealed to be an insertion (a "scribal" edit).

 

Given below is Psalm 22:12-21 (in Tanakh, it will be verses 13-22) with necessary indicators:

 

Red = the animals

Blue = the actions of the attackers in the 1st sequence

Purple = the cry to God for His action to deliver from these attackers in the 2nd sequence

 

 

 

Psalm 22:12-21 (using NASB)

 

1st sequence:

The beasts (they) approach and attack (action verbs used) in bull => lion => dog sequence

 

 

Bulls

12   Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

 

Lions

13   They open wide their mouth at me, As a ravening and a roaring lion.

14   I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.

15   My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws;

      And You lay me in the dust of death.  

 

Dogs

16   For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me;

      They pierced my hands and my feet.

17   I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;

18   They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.

 

 

2nd sequence:

The victim (my/me) cries for help from the beasts & their actions in reverse dog => lion => bull order

 

19   But You, O LORD, be not far off; O You my help, hasten to my assistance.

 

Dogs

20   Deliver my soul from the sword, My only life from the power of the dog.

 

Lions & Bulls/oxen

21   Save me from the lion's mouth; From the horns of the wild oxen You answer me.

 

 

 

We can clearly see the distinctive pattern in Psalm 22 of three kinds of beasts attacking the victim with action verbs being used, and then when the victim cries out to God for His saving action to nullify/reverse the actions of the attackers, the order of the beasts are also reversed.   There is an unquestionable symmetry.

 

 

However, with a “like a lion” translation, this is what we see in English versions of the Tanakh such as the JPS (remember Hebrew/English translation in Psalm 22 is off by adding one so verse 16 is 17 in JPS):

 

 

1st sequence:The beasts (they) approach and attack (action verbs used) in bull => lion => dog => lion sequence

 

Bulls

13 Many bulls surround me, mighty ones of Bashan encircle me.

 

Lions

14 They open their mouths at me like tearing, roaring lions.

15 My life ebbs away: all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me;

16 my vigor dries up like a shard; my tongue cleaves to my palate; You commit me to the dust of death.

 

Dogs & Lions

17 Dogs surround me; a pack of evil ones closes in on me, like lions [they maul] my hands and feet.

18 I take count of all my bones while they look on and gloat.

19 They divide my clothes among themselves, casting lots for my garments.

 

 

2nd sequence:

The victim (my/me) cries for help from the beasts & their actions in reverse dog => lion => bull order

 

20 But You, O LORD, be not far off; my strength, hasten to my aid.

 

Dogs

21 Save my life from the sword, my precious life from the clutches of a dog.

 

Lions & Bulls/oxen

22 Deliver me from a lion’s mouth; from the horns of wild oxen rescue me.

 

 

 

We can clearly see that the mirror and echo-like symmetry of bulls => lions => dogs with its victimizing actions of the attackers compared to the reverse dogs => lions => bulls sequence with God’s saving actions is completely broken.

 

The first sequence has an addition to the end of it that is not only disjointed by repeating “lions” as: bulls => lions => dogs => lions, but there is also no corresponding echo/symmetry when the victim cries out to God for His liberating actions from these creatures which remains as: dogs => lions => bulls.

 

The repeating of a statement of being like a lion in verse 16/17 where just three verses earlier in verse 13/14 there is already such a statement (open wide the mouth like a tearing roaring lion), is itself an indicator that “like a lion” in verse 16/17 is an insertion.

 

Also, if the insertion of the second lion reference in verse 16/17 is supposedly true, we can see that the attacking action verb is missing in Hebrew (and also “like a lion” standing alone does not make sense) and words/verbs have to be added in the English translations of the Tanakh. These are the inserted words “the prey of”, “they maul”, “they seize”, and “they are at” that we saw earlier in item #1 in this Psalm 22 discussion.

 

So what we find is that it is indeed k’aru (they pierced) and not k’ari (like a lion) as God intended and the Dead Sea Scrolls show. God did not add words, but those who attempt to change the meaning of God’s words to show it is not referring to a crucifixion did add and change words on multiple levels.  

 

God inspired the writing of Psalm 22 just as He wanted --- in symmetry.

 

But man has broken this symmetry and overlaid the words of God.

 

What we find is that “like a lion” is foreign to the text and is an insertion and in error.  

 

 

 

 

Please see the next article in the Prophesied Messiah series: The Prophesied Messiah - His prophesied arrival

 

 

Link to the Prophesied Messiah articles outline

  

Follow Us On: