Oldest Extant Psalm 22 Manuscript?

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Liam | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Mar 19 2016 11:42 AM

Hello everybody,

I'm studying Psalm 22, in particular the reading of verses 12-18 which says "his hands and feet were pierced." Does anyone know what the oldest existing manuscript is for that reading, as well as the believed date of composition? Or possibly even how to find this out?

As far as I know, the masoratic text has a different reading, but the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint both have the "pierced" reading. I heard somewhere that extant manuscripts existed for this that were from 400 BC.

Also does anyone know a general range that scholars believe the Psalm was written (or if not a range, maybe both a conservative, and a liberal estimate)?

thank you!!!

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:04 PM

I cannot imagine anything older than the Dead Sea Scroll. Since before them I believe the oldest Masorist text we have was circa 900 AD.

Col. 11 (Frgs. 8 + 9), Psalm 22:4–9, 15–21

top margin


1 22:4 ו֯אתה קדוש יושב תהלות ישרא̇ל 5 בך בטחו אבתינ̇ו̇

2 בטחו ותפלטמו 6 אליך זעקו ונמלטו בך בטחו ולא בשו

3 7 ואנכי תולעת ולא איש חרפת אדם ובזוי עם

4 8 כל ראי ילעגו לי יפטירו בש̇פ֯[ה ]י֯נ֯[יע]ו֯ ר֯א֯ש֯

5 [9 ג]ל א̇ל יהוה יפלטהו֯ י֯צ֯י֯ל[הו כי חפץ בו 10 כי אתה גחי מבטן]

6 [מבטיחי על שדי אמי 11 עליך השלכתי מרחם מבטן אמי אלי אתה]

7 [12 אל תרחק ממני כי צרה קרובה כי אין עוזר]

8 [13 סבבוני פרים רבים אבירי בשן כתרוני 14 פצו עלי פיהם]

9 [אריה טרף ושאג 15 כמים נשפכתי]


10 [והתפרדו כל ]עצמותי הי֯ה֯[ לבי כדונג נמס בתוך מעי]

11 [16 יבש כחרש כחי ול]שוני מדבק מלקוח̇י ולעפר֯ מ֯ו֯ת ת[שפתני]

12 [17 כי סבבוני כלבי]ם֯ עדת מרעים הקיפוני כארו ידיה̇ ורגלי

13 [18 אספר כל עצ]מ֯ו֯תי ה֯מ̇ה̇ יביטו יראו̇ בי

14 [19 יחלקו בגדי ל]ה̇ם ו֯[ע]ל̇ ל̇ב֯[ו]ש֯י֯ יפילו֯ ג֯ו֯ר֯ל

15 [20 ואתה יהוה אל תר]ח֯ק֯ אי֯לו֯ת֯י֯ ל֯עז֯רתי חוש̇ה̇

16 [21 הצילה מחרב נפשי מיד כ]ל֯ב֯ י֯ח֯י֯ד֯ת֯י֯

17 [22 הושיעני מפי אריה ומקרני רמים עניתני 23 אספרה שמך לאחי]

18 [בתוך קהל אהללך 24 יראי יהוה הללוהו כל זרע יעקב כבדוהו]

19 [וגורו ממנו כל זרע ישראל 25 כי לא בזה ולא שקץ ענות עני]

20 [ולא הסתיר פניו ממנו ובשועו אליו שמע 26 מאתך תהלתי בקהל רב]

21 [נדרי אשלם נגד יראיו 27 יאכלו ענוים וישבעו יהללו יהוה דרשיו]

22 [יחי לבבכם לעד 28 יזכרו וישבו אל יהוה כל אפסי ארץ]

23 [וישתחוו לפניך כל משפחות גוים 29 כי ליהוה המלוכה]

24 [ומשל בגוים 30 אכלו וישׁתחוו כל דשני ארץ]

25 [לפניו יכרעו כל יורדי עפר ונפשו לא חיה 31 זרע יעבדנו]

26 [יספר לאדני לדור 32 יבאו ויגידו צדקתו לעם נולד כי עשה]

27 vacat ]

28 [23:1 מזמור לדוד יהוה רעי לא אחסר]

  Space left blank in manuscript

vacat Space left blank in manuscript

  Space left blank in manuscript

 Naḥal Ḥever Psalms (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2010), Ps 22:4–23:1.

However I do not read hebrew so the most I can do is offer it for your viewing.


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James Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:12 PM

the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint both have the "pierced" reading.

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James Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:14 PM

Here's the BHS apparatus which lists the variants on that verse and their respective witnesses...

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:17 PM

If you have the Journal of Biblical Literature you might find an article in volume 123 helpful

WBC commenting on this has:

17.b. MT’s כָּאֲרִי (“like a lion”) presents numerous problems and can scarcely be correct. One must suppose that incorrect vocalization of the consonantal text occurred, perhaps through association with a marginal gloss at v 14; see note a at v 14 and L. C. Allen, “Cuckoos in the Textual Nest,” JTS 22 (1971) 148–50. It is probably best to read a consonantal text כארו or כרו; see the massive discussion of the manuscript evidence in De-Rossi, IV, 14–20

But I don't know what is referred to by "De-Rossi"

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James Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:18 PM

Here is some textual comments

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:20 PM
It is interesting as Kraus notes that the gospel writers do not allude more to this although I suppose perhaps Jesus quote of the start of this Psalm may be allusion enough. Text To the choirmaster. According to “The Hind of the Dawn” (?). A psalm of David. 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me, are far from my ‘crying,’a the words of my entreaty? 2 bl call at daytime, and you do not answer, at night, and I find no rest. 3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One,c you Praised of Israel! 4 In you our fathers trusted, they trusted, and you delivered them. 5 To you they cried and were saved, in you they trusted and were not disappointed! 6 But I am a worm and not a man, the ridicule of men, despised by the people. 7 All who see me scoff at me, screw up their mouth, shake their head. 8 ‘He put it in the hands’e of Yahweh, let him free him, let him rescue him, for he is obviously well disposed to him! 9 You pulledf me from the womb, sheltered me at my mother’s breast. 10 On you was I cast from my mother’s womb, from my mother’s bosom you have been my God. 11 Be not far from me, for affliction is near, for no one helps.— 12 Many steers surround me, the strong ones of Bashan encircle me. 13 Their jaws they open wide for meg— lions, ravening and roaring. 14 Like water am I poured out, out of joint are all my members. My heart has become like wax, dissolved in my inner parts. 15 ‘My throat’h is dry like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my gums. Into the dust of death you lay me. 16 For ‘many’i dogs surround me, a gang of evildoers encircle me. They ‘bind’j me hand and foot.— 17 I can countk all my bones. They stare and gape at me. 18 They divide my clothes among themselves and cast lots for my cloak. 19 But you, O Yahweh, do not stay far from me; my Strength, hasten to help me! 20 Save my life from the sword, from the dogs my only possession! 21 Snatch me from the jaws of the lion and from the horns of the buffalo. —You have heard me!l— 22 (Now) will I announce your name to my brothers, will praise you in the midst of the congregation. 23 You who fear Yahweh, praise him, honor him, all descendants of Jacob —and praym before him, all you children of Israel! 24 For he has not disdained nor despised the affliction of him who is poor. He has not hidden his countenance from him, when he cried, he listened to him. 25 To you In am indebted for my praise in the great congregation, my vows I fulfill before them who fear him. 26 The poor shall eat and be filled. They who look for Yahweh shall praise him. Your hearto shall revive forever! 27 Of this all the ends of the earth shall think and turn, ‘ ’p ‘before him’q all generations of the peoples shall bow down! 28 For the kingdom belongs to Yahweh, ‘he rules’r over nations. 29 ‘Only to him’s shall all pay homage who ‘sleep’t in the earth, before him shall all bow down who went down to the dust, (and whose soul did not ‘stay alive’u). 30 ‘My’v seed will serve him ‘and will tell’w about the Lord ‘to the coming’x generation. 31 ‘They will tell’y of his saving deed to the peoples later born, for he has finished it! Form Already in the middle of the previous century it was established that Psalm 22 is composed of two different parts. Verses 1–21* deal with the distress of abandonment by God, while vv. 22–31* present praise and thanksgiving for Yahweh’s help. We could come to the conclusion that Psalm 22 consists of two entirely different psalms (Duhm, Cheyne, Kautsch-Bertholet, H. Schmidt). But this conception is without foundation. It will become apparent later how the sudden change of vv. 22ff.* is to be explained (see below). Metrically, Psalm 22 presents many problems, most of which cannot be solved by text-critical means. If we observe the text carefully, we shall be able to identify the following meters: The double triple meter is present in vv. 4*, 5*, 6*, 8*, 9*, 12–15a*, 16a*, 17–20*, 22*, 23a*, 24aγ*/b*, 26a*. The 4 + 4 meter is to be found in vv. 1*, 25*, 27*, 29a*; the 4 + 3 meter in v. 2*; the 3 + 4 meter in vv. 7*, 10*; the 3 + 2 meter in vv. 3*, 21*. The three-member meter 2 + 2 + 2 is to be observed in vv. 11*, 24aαβ*, 30*, 31*. Verse fragments without parallel complements are present in vv. 15b*, 16b*, 23b*, 26b*, 28*, 29b*. In addition, the word עניתני in v. 21b* will have to be eliminated from the metrical scheme. What is involved is an interjection that is very important for understanding the connection between vv. 1–21* and vv. 22–31*. For a hardly likely process of reconstruction in two parallel columns, cf. J. Magne, pp. 29ff. Form-critically, Psalm 22 belongs to the group called prayer songs (see above, Intro. §6, 2). The address to Yahweh, which immediately at v. 1* characterized the psalm, contains mainly descriptions of distress. The petitions become articulate in vv. 11* and 19–21*. Regularly inserted again and again are expressions of trust: vv. 3–5* and 9–11*. Worth noting is the sudden change appearing in vv. 22–31*. In place of a description of distress, a cry, and a plea, we have thanksgiving. Great importance must be attached to the word עניתני (“you have heard me!”) in v. 21*. This word is proof of a change that has taken place and that has given rise to the song of thanksgiving (cf. the “commentary” on v. 21* below). In any case, the passage vv. 22–31* will have to be understood as the song of thanksgiving of an individual. For the todah in the Psalms, cf. above, Intro. §6, 2a. Finally, we should also call attention to the formula ישׁב תהלות ישׂראל (v. 3*), which (like the formulas in Pss. 80:1*; 135:21*; 2:4*) turns up not only in hymnic contexts and which must definitely be distinguished from the hymnic participals (F. Crüsemann, Studien zur Formgeschichte von Hymnus und Danklied in Israel, WMANT 32 [1969], 125). Setting After the interpretation of Psalm 22 as referring to David (title) had been shown to be inappropriate, the opinion at first prevailed that the lamenting and thanking singer was “an ordinary member of the OT community.” This conception was then contested by the representatives of the royal ideology (G. Widengren, A. Bentzen). In the cultic ritual the king represents the dying and reviving deity. This idea is thought to be inherent also in the laments of the individual. Cf. A. Bentzen, Messias—Moses redivivus—Menschensohn, ATANT [1948], 20. Accordingly, the person abandoned by God in Psalm 22 would be the “dying king” in the cultic ritual, and the thanking person (vv. 22–31*) would be the “reviving ruler” in the worship drama. The exegetes who defend this interpretation reckon with a later “democratization” of the royal cultic words. The explanation that in Psalm 22 “an ordinary member of the OT community” is involved is insufficient to interpret the peculiarly fulsome expressions. The petitioner of Psalm 22 is weighed down with a variety of afflictions (G. von Rad, OT Theol, 1:399f.). The “archetypal affliction” of abandonment by God is at the root of all individual statements (cf. the comment on Psalm 18). The tendency to deal in types is unmistakable. Like the “poor man” (see above, Intro. §10, 3), so also the “sufferer” in Israel has become an archetypal figure that in its complaints and petitions participates in a conventional complex of language and conceptualization. A critical analysis of the individual expressions in Psalm 22 could identify that body of material in which the traditional motives form a preexistent whole. And yet, in Psalm 22 a number of sharp profiles can be isolated. The body of the petitioner is disfigured by disease (vv. 6f.*). He is surrounded by the “demons of sickness” and “enemies” (see below, “Commentary”). In a fever he suffers the beginning throes of the final agony (vv. 14–15*) and already sees that his death is being taken for granted (v. 18*). Accordingly, the “archetypal affliction” of Godforsakenness is being suffered in a mortal sickness. Viewed thus, Psalm 22 is the outstanding example of the OT way of speaking about sickness and death (H. H. Schmid, 119ff.). And immediately we will have to decide what standing the psalm had as a prayer formulary among the OT people of God. There can be no doubt that at various times different petitioners have left their mark on this lament and prayer. Especially in the final verses, the psalm shows traces of expansion and new formulations. It is therefore hardly possible to set a date of origin. Finally, in an explanation of the setting we should also call attention to vv. 22* and 25*. The petitioner and singer presents his lament and thanksgiving בתוך קהל (“in the midst of the congregation”) or בקהל רב (“in the great congregation”). Accordingly, he has obviously appeared during a great festival and has intoned his psalm in the court of the temple. Very likely the psalm was sung at a meal associated with an offering, to which the “poor” were invited and assembled (v. 26*). Commentary [Title] On למנצח, cf. above, Intro. §4, No. 17. On the formula על־אילת השׁחר, cf. Intro. §4, No. 20. On מזמור לדוד, Intro. §4, No. 2. It is interesting to note that Calvin already remarked (in his comment on the title of the psalm) regarding the formula על־אילת השׁחר: “It certainly seems plausible to me that it was the beginning of a popular song.” [22:1*] The prayer song (vv. 1–21*) begins with a repeated, insistent cry אלי אלי. The repetition of the address is a sign of the depth of the affliction from which the petitioner issues his cry to God. And yet the lamenter sticks to it: Yahweh is “my God” (cf. O. Eissfeldt, “ ‘Mein Gott’ im Alten Testament,” ZAW 61 [1945/46], 3–16); I have the right to expect help and salvation from him. The cry אלי is evidence of the individual appropriation of the promise of covenant and salvation given to Israel. The heavy, unfathomable distress of being far from God and being forsaken by him (עזב) is introduced in the lament by the question “Why?” The God from whom help and salvation may be expected is the Hidden and Distant One (Jer. 23:23*). Right next to each other are the trusting אלי אלי and the despairing למה עזבתני.1 In the archetypal distress of abandonment by God he who laments clutches at “his God.”2 In the word עזבתני all distress issummarized. Yahweh is far removed from the lamenting and crying of the petitioner. In שׁאג, a verb that otherwise denotes the roaring of the lion (Isa. 5:29*), we have a dark picture of the worst pain of the affliction. Into this worst of afflictions the crucified Christ entered (Matt. 27:46*; Mark 15:34*). On v. 1*, cf. A. Jepsen, 106ff., and N. Airoldi, 96ff. On the biblical-theological problems of adaptation, cf. H. Gese, 6ff. [22:2*] This verse deals with ceaseless crying and lamenting. The suffering extends over a long period of time. Yahweh does not answer. This is where the real bitterness of forsakenness lies. And yet he who laments does not renounce God (Job 2:9*), but he clings to “his God” and does not come to rest. On דמה, cf. Lam. 3:49*; Jer. 14:17*. [22:3–5*] The support for the trust expressed in the cry is Yahweh’s constant display of power and blessing in Israel (vv. 3–5*). Yahweh is unchangeably the same God. He is enthroned as the Holy One. קדושׁ יושׁב reminds us of כרובים יושׁב (Pss. 99:1*; 80:1*), who is enthroned on Zion as the קדושׁ (Ps. 99:3*; Isa. 6:3*; 57:15*). On this conception, see above, Intro. §10, 1. The enthroned God is תהלת ישׂראל (cf. Deut. 10:21*; Pss. 71:6*; 109:1*; Jer. 17:14*). Yahweh is surrounded by the thanksgiving and praise of Israel. He is the cause, the object, and the essence of the תהלה; and, to be sure, because from time immemorial those who trust in him have experienced the power of the קדושׁ יושׁב in the concrete bestowal of help and rescue (v. 4*).3 The verb בטח sheds light on the intention of the lamentation introduced by אלי אלי. The sense of the statements in vv. 3–5* is clear: the lamenting petitioner consoles himself with the fact that Yahweh has up to the present helped those who trusted in him. Israel’s experience of deliverance (v. 3*) is the consolation of the individual. Yahweh’s power has proved itself among the fathers, and the sufferer can console himself with this fact. And yet everything depends on the attitude of בטח, by which the unchangeably present saving power is released. But בטח means: to cry day and night, never to come to rest (vv. 2*, 5*). [22:6–8*] In v. 6* the lamenter points to the fact that his life has been dislocated and that human honor has been trodden underfoot (C. Westermann). לא־אישׁ means to say: I have lost every semblance of humanness (cf. Isa. 52:14*; 53:3*). I am like the worm that creeps along in the dust (for the picture, cf. Job 25:6*; Isa. 41:14*). But immediately the “enemies” (see above, Intro. §10, 4) attack this humiliated and disfigured man. Scorn and ridicule attempt to put their seal on the humiliation and to separate the sufferer from God.4 יניעי ראשׁ denotes a gesture of derision (Pss. 44:14*; 64:8*). The mocking advice of the “enemies” is then quoted in the lament: Let him put his distress into the hands of Yahweh (for this meaning of גלל, cf. Ps. 37:5*; Prov. 16:3*); may he save him from his hopeless situation, for he is obviously well disposed to him! This mocking suggestion carries with it the accessory notion: may Yahweh help him who boasts concerning himself that Yahweh takes delight in him. חפץ hints at a declaratory act. On this “suggestion of scorekeeping,” cf. R. Rendtorff, Studien zur Geschichte des Opfers im alten Israel, WMANT 24 (1967) 259. [22:9–10*] As in vv. 3–5*, so now in vv. 9* and 10* the lamenting petitioner looks for support. In v. 9* the assurance is expressed: You gave me life. And in v. 10* this assertion is supplemented with the certainty: From the moment of birth my life is in your hands. It could seem plausible that in these declarations of the petitioner we are reminded of royal prerogatives as they are given by the “adoption” of the ruler to be the “son of God” (cf. the comment on Ps. 2:7*). But we could not at the same time use this observation as a reason for assigning Psalm 22 to the royal cult (thus A. Bentzen, Messias—Moses redivivus—Menschensohn, 20). Rather, the petitioner, in his words of trust, adopts conceptions from the king’s language of well-being. A different conception of the statements in vv. 9* and 10* could be introduced on the basis of Ps. 139:13ff.* (with reference to the creation of humans). [22:11*] In any case, the complaints of vv. 1–10*, twice interrupted by expressions of trust (vv. 3–5* and 9–10*), end in an urgent plea in v. 11*: May the “distant God” (v. 1*) bring the Godforsakenness of his servant to an end! The distress (צרה) close at hand is like an independent force, and (except for Yahweh) no helper is available. [22:12*] In this verse the description of the “near affliction” (v. 11*) begins with illustrations and symbolic words. “Steers” and “strong ones of Bashan” surround the sufferer. אבירי בשׁן probably refers to a particularly powerful breed of steers of the area of Bashan (cf. Amos 4:1*; Deut. 32:14*; G. Dalman, AuS 6, 170f.). Because the affliction of the petitioner in vv. 12ff.* is illustrated by means of images of beasts that charge and hem in, we should first clarify the significance of these metaphors. H. Gunkel explains in his commentary: “The comparisons to beasts do not strike the sensibilities of antiquity as something abusive; but the poet wants to say that powerful, eminent people are here involved, people whose wrath is fearful.” Thus Gunkel begins with the idea that in the final analysis the beast metaphors describe people—namely, the powerful and eminent “enemies of the individual” (see above, Intro. §10, 4). There can be no doubt, in fact, that the raging of hostile people can be described by means of metaphors referring to animals (Pss. 7:2*; 10:9f.*; 27:2*; 35:21f.*). But we will have to keep in mind that these “enemies” in the laments always represent demonic powers that separate from God. Therefore it will be necessary to take into consideration another dimension in the interpretation of the animal metaphors. In Mesopotamia there were poems for purposes of conjuration in which demonic powers, which were considered responsible for sickness and suffering, were represented in the shapes of animals. Thus, for instance, in an “exorcism of the demon Samana” we may encounter: “Enuru-exorcism: Samana, he of the lion’s muzzle, he of the dragon’s tooth, he of the eagle’s claws, he of the scorpion’s stinger, Enlil’s wild lion, Enlil’s lion who cuts off the throat, the lion of Ninnisinna with the maw dripping blood, the lion of the gods with mouth wide open …” (A. Falkenstein and W. von Soden, Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen und Gebete, 214). Accordingly, the demonic forces hostile to human beings advance against them in the forms of animals. And here various types of pictures crowd in on one another to describe the distorted essential characteristics of the alien force (S. Moscati, Geschichte und Kultur der semitischen Völker [1953], 57f.). There is also a report concerning the common motifs in G. Widengren, “The Accadian and Hebrew Psalms of Lamentation as Religious Documents,” diss. Uppsala, 1936 (1937). [22:13–15*] Verse 13* is to be understood in terms of a mingling of the most varied types of pictures. The dangerous forces open their mouths wide; like lions, roaring and ravenous, they approach the sufferer. That vv. 13* and 14* perhaps deal with the demons of sickness is suggested by the following v. 15*. Vv. 14* and 15* both describe the agony; the passing and dissolution of the body in the heat of the fever. The present perfect (Gunkel and Begrich, EinlPs 215) describes the process in drastic similes: “like water” (cf. Josh. 7:5*; Ezek. 7:17*; 21:12*), “like wax” (cf. Deut. 20:8*; 2 Sam. 17:10*). Both the exterior (עצמותי) and the interior (לב) “dissolve.” The heat of the fever dries out the oral cavity (cf. Ps. 69:3*). The sufferer stands at the immediate threshold of death (לעפר־מות). [22:16*] Like a pack of wild dogs, the עדת מרעים (“the gang of evildoers”) surrounds the sufferer and binds (?) him hand and foot. Here the demonic forces again reveal the human face of the scoffers (vv. 7* and 8*). They overwhelm him who is mortally sick. Unfortunately, the text is damaged in this passage. We are not sure whether כארי ידי ורגלי represent a metaphor or a real event. Has the sufferer been captured as a transgressor of the commandments of God (Ps. 107:10ff.*)? In בארי F. Nötscher wants to recognize a verb with the meaning “pierce” (“they pierce my hands and feet”), and he thinks of a crucifixion, but he is surprised that this passage is not included in the NT passion narrative. (“Were these words, in spite of the old translation, still not understood in this sense?” It is hardly possible to conjecture the text in this fashion. Only two possibilities remain: (1) The binding (?) of hands and feet develops the picture of the hunt further; in that case the dogs in v. 16a* would be hunting dogs (cf. the illustration from Mesopotamia), and the sufferer would be the prey of a chase with hue and cry. (2) The wild dogs (v. 16a*) are a metaphorical illustration of the bustle of the “evildoers,” who actually take captive the sufferer who is guilty (according to their view of cause and effect). This second explanation would seem more suggestive in the context (vv. 17f*). [22:17–21*] Verses 17* and 18* indicate that the sufferer has been stripped of his clothes. There he lies—emaciated through sickness and worry (cf. Ps. 102:5*; Job 19:20*; 33:21*). The evildoers “gape” at him. On רָאָה בְּ, cf. BrSynt §106a. They have taken possession of the clothes of the dying, chained prisoner, and they are casting lots for their distribution. The last possessions are taken away from the one who is marked by God’s judgment. The casting of lots tells the sufferer: You have died for us (Sir. 14:15*). A song from Mesopotamia reads: “The coffin lay open, and people already helped themselves to my valuables; before I was even dead, the mourning was already done” (A. Ungnad, Die Religion der Babylonier und Assyrer [1921], 230.) At this point of utmost need, we again hear (as in v. 11*) the petition that Yahweh may not be far away but hasten to help. The petition extends to three verses (vv. 19–21*). חרב (“sword”) is probably a symbol for the power of death (Ps. 37:14*), while כלב (“dog”) refers to v. 16*. Basically, the lamenting poet is pleading for rescue from the hand of the demonic powers that separate him from God. אריה (“lion”) in v. 21* refers to v. 13*. It is uncertain which wild animal is meant by רמים. Is this a reference to the unicorn, which can be documented frequently in ancient Near Eastern illustrations? [22:21bβ*] The remarkable interjection עניתני stands between the two principal parts of the psalm. It connects the lament with the song of thanksgiving and praise that follows in vv. 22ff.* By means of a single word the singer declares: Yahweh has heard me. The sometimes abrupt transition from lament to thanksgiving in a number of psalms has in Psalm 22 been marked by the formula עניתני. Here the לא תענה of v. 2* is finally done away with. We may be permitted to assume that by means of an “oracle of rescue” Yahweh bestowed answer and rescue on the lamenting poet (Ps. 107:20*; J. Begrich, “Das priesterliche Heilsorakel,” ZAW 52 [1934], 81–92). When people have experienced such help, “they should thank Yahweh” (Ps. 107:21f.*). Here the transition to vv. 22ff.* is clearly marked. A different conception is defended by R. Kilian (BZ 12 [1968], 172ff.). He is of the opinion that we should not presuppose an “oracle of rescue” and that we therefore also should not assume that an effective change has taken place. Rather, the section vv. 22ff.* is understood as an expression of trust; a “perfection of trust” is assumed. But this conception is shattered by the form-critical findings that apply, which in the Psalms is very clear. On the tenses, cf. D. Michel, Tempora und Satzstellung in den Psalmen (1960), 63ff. Thus we will surely have to presuppose that the petitioner of the psalm “had heard the ‘fear not’ and then the assurance that Jahweh would not forsake him, but would be with him, and be his helper” (G. von Rad, OT Theol, 1:401). In Mesopotamian prayers, too, the sick and suffering wait for an answer of the deity. They look forward to the “oracle of rescue,” to the “reliable yes,” in order to give thanks to the deity when the help has appeared. “… Upon your reliable yes, which cannot be overturned, may I, your servant, live and be healthy; then I will glorify your great deeds and bring you an ovation!” (A. Falkenstein and W. von Soden, Sumerische und akkadische Hymnen und Gebete, 347). The “yes” of the oracle of rescue may also consist of the priest’s call “Enough!” (Falkenstein and von Soden, 338). But the helpful intervention of the gods is always followed by the thankful praise for the “great deeds” (Falkenstein and von Soden, 336, 338, 345, 348). [22:22–23*] אספרה שׁמך לאחי (“I will announce your name to my brothers”) is not the formula of a vow that the lamenting poet utters in his affliction, but it is already the beginning of the song of thanksgiving and praise (Pss. 66:16*; 109:30*; 107:32*). The singer announces the שׁם of Yahweh as the only theme of his song before the worshiping congregation (קהל). שׁם is Yahweh’s present power of rescue (cf. the comment on Ps. 20:1*, 5*, 7*). The audience for the song are the אחי = fellow worshipers of the community of Israel (v. 3*). On קהל as the term for the assembled cultic community, cf. Ps. 35:18*; Exod. 16:3*; Lev. 4:13ff.*, 21*; Num. 10:7*; 15:15*; 17:12*; 20:6*; and often. Invited to join in the hymn of praise are all who have experienced Yahweh’s reality (יראי יהוה). In this connection the constructs זרע יעקב and זרע ישׂראל have the force of calling on the “true Israel” for praise. Verse 23b* emphasizes awe before the miracle by which Yahweh reveals his presence. [22:24*] In this verse the miracle of the rescue is expressed. Yahweh has not despised the affliction of the עני. The sufferer thinks of himself as among the “poor” (see above, Intro. §10, 3).5 Regarding ולא־הסתיר פניו ממנו (“He has not hidden his countenance from him”) one could ask whether at the oracle of rescue (v. 21*, עניתני) a theophany played an auxiliary part (on the problem of the theophany, cf. Ps. 18:7–15*). In v. 24b* the interjection עניתני is expressed in the words ובשׁועו אליו שׁמע (“when he cried, he listened to him”). [22:25*] The song of thanksgiving vv. 22–31* is in v. 25* called תהלה (in other words, not the expected תודה). The term תהלה in v. 25* is certainly to be applied to the name given to Yahweh in v. 3*. The fact that Yahweh is תהלת ישׂראל is understood in v. 25* to mean that the praise of the petitioner emanates from Yahweh. In his acts Yahweh is a God who leads to praise. To his activity human beings can only answer with praise. קהל רב is the “full assembly” of the community at the time of the great annual festivals. At this occasion “vows are paid.” On נדרי אשׁלם cf. Pss. 50:14*; 61:8*; 66:13*; 116:14*, 18*. In distress the sufferer vows to bring offerings (Lev. 7:15–21*) and thanks in the courts of the temple. “Such a vow in the midst of affliction is grossly misunderstood if we interpret it as a deal with God according to the motto: ‘If you give me this, I will give you that.’ Rather, it expresses the fact that the association between him who prays to God and God is not to come to an end when God has rescued him, but that after the rescue it is to continue in this, that he who has been rescued will tell his brothers about the rescue he experienced” (C. Westermann, “Die Geschichtsbezogenheit menschlicher Rede von Gott im Alten Testament,” Weltgespräch 1 [1967], 21). [22:26*] We should probably assume that the song of praise and thanksgiving of vv. 22–31* was intoned at a meal for the poor in connection with an offering. At any rate, v. 26* could well be understood that way. The ענוים, among whom the petitioner of our psalm counts himself (v. 24*), are to eat and be satisfied. But this wish, according to v. 26b*, has an ultimate meaning: the poor may experience the full life of nearness to God for all times! On יחי לעד, cf. Chr. Barth, Die Errettung vom Tode in den individuellen Klage- und Dankliedern, 24. [22:27–29*] If now in vv. 27f.* “all the ends of the earth” and “all generations of the nations” are called on for insight, repentance, and homage, this is not a matter of an enthusiastic intensification of the hymn, but of a tradition of the Jerusalem cultus associated with the קדושׁ יושׁב. The God enthroned on Zion is אל־עליון, Creator and Lord of the whole world (see above, Intro. §10, 1). About this fact, which is always valid, all the nations are to “think” (זכר) and “turn” (שׁוב). וישׁתחוו contains the conception of the homage of the nations. Especially in v. 28* the relation to the cultic tradition of Jerusalem becomes evident. Yahweh is honored on Zion as מלך and as משׁל (see above, Intro. §10, 1). He is the ruler of the world. Therefore the praise of the nations is due him. Even the dead are included in the great homage. This is the more curious as there is otherwise an insurmountable barrier in the OT: the dead have no connection to Yahweh, and they do not praise him (cf. Pss. 6:5*; 88:10–12*). שׁאול is a place far removed from the cultus. But now the barrier is broken down. Also those who sleep in the earth (Dan. 12:2*) are drawn into the homage to Yahweh. [22:30–31*] The descendants of him who has been rescued are especially emphasized in v. 30*. They are to serve Yahweh. As in v. 23*, זרע denotes the immediate participation in God’s effecting of the rescue. An unbreakable chain of tradition—so the singer assures us—shall be formed, one that transmits Yahweh’s saving deed to the coming generations and the people yet to be born. On צדק, cf. G. von Rad, OT Theol, 1:370ff. Through the transmission of God’s great deed (כי עשׂה) the coming generations would inherit the certainty which the petitioner of Psalm 22 expressed in vv. 3–5*. Purpose and Thrust Psalm 22 traverses unimaginable dimensions. From the depths of abandonment by God, the song of the rescued person rises to a worldwide hymn that draws also the dead into a great homage of Yahweh. We should probably at first note how closely the whole song is “tied to the community.” The petitioner in the worst affliction draws confidence from the fact that the fathers of Israel gained an answer and a rescue from their lamentation (vv. 3–5*). His life is encircled by the reality of the קהל. After he too has now been heard, he takes up the song of praise in the congregation (vv. 22*, 25*) and at the close gives the assurance that his descendants for generations to come will retain the event of the great deed of Yahweh in their tradition (vv. 30–31*). This close relation to the קהל has its roots in the fact that the petitioner counts himself among the poor (v. 24*). The “sufferer,” the “poor man,” is the most intensive visitor of Zion. He and his very existence are “cast” (v. 10*) on Yahweh, and he waits for the healing help of God. In supreme joy he experiences the miracle of his rescue (v. 24*) and in lament and praise refers to the reality of the royal sanctuary in Jerusalem that transcends his life. In the New Testament, Psalm 22 is frequently quoted in the passion narrative: v. 1* in Matt. 27:46*; Mark 15:34*; v. 7* in Matt. 27:39*; Mark 15:29*; v. 8* in Matt. 27:43*; v. 15* in John 19:28*(?); v. 18* in Matt. 27:35*; John 19:23–24*. From these references of the passion narrative to Psalm 22, earlier churchly interpretations permitted themselves to conclude that Psalm 22 belongs to the “messianic prophecies.” But this interpretation has been proved to be inappropriate. Psalm 22 does not deal with the “Messiah” (in the sense of an end-time king of salvation). Psalm 22 also is not a “prophecy.” In this sense H. Gunkel, for instance, could state: “The ‘messianic’ interpretation, last represented by Delitzsch, has conclusively been dropped since it was recognized that the psalm actually contains no prophecy and, what is more, that the idea of a suffering Messiah is foreign to the Old Testament.” This statement reflects an understanding that turns up almost everywhere in the more recent exegesis of the Psalms. Thus A. Cohen, in the “Soncino Books of the Bible,” comes to this conclusion: “A christological intention has long been read into this Psalm, but modern Christian exegetes are agreed that it describes a situation then existing and does not anticipate an event of the future.” The question must therefore be asked in a new way: What are the inner connections between Psalm 22 and the NT passion narrative? We could begin with an explanation given by Franz Delitzsch in his commentary on the Psalms. He writes: “In Psalm 22 David with his lamentations descends to depths that lie beyond the depth of his own suffering, and with his hopes he ascends to heights that lie beyond the height of his own reward for suffering.” This unique situation Delitzsch calls an “escalation of what is typical of the prophetic.” Delitzsch has rightly recognized that “the statements of the mortally sick sufferer in Psalm 22 transcend every individual fate. What is typical and paradigmatic in the statements of suffering and praise, in their recourse to conventionalized means of speech and conception, catches hold of something that is archetypal and supraindividual. When Jesus now in the agony of the cross prays the first words of Psalm 22, two things happen: (1) Jesus enters the archetypal affliction of abandonment by God which was experienced in the OT by those who prayed and which is described in surpassing words and images. But this means that Jesus solidly identifies himself with the entire fullness of suffering. The path of the Son of man coming from heaven leads to the lowest depths of misery. (2) The first Christian community now saw associations between the fate of the OT petitioner in Psalm 22 and the death of Jesus on the cross. In the category “prophecy fulfillment” it took up correspondences of the outer and inner action because Jesus himself in praying Ps. 22:1* had showed the way. H. Gese’s detailed study (ZThK 65 [1968], 1ff.) has investigated the references of the NT to Psalm 22, especially the oldest report about the death of Jesus and about the institution of the Lord’s Supper. Only two results of the study can be noted here: (1) “The oldest account of the central event of the death of Jesus is obscured under the veil of Psalm 22. Thus we would here not only have before us an old interpretation of the death of Jesus but, it seems to me, the oldest understanding of the event at Golgotha. Here we are not, as in Isaiah 53, dealing with expiatory sacrifice, in fact, not even with the Messiah, but rather with death, escalated to the highest degree of suffering, which, with an act of God that rescues from death, leads to the inbreaking of the eschatological βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ. He who proclaimed this βασιλεία in his life introduced it by his death” (p. 17). (2) “With the supper that instituted fellowship and a New Being, there must inseparably be associated the praise of Yahweh, the acknowledgment of Yahweh as the rescuer by means of the memorial of the saving event …” (p. 18). Gese clearly points out “that the Lord’s Supper deals with the todah of the Risen One” (p. 22). To sum up, “We learn from Psalm 22 how the rescue from death is experienced in the light of revelation, how Israel escalated the experience of suffering to the experience of archetypal suffering, and how the divine blessing of rescue is apocalyptically awaited as the opening of the eschatological royal rule of God. We see that the realization of this takes place in the NT event. We understand the report of the death of Jesus, which was originally entirely dominated by Psalm 22, and the Lord’s Supper as an acknowledgment of this event, the establishment of a New Being, in which the Risen One is present” (p. 22). Hans-Joachim Kraus, A Continental Commentary: Psalms 1–59 (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993), 290–302.
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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:21 PM

A Milestone search idea is:

pierced WITHIN {Milestone <Ps22>}

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James Taylor | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:25 PM

In line c the Masoretic text begins “like a lion”; the Septuagint took the Hebrew to be a form of the verb “to dig” (as in 7:15); Aquila, Symmachus, and Jerome took the Hebrew to be a form of the verb “to tie” (and two Hebrew manuscripts have “they tie”); there are other explanations as well.* No one solution can be dogmatically proposed as the correct one; the majority of translations use a word appropriate to the action of “a pack of dogs.” FRCL and TOB, however, have “they tie.” NJV attempts to stay with the Masoretic text by translating “like lions [they maul] my hands and feet.”

Bratcher, R. G., & Reyburn, W. D. (1991). A translator’s handbook on the book of Psalms (p. 221). New York: United Bible Societies.

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Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:26 PM

Wow! Thank you all for the extremely quick replies! I tried searching my library for "5/6HevPs WITHIN 50 WORDS date" but didn't come up with anything.

The reason I ask, is that this Psalm is such a clear prophecy of Christ, that I wondered what the evidence was in it's being genuinely written in the pre-Christian era.

My bottom line question is:

Is there a general consensus that the composition of this Psalm predates Christ?

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:31 PM

Graham Criddle:
If you have the Journal of Biblical Literature you might find an article in volume 123 helpful

Great call Graham most illuminating.


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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 12:38 PM

Is there a general consensus that the composition of this Psalm predates Christ?

Without doubt a conservative view would date it to the time of David. Even a most radical view would date the psalms complete no later than the Macabeean period.

This is hardly a radical liberal commentary but does offer a consensus  of what is generally believed about dating:

Date and Theology

By his explicit allusions to the certainty that already welcomes the intervention of Yahweh, the poet continues to surmount the sense of his abandonment. He seems to be a disciple of the prophet Jeremiah (1:5) and of the poet of Job (3:11–12). God has called him even before his birth (Ps 22:10–11).

It appears that the date of the psalm extends through the last years of the kingdom of Judah, between the battle of Megiddo and the final exile to Babylonia (609–587 b.c.e.).8 Psalm 22 is not the ultimate complaint in the face of mocking sarcasm (Jer 20:1–7, 8–10) because its singer transmutes it suddenly into a canticle of triumph, as he invites his musical brothers to join in his exultation (Ps 22:24; cf. Jer 20:13). The self-concealing presence, in effect, has never left the man in despair. A radical transformation has seized the psalmist. Like Job, he does not explicitly ask to be saved from his plague, but he now embraces the whole of humankind in his hope for salvation. Like God, he sees a new life for those who sleep in the dust, and an orientation toward goodness for a people yet unborn.

While the relationship between Psalm 22 and the poem of Job is not clear, the psalmist is a forerunner of Second Isaiah, thus preceding the poem of Job by a whole generation.9 In any case, Psalm 22 prepares the ground for a Christian theology of the suffering Messiah.

When the man in the pit of loneliness cries out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” he is implicitly praying, “God of Israel, Savior!” (Isa 45:15b), which immediately follows “Verily, thou art a God that concealest thyself!” (v. 15a).

The time-honored expression Deus absconditus, “the hidden God” (with a passive participle), is a misleading translation, for the Hebrew verb suggests an active-reflexive sense. A self-concealing God reacts against a human race that is guilty, afraid, and ashamed, and he “withdraws” from the dialogue (Gen 3:10). A baffled deity is compelled to query, “Man! Where art thou?” (Gen 3:9).

A theology of God’s “forsakenness” is never far from an anthropology of man’s dereliction. Psalm 22 prefigures a theology of the cross, when God and man are together crucified. They are united in the ultimate agony.

Psalm 22 anticipates the culmination in the history of the theology of the name (v. 23), and the Lord’s Prayer opens with the petition, “Hallowed be thy name!” Broken by human injustice (Isa 53:3–8), God offers himself in supreme sacrifice.

The ultimate lament begins with the terror of the void, but it ends with the fervor of the saved.

8 Bonnard, Le Psautier, pp. 58–61.

9 S. Terrien, “Quelques remarques sur les affinités de Job avec le Deutéro-Ésaïe,” VTSup XV (1966), pp. 295–310.

 Samuel Terrien, The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, The Eerdmans Critical Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2003), 235–236.


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Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 1:03 PM

Dan Francis:
It appears that the date of the psalm extends through the last years of the kingdom of Judah, between the battle of Megiddo and the final exile to Babylonia (609–587 b.c.e.).

This is great! Thank you Dan!

So it sounds like scholarly consensus for composition date is from 1000-587 b.c.e. Well before Christ. 

As far as an extant manuscript date, I found in the "Dead Sea Scrolls Bible (Abegg)" page 519 says that the "pierced" reading is found in the 5/6HevPs Scroll. However it doesn't speak on the composition date of that scroll.

Does anyone have any info on the composition date of the 5/6HevPs Scroll?

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Mar 19 2016 2:53 PM

Graham Criddle:
If you have the Journal of Biblical Literature you might find an article in volume 123 helpful

Keep Smiling Smile

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Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 20 2016 5:50 AM

Hey KS4J

Thanks! I saw Graham's post, but I was hoping to get information on the scroll behind verse 16 which includes the word "pierced." The scroll for verse 16 apparently is 5/6HevPs. Does anyone have  anything on a date of composition for the 5/6HevPs scroll?

Thank you!

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Colin | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 20 2016 9:44 AM

Hi Liam,

I was intrigued and did a bit of reading about this. The scholarly consensus seems to be that  the 5/6HevPs scroll can be dated to  mid-1st - early 2nd century AD. 

However, the scrolls were very definitely from a Jewish community rather than a Christian one. 


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David Bailey | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 20 2016 12:05 PM

From  JET 48:2 (June 2005)

Piercing the Ambiguities of Psalm 22:16
and the Messiah's Mission

Conrad R. Gren

Conrad Gren resides at 21601 SE Edward Dr., Clackamas, OR 97015.

I. Introduction

For centuries, the Psalms have comforted, blessed, and warned God's people. A primary theme in the Psalms is the promised arrival of God's Messiah or Anointed One. Understandings, Jewish and Christian, have changed over the centuries. When Jesus lived on earth, the Jews believed that the Messiah would be a conqueror who would remove the yoke of the hated Roman oppressor. After his death, Christians pointed to many OT passages, notably Psalm 22, Psalm 69, and Isaiah 52–53, where God's Servant was made to suffer intensely and even die. Today, many Jews understand themselves as a people being God's Suffering Servant in these and other passages. However, following a hermeneutic Jesus applied to himself, Christians see these passages as applying to Jesus' death, achieving salvation.

We will focus on Psalm 22, a psalm Christians recognize as fitting this Suffering Servant/Messiah genre. Many aspects of Jesus' suffering and death on the cross find parallels in this psalm. We will survey these, but we will focus on verse 16. It is "the one that got away." Several textual traditions for verse 16 describe a piercing of the hands and feet. This text could have readily been applied to Jesus' situation, but no NT writer appears to quote or allude to this.

We need to outline the nature of this data. Today's traditional Hebrew (Masoretic) text does not say anything about piercing the hands and feet. Rather, it says, "like a lion my hands and my feet." This is, of course, a very difficult reading to explain. English translations demonstrate that there is no consensus as to how it should be rendered. Our readings of "piercing" the hands and feet come to us from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) of around 150 bc, and from the Latin Vulgate translated by Jerome around AD 400. Since both works were translated from the Hebrew, scholars have speculated that the original Hebrew manuscript or Vorlage once had the "pierced" reading. Such an ancient Hebrew manuscript from the Dead Sea area has now been identified and translated. The difference between "like a lion" and "they pierced" is just one letter...

 Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 48, no. 2 (2005): 281.

The author presents the following:

II. New Testament Context

III. Old Testament Context

IV.  Textual Variations and Considerations

V. Hermeneutical Usage

VI. Theological Usage

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Keep Smiling 4 Jesus :) | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 20 2016 12:13 PM

The scroll for verse 16 apparently is 5/6HevPs.

Text Comparison using Qumran Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls Database and Hebrew Bibles finds two Dead Sea Scroll fragments: 4QPsF and 5/6HevPs

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Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 23 2016 5:55 AM


The scholarly consensus seems to be that  the 5/6HevPs scroll can be dated to  mid-1st - early 2nd century AD. 

However, the scrolls were very definitely from a Jewish community rather than a Christian one. 

Colin this is helpful! Thank you!

And thanks everyone for all the comments on this! What an awesome community!

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Liam | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Mar 27 2016 7:31 AM

Thanks to everyone who helped me fact check on this! Here's the blog article I was using this information for:

Jesus Before Jesus | Stumblingstoneblog

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

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