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The Psalm 22:16 Controversy: New Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls

TitleThe Psalm 22:16 Controversy: New Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsHopkin, Shon D.
JournalBYU Studies Quarterly
KeywordsBible Translation; Crucifixion; Dead Sea Scrolls; Masoretic Text; Prophecy; Psalms (Book); Septuagint; Textual Criticism

Few verses in the Bible have produced as much debate and commentary as Psalm 22:16: “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” The discussions center on the last character (reading right to left) of the Hebrew וראכ (“pierced/dug”), assumed to be the word from which the Septuagint Greek ὢρυξαν (“they have pierced”) was translated—assumed because the original Hebrew texts from which the Septuagint was translated are no longer extant. If the last character of the Hebrew word was a waw ()ו, as the Greek seems to indicate, then the translation “pierced” is tenable. But a later Hebrew text called the Masoretic text has a yod (י) instead of a waw (ו), making the word יראכ, which translated into English reads “like a lion my hands and my feet.” Thus, two divergent possibilities have existed side by side for centuries, causing much speculation and debate. The controversy has often been heated, with large variations in modern translations into English, as evidenced by a brief survey of some important Bible translations.


Scripture Reference

Psalms 22:16