Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

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Kenneth Greifer
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Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Thu Sep 10, 2015 3:56 pm

Here is a unique alternative way to understand Psalm 22 using "like a lion" but with a different explanation.

PSALM 22:7

In PSALM 22:7, the writer says he is a worm and not a man. Maybe he said this because later he says that G-d put him to the dust of death which would be the ground where worms are.

PSALM 22:9
USUAL TRANSLATION

In PSALM 22:9, his enemies surround him and seem to mock him about G-d helping him. They say things like:
"Let him commit himself to the L-rd, He will save him..." or "Let him commit himself to the L-rd, let Him save him..."
I don't think the verb GIMEL LAMED can mean "let him commit himself" because it does not have the letter YUD at the beginning of the verb.

PSALM 22:9
ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION

"A heap is to the L-rd, He will save him (it)..." or "A heap is to the L-rd, let Him save him (it)..."

The word GIMEL LAMED can mean "heap", so it could say "a heap is to the L-rd."

PSALM 22:13-14
USUAL TRANSLATION

"Many bulls have surrounded me, strong ones of Bashan have surrounded me, they have opened against me their mouth, a lion is ravening (seizing or tearing to pieces) and roaring."

Or: "Many bulls have surrounded me, strong ones of Bashan have surrounded me, they have opened against me their mouth, a ravening and roaring lion".

I am not sure if he is saying a lion is also surrounding him, or that he is the ravening and roaring lion. Some translations say that they have opened their mouths against him "like a ravening and roaring lion", but the Hebrew does not say the word "like". In PSALM 22:22, the psalm writer asks to be saved from the lion's mouth, so it sounds like the lion is someone else.

PSALM 22:15-16
USUAL TRANSLATIONS

"Like water I was poured out and all of my bones have been parted, my heart was like wax melted in the midst of my inner parts."

If a person’s bones have parted, and that person has collapsed into a heap (PSALM 22:9), then you can’t see the person’s bones, and the person is like a worm on the floor (PSALM 22:7).

PSALM 22:17
USUAL TRANSLATION

"...And to the dust of death You will put me because dogs have surrounded me, companies of evildoers have surrounded me like a lion, my hands and my feet, I will count (I can count) all of my bones, they will look, they will look against me" or "at me."

ALTERNATIVE TRANSLATION

"...And to the dust of death You will put me because dogs have surrounded me, companies of evildoers have surrounded me like a lion. My hands and my feet I will count. All of my bones they will see. They will look against me" or "at me."

In PSALM 22:7, David said he is a worm, and not a man. Since a worm does not have hands, feet, or bones, I think in PSALM 22:17, he is saying poetically that he is not a worm any more by saying that he has hands, feet, and bones like a lion. Before he was surrounded by wild bulls and a lion, but later he says he is surrounded by dogs, and he is like a lion.

I think at first King David felt weak compared to the enemies that surrounded him, but I think later he felt strong compared to them. I think that is why he first said he is surrounded by wild bulls, and probably a lion, but later he says dogs have surrounded him like a lion.

Maybe PSALM 22 is about the time King David's son, Absalom, tried to overthrow him (2 SAMUEL 15-19). 2 SAMUEL 17:26 says that Absalom and Israel camped in Gilead before the battle against David and his people. I read that Gilead is in Bashan which is mentioned in PSALM 22:13 "strong ones of Bashan". Maybe Absalom was the ravening and roaring lion in PSALM 22:14, and the people with him were the bulls surrounding King David.

For some reason, people can believe the usual translation that the writer will count all of his bones, but not that he will count his hands and feet. I think this is a poetic way of saying he has hands and feet. I think it says they will see his bones because now he is like a lion and not a worm. Maybe he means that his bones are not separated anymore, so that he is collapsed into a heap. Now his body has a support structure that holds it up like a lion with hands, feet, and bones.

Kenneth Greifer

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Fri Sep 11, 2015 10:04 am

Actually, I just realized if the verb meant "to pierce" and Psalm 22 said "they pierced my hands and my feet", it could be explained another way. Kings wore metal and probably leather armor and rode on horses or chariots, so David might have been injured on his feet and hands which were probably less protected by armor, but not enough to kill him. He would have been unable to fight or run well, unless he was on a horse or chariot.

Kenneth Greifer

Kenneth Greifer
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David goes from worm to lion

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:21 am

In case anyone reads this far, maybe I can explain Psalm 22 better. I think the writer says he is like a worm, and not a man when he is surrounded by bulls and a lion. A worm does not have hands, feet, or bones.

I also think Psalm 22 says "a heap is the the L-rd" and not "let him commit himself to the L-rd" as some translations say.

Later it says he is poured out like water and his bones have parted. I think he has collapsed into a heap because his bones have separated. This is not meant literally, but poetically.

I think as a heap, he is like a worm without structure, bones, hands, and feet.

Later, I think he says he is surrounded by dogs and he is now "like a lion". His enemies are now dogs which are weaker than bulls.

Poetically, I think he said he is not a worm anymore when he said dogs surrounded him...like a lion, my hands and my feet I will count. All of my bones they will see. Now he has a support structure, so he is not a heap anymore, and he has hands, feet, and bones unlike a worm.

Instead of counting his bones which I don't think was meant literally, he will count his hands and feet which worms don't have, and his enemies will see his bones meaning that they are no longer separated and he is not a heap anymore.
Now he is like a lion and not a worm anymore.
Kenneth Greifer

kwrandolph
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Re: Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

Postby kwrandolph » Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:02 pm

This looks like a long, involved and convoluted way to maintain the MT consonantal text and try to make sense out of it. The reason I have trouble following it is because it doesn’t follow the sentence structure of these verses.

Karl W. Randolph.

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Galena
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Re: Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

Postby Galena » Sun Sep 27, 2015 2:00 pm

I want to put forward a theory about this verse in Psalm 22. I was casually reading through a list of literary techniques that the writers of scripture use to lay emphasis. Out of the seven I have listed, here are three of them:

a) a word out of order draws attention to it;
b) A word or phrase that does not fit in with the image being conveyed;
c) Word or phrase used in a peculiar grammatical manner.

My recent comments on Job in the other thread triggered this idea that it might be worth taking the unorthodox risk and accept the possibility that we are confronted with an issue that challenges our expectations. It defies reasoning. So we justify the changes we make. The utter irony I wish to consider is the possibility that this verse 22 was not intended to fit into any human logical reasoning. The irony is in its very confusion for two reasons:

a) to bring attention to it expressly for the purpose of the attention that it draws to the centrality of the NT teaching, to the nerve-centre of the utter and complete entirety of the NT;
b) the very nature and circumstances of the death of Jesus of Nazareth was in itself the great controversy and reflects the controversy surrounding this verse, and may well be its actual interpretation;
c) The words used in this verse are making two statements: The Lion of Judah strong and victorious contrasted with the nature of weakness imaged in the sacrificial aspect.

Now I will accept the accusation that I am imposing an interpretation, I will accept the accusation that this is non-scientific reasoning from those twits in the Aegean, and I will accept that this will not meet well with my friends in the arena of Jewish thought.

My intention here is not, God forbid, to stir controversy, it is simply to consider the possibility no matter how remote it might seem, that there was perhaps a very intriguing and clever prophetic device used here that flies in the face of all our, and my, expectations of what should be.
Chris Watts

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:45 pm

Chris,

I don't want to discuss the religious part of Psalm 22, but maybe it is ok to say this: I think that people should not turn psalms into prophecies where someone speaks through the writer about himself when it sounds like the writer is discussing his own personal experiences. This is not how prophecies in the Bible were given because you have to guess if the writer is discussing himself or if someone else is speaking through him, and then you have to guess line by line who is talking. It is possible that psalms could be this way, but I don't think it fits what the psalms are. I don't know when this way of analyzing psalms started, but it is not very reasonable, if you ask me.

Kenneth Greifer

Jemoh66
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Re: Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

Postby Jemoh66 » Sun Sep 27, 2015 11:57 pm

Kenneth Greifer wrote:Chris,

I don't want to discuss the religious part of Psalm 22, but maybe it is ok to say this: I think that people should not turn psalms into prophecies where someone speaks through the writer about himself when it sounds like the writer is discussing his own personal experiences. This is not how prophecies in the Bible were given because you have to guess if the writer is discussing himself or if someone else is speaking through him, and then you have to guess line by line who is talking. It is possible that psalms could be this way, but I don't think it fits what the psalms are. I don't know when this way of analyzing psalms started, but it is not very reasonable, if you ask me.

Kenneth Greifer


That is a good observation. It's just that the NT writers had precisely this kind of hermeneutic (a rabbinic hermeneutic). That's why Matthew can write,
"Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” (Matt 2.13-15)


For one thing, Hosea was not prophesying a future event; he was speaking in God's stead about Israel. So there is no event being "fulfilled." So what does Matthew mean by the phrase "that it might be fulfilled?"
Jonathan E Mohler
Studying for a MA in Intercultural Studies
Baptist Bible Theological Seminary

Kenneth Greifer
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Re: Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

Postby Kenneth Greifer » Thu Sep 12, 2019 7:08 pm

I brought this posting back up because I changed my mind about why I think the lion's bones can be seen. I think Psalm 22 is about King David as a worm at first and then later as a starving thin lion that is surrounded by dogs. I think his bones are visible because of hunger.

ducky
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Re: Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

Postby ducky » Fri Sep 13, 2019 2:17 am

Hello Kenneth

I think that you take the metaphors too much literally.
When he called himself a worm - is not to give it as a picture of its shape, but it is a picture of his essence in this time, which the second part of the verse explains it חרפת אדם - לא איש
These are a symbol to one who lost all of his honor and glory, and we don't need to look at the word "worm" and try to understand it according to its shape.

As for the bones/Lion...
This link was probably a known ancient link because we see it a few times in the Bible, and also I saw it in the Qumranic not-biblical text.
This view/phrase of a "lion who's breaking bones" was probably one of the "images" in ancient times and was commonly phrased.
Therefore, when you see in this Psalms the word "bones" right after the ארי/אריה (twice), it is understood.
14-15 - אריה טרף ושאג... והתפרדו כל עצמותי.
even though here, he doesn't mean about the breaking of the bones, but breaking apart from fear, the link between the words is intentional.
And in 17-18 - כארי ידי ורגלי אספר כל עצמותי
also here, the same thing - He mentioned "lion" and immediately say that he "counts his bones"

And there is a reason why the next word (in the next verse) is voweled as רספר=asapper (and not "espor") (but that is for another time).

Also notice that here, he uses אספר right after he mentioned the lion and the bones.
And in 22-23 it says הושיעני מפי אריה... אספרה שמך לאחי
this is a literary style of using the same root ספר in different meaning - first, refer to troubles. And second, refers to saving.

But you can see also here the parallelism between the word (and it is not a coincidence).
that we see the "lion+bones" twice.
then we see the "lion+root SPR" twice

And if you keep reading you will see that this whole psalm is based on parallelism of parts.
The psalm actually repeats itself (in a matter of parts, and not just verses)

And there are more ways to show the simple reading of "lion". And see that this was the right intention of the writer.
David Hunter

ducky
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Re: Psalm 22: the worm is the clue

Postby ducky » Fri Sep 13, 2019 5:36 am

**
David Hunter


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