Psalm 22 is known as the “Crucifixion Psalm”. Anyone who reads its haunting and yet inspiring words can easily see why. It has sometimes been known as the “Fifth Gospel” account surrounding the suffering of Yeshua of Nazareth. Written by King David 1000 years before Yeshua (and before the invention of crucifixion as a capital punishment), the reader is confronted with the imagery of a righteous suffering servant, scorned and mocked, surrounded and attacked. While we will explore the entirety of the Psalm at the end, let us focus for a moment on a controversy found in verse 17 (16 in Christian editions).

Christians translate the verse as follows,

“For they have surrounded me like dogs, a band of evildoers has closed in on me, they pierced my hands and my feet.
– KJV, NKJV, NLT, NIV, ESV, CSB, NASB, RSV, ASV, YLT

Whereas Jewish translations render the verse essentially as follows,

“For they have surrounded me like dogs, a band of evildoers has closed in on me, like a lion [they are at] are my hands and feet.
– Old JPS

How is it possible that these two translations can be so drastically different? To answer this question, anti-missionary Rabbi Tovia Singer proposes a conspiracy theory,  

“[Christians] methodically altered…deliberately tampered with…manipulated…misquoted…mistranslated…and even fabricated verses in the Tanach.”
Rabbi Tovia Singer, A Closer Look at the “Crucifixion Psalm”, Outreach Judaism [1]

These are stunning allegations, for which he fails to provide any actual evidence. The charged language of demagoguery reveals extreme bias in dealing with the complex issue of Psalm 22, which most serious scholars reject. Such strong words only serve to stir the emotions of the reader, over-simplify the textual issues at hand, while attempting to give the argument an authoritative tone. On the other side of the equation, some have accused the Rabbis of deliberating concealing verses that point to Yeshua. Do any of these accusations or conspiracy theories withstand scrutiny?

“One side is lying!” we are told. Is it that simple? Why are these two translations so different? 

LIKE A LION

Singer, and other anti-missionaries are totally correct that translations can function as an obscuring filter, an obstacle that is difficult for non-Hebrew readers to penetrate. With this in mind, we must return to the Hebrew text, as preserved in the authoritative family of texts called the Nusach HaMasorah, or in English, the Masoretic Text. Verse 17 reads as follows,

כִּי סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים
Ki sevavuni kelavim
For dogs have surrounded me

 עֲדַת מְרֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי
adat m’reyim hiqifuni
a band of evildoers have closed me in

כָּאֲרִי יָדַי וְרַגְלָי׃
k’ari yadai v’raglai
like a lion my hands and my feet

At first glance, translating this verse seems straightforward. The anti-missionary position that k’ari means like a lion is 100% accurate. Therefore, it seems as if the case is closed. However, like most missionary and anti-missionary arguments this is a complete oversimplification.

As it stands, the phrase, “like a lion my hands and my feet” is elliptical, missing a verb, and does not make sense. R’ Singer therefore provides the “correct translation”,

“For dogs have encompassed me; a company of evildoers have enclosed me; like a lion, they are at my hands and my feet.”
Rabbi Tovia Singer, A Closer Look at the “Crucifixion Psalm”, Outreach Judaism [2]

Unfortunately, R’ Singer mistranslated the verse. The words “they are at” are completely absent from the text. Why does R’ Singer need to add to the words of King David in Psalms? He does not even put “they are at” in brackets to show he added to the text. The irony of accusing others of “deliberately mistranslating” the text while adding words that are absent the Hebrew is astounding. The anti-missionary Gerald Sigal renders it differently,

“Like a lion [they are gnawing at] my hands and my feet.”
Gerald Sigal, What is the Translation of Ka’ari? Like a Lion? Jews for Judaism [3]

At least Sigal placed brackets around the words he added to the text. This is closer to Rashi’s interpretation, which is as follows,

“like a lion, my hands and feet: As though they are crushed in a lion’s mouth, and so did Hezekiah say (in Isa. 38: 13): “like a lion, so it would break all my bones.”
Rashi on Psalm 22:17, cited at Chabad.org [4]

Sigal defends his translation, 

“This is the most plausible interpretation of the text. Rashi’s interpretation of the verse – “As if crushed by the mouth of a lion are my hands and my feet” – is similar in thought to the one we have offered though differently stated. While these interpretations fit with the diction of the entire psalm, the Christian translation – “They pierced my hands and my feet” – does not.”
Gerald Sigal, What is the Translation of Ka’ari? Like a Lion? Jews for Judaism [5]

If it is really the “most plausible interpretation of the text,” why is he forced to insert words to make this “plausible interpretation,” in essence, “plausible”? Furthermore, why does “crushed by the mouth of a lion are my hands and my feet” fit with the diction of the Psalm, while “they pierced my hands and my feet” does not? Messianic Jewish professor Michael Rydelnik highlights the problem that forces anti-missionaries to add to the verse,

“…even for Hebrew poetry, the phrase ‘like a lion’ is far too elliptical and makes no sense without a verb—which supporters of this reading are forced to supply (e.g., ‘like a lion they bite my hands and my feet’). Third, were the symbol of a lion intended, it would have been employed in the plural, not the singular, in order to agree with the plural subject (‘evildoers’) in the verse (as in Jr 50:17 and Zph 3:3).”
Michael Rydelnik, Edwin Blum, The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy, Moody Publishers, Kindle Edition

Translators recognize this problem, and add words in order to make the passage make sense. The JPS translates,

“Dogs surround me; a pack of evil ones closes in on me, like lions [they maul] my hands and feet.”
Psalm 22:17, Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures, Jewish Publication Society, 1985, Sefaria.org [6]

Notice that ‘lion/ari’ became plural in the JPS translation. We call attention to this, not to accuse the JPS of “deliberately mistranslating” but to illustrate to the reader that when a translator arrives at this verse in the Masoretic, they are challenged with making the verse make sense. The Artscroll Stone Edition Tanakh translates as follows,

“For Dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers has enclosed me, like [the prey of] a lion are my hands and feet.”
Psalm 22:17, The Stone Edition Tanach, Mesorah Publications, ltd., pg. 1453

Again, the words “the prey of” are absent from the Hebrew. The disagreement between Jewish translations should illustrate that there is something more going on here. The Greek Septuagint (LXX) reads,

ὤρυξαν χεῖράς μου καὶ πόδας
“they dug/pierced my hands and my feet”

The later Greek translation of Aquila reads, “they have disfigured my hands and my feet.” Later, he revised his translation as “they have bound my hands and my feet” – both editions supporting a third-person plural verb. The Latin Vulgate reads,

foderunt manus meas et pedes meos
“They dug my hands and my feet”

The Syriac Peshitta follows the rendering of “dug”. The ancient Christian Justin Martyr (100-165CE) also referenced the “pierced” reading in his Dialogue with Trypho (Chapter 95), and his First Apology, which states,

“…the expression, “They pierced my hands and my feet,” was used in reference to the nails of the cross which were fixed in his hands and feet.”
Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 35 [7]

To counter, Singer rejects the Septuagint, claiming that only the Torah was translated into the Greek based on the account Letter of Aristeas. While that may not be totally true, there is a real problem with citing the Septuagint, Peshitta or the Vulgate as proof for this reading as these texts were preserved by Christians, and thus may be subject to bias. From a scholar’s point of view, one cannot completely dismiss these ancient renderings. From a Masorah point of view, texts outside of the Masoretic are essentially irrelevant, except for the Targumim, the ancient  Aramaic translations, which often elucidate obscure meanings of the Hebrew. The ancient Aramaic Targum does not have the word “pierced” but translates the verse as follows,

נָכְתִין הֵיךְ כְּאַרְיָא אַיְדַי וְרִגְלָי
Nakhtin heykh k’aryah aydai v’riglai
“They are biting my hands and my feet like a lion.
Targum to Psalm 22:17

As with modern Jewish translations, the Targum recognized the problem and supplied a verb. The other occurence of “like a lion” in the Tanakh occurs in Isaiah 38 [8], where it is joined with a verb,

שִׁוִּיתִי עַד־בֹּקֶר כּֽאֲרִי כֵּן יְשַׁבֵּר כָּל־עַצְמוֹתָי מִיּוֹם עַד־לַיְלָה תַּשְׁלִימֵנִי׃
“Then it was as though a lion were breaking all my bones; I cried out until morning. (Only from daybreak to nightfall Was I kept whole.)”
Isaiah 38:13, Sefaria.org

This is not the result of a conspiracy, but honest translators grappling with a difficult verse. In the end, however, this debate is a חבל על הזמן (chaval ha’zman), a waste of time. Why?

Because no matter how one translates the verse,
the ultimate meaning is exactly the same.

If “like a lion” is the proper rendering, what would a lion do to those hands and feet? Would the lion lick them like a puppy? Or would the lion bite into the hands and feet with its large razor sharp teeth, “piercing” and “digging” into them? The size and shape of a lion’s tooth is comparable to that of a Roman nail. The hands and feet of the Sufferer in Psalm 22 were mauled, bloodied and pierced no matter whose translation one uses. 

 

KAARU/KARU

So, we have seen that Jewish translations of the verse all supply a 3rd person verb that is absent from the Hebrew. Gleason Archer highlights comments on this issue,

“This really makes no sense, for lions do not surround the feet of their victims. Rather, they pounce on them and bite them through with their teeth. Furthermore, this spelling of the word “lion” (ari) is rendered more doubtful by the fact that in v.13 (14MT) the word “lion” appears in the normal way ‘aryeh. It is most unlikely that the author would have used two different spellings of the same word within three verses of each other.”
Dr. Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pg. 37

He notes that other places in the Psalm spell the word lion, אריה aryeh, different than verse 17’s “lion” spelled as ארי ari,

“They open wide their mouths against me, like a tearing, roaring lion (אריה).”
Psalm 22:13/14

Verse 21 uses the same spelling,

“Save me from the lion’s (אריה) mouth.”
Psalm 22:21/22

Rydelnik also noted above that the word for lion should be plural, not singular, to be consistent. So, this raises the possibility of a textual variant. Textual variants are not uncommon in the Bible. Some skeptics think textual variants illustrate the unreliability of the texts we have received. The case is actually the opposite. Most have an overly simplistic view of how Biblical manuscript reliability works. The Tanakh and New Testament manuscripts we have received are extremely reliable, and most textual variants are inconsequential. Through textual criticism, one may eliminate errors in scribal transmission through comparison of textual families. This will be addressed in another article.

As we mentioned ka’ari means “like a lion”, but if a scribe were to extend the letter yud (י) downward, it would become a vav (ו). The word would then be read as ka’aru. The word “karu” means “they dug” from the root kur. When one “digs” with a shovel or spade, they pierce and penetrate the surface of the ground. “Its use here suggests that his hands were not just punctured but rather “dug into”, as with a spade or some other sharp implement.” [9] Surprisingly, the Critical Apparatus of the definitive edition of the Masoretic Text, Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, reveals that the minority readings of כארו (ka’aru) and כרו (karu) are both present within the Masoretic textual family.

“pc Mss Edd כארוּ, 2 Mss Edd כָּרוּ”

Far from “deliberate tampering” this is the source of the translation, “they pierced my hands and my feet.” Perhaps it would be more accurate to render,

 “Like a lion, they bored into my hands and my feet.” 

In the middle-ages, there was a Jewish scholar named Jacob ben Chayyim ibn Adonijah (1470 to 1538CE).[10] Later in life, it is reported that Jacob ben Chayyim became a believer in Yeshua of Nazareth. According to Rydelnik, he was, “one of the leading medieval Jewish scribal authorities (Jacob ben Chayyim) himself affirms that the older and better manuscripts read ka’aru (‘they pierced’) rather than ka’ariy (‘like a lion’).” [11] In his Massorah Finalis of the fourth volume of the Second Rabbinic Bible, he says,

“In some correct Codices I have found as the Kethiv [= textual reading] and כארי as the Keri [= the official marginal reading]”
Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible, Christian D. Ginsburg, (1896), p. 969 [12]

There are instances where the tradition says the way the text is read is different than the way it is written. While it is beyond the scope of this article, this concept is called qeri v’ketiv (what is read and what is written) occurs throughout the Tanakh. 

Some argue that the word “ka’aru” does not exist in Hebrew, due to the presence of a superfluous letter aleph א in the middle of the word. However, in Hebrew, there are many words that contain extra alephs and vavs as Dr. James D. Price responds to Sigal’s claim,

“Sigal gave the impression that the presence of the Aleph in the word “ka’aru” prevented it from being derived from a Hebrew root which has no Aleph. But the words “ka’aru” and “karu” being variant forms of the same verb (as explained by the lexicographers) is demonstrated by the following Hebrew words that have the same kind of middle Aleph and the same kind of relationship: bo’r, bor (pit, cistern) from the verb bur (dig); da’g, dag (fish) from the verb dug (fish for); la’t, lat (secrecy) from the verb lut (be secret); m’um, mum (blemish); n’od, nod (skin); q’am, qam (he arose); ra’sh, rash (poor) from the verb rush (be poor); sh’at (contempt) from the verb shut (treat with contempt); also in Aramaic, da’er (dweller) from the verb dur (dwell); and qa’em (riser) from the verb qum (he arose). These examples are sufficient to demonstrate that a middle Aleph frequently occurs in words and forms derived from middle Waw verbs as in this passage. His argument is convincing only to those who know little or nothing about Hebrew.
Dr. James Price, Response to a Skeptic 
[13]

Gleason Archer agrees writing,

Far more likely is the reading supported by most of the versions: ka’ru (They [i.e. the dogs or evildoers] have pierced” my hands and my feet). This involves merely reading the final letter yud as a vav, which would make it the past tense of a third person plural verb. This is apparently what the LXX read, for oryxan (“they have bored through”) reflects a a karu from the verb kur (“pierce, dig through”). The Vulgate conforms to this with foderunt (“They have dug through”). The Syriac Peshitta has baz’w, which means “they have pierced/penetrated.” Probably the ‘ (aleph) in ka’ru represents a mere vowel lengthener that occasionally appears in the Hasmonean manuscripts such as 1QIsa and the sectarian literature of the second century B.C.”
Dr. Gleason L. Archer, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, pg. 37

No doubt the Masoretic text is highly reliable and very accurate, although textual variants do exist. According to the Professor Emanuel Tov,

“The oldest source of the MT Bible is the Aleppo Codex (Keter Aram Tzova) from approximately 925 C.E. Although it is the closest text to the Ben Asher school of Masoretes, it survived in an incomplete form, as it lacks almost all of the Torah. The oldest complete source for MT is Codex Leningrad B 19A (codex L) from 1009 C.E.”
Emanuel Tov, The Bible and the Masoretic Text [14]

One may wonder if we have any Hebrew texts earlier than the Masoretic that support a ‘pierced/dug/bored’ reading?

NAHAL HEVER

In 1947, a discovery of a collection of ancient texts revolutionized our understanding of the Bible.  If there is one place in this entire debate where one may find an unbiased source, it is the Dead Sea Scrolls. Separated from the debates of Jews and Christians, the Dead Sea Scrolls represent an independent witness to the Hebrew text. The discovery of the scrolls attest to the accuracy of the transmission of the Hebrew Bible, throughout the centuries, however, they also note a variety of textual variants. Unfortunately, the Psalms scroll was damaged at this very point. However, 18 miles south of Qumran, in 1952,  another scroll was discovered at the “Cave of Letters” at Nachal Hever, which is a brook that runs between En Gedi and Masada that contained the verse Psalm 22:16(17). The first to second century manuscript fragment, entitled 5/6 HevPsalm, Column 11, Fragment 9, contains an interesting reading which can be viewed here. The photographs are faint and virtually unreadable online, however Peter Flint had access to the scroll and published an interesting discovery in 1997. The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible, translated by Martin Abegg, Jr., Peter Flint and Eugene Ulrich notes,

“Psalm 22 is a favorite among Christians since it is often linked in the New Testament with the suffering and death of Jesus. A well-known and controversial reading is found in verse 16, where the Masoretic text has “Like a lion are my hands and feet,” whereas the Septuagint has “They have pierced my hands and feet.” Among the scrolls the reading in question is found only in the Psalms scroll found at Nahal Hever (abbreviated 5/6HevPs), which reads, “They have pierced my hands and my feet!”
Abegg, Flint and Ulrich, The Dead Sead Sea Scrolls Bible, pg. 519

James VanderKam and Peter Flint, in The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, note:

“The different reading in v.16 depends on a single word: k’ry, which means like a lion. The Gospel writers quote from the Greek Bible, which reads; “They have pierced my hands and feet.” Some scholars have suggested that the Septuagint represents a modification of the Hebrew like a lion, perhaps because it was difficult to make sense of the Hebrew. Another suggestion is that early Christian editors changed the Greek text in order to find evidence of Jesus’ crucifixion in the Hebrew Bible. Among the Dead Sea Scrolls, the reading in question is not preserved at Qumran, but in the Psalms scroll from Nahal Hever (5/6HevPs), which is textually very close to the Masoretic Text. In line 12 of column 10 we read: “They have pierced my hands and feet”! For the crucial work the Hebrew form is grammatically difficult; but it is clearly a verb, not a noun and means they have bored or they have dug or they have pierced.”
The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls, James VanderKam & Peter Flint, HarperSanFrancisco, pg. 124

Tim Hegg of TorahResource writes, 

“Though the writing on the scrap was faint, under magnification it was easy to see and decipher. The word clearly ended in a vav not a yod, and was therefore a 3rd person plural verb: “they dug” or “they pierced.” Here was evidence that the Lxx translators had not “fooled” with the text, but had faithfully translated the Hebrew original that was before them. Since this scrap is dated (in accordance with the style of letters used) to 50-68 CE, it is almost 1000 years earlier than the Masoretic text, and shows that in at least one of the earliest Hebrew traditions of Psalm 22, the word is not “like a lion” but “they dug” or “pierced.”
Tim Hegg, They Pierced My Hands and My Feet: Psalm 22:16 in the Hebrew Psalter [15]

R’ Singer suggests that the reading of kaaru in the Nahal Hever text is a result of the scribe’s handwriting,

“If, for argument’s sake, we conclude that the debated word written in the Nahal Hever script is כארו (ka’aru), as Rosen and Flint argue, it is obvious that this anomaly is the result of the scribe’s poor handwriting or spelling mistake. There is clear evidence, in fact, from an obvious spelling mistake in the script itself that the second century scribe was not meticulous. The very next word after the debated word is “my hands.” The Hebrew word in Psalm 22:17 is ידי (yadai). The Nahal Hever scribe, however, misspelled this word [as well][/as] by placing an extra letter ה (hey) at the end of the word. Thus, the Nahal Hever 5/6HevPs reads ידיה instead of the correct ידי. The Hebrew word ידיה (yadehah) means “her hands,” not “my hands.”
R’ Tovia Singer, A Closer Look at the “Crucifixion Psalm”, Outreach Judaism [16]

Hegg responds,

“Others have claimed that the word ‘ד’ה “my hands” is “misspelled” because it has the final ה, (implying that the text is not to be trusted in matters of spelling). Apparently those who make this judgment are unaware that the Hebrew of the Qumran documents often utilize the final ה to mark final dipthongs (see Elisha Qimron, The Hebrew of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Scholars Press, 1986).”
Tim Hegg, They Pierced My Hands and My Feet: Psalm 22:16 in the Hebrew Psalter [17]

It is extremely unlikely that the Nahal Hever fragment was influenced by an apologetic or defensive theology on either side of the debate, and appears to have ka’aru, instead of ka’ari. This seriously damages the anti-missionary conspiracy theory of “deliberate tampering” and reveals that the issue at hand is actually more complex than the anti-missionaries have presented. 

A PIERCED MESSIAH

Where did the translation of “they have pierced” come from? One way to say pierce would be רָצַע ratza, as when the slave’s ear is perforated with an awl (Exodus 21:6). Another word is נקב naqav, as the reed of a staff that punctures the palm of those who lean on it (2 Kings 18:21, Isaiah 36:6). Isaiah 53 uses the word מְחֹלָל “m’cholal’ which can be interpreted as ‘pierced’ when speaking of what happens to Mashiach and Israel,

וְהוּא מְחֹלָל מִפְּשָׁעֵנוּ מְדֻכָּ֖א מֵעֲוֺנֹתֵ֑ינוּ מוּסַ֤ר שְׁלוֹמֵנוּ עָלָיו וּבַחֲבֻרָתוֹ נִרְפָּא־לָֽנוּ׃

“But he was pierced (m’cholal) because of our sins, crushed because of our iniquities. He bore the chastisement that made us whole, and by his bruises we were healed.”
Isaiah 53:5

The Ibn Ezra interprets the word m’cholal as ‘slain’. It may mean ‘profaned, defiled, pierced, bored through, wounded or slain.” In Zechariah 12:10, a different word is used in speaking of the “piercing” of Mashiach ben Yosef: דקרו daqaru,

וְהִבִּיטוּ אֵלַי אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁר־דָּקָרוּ וְסָפְדוּ עָלָיו כְּמִסְפֵּד עַל־הַיָּחִיד וְהָמֵ֥ר עָלָיו כְּהָמֵר עַל־הַבְּכֽוֹר

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”
Zechariah 12:10

The Gemara comments on this passage,

“What is the cause of the mourning [mentioned in the last cited verse]? — R. Dosa and the Rabbis differ on the point. One explained, ‘The cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph’, and the other explained, ‘The cause is the slaying of the Evil Inclination (yetzer hara)’. It is well according to him who explains that the cause is the slaying of Messiah the son of Joseph, since that well agrees with the Scriptural verse, “And they shall look upon me because they have thrust him through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for his only son…”
Sukkah 52a, Soncino Press Edition

R’ Tzadok HaKohen of Lublin (1823 CE – 1900) writes in his work, Poked Akarim, Letter Hei,

ומשיח בן יוסף המוחה כל זכר עמלק, שיהיה נקי לגמרי, סוף נהרג על ידי גוג ומגוג. ונאמר עליו (זכריה י”ב, י’) והביטו אשר דקרו כמו שאמרו ז”ל בסוכה (נ”ב). משמע פשטיה כאילו ישראל דקרוהו. והיינו דמצד עצמו ודאי היה משפטו שלא למות כלל, רק לפי שלא נהפך למלאך כאליהו, ויש לו חיבור עם שאר בני אדם מישראל להיות יחד קומה שלימה דכנסת ישראל שבאותו דור. והם לא ניקו לגמרי, על כן הוכרח ליהרג לכפר על בני ישרא
רבי צדוק הכהן מלובלין זי”ע ספר פוקד עקרים אות ה

“Messiah Son of Joseph who wipes out all traces of Amalek, the one who will be perfectly clean, dies during the end times at the hands of Gog and Magog’They will look upon him whom they pierced’ means literally that Israel pierced him, although legally speaking he did not deserve to die…since his generation was not clean; however, he had to be killed in order to atone for the people of Israel.”
Poked Akarim, Letter Heh – cited in The Concealed Light, “Pierced”, Tsvi Sadan, pg 49

Therefore, the idea of a pierced Messiah is a concept in Judaism. Moreover, Isaiah 53 and Zechariah 12:10 use different words to describe the different types of piercings Mashiach would experience.

MESSIANIC PROPHECY?

While the complexities of textual criticism have been explored, what about the Messianic significance of the Psalm? R’ Singer dismisses the idea that Psalm 22:19 is a messianic prophecy,

“. . . missionaries are confronted with another remarkable problem as they seek to project the words of this Psalm into a first century crucifixion story. In the simplest terms, this text that Christians eagerly quote is not a prophecy, nor does it speak of any future event.” [18]

This is not a “remarkable” problem at all. As we have learned, David’s life was itself a prophetic picture of the coming Messiah, and an inspiration for the messianic prophecies he composed. Second, Singer’s assumption that Psalm 22 “is not a prophecy,” is fallacious. Rarely, if ever, does the Hebrew Bible explicitly identify passages as a prophetically “messianic”.  However, Rashi, when commenting on verse 27, says 

“The humble shall eat: at the time of our redemption in the days of our Messiah.”
Rashi on Psalm 22:27, cited at Chabad.org [19]

Singer then correctly observes, 

“All of the Gospels similarly [quote] Psalm 22:19 . . . in their crucifixion narratives, and Hebrews 2:12 quotes Psalm 22:21 to explain why the messiah had to suffer for humanity.” [19]

The final days of Yeshua’s life bear remarkable resemblance to the words of Psalm 22. Such as the following verses,  

“They hurl insults, shaking their heads.”
Psalm 22:7, Mark 15:29, Matthew 27:39

“They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment.”
Psalm 22:18, Mark 15:24, Matthew 27:35, Luke 23:34, John 19:24

“I will declare your name to my people; in the assembly I will praise you.”
Psalm 22:22, Hebrews 2:12

Singer makes a point that the New Testament never cites the “pierced” translation, in support of his position, saying it was unknown to authors. However, this is a logical fallacy, an argumentum ex silencio, an argument from silence, which is no argument at all. There are many messianic prophecies the New Testament authors could have quoted, and many they could have cited in relation to Yeshua’s life, that they didn’t. Oftentimes, just citing the initial verse of a passage is a clue to go and study the entire passage and look for connections to Messiah. 

Interestingly, there exists another piece of ancient literature that quotes this Psalm to support the concept of Messiah’s suffering for humanity, but does not occur in Christian literature. It appears in a Jewish Midrash named Pesikta Rabbati (“Great Sections”), dated circa 845CE, although it contains traditions far more ancient than its composition date. In this text, a remarkable interpretation materializes, explaining that the Messiah, named Ephraim, suffers for the sins of Israel, and of the world, when God makes an agreement with him to be vicariously afflicted for their sake. It applies Psalm 22 as a supporting verse,

“During the seven-year period preceding the coming of the son of David, iron beams will be brought low and loaded upon his neck until the Messiah’s body is bent low. Then he will cry and weep, and his voice will rise to the very height of heaven, and he will say to G-d: ‘Master of the universe, how much can my strength endure? How much can my spirit endure? How much my breath before it ceases? How much can my limbs suffer? Am I not flesh and blood?’ It was because of the ordeal of the son of David that David wept, saying ‘My strength is dried up like a potsherd’ (Ps. 22:16). During the ordeal of the son of David, the Holy One, blessed be He, will say to him: ‘Ephraim, My true Messiah, long ago, ever since the six days of creation, you took this ordeal upon yourself. At this moment, your pain is like my pain’ . . . At these words, the Messiah will reply: ‘Now I am reconciled. The servant is content to be like his Master.”
Pesikta Rabbati, Piska 36.2, Translated by William G. Braude, Yale University Press, pg. 680-681

Yeshua says almost the exact same words in the Gospels,

“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord.”
Matthew 10:24

Pesikta Rabbati even describes the suffering of the Mashiach for the sins of the world, from the time of Adam until the time of Redemption. It then says of the Messiah,

“It is taught, moreover, that in the month of Nisan the Patriarchs will arise and say to the Messiah: “Ephraim, our true Messiah, even though we are your forbears, you are greater than we are because you suffered for the iniquities of our children, and terrible ordeals befell you . . . for the sake of Israel you became a laughingstock and a derision among the nations of the earth; and sat in darkness, in thick darkness, and your eyes saw no light, and your skin cleaved to your bones, and your body was as dry as a piece of wood; and your eyes grew dim from fasting, and your strength was dried up like a potsherd – all these afflictions on account of the iniquities of our children . . .”
Pesikta Rabbati 37.1, Translated by William G. Braude, Yale University Press, pg. 685-686

This passage echoes the Gospel of Matthew, when Roman soldiers mocked Yeshua,

“They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. When they had mocked him, they took the robe off of him, and put his clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.”
Matthew 27:29-31

Pesikta Rabbati continues even further, again citing Psalm 22,

“Ephraim is a darling son to Me . . . My heart yearns for him, in mercy I will have mercy upon him, says the L-rd (Jer. 31:20). Why does the verse speak twice of mercy: “In mercy I will have mercy upon him?” One mercy refers to the time when he will be shut up in prison, a time when the nations of the world will gnash their teeth at him every day, wink their eyes at one another in derision of him, nod their heads at him in contempt, open wide their lips to guffaw, as is said “All they that see me laugh me to scorn; they shoot out the lip, they shake the head (Ps. 22:8); My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaves to my throat; and you lay me in the dust of death (Ps. 22:16). Moreover, they will roar over him like lions, as is said “They open wide their mouth against me, as a ravening and roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart has become like wax; it is melted in my inmost parts (Ps. 22:14-15).”
Pesikta Rabbati 37.1, Translated by William G. Braude, Yale University Press, pg. 686-687

Thus Pesikta Rabbati is in harmony with the presentation in the Gospels. Why don’t anti-missionaries mention this?  Kol HaTor, written by R’ Hillel Shklover, the disciple of the Vilna Gaon, also applies Psalm 22 to Esther HaMalka, Queen Esther, who is connected to Mashiach ben Yosef.

“(Ps.  22:1) “the first rays of light before the dawn” — In this Psalm we find: “my G-d, why have you forsaken me,” which was the prayer of Queen Esther who was from the line of Mashiach ben Yosef…Our Sages said that the redemption of Israel will come about like the first rays of light before the dawn.  They were referring to the beginning of the Redemption (at’chalta d’Geulah), the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef. 
Kol HaTor 2:8, Translated by Yechiel bar Lev and K. Skaist

R’ Daniel Krentzman explains the connection in detail,

“Queen Esther, of Megillas Esther, also manifested the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef of her generation. For this reason she is called ”אילת השחר”, “the Morning Star” the first light of dawn, which serves as the point of transition from night to day. Thus, she acted as the turning point from distress to salvation, for the Jewish people in the same way that it is the quality of Mashiach ben Yosef to effect the transition from exile, characterized by “night”, to redemption, characterized by “dawn”. Also, Esther’s utilization of secrecy and deception in order to bring about the salvation of the Jewish people also stemmed from the quality of Mashiach ben Yosef to act in secrecy and deceptively, in order to further the goals of Tikun Olam and the Redemption. . .The word “אילת”, implying a connection to Mashiach ben Yosef is also expressed in the Torah as “אילה שלוחה”, “a Hind sent off” (בראשית מט’ כא); for Mashiach ben Yosef is sent out into the world in fulfillment of his mission in rectifying the world.””
R’ Daniel Krentzman, Tracing Mashiach ben Yosef Through the Tanach [20]

Likewise, Midrash Tehillim, which interestingly interprets the controversial word ‘k’ari’ as a verb,

“For dogs have compassed me (Psalm 22:17) – that is, Haman’s sons have compassed me; the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me (ibid.) – that is, Haman’s hosts have enclosed me. My hands and my feet they made repulsive (Psalm 22:17). According to R. Judah, Esther said: “Though Haman’s sons practiced sorcery on me so that in the sight of Ahaseurus my hands and feet were repulsive, yet a miracle was wrought for me, and my hands and my feet were made to shine like sapphires. But R. Nehemiah said: The verse is to be read ‘At my hands and my feet he was favored with blessing’, and conveys much the same meaning as with the verse “The L-rd has blessed you at my foot” (Gen 30:30). Thus Esther meant: Because of the work of my hands, blessing came to Ahaseurus.”
Midrash on Psalms, Psalm 22, Translated by William Braude, Yale University Press

The footnote by R’ Braude explains, 

“The word ka’ari, rendered in JV “like a lion,” and in AV “They pierced,” is taken by R. Judah to be derived from k’ar, “ugly, repulsive.” Apparently, R. Nehemiah takes ka’ari as related to the Greek chara, “favor,” or “blessing.” 

So while this is an occurrence in Rabbinic literature reading the contested word ka’ari/ka’aru as a verb, it is not a proof for the because hermeneutic principles exercised in midrashic eisegesis sometimes play with the literal reading of the text, as Burton Visotzky notes, 

“It is the mark of midrashic literature, however, to take liberalities with the biblical text – to pun on it, to twist its plain sense, and often to modify the meaning of a word by a change in its vowels, all for the sake of homily.”
Burton Visotzky, The Midrash on Proverbs, Yale University Press, pg. 14

CONCLUSION

Like almost all of the arguments between missionaries and anti-missionaries, the debate focuses on one word, ignoring the larger context and tapestry being woven. It is exactly akin to the proverbial phrase, “Missing the forest, because there are too many trees in the way.” So, in this exploration, we have learned the following:

  1. Allegations of “deliberate tampering, manipulation, fabrication” do not withstand scrutiny. Charged language like this does disservice to the conversation surrounding Yeshua and Biblical scholarship in general.
  2. The Hebrew of Psalm 22:16 is missing a verb. Different translators attempt to supply the verb to make the verse make sense. One creative suggestion is that the word “lion” is itself the verb, like the English action to “pig out”, but this is a minority view.
  3. We have a legitimate textual variant. It appears to be translators struggling with a difficult verse, with Jewish translators relying upon the majority Masoretic reading, and Christians drawing from the Septuagint, Peshitta and Vulgate which took a different route to deal with the difficulty. It is important to note that both karu and ka’aru exist in the Masoretic manuscript family.
  4. The different translations does not change the meaning and implication of the verse. A lion would not lick the hands and the feet of the Sufferer in Psalm 22, but would bite into them, mauling and piercing them. The lion’s teeth and a Roman nail would accomplish the same effect. This is no way contradicts the imagery of a crucifixion, in fact, it is hauntingly accurate.
  5. Psalm 22 is indeed a prophecy. It is applied to Esther (who was a prototype of Mashiach ben Yosef) and to the Messiah in the beautiful text of Pesikta Rabbati.
  6. Psalm 22 is a prophetic picture of Yeshua’s death. Now, finally, we can explore the bigger picture of Psalm 22. This beautiful, and finally hopeful Psalm speaks of the Messiah’s crucifixion. Yeshua’s hands and feet were pierced, mauled, and bloodied by the Romans as if by lions.

In the end, in this fractured world of hatred, it is important for people of faith to have legitimate discussions and refrain from accusations. A scroll could be written about Psalm 22:16 and all of its complexities and this exploration doesn’t answer all of them. However, there is a time coming that all questions will be answered. Of that day, it is written,

הִנֵּה הוּא בָא עִם־​הָעֲנָנִים וְרָאֲתָה אֹתוֹ כָּל־​עַיִן גַּם־​הֵמָּה אֲשֶׁר דְּקָרֻהוּ

“Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye shall see him, even those who pierced him.”
Revelation 1:7


PSALM 22
(Hebrew & English, with Comments)

לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל־אַיֶּלֶת הַשַּׁחַר מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד׃

1 To the chief Musician, upon Ayelet HaShachar (the Doe of the Dawn), A Psalm of David.


אֵלִי אֵלִי לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי רָחוֹק מִישׁוּעָתִי דִּבְרֵי שַׁאֲגָתִי׃

2  My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, and from the words of my groaning?

“And about the ninth hour, Yeshua cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama shvaq’tani?” That is to say, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, ‘This man calls for Eliyahu.’”
Matthew 27:46–47

The detail in this verse from Matthew 27 has an incredible ring of historic authenticity. Being barely able to breathe, Yeshua cried out “Eli, Eli”, but onlookers thought he was trying to say, “Eliyahu”, who is expected to appear before the Messiah in Jewish thought. Yeshua’s use of the word שְׁבַקְתַּנִי “shvaq’tani” (forsaken me) is the same in the Aramaic Targum, according to Codex Vaticanus Matthew. In Codex Vaticanus Mark 15:34, Yeshua’s words follow the Hebrew.


אֱלֹהַי אֶקְרָא יוֹמָם וְלֹא תַעֲנֶה וְלַיְלָה וְלֹא־דוּמִיָּה לִי׃

 O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear, and in the night, and am not silent.

And Yeshua cried out again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit.”
Matthew 27:50, TLV 


וְאַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

4  But You are holy, O You who inhabit the praises of Israel.


בְּךָ בָּטְחוּ אֲבֹתֵינוּ בָּטְחוּ וַתְּפַלְּטֵמוֹ ׃

5  Our fathers trusted in You: They trusted, and You delivered them.


אֵלֶיךָ זָעֲקוּ וְנִמְלָטוּ בְּךָ בָטְחוּ וְלֹא־בוֹשׁוּ׃

They cried to You, and were delivered: They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.


וְאָנֹכִי תוֹלַעַת וְלֹא־אִישׁ חֶרְפַּת אָדָם וּבְזוּי עָם׃

Oak Cochineal

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

They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe around Him.”
Matthew 27:28, TLV

The word for worm in Psalm 22:7 is “tola’at”, which may be linked to the tola’at shani which was used for the crimson dye in the fabrics of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle, and the garments of the High Priest [21, 22]. The tola’at shani has been identified by professor Zohar Amar of Bar Illan University as kermes biblicus/kermes echinatus [23]. Hence the term ‘worm’ is more accurately translated as ‘insect’. This evokes the imagery of a bloody man, crawling upon the ground and eventually becoming affixed to a tree, which is part of the life cycle of the tolaat shani. At the crucifixion, Messiah was cloaked in a scarlet robe, possibly dyed from this ancient dye.


כָּל־רֹאַי יַלְעִגוּ לִי יַפְטִירוּ בְשָׂפָה יָנִיעוּ רֹאשׁ׃

8 All those who see me laugh me to scorn: They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

And falling on their knees before Him, they mocked Him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”
Matthew 27:29


גֹּל אֶל־יְהוָה יְפַלְּטֵהוּ יַצִּילֵהוּ כִּי חָפֵץ בּוֹ׃

9  He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: Let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.

“Those passing by were jeering at Him, shaking their heads…“He saved others,” they were saying, “but He can’t save Himself? He’s the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the stake, and we’ll believe in Him!”
Matthew 27:39

“He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.”
Matthew 27:43–44


כִּי־אַתָּה גֹחִי מִבָּטֶן מַבְטִיחִי עַל־שְׁדֵי אִמִּי׃

10  But you are He that took me out of the womb: You made me hope when I was upon my mother’s breasts.


עָלֶיךָ הָשְׁלַכְתִּי מֵרָחֶם מִבֶּטֶן אִמִּי אֵלִי אָתָּה׃

11  I was cast upon You from the womb: You are my God from my mother’s belly.


אַל־תִּרְחַק מִמֶּנִּי כִּי־צָרָה קְרוֹבָה כִּי־אֵין עוֹזֵר׃

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


סְבָבוּנִי פָּרִים רַבִּים אַבִּירֵי בָשָׁן כִּתְּרוּנִי׃

13  Many bulls have compassed me: Strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round.

“Then the governor’s soldiers took Yeshua into the Praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around Him.”
Matthew 27:27, TLV


פָּצוּ עָלַי פִּיהֶם אַרְיֵה טֹרֵף וְשֹׁאֵג׃

14  They gaped upon me with their mouths, As a ravening and a roaring lion.

“And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head. And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.”
Matthew 27:30–31


כַּמַּיִם נִשְׁפַּכְתִּי וְהִתְפָּרְדוּ כָּל־עַצְמוֹתָי הָיָה לִבִּי כַּדּוֹנָג נָמֵס בְּתוֹךְ מֵעָי׃

15  I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint: My heart is like wax; It is melted in the midst of my bowels.

“But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and immediately came there out blood and water. . .And again another Scripture says, “They shall look on him whom they have pierced.” 
John 19:34


יָבֵשׁ כַּחֶרֶשׂ כֹּחִי וּלְשׁוֹנִי מֻדְבָּק מַלְקוֹחָי וְלַעֲפַר־מָוֶת תִּשְׁפְּתֵנִי׃

16  My strength is dried up like a potsherd; And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And You have brought me into the dust of death.

Pesikta Rabbati, as we read above, applies this verse to the Messiah and his suffering for the atonement of the world.

Psalm 69:22 says that the sufferer is given vinegar for his thirst, just as Yeshua was on the cross.

“After this, Yeshua knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saiid, I thirst.”
John 19:28

The phrase “dust of death” appears to suggest the Sufferer has experienced death, or the equivalent of death. Yet still, there is hope, as the Psalmist says below.


כִּי סְבָבוּנִי כְּלָבִים עֲדַת מְרֵעִים הִקִּיפוּנִי כָּאֲרִי [כארו] יָדַי וְרַגְלָי׃

17  For dogs have compassed me: The assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: They like a lion [pierced] my hands and my feet.

Yeshua’s hands and feet were pierced and penetrated with Roman nails, like a lion biting down with force.

“And when he had so said, he showed them his hands and his side. . . But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Yeshua came. The other disciples said unto him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he said unto them, ‘Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.’ And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Yeshua, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then he said to Thomas, ‘Reach hither your finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither your hand, and thrust it into my side: and don’t be faithless, but believing.”
John 20:20–27


אֲסַפֵּר כָּל־עַצְמוֹתָי הֵמָּה יַבִּיטוּ יִרְאוּ־בִי׃

18  I may tell all my bones: They look and stare upon me.

The physical pain of crucifixion is perhaps the worst death possible as the body fights to balance the pain with the ability to breathe.


יְחַלְּקוּ בְגָדַי לָהֶם וְעַל־לְבוּשִׁי יַפִּילוּ גוֹרָל׃

19  They part my garments among them, And cast lots upon my vesture.

“Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Yeshua, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which says, “They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did.”
John 19:23–24


וְאַתָּה יְהוָה אַל־תִּרְחָק אֱיָלוּתִי לְעֶזְרָתִי חוּשָׁה׃

20  But be not far from me, O Lord: O my strength, hasten to help me.


הַצִּילָה מֵחֶרֶב נַפְשִׁי מִיַּד־כֶּלֶב יְחִידָתִי׃

21  Deliver my soul from the sword; My darling from the power of the dog.


הוֹשִׁיעֵנִי מִפִּי אַרְיֵה וּמִקַּרְנֵי רֵמִים עֲנִיתָנִי׃

22  Save me from the lion’s mouth: For You heard me from the horns of the wild oxen.


אֲסַפְּרָה שִׁמְךָ לְאֶחָי בְּתוֹךְ קָהָל אֲהַלְלֶךָּ׃

23  I will declare Your name to my brethren: In the midst of the congregation will I praise You.


יִרְאֵי יְהוָה הַלְלוּהוּ כָּל־זֶרַע יַעֲקֹב כַּבְּדוּהוּ וְגוּרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ כָּל־זֶרַע יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

24  You that fear the Lord, praise Him, All the seed of Jacob, glorify him; And fear him, all seed of Israel.


כִּי לֹא־בָזָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּץ עֱנוּת עָנִי וְלֹא־הִסְתִּיר פָּנָיו מִמֶּנּוּ וּבְשַׁוְּעוֹ אֵלָיו שָׁמֵעַ׃

25  For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Neither has he hid his face from him; But when he cried to him, he heard.


מֵאִתְּךָ תְהִלָּתִי בְּקָהָל רָב נְדָרַי אֲשַׁלֵּם נֶגֶד יְרֵאָיו׃

26  My praise shall be of You in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.

While the Psalm appears to describe the death of the Messiah, nevertheless, there is hope.


יֹאכְלוּ עֲנָוִים וְיִשְׂבָּעוּ יְהַלְלוּ יְהוָה דֹּרְשָׁיו יְחִי לְבַבְכֶם לָעַד׃

27  The meek shall eat and be satisfied: They shall praise the Lord that seek him: Your hearts shall live for ever.


יִזְכְּרוּ וְיָשֻׁבוּ אֶל־יְהוָה כָּל־אַפְסֵי־אָרֶץ וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לְפָנֶיךָ כָּל־מִשְׁפְּחוֹת גּוֹיִם׃

28  All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: And all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before You.


כִּי לַיהוָה הַמְּלוּכָה וּמֹשֵׁל בַּגּוֹיִם׃

29  For the kingdom is the Lord’s: And he is the ruler among the nations.


אָכְלוּ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲוּוּ כָּל־דִּשְׁנֵי־אֶרֶץ לְפָנָיו יִכְרְעוּ כָּל־יוֹרְדֵי עָפָר וְנַפְשׁוֹ לֹא חִיָּה׃

30  All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: All they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: And none can keep alive his own soul.


זֶרַע יַעַבְדֶנּוּ יְסֻפַּר לַאדֹנָי לַדּוֹר׃

31  A seed shall serve him; It shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.


יָבֹאוּ וְיַגִּידוּ צִדְקָתוֹ לְעַם נוֹלָד כִּי עָשָׂה׃

32  They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he has done this.


REFERENCES

  1. R’ Tovia Singer, A Closer Look at the “Crucifixion Psalm”, Outreach Judaism
  2. Ibid.
  3. Gerald Sigal, What is the Translation of Ka’ari? Like a Lion? Jews for Judaism
  4. Rashi on Psalm 22, cited at Chabad.org
  5. Gerald Sigal, What is the Translation of Ka’ari? Like a Lion? Jews for Judaism
  6. Psalm 22:17, Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures, Jewish Publication Society, 1985, Sefaria.org
  7. Justin Martyr, The First Apology, Early Christian Writings, Chapter 3
  8. Isaiah 38:13, Sefaria.org
  9. Quoted from ‘What is the intended image of “pierced my hands and my feet”, Stack Exchange
  10. Michael Rydelnik, Edwin Blum, The Moody Handbook of Messianic Prophecy, Moody Publishers, Kindle Edition
  11. Jacob Ben Ḥayyim Ben Isaac Ibn Adonijah, Encyclopedia.com
  12. Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible, Christian D. Ginsburg, (1896), p. 969, cited in They pierced my hands and my feet” or “Like a lion my hands and my feet” in Psalm 22:16?
  13. Dr. James D. Price, Response to a Skeptic
  14. Emanuel Tov, The Bible and the Masoretic Text
  15. Tim Hegg, They Pierced My Hands and My Feet: Psalm 22:16 in the Hebrew Psalter
  16. R’ Tovia Singer, A Closer Look at the “Crucifixion Psalm”, Outreach Judaism
  17. Tim Hegg, They Pierced My Hands and My Feet: Psalm 22:16 in the Hebrew Psalter
  18. R’ Tovia Singer, A Closer Look at the “Crucifixion Psalm”, Outreach Judaism
  19. Rashi on Psalm 22:27, cited at Chabad.org [18]
  20. R’ Daniel Krentzman, Tracing Mashiach ben Yosef Through the Tanach
  21. Tola’at Shani, Mayim Achronim
  22. Priestly Garments, Temple Institute
  23. The Scarlet Dye of the Holy Land, Zohar Amar, Hugo Gottlieb, Lucy Varshavsky, David Iluz, BioScience, Volume 55, Issue 12, December 2005, Pages 1080–1083,
  24. How Should Psalm 22:16 Read?
  25. The Psalm 22:16 Controversy: New Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls

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