Friday, December 13, 2013

Psalm 22:2 notes

I am looking at Psalm 22:2(1) (MT)/Psalm 21:2 (Vulgate/LXX), this Psalm is significant since it is quoted by the Lord Jesus at the cross--at least the initial words "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me." The Catechism of the Catholic Church and St Augustine explain Christ is saying these words in the name of humans, not for His own sake.
Jesus did not experience reprobation as if he himself had sinned.(405) But in the redeeming love that always united him to the Father, he assumed us in the state of our waywardness of sin, to the point that he could say in our name from the cross: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"(406) Having thus established him in solidarity with us sinners, God "did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all", so that we might be "reconciled to God by the death of his Son".(407)--CCC 603
"...the first verse of which the Lord Himself uttered on the Cross: "My God, My God, look upon Me; why have You forsaken Me?" For "transferring us in a figure" [1 Corinthians 4:6] to what He was saying, and to His own Body (for we are also "His Body," and He is our "Head"), He uttered from the Cross not His own cry, but ours. For God never "forsook" Him: nor did He Himself ever depart from the Father; but it was in behalf of us that He spoke this: "My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?" For there follows, "Far from My health are the words of My offences:" and it shows in whose person He said this; for sin could not be found in Him.…"--St Augustine, Exposition on Psalm 44
Anyway, here is what the whole verse says:

אֵלִי אֵלִי, לָמָה עֲזַבְתָּנִי;    רָחוֹק מִישׁוּעָתִי, דִּבְרֵי שַׁאֲגָתִי
My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me, and art far from my help at the words of my cry?

The translation from the Hebrew text in modern Hebrew is

Eli, Eli, lamah azav'tani.
Éli, Eli, lamah azav'tani
or in Ashkenazi like
Eli, Eli, lamah azav'sani
Greek traditionally transliterates the tav without a daggesh with a theta.
Making azav'thani

The New Testament transliterations are somewhat different because they are transliterations of Hebrew and Aramaic into Greek, which we transliterated again into English. I will go off of Matthew 27:46 for now. The Byzantine Majority here does NOT agree exactly with the so called Textus Receptus, despite the insistence by KJV only Baptist it ALWAYS does. Nor is Alexandrian consistent with Westcott and Hort here, really, each major manuscript is slightly different, though not by a whole lot. All of them transliterate the word for "forsaken" the same except for Tischendorf which seems to throw in an extra eta just before the iota at the end. Here is the Greek transliteration in most texts σαβαχθανι. This does not match the Hebrew, which does not even start with a sound besides "a," σαβαχθανι which can be transliterated into English as savakthani (beta in modern Greek refers to a v sound, and the iota at the end is said like a long e as in meet). This seems to correspond to the Targum of Psalm 22:2  (1) which reads שבקתני which could come close to Matthew's.

In bold I highlighted the Hebrew word מִישׁוּעָתִי "from my help" or as it can also be read "from my salvation" since the Hebrew word there has ישׁוּעָ which contains one of the Hebrew spellings for Jesus "Y'shu'a". This spelling is found in later Hebrew as in Ezra/Nehemiah.

 For example, in Ezra 10:18 we read in part there was a priest named "Jeshua" in English translations:

............ מִבְּנֵי יֵשׁוּעַ בֶּן-יוֹצָדָק .........--Ezra 10:18
............from the sons of Yeshu'a son of Yotzadak.....--Ezra 10:18

This priest is named after Joshua son of Nun, the original form of the name first appears in the Torah in Exodus 17

 וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ .--Exodus 17:9
And Moses [Mosheh] said to Joshua [Y'hoshu'a]....--Exodus 17:9

The spelling of Ezra 10:18 Yeshu'a as a proper name only appears 30 times in the Hebrew bible, but only in 4 books: 1 and 2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah.  Joshua son of Nun called Y'hoshu'a in Exodus 17:9 is called "Yeshu'a" in Nehemiah 8:17 as we see here:

... יֵשׁוּעַ בִּן-נוּן ...--Nehemiah 8:17

Yeshu'a ben Nun..--Nehemiah 8:17

Now since Jesus' name is based on Joshua the son of Nun's name (Hebrews 4:9) its reasonable to link the two names and the two different spellings of the name together.  Furthermore, the spelling of Psalm 22:2 of yshu'a is spelled the same as it is in 1&2 Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah since there Hebrew texts the were originally written in lacked diacritics--meaning no vowels.  The only letters seen would be yod, shin, vav, and ayin. The ayin having little to no sound in of its self (though the Vulgate suggests it may have made a slight g sound based on Genesis 18's town "Gomorrah".)

Anyway, continuing on with Psalm 22 we read that a significant textual variant--or at least a significant alternate translation. Just about every translation into English based on the Masoretic Hebrew text says "from the words of my cry." The Douay Rheims, which is a translation of the Latin Vulgate reads "words of my sins." Here are the comparisons of English translations:

 so far from my cries of anguish?--NIV
from the words of my groaning?--ESV
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.--NASB

and from the words of my roaring?--KJV
 Far from my salvation are the words of my sins--DRB

Here is what the Vulgate reads:

Deus, Deus meus, respice in me: quare me dereliquisti? longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum--Psalm 21:2 Vulgate (Vulgate uses LXX numbering)

Delictorum being from Delictum meaning " a fault, offence, trespass, crime, transgression, wrong, defect."     

Now the Douay Rheim's rendering and the Latin Vulgate are not alone in this reading, its also found in Greek Septuagint (LXX) Psalm 21:2

μου οἱ λόγοι τῶν παραπτωμάτων μου.--Psalm 21:2 LXX (LXX has a different chapter numbering than MT)

παραπτωμάτων means  false step, slip, blunder, which does not seem to be very different than "hamartia" the word for sin.

We also have the Peshitta text of Psalm 22:2 which also uses a word for sin, this is significant since the Peshitta is an ancient text written in Syriac/Aramaic which is a Semitic language very close to Hebrew. It reads:

ܐܠܗܝ ܐܠܗܝ ܠܡܢܐ ܫܒܩܬܢܝ܂ ܘܐܪܚܩܬ ܡܢ ܦܘܪܩܢܝ ܒܡ̈ܠܐ ܕܣ̈ܟܠܘܬܝ.--Psalm 22:2 Peshitta text
ܕܣ̈ܟܠܘܬܝ meaning "fall, sin."
While, the Masoretic text has "שַׁאֲגָתִי" sha'agati, which refers to a "roar," as seen in Job 4:10 "roaring of a lion."
I cannot conclude for certain why the Syriac Peshitta, Latin Vulgate, and Greek Septuagint read "sin," when the Hebrew Masoretic and Targum read "roar." The answer maybe, just as it is for Psalm 22:16 where there is a Hebrew variant reading "dug" where most have something about a lion (found at Nachal Hever).  The Haydock bible commentary states for this verse:
The Septuagint seem to have read shagathi, whereas the Hebrew places the g after the a, or they have substituted the cause for the effect; as sin was certainly the cause of Christ's affliction, and of his Father's not granting present relief. --Haydock
I did find in Hebrew words that are spelled SOMEWHAT similar to shagati, like in Psalm 19:13 (MT) it reads:

שְׁגִיאוֹת מִי-יָבִין-Psalm 19:13 MT
Who can discern his errors?--Psalm 19:13

The word errors in this verse is שְׁגִיאוֹת sh'gi'ot which seems to be 3rd person, plural, feminine, whereas Psalm 22:2 is 1st person. I could be wrong about this.  I do NOT know enough Hebrew to really figure this out.

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