Light for the Last Days

They pierced my hands and my feet


In Psalm 22, it says,

they pierced my hands and my feet

Psalm 22.16

That’s an interesting verse as well. And this is the verse which Jewish Publications question.

Does it say “they pierced my hands and my feet“?

Asher Norman says

“That is a ‘key phrase’ from the Christian Old Testament which was strategically manipulated to support the New Testament Messianic prophecy. The Hebrew word is כָּ֝אֲרִ֗י’c’ari (kāʾărî) mistranslated as ‘pierced’ although it means ‘like a lion'”.
He claims “This was a deliberate mistranslation to shoehorn Jesus and the crucifixion into the text.”

Asher Norman

Is he right?

Let’s just have a look at this:

The line at the top is what you’ll read in the Old Testament which we have here:

‘Like a lion my hands and my feet’ it says.

There is an alternative version which will be כָּ֝אֲרִ֗ו’c’aru (kāʾăriw) יָדַ֥י yadai (yāḏay) [red dots below]. Can you see if there’s any difference between those two? Which letter is different? Can anyone show me? that one yeah

That one becomes that one. That’s a (י) Yod and that’s a (ו) Vav . Yod (י) is the smallest letter in the Hebrew Bible is just like a longer version of Vav (ו).

So, what’s the significance of that?

Let’s say just a little bit about the translations of the Bible.

This Bible here is Hebrew text is what they call the Masoretic text of the Bible.

The Masoretic text was written between about the 7th to the 9th Century A.D. The oldest version we have of it is what’s called the Leningrad Codex which is about 1100 A.D.

In that version you have this word כָּ֝אֲרִ֗י’c’ari (kāʾărî) ‘like a lion my hands are my feet’, but not all versions of the Masoretic text do say that. Some of them actually do have כָּ֝אֲרִ֗ו’c’aru (kāʾăriw). I’ll tell you why that’s different.

You have another version of the Bible that’s called the Septuagint

What is the Septuagint? |

The Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Greek was written over a period of time. Roughly two centuries before Jesus came round about a little give or take a bit. It was written over quite a period of time.

In the Septuagint, which is before Jesus remember, this verse Psalm 22 is translated: ‘they pierced my hands and my feet’. The Greek term is ὀρύσσω (ὀrysso).

That happened before Jesus came, so they weren’t influenced by what happened in the New Testament yet they translated verse 16 of Psalm 22 as: ‘they pierced my hands and my feet’.

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I have another version this is the Syriac Peshitta (Peshito) that’s written about two or three hundred years later translation

of the Bible into Aramaic as it’s spoken in Syria and that region that also has the verse ‘they pierced by hands and my feet’.

Syriac Peshito – Psalm 22

A bit more interesting is what you have in the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Dead Sea Scrolls version here they have a version of the Psalms which is the oldest living version.

We have the oldest version we have of Psalms in Hebrew in that Psalm 22 has כָּ֝אֲרִ֗ו’c’aru (kāʾăriw) not כָּ֝אֲרִ֗י’c’ari (kāʾărî).

It has ‘they pierced’, therefore, it’s not all ‘like a lion’

Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls – Psalms 22 (

Let’s just have a look at the ‘like a lion’ translation which is what Asher Norman says it should be. The Jewish translation here this is a Jewish translation, Jewish Bible, it says in their translation it says ‘like a lion they’re at my hands and my feet’

Asher Norman says it should be ‘like the pray of a lion are my hands and my feet’.

This is the word so cut means as אַריֵ Ari (ʾry) is lion.

There are one or two problems with this because אַריֵ Ari (ʾry) is a term used for ‘lion’ but the more usual term is אַריֵה Arye (ʾaryê) (with a ה on the end). You have this term occurring twice in Psalm 22; it’s אַריֵה Arye (ʾaryê) not אַריֵ Ari (ʾry).

So, why didn’t they use אַריֵה Arye (ʾaryê) here?

The other problem is that what Asher Norman proposes literally means ‘my hands and my feet like a lion’. What sense does that make? Are your hands on your feet like a lion?

No. It doesn’t really make much sense. So, Asher Norman has to make sense of it by saying it should be translated as ‘like a lion’. The text then reads according to Norman: ‘like the prey of a lion are my hands and my feet’. That is, ‘they are at my feet like a lion attacking my hands and my feet; like the prey of a lion’.

Again, you’ve got a few problems with that because, why would a lion attack your hands and your feet?

If it wants to kill you, a lion would go for your throat and kill you, wouldn’t it? Why would it go for the four extremities of your your body at one go? It couldn’t do that, it’s not feasible.

Additionally, there is a perfectly good Hebrew word for ‘prey’ which is not being used there which is טֶרֶף Teref (ṭerep̱).

If you want to say ‘like the prey of a lion’ you’d say טֶרֶף Teref (ṭerep̱) אַריֵה Arye (ʾaryê).

Also the other version says ‘like a lion they are at my hands and my feet’.

Now, there’s a problem with that as well. I put that into Google and translated into Hebrew and, of course, you get it in modern Hebrews so it’s not quite the same, but one thing which did come up was that it said,

So, it adds two little ה he (h) they and it has that little word there הם ב Henbet (hm ḇ) which is a prefix and means ‘they are at’.

And occurs to me that, if the Bible wanted to say that those words ,those letters should be there: ‘like a lion there at my hands and my feet’; but they’re not there. What you have is this phrase here:

כָּרָה Ka-raw (kārâ) יָדַ֥י (yāḏay) וְרַגְלָֽי׃ (wǝrag̱lāy) that is from a verb which means ‘to dig through’ or ‘to pierce’, which means: ‘they pierced my hands and my feet’.

Which in turn does make sense, it makes a lot of sense.

If you interpret in the light of the coming of Jesus, it’s not totally convincing because there’s another word for ‘pierce’ which is use more normally, that is דֶּקֶר dā·qā·r (deqer). In Zechariah 12 where it says,

then they will look on Me whom they pierced.

Zechariah 12.10

A different word is used here דָּקָ֑רוּ dā·qā·rū (dāqārû). However, but כָּרָה Ka-raw (kārâ) does mean ‘dig through’, so this verse could mean ‘they pierced my hands on my feet’ if you have a (ו) Vav instead of a (י) Yod.

I have a bit of a problem there because I’m saying that the Masoteric text is wrong and this should be what it says. But the Masoteric text could be wrong because it was formulated nine centuries after Jesus.

Yet, if it is כָּרָה Ka-raw (kārâ) and that’s what the original went and that’s what David said, then, it makes a big difference.

You’ll have people who debate this and dispute it but I think that כָּרָה Ka-raw (kārâ) is the right interpretation and that it originally meant:

‘they pierced my hands and my feet’.

David might not have understood that but David was a prophet and as it says in 1 Peter,

10 Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ [Messiah] who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.

1 Peter 1:9-11

So, to sum up, I think there is a good reason to think that this verse does mean ‘they pierced my hands and my feet’.

Tony Pearce


    • Thanks Michael, Isaiah 32-2-3 seems to me to describe how the righteous will live during the Millennial Reign of Christ after His Second Coming.
      Their lives will be the true reflection of Christ. They will be shelters for those who need shelter; they will provide abundantly for those in need, for what is rightfully needed; and they will have clear sight and understanding of all that pertains to God to walk, speak, and act in the righteousness of Christ.

      We know that during the 1,000 year reign of Christ on earth, not all evil will have disappeared from the earth, some will still oppose our God. Yet the government of the Earth will be in Christ’s hands and in those of His saints. Therefore, the righteous, the saints (“And princes will rule with justice”) will have all the qualities Isaiah mentions while those opposing the Christ and His government will be easily identified and not able to confuse anyone (all will be clear) who believes and trusts in Jesus’s reign. “The foolish person will no longer be called generous, Nor the miser said to be bountiful;” which is what happens now with most people being duped, then confused, and further misled.
      7 Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.