Thursday, March 07, 2024

Evidence Of How Psalm 22:16 Should Be Rendered

Michael Flowers has produced a series of videos on Psalm 22:16, in which he makes a lot of significant points about the passage. He's also published an article discussing thirteen proposed renderings of the passage and assessing their strengths and weaknesses. Notice how easily most of the proposed readings can be reconciled with crucifixion. The traditional Christian view involving digging, boring through, or piercing is supported by the earliest versions of Psalm 22 that we have. As Flowers notes, "In an article from 1897 Henri Lesêtre observed that although Justin Martyr quotes Ps 22 for his Jewish interlocutor Trypho and appeals to it as a proof-text for Christ’s crucifixion, he never pauses to consider Jewish objections to the Septuagint rendering of v. 17 [verse 16 in Christian Bibles]. Since Justin is aware of other Jewish objections to Septuagint renderings – as in Dial. 67 where the term παρθένος in Isa 7:14 is discussed at length – Lesêtre hypothesized that כארו was still the established reading in the mid-second century." Justin's comments are in section 97 of his Dialogue if you want to read what he wrote for yourself. Furthermore, multiple other details in the psalm suggest a crucifixion, one with Roman characteristics, as I've discussed elsewhere. The language Christians appeal to in Psalm 22:16 was circulating in versions of that psalm in antiquity and seems to have been circulating widely, including in pre-Christian sources. If that language was a textual corruption, then was it a mere coincidence that such unusual textual mistakes so favorable to Christianity entered the manuscript record and became so popular? If somebody is going to advocate that sort of view, we should note how often he appeals to such unusual alleged mere coincidences in other contexts as well, such as with regard to other details in Psalm 22 and in other contexts related to prophecy fulfillment (Jesus just happened to be raised in Nazareth in the region of Zebulun in line with Isaiah 9:1, the flogging in the Servant Song in Isaiah 50 just happens to line up with the common Roman practice of flogging an individual before crucifixion, the Romans just happened to destroy both Jerusalem and the temple in line with Daniel's Seventy Weeks prophecy, etc.). And if the alternative reading of Psalm 22:16 that's adopted is one like the popular Jewish rendering involving a lion doing something to the hands and feet, we should ask what's being accomplished by going with that sort of reading. Even though it wouldn't support a Christian understanding of the psalm as much as a traditional Christian version of the text would, it's still singling out the hands and feet in a significantly unusual way and can easily be reconciled with crucifixion.

Tuesday, March 05, 2024

How To Approach Easter Prophecy

Issues of prophecy fulfillment often come up in the context of Easter. I want to make a few points about how to best handle the situation.