Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

Did the Spear Wound Kill the Messiah?

According to some, the Messiah died of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium as a result of the spear thrust in his side -- can this be true? To bolster this argument, a so-called missing verse in Matthew 27:49 is used by those unwilling to believe what the Bible really says!

by John D. Keyser

According to Dr. C. Truman Davis:

"Apparently, to make doubly sure of death, the legionnaire drove his lance between the ribs, upward through the pericardium and into the heart. John 19:34 states, 'And immediately there came out blood and water.' Thus there was an escape of watery fluid from the sac surrounding the heart and the blood of the interior of the heart. This is rather conclusive post-mortem evidence that Jesus died, not the usual crucifixion death by suffocation, but of heart failure due to shock and constriction of the heart by fluid in the pericardium. 

"The carbon dioxide in the blood could not be released due to lack of being able to exhale efficiently, so it caused serum to build up in the blood that was being pumped through the body. The pericardium (the sac surrounding the heart) filled with the serum and the blood, thus causing the heart failure" ("Crucifixion: A Medical Explanation of What Jesus Endured On the Day He Died,"
New Wine Magazine, April 1982).

The Hypothesis of Herman L. Hoeh

Latching on to the idea promoted in the above quote Herman L. Hoeh of Ambassador College, in a 1959 article entitled Did Christ Die of a Broken Heart?, makes this baffling assertion:

"Now let us read Isaiah 53:8. 'He was taken from prison and from judgment...he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people WAS HE STRICKEN.' Notice that in the margin of most Bibles, instead of the last three words, 'was he stricken,' you will find the words, 'The stroke was upon him.' Jesus didn't die of a broken heart, but 'for the transgression of my people, the stroke was upon him.' That is, THE MORTAL WOUND OF A SPEAR. In other words, A STROKE OF A SPEAR BROUGHT ABOUT HIS DEATH" (page 2).

Really? How in the world did he arrive at that conclusion? I would NEVER have associated the word "stroke" with the "jab" of a spear! Neither do any of the concordances I have consulted! Strong's Exhaustive Concordance states, under #5061: "Nega, neh'-gah; from #5060; A BLOW." Number 5060 says: "Naga, naw-gah'; a prim. root; prop. to TOUCH, i.e. LAY THE HAND UPON;...violently, to STRIKE:- BEAT...smite, strike, touch." This NOWHERE implies jabbing or thrusting with a spear!

So why does Hoeh translate it in such a way? To back up his hypothesis that the Messiah died as the RESULT OF A SPEAR WOUND! To further bolster his argument, Herman Hoeh  came up with an ingenious method involving grammatical gymnastics and reliance on DEFECTIVE codices that have long been rejected by the mainstream of scholars and Bible authorities.

Instead of being content with the apostle John's account which PLAINLY says the Messiah was PIERCED with a spear AFTER HIS DEATH, Hoeh goes through all kinds of gyrations and maneuvers to try and prove our Savior died as the result of the spear thrust. Let's read John's account in chapter 19: "When they came to Jesus, THEY FOUND HE WAS ALREADY DEAD, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water" (Verses 33-34).

That Yeshua was already dead when the soldiers came to break his legs is clearly confirmed by the fact that blood and water BOTH flowed from his side when he was pierced with the spear. The SEPARATION of the water from the blood is an undeniable medical confirmation of death. This separation ONLY takes place after death, and since "immediately there came out blood and water" Yeshua was already DEAD when the spear pierced his side. NOTHING short of death is known to modern medical science which can provide the phenomena of blood and water separating.

Grammatical Manipulations!

Hoeh explains all this away by the following ingenious grammatical exercise:

"The verb 'pierced,' in the Greek, is in the aorist tense. In English we are familiar with the present, the imperfect, and the perfect tenses. The imperfect in English means that one 'used to do' or 'did' something. And the perfect tense, that he 'has done' something. But in the Greek, the aorist means not TIME of action, but KIND of action. It leaves the past INDEFINITE. The aorist tense in Greek means that an action was done at a single moment, and not continuously...The aorist tense of the word 'pierced' does not tell you when the spearing occurred -- whether they then speared Him or whether He HAD ALREADY BEEN SPEARED. You can know THE TIME only by putting John 19:34 with the rest of the scriptures" (page 4).

What Herman Hoeh is trying to say here is that the spear wound occurred at an EARLIER time, and that John was reporting it (in John 19:33-34) AFTER THE FACT and OUT OF CONTEXT. Hoeh goes on to say that it would be ridiculous to spear the Messiah when he was already dead: "Now if they saw He was dead already, they didn't have any reason to pierce his side. He was dead already! If they were not sure, what would they have done? They would have broken His legs!"

Logic would indeed point to this conclusion, except for one thing that Hoeh completely overlooked -- verses 36 and 37! These verses COUPLE TOGETHER the breaking of the legs of the criminals executed with the Messiah and the spearing of the Messiah into the SAME TIME-FRAME, and state WHY the Messiah's legs were not broken and WHY he was pierced with the spear: "Because ALL this [the failure to break his legs and the piercing by the spear] happened to FULFILL THE WORDS OF SCRIPTURE: 'NOT ONE BONE of his will be broken'; and again, in another place scripture says: 'They will look on the one whom they have PIERCED.'"

Notice the ORDER in which these actions took place -- the failure to break Yeshua's legs (after BREAKING the criminals' legs) comes BEFORE the piercing of the Messiah's side with the spear. This surely indicates John intended the verse about the spearing (34) to be in the SAME TIME-FRAME as the leg breaking (32-33) and NOT EARLIER as Hoeh would have it. Verses 36 and 37 also PLAINLY STATE that the Messiah was pierced with the spear to "FULFILL THE WORDS OF SCRIPTURE" -- not necessarily to ensure his death! Therefore John DID NOT insert the statement after the fact and out of context. Hoeh's gymnastics are totally in vain and nothing but a smoke screen!

Another point to consider is that John was a FLUID writer -- not one to insert statements after the fact and bounce around all over the place in random time sequences. An examination of the gospel of John AND his epistles backs this up.

The "Missing Verse"

Herman Hoeh doesn't stop here, however. A so-called missing verse in Matthew 27:49 comes to his rescue! This verse, which reads: "Another man took a spear and pierced his [the Messiah's] side, and blood and water came out," is found inserted (according to Hoeh) in a number of manuscripts, notably the Codex Vaticanus, the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Ephraemi. The way this verse is inserted at Matthew 27:49 gives the impression that the Messiah died AS A RESULT of the spear wound and, of course, contradicts John 19:33-34 (without the grammatical contortions, that is!).

Let's see how RELIABLE these sources quoted by Herman Hoeh REALLY are.

The Codex Vaticanus

Hoeh states, in his article, that:

"We have at Ambassador College a copy of the Vaticanus -- a Greek New Testament manuscript written in the 300's A.D. It was first published in 1859 by Angelus Maius...In the Greek of Matthew 27:49 is this very verse. 'And another took a spear and pierced His side and there came forth water and blood.' This verse is in the Greek text in this manuscript, which, as far as modern scholars know, is the oldest complete manuscript of the New Testament" (page 3).

Ending of 2 Thessalonians and Beginning of
Hebrews in the Codex Vaticanus

The Bible Dictionary, Vol. II, published by Cassell, Petter and Galpin of London, has this to say about the Codex Vaticanus (B):

"It appears to have belonged to the Vatican Library (where it is numbered 1,209) from a time not long subsequent to its formation by Pope Nicholas V [1328-30 A.D.]. It now consists of 146 leaves of thin vellum, written in three columns on a page, except in the poetical books of the Old Testament, where there are only two. THE ANCIENT WRITING IS DEFECTIVE in the first forty-six chapters of Genesis, in part of the Psalms, also in the NEW TESTAMENT from Heb. IX. 14 to the end of that book, the four pastoral epistles, and the Apocalypse. These DEFECTS (with the exception of the pastoral epistles) have been supplied by a much more RECENT HAND...ANOTHER HAND HAS RETOUCHED the ancient FADED letters, and the same (or some other posterior to the ORIGINAL scribe) has ADDED the accents and breathings. Large initial letters have been placed at the beginning of the several books, INSTEAD of those of the original scribe, which were of the same size as the others in the line" (Article "Vaticanus, Codex (B)," p. 542).

We can see here that quite a bit of TAMPERING (by various hands) has taken place in this codex, thus throwing doubt on the ACCURACY of the work.

The Bible Dictionary continues:

"In the ancient arrangement St. Paul's epistles are numbered continuously; and this brings to light the record of a CURIOUS AND IMPORTANT FACT -- namely, that in the MS. [Vaticanus] to which these sections were first appended, the Epistle to the Hebrews must have been placed BETWEEN Galatians and Ephesians...In 1669 Bartolocci made a collation of this MS. It is IMPERFECT, and the existing transcript (in the Bibliotheque at Paris) is NOT VERY EXACT. About the year 1720 a collation of this MS. was made for Bentley by an Italian called Mico: the CORRECTIONS OF THE LATER HANDS were afterwards noted for the same critic by Rulotta. In 1799 Ford edited Mico's collation in his appendix to the Codex Alexandrinus; but this edition appearing to be OF DOUBTFUL ACCURACY, it was re-compared with the collation, partly for Tregelles (by the Rev. J. B. Lightfoot and the Rev. John E. B. Mayor), and partly by himself, for his critical Greek Testament...

"In 1836 it was announced that Cardinal Mai[us] was likely to publish an edition of the text of this MS., which, it was stated, he had commenced some years before, under the sanction of Pope Leo XII...A little more was known respecting this edition, when, in 1848-9, the Papal Government of Rome was superseded by the Republicans; for then Cardinal Mai[us] offered the whole edition to Mr. Asher, the publisher of Berlin, who, however, DECLINED IT, on the ground that the terms proposed by Mai[us] were too high; also, after inspecting the Cardinal's own copy, he thought that the NUMBER OF CORRECTIONS which were noted was so great, AS TO MAKE HIM DISTRUSTFUL OF THE WHOLE WORK...We must refer to the preface by Vercellone for an account of the STRANGE MANNER in which the work was got out by Mai[us], and of the INACCURACY which was the inevitable result, and also as to the MEANS TAKEN FOR CORRECTING the printed copy, after the work had been placed in his hands by Cardinal Altieri, one of Mai[us]' executors...In 1859 a smaller edition of the New Testament portion only was issued, also under the editorial care of Vercellone; though it appears from the preface that it had been, at least, COMMENCED BEFORE MAI[US]' DEATH."

This, then, is one of the manuscripts that Herman Hoeh puts so much faith in to back up his hypothesis about the death of the Messiah!

The Codex Sinaiticus

The Codex Sinaiticus came to light under even stranger circumstances. The Bible Dictionary published by Cassell, Petter and Galpin explains some of these:

"In 1844 Dr. Tischendorf found in the Convent of St. Catherine, at Mount Sinai, a portion of the LXX [Septuagint] version of the Old Testament, which APPEARED to be of extreme antiquity...everything about the MS. denotes extreme antiquity. This might be concluded on paleographical grounds alone; but it was confirmed by the examination of the character of the text, in which readings were noticed which had been cited by Eusebius, BUT WHICH ARE NOT KNOWN TO EXIST IN ANY OTHER MS...

"In 1846 the Russian Archimandrite Porphyrius visited Mount Sinai, where he saw and examined the New Testament portion of the SAME MS. His published account did not appear till 1856. But about the time of the visit of Porphyrius, or a little later, Major Macdonald described a very ancient MS. (kept wrapped up in a cloth) on early uncial letters [script with rounded letters, seldom used after the 10th century], written with several columns in a page, and containing the NEW TESTAMENT, which he distinctly stated to belong to the fourth century. Major Macdonald's description of this MS. was communicated to Professor Tischendorf, who MOST DISTINCTLY DENIED that any part of the New Testament was contained in the MS. which he had seen...Tischendorf, also, was SO POSITIVE that no such ancient MS. of the New Testament was in the monastery, that it was thought that Major Macdonald had made a mistake, and that further inquiry was superfluous."

Luke 11:2 in the Codex Sinaiticus

Tischendorf paid a SECOND visit to Mt. Sinai:

"In 1853 Tischendorf paid a SECOND VISIT to Mount Sinai, but he was NOT ABLE TO SEE the portion of the MS. with which he was already acquainted, NOR YET TO LEARN WHAT HAD BECOME OF IT; hence he conjectured that it had been carried to some part of Europe...He visited Mount Sinai for the THIRD TIME in the beginning of 1859, arriving there on the last of January...'while taking a walk with the steward of the monastery, I conversed on the subject of the LXX. version, of which I had brought some copies of my edition as well as of my New Testament, as presents for the brethren. On returning from our walk, we entered the steward's dormitory. He said that he, too, had there a copy of the LXX., and he placed before my eyes the cloth in which it was wrapped. I opened the cloth, and saw what far surpassed all my hopes; for there were contained very ample remains of the Codex which I had a good while before declared to be the most ancient of all Greek Codices on vellum that are extant; and amongst these relics, I saw not only what I had met with in 1844 and other books of the Old Testament, BUT ALSO THE WHOLE NEW TESTAMENT WITHOUT THE SMALLEST DEFECT; and to this were added the whole of the epistle of Barnabas and the former part of the Shepherd (i.e. Hermas)'" (Article "Sinaiticus, Codex (N)," page 454).

Something seems very STRANGE about the sequence of events here -- on Tischendorf's first trip to the monastery he views the Old Testament manuscript; then, ten or so years later, Major Macdonald gets to see the same manuscript ALONG WITH THE NEW TESTAMENT, which Tischendorf vehemently claims was NOT WITH THE OLD TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPT when he saw it ten years earlier! On Tischendorf's SECOND TRIP to Mount Sinai in 1853, NEITHER THE OLD NOR THE NEW TESTAMENT PORTIONS OF THE MANUSCRIPT WERE THERE at the monastery. Then, on his THIRD TRIP -- voila -- there they are, and not only that, the New Testament portion is "WITHOUT THE SMALLEST DEFECT"! Something just doesn't add up!

It gets STRANGER yet -- in fact, almost BIZARRE:

"If the circumstances of the discovery and acquisition of this MS. have about them something romantic [strange would be a better word], the same may be said respecting the discussions which sprang from the CLAIM OF CONSTANTINE SIMONIDES THAT HE HIMSELF WAS THE WRITER. Simonides has long been known as an EXTREMELY CLEVER CALIGRAPHIST, and as having professed to be in possession of ancient MSS., palimpsests [manuscripts whose original text was scrapped off and written over with another text, OFTEN NOT BIBLICAL], and others, some of them containing the alleged works of writers whose names even had NEVER BEEN HEARD OF BEFORE...critical scholars were informed that Simonides CLAIMED TO BE THE WRITER HIMSELF OF THE WHOLE OF THE CODEX SINAITICUS. For some time, he and his friends circulated rumours on the subject, alleging that no confidence could be placed in Professor Tischendorf, who, they affirmed, HAD MISTAKEN A MS. OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY FOR ONE OF THE FOURTH; and at length, in the summer of 1862, Simonides professed that...the Codex Sinaiticus had been a work of his youth. It was written by him, he said, at Mount Atlas, in the years 1839 and 1840; and as soon as he saw, in 1860, the first facsimile published by Tischendorf in his 'Notitia,' he at once recognized it AS HIS OWN WORK..."

Simonides now gives his account of the story:

"The account given by Simonides is that, about the end of 1839, when living in Mount Atlas with his uncle, Benedict, head of the monastery of Panteleemon, it was the desire of his venerable relative to send some present to the Emperor of Russia. For this purpose, he wished to have prepared a vellum uncial MS. of the Old and New Testaments. Dionysius, the official calligrapher of the monastery, being afraid to undertake the task, SIMONIDES, AT HIS UNCLE'S REQUEST, BEGAN THE WORK, using a large book, containing much blank vellum, which they found. The text from which he copied was the MOSCOW EDITION OF THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS, altered on the authority of three ancient MSS. and the printed edition of CODEX ALEXANDRINUS. After finishing the Old and New Testaments, BARNABAS, and a portion of HERMAS, his stock of vellum was exhausted, and his uncle died. On this, he got the book bound, and disposed of it to Constantius, Archbishop of Sinai. To that place he says that, in 1844, the archbishop told him he sent the MS. There he says he saw it in 1852, although mutilated. Such was the STRANGE STORY of Simonides."

A strange story indeed! Even if the claims of Simonides are not true, the background of the Codex Sinaiticus is more than a little odd. I may be a suspicious fellow, but if a document came into my hands with a background like this, I would be somewhat DUBIOUS about its authenticity! Yet Herman Hoeh unabashedly uses this Codex to support his claims for the inclusion of the so-called missing verse of Matthew 27:49!

I'm not the only one dubious of such documents:

"The manuscript preferences cited in many CONTEMPORARY TRANSLATIONS of the New Testament are due to recent reliance on a RELATIVELY FEW manuscripts discovered in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Dependence on these manuscripts, especially two, the SINAITIC AND VATICAN MANUSCRIPTS, is due to the greater age of these documents. However, in spite of the age of the material, some scholars have shown reasons to DOUBT THE FAITHFULNESS OF THESE MANUSCRIPTS TO THE ORIGINAL TEXT, since they often DISAGREE WITH ONE ANOTHER and show OTHER SIGNS OF UNRELIABILITY" (The Holy Bible: The New King James Version, Thomas Nelson Publishers, N.Y. 1983. Preface p. V).

Nancy L. Kuehl, in her work A Book of Evidence: The Trials and Execution of Jesus, has this to say about the Codex Sinaiticus:

"Any careful Bible student cannot fail to notice thousands of mistranslations, many of them 'willful falsifications.' Over 14,500 alterations had been made to the Codex Sinaiticus by the time of Eusebius. This particular manuscript is thought to have been none other than one of the fifty Bibles prepared on vellum and ordered by Constantine himself. It is clear that the early [Catholic] church fathers held in contempt the Aramaic-Hebrew Gospels, probably because these texts did NOT deify Jesus" (Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, 2013, p. xxv).

The Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus

The other Codex used by Herman Hoeh to prove that the verse "But another taking a spear pierced His side, when blood and water came out," should be included in Matthew 27:49, is known as a PALIMPSEST. A palimpsest is a manuscript whose original text was SCRAPPED OFF AND WRITTEN OVER with another text. In a large number of cases the new text DOES NOT FOLLOW THE ORIGINAL and is frequently NOT BIBLICAL!

Tischendorf in 1841

Such is the Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus. Known as "C," it "originally contained the whole NT. Now, however, approximately half of every book is lacking and 2 Thessalonians and 2 John are entirely gone...SEVERAL HANDS HAVE CORRECTED the MS. Brought to Italy from the East in the 16th cent., it came to France with Catherine de' Medici and is now in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris." (The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, vol. 4. William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., p. 816).

"Minuscule" Proof!

The number of sources Hoeh claims has this "missing verse" in the text is MINUSCULE in comparison to the total number of manuscripts that have come down to us -- reportedly 13,600! If Hoeh's sources do indeed contain this verse, then only 0.18% of the total available manuscripts provide evidence of Hoeh's assertions! That's not what I would call overwhelming proof! I have not been able to check out ALL off Herman Hoeh's sources, but The Multilinear Translation of the New Testament, edited by Jay Green, states that the enigmatic verse was inserted into the text of Matthew by B (Codex Vaticanus) and OMITTED BY EVERY OTHER MANUSCRIPT IN EXISTENCE! (Sovereign Grace Book Club, Indiana. 1958, page 197).

The preface to the New King James Bible goes on to say:

"On the other hand, THE GREAT MAJORITY of existing manuscripts are in SUBSTANTIAL AGREEMENT. Even though many are later [than Codex Vaticanus and Sinaiticus], and none is earlier than the fifth century, most of their readings are VERIFIED by ancient papyri, ancient versions, and quotations in the writings of the early church fathers. This LARGE BODY of manuscripts is the source of the Greek text underlying the King James Bible [which omits Herman Hoeh's verse]. It is the Greek text USED BY GREEK-SPEAKING CHURCHES FOR MANY CENTURIES, presently known as the Textus Receptus, or RECEIVED TEXT, of the New Testament."

Convoluted Reasoning!

Herman Hoeh claims that the Greeks were given the responsibility by YEHOVAH God to preserve the New Testament in Greek, but makes AN EXCEPTION FOR THE EXCLUSION of the verse in Matthew 27:49!

Notice his convoluted reasoning:

"The BULK of Greek manuscripts has OFFICIALLY NOT INCLUDED this text [verse about spearing the Messiah] YET God has seen to it that the Greek people, who are RESPONSIBLE FOR PRESERVING THE BIBLE IN GREEK, have themselves left us the witness that this verse originally was in Matthew! [How? On the basis of the Codices Vaticanus, Sinaiticus and Ephraemi?] And EVEN THOUGH they have OFFICIALLY NOT APPROVED IT in their text since that day -- since around 510 to 511 A.D. -- NEVERTHELESS many Greek manuscripts [0.18%!!] that they copied still retain it."

Either the Greeks were given the responsibility to preserve accurately the New Testament, or they weren't! Herman Hoeh can't make an exception like this just to bolster his pet hypothesis! What biased and evasive reasoning! Notice how he skillfully maneuvers his way around to show that with YEHOVAH God's sanction the Greeks preserved this verse -- even though officially NOT approved by them!!

He goes on to say:

"It was still a marginal reading of the Greek text when the King James version was made!...But the translators THOUGHT IT BETTER TO LEAVE IT OUT! Thus, by the Greek's OWN ADMISSION this verse was in there till as late as 510 A.D. when they made the MISTAKE of removing it. HOWEVER, this does not mean they tampered with the REST OF THE BIBLE [just this one verse, evidently, to back up Hoeh's assertions!]. GOD COMMITTED THE NEW TESTAMENT TO THEIR CARE. But it does mean that when they did make this change, they were forced to leave us witness so that we might know what the true original reading of it is. NO OTHER VERSE HAS BEEN REMOVED BY THEM."

What incredible conceit! The Greeks did all this just for Herman Hoeh? Did you discern how SKILLFULLY Hoeh handled that? This man could MANIPULATE ANYTHING to suit his own purposes! Truly, another Herman L. Hoeh oxymoron!

The fact is -- the Greeks were NEVER given the responsibility of preserving the New Testament texts by YEHOVAH God! Writes Nancy L. Kuehl:

"It is not only suspected but well known among biblical scholars that the earliest narratives were, indeed, written in both Hebrew and Aramaic for a Hebrew Nazaraean audience. The so-called Gospel of the Hebrews (not to be confused with the Epistle to the Hebrews in our present canon) is believed to be the ORIGINAL text of the later Greek Matthew. 'Papias says that Matthew, the disciple, "put together the oracles of the Lord in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could."' In other words, since the 'oracles' were written in the Hebrew language for a Hebrew audience, the Gentiles had to interpret them, not in the Hebrew sense in which they were intended, but as their own culture and society dictated" (A Book of Evidence, p. xxv).

Kuehl goes on to say --

"It has become clear from the scrolls found in the Qumran caves and from the histories of Josephus that the most faithful and pious Jews did NOT use the Greek translation of the Tanach (Old Covenant), but instead used a text from an archaic form of Hebrew. The Jewish population in Jerusalem NEVER used it. They believed it was an 'abomination,' thinking it the worst thing that could have ever happened to their precious Holy Scriptures. Our present translations are based primarily on the Hellenistic Septuagint. It is important to note that neither Jesus nor his first-century contemporaries, used the Septuagint. It was through the dominance of Constantine's influence that our present canon emerged, some three centuries after Jesus....As a result of early Greek mistranslations we have texts that no longer bear the stamp of original intent borne by their writers. The chronicle of events in the gospels, already condensed and abbreviated, is now only confounded by errors in translation and both supposed and determined lengthy interpolations" (ibid., p. xxvi).

It has been clearly demonstrated that Hoeh's sources for justifying the inclusion of the "missing verse" are HIGHLY DUBIOUS at best! The VAST MAJORITY of manuscripts DO NOT include this verse; and the Textus Receptus (Received Text) used by the Greeks for centuries has omitted it. It can therefore be safely said that the verse in question is obviously SPURIOUS AND DOES NOT BELONG in the New Testament!

So, then, what caused the Messiah's early death? Psalm 22:16-18 gives us a clue -- notice!

"For dogs have surrounded me -- an assembly of evil doers have encircled me, they have pierced my hands and feet, I MAY TELL ALL MY BONES, THEY [his bones] LOOK FOR -- THEY [his bones] BEHOLD ME! They part my garments among them, and for my vestment they cast lots."

Explains Nancy L. Kuehl --

"The only manner in which a man's bones might view him is if they were no longer enclosed in flesh. We have no problem with the 'assembly of evil doers' nor the parting of the garments, but there is a very important discrepancy in wording here that has failed to receive close scrutiny. The word 'pierced' does NOT mean 'to pierce through.' The Hebrew word here is 'aryeh and is derived from the root 'arah. Those words literally mean 'to pluck away skin' as a young lion might maul and tear the flesh of a carcass, EXPOSING THE WHITENED BONES. Anyone who has been slapped by a cat knows that the skin is not pierced through but literally pulled away. A STONE, especially if sharp, would have the same effect as a lion's claw...crucifixion could not 'pluck' into the flesh and tear it away. Had the prophecy been meant to imply a puncturing of nail marks, the word daqar (as used in Zech. 12:10), 'to stab or thrust through,' would have been used instead....But it is the portion of the Psalm [22:17] that gives us the best evidence of STONING. Looking down upon his own body from the tree, the individual speaking in the Psalm sees his bones, and they behold him! The phrase would indicate that there is NO FLESH ON HIS BONES, that the skin had been removed from them. The wording is used to indicate that the bones are bared and stare back at him" (A Book of Evidence, p. 195).

For more information on the Messiah's sacrifice and the TRUE cause of his painful death, be sure to read our article, Did STONING Cause the Messiah's Early Death? 


Hope of Israel Ministries -- Preparing the Way for the Return of YEHOVAH God and His Messiah!

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