Pick a Psalm

For this discussion, we’ll take the exercise that we did in class and get a bit more practice.  Choose a Psalm, identify its parallels (along with what kind they are), and make a note of any other poetic devices like chiasm or merismus.  But, hurry because there aren’t that many really short ones ;-).

Hint: one of the ones we talked about in class is the shortest chapter in the entire Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

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About Jeremy

I work at Holy Ghost Catholic Church in Hammond, LA. I teach part-time classes from time to time, through Loyola University in New Orleans, Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans and St. Joseph's Abbey and Seminary College. I also just finished a doctoral degree in Biblical languages through the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa.
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3 Responses to Pick a Psalm

  1. Paige Hinrichs says:

    I chose to analyze Psalm 133, the one from the beginning of class. Even though there are only three verses, the psalm had many examples of parallelism and other poetic devices.
    In the first parallel of the psalm (“how … unity!”), there is an example of synonymous parallelism with the two words “kindred” and “unity,” because the words share a similar definition – “of similar kind.”
    The second parallel of the psalm (“It is like the precious oil … robes.”) is an example of a chiasm, with references to parts of the upper body. The first line says “head” (A), the second and third lines say “beard” (B), and the fourth line says “collar” (C), giving the chiasm pattern of ABBC. I find it interesting (and probably intentional) that emphasis is put on beard, a sign of wisdom on a man.
    In the third parallel of the psalm (“it is like the dew … forevermore.”) there is an example of both antithetical parallelism and a merismus when comparing Zion and Hermon, two mountain that are at opposite ends of the Holy Land. Also, the third parallel has synthetic parallelism because “for there the lord ordained his blessing” expands upon the mention of Zion and Hermon.
    Lastly, I believe that there is an inclusio from the beginning of the second parallel (“It is like the precious oil…”) until the end of the third parallel (… forevermore.”) with reference to oil and being ordained, because holy oils are used in important sacraments (i.e.. being ordained), so the two reference to each other.

  2. Alex Hall says:

    Psalm 134 has a few examples of parallels. The first is an Inclusio that encompasses a majority of the psalm (2 of 3 verses). Verse one begins with the words “Come, bless the Lord”, and the second verse ends with the words “bless the Lord.” There is also a synthetic Parallelism connecting verses 2 and 3. Verse 2 describes God’s location as “the holy place”. Verse three expands on that description by saying “May the Lord…. bless you from Zion.” This parallelism names God’s holy place as Zion.

  3. Jessica Williams says:

    Psalms 132
    Synonymous
    “How he sware unto the Lord, and vowed unto the mighty God of Jacob”
    “I will not give sleep to mine eyes, or slumber to my eyelids”
    “Until I find out a place for the Lord, a habitation for the mighty God of Jacob”

    Antithetical
    “His enemies I will clothe with shame, but upon himself shall his crown flourish”

    Synthetic
    Lo, we heard of it at Epithat, we found it in the fields of wood”
    I will abundantly bless her provision, I will satisfy her poor with bread.

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