Analysis of Hebrew Poetry

Analysis of Hebrew Poetry

  • Submitted By: josephamante
  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2009 10:29 PM
  • Category: Science
  • Words: 616
  • Page: 3
  • Views: 1892


The Psalm has two main strophes or stanzas:
Stylistic considerations support a division into two strophes
• The double occurrence of the divine name “Adonai” in vv. 1-2 is matched in vv. 4-5
• The first strophe is characterized by the repetition of the pronominal suffix “your” in vv 1-3, which is echoed in the second strophe by a single occurrence.
• The second strophe is marked by the fourfold repetition of the preposition “al” in vv. 4-7.

In style and content, it is similar to sayings of the prophets. The psalm has two parts. Each opened by formula for introducing oracular sayings of the prophets.
• The Lord says… (v1)
• The Lord has sworn… (v4)

A study of the psalm’s vocabulary and style within the Northwest Semitic ambience brings to light new words in vs 1 (ád, “seat”), 2 (slh, “to forge”), 3 (‘ammeka’, “your Strong One”), 7 (derek, “throne”), and figures of speech such as chiasmus and the balance of concrete with abstract nouns in v3 and multiple inclusions which bind the final v7 to v1.

A curious feature is the frequency of names of parts of the body. The poet mentions “right hands” (v1,5), “feet” (v1), “his wrath” (v5, ‘appo, originally “his nostril”) (vs 1,5), “routed” (v6, the proposed reading yédanneb being derived from dnb, “tail”), “corpses” (v6), and the “head” (v6-7).

D.N. Freedman has strikingly obseverd that each stanza contains 74 syllables:
v1 – (7:4:7:6) - 24 syllables
v2 – (7:7) - bicolon
v3 – (10:8:8:10)
--- a total over all of 74 syllables

v4 – (9:7:80 - tricolon
v5-7 17:19:13 or 14 (if we read roso) with a total of 50;
---- sum total of the second stanza is thus 74, just mathing strophe 1. from these figures based on MT flows the conclusion that the text is basically intact, at least so far as the meter is concerned.

Verse by verse commentary:...

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