Archive for December, 2010


1  (For the choir director. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.)


(1)  Hear this,  (2)  all peoples;  (1′)  Give ear,  (2′)  all inhabitants of the world, 

(a)  2  Both  (b) low and (c) high(c’) Rich and  (b’) poor  (a’)  together. 

(1)  3  My mouth  (2)  will speak wisdom(1′)  And the meditation of my heart  (2′)  will be understanding

(a)  4  I will incline my ear  (b)  to a proverb;  (b’)  I will express my riddle  (a’)  on the harp.

B    5  Why should I fear in days of adversity, When the iniquity of my foes surrounds me,  6  Even those who trust in their wealth, And boast in the abundance of their riches?

C    7  No man can by any means redeem his brother, Or give to God a ransom for him–  8  For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever–

D    9  That he should live on eternally; That he should not undergo decay.

E    10  For he sees that even wise men die;

F    The stupid and the senseless alike perish,

G    And leave their wealth to others.

H    11  Their inner thought is, that their houses are forever,

I    And their dwelling places to all generations;

H’    They have called their lands after their own names.

G’    2 But man in his pomp will not endure;

F’    He is like the beasts that perish.

E’    13  This is the way of those who are foolish, And of those after them who approve their words.  Selah.

D’    14  As sheep they are appointed for Sheol; Death shall be their shepherd; And the upright shall rule over them in the morning; And their form shall be for Sheol to consume, so that they have no habitation.

C’    15  But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; For He will receive me. Selah.

B’    16  Do not be afraid when a man becomes rich, When the glory of his house is increased;  17  For when he dies he will carry nothing away; His glory will not descend after him.  18  Though while he lives he congratulates himself– And though men praise you when you do well for yourself–  19  He shall go to the generation of his fathers; They shall never see the light.

A’    20  Man in his pomp, yet without understanding, Is like the beasts that perish.


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Help, LORD!!!!!


i For the godly man ii ceases to be,

i for the faithful ii disappear

…  from among the sons of men.




a 2  They speak

b falsehood

c to one another;

b’ (a) With flattering lips and with a double heart

a’ (b) they speak:


a (b’) 3  May the LORDcut off

b (a’) all flattering lips,

c the tongue that speaks great things;

d[Those] who have said,

c’ “With our tongue we will prevail;

b’ our lips are our own;

a’ who is lord over us?”



i 5  “Because of the devastation ii of the afflicted,

i’ because of the groaning ii’ of the needy,

…  Now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.




i 6  The words of the LORD  ii are pure words;

i As silver  ii tried in a furnace on the earth,

…  refined seven times


i Thou, O LORD,  ii wilt keep them;

i’ Thou ii wilt preserve him

…  from this generation forever.



i 8  The wicked ii strut about on every side,

i’ When vileness ii’ is exalted

…  among the sons of men.



I think this chiasmus can be read helically quite nicely.  That is, read in this order:  A to A’ to B to B’ to C (from the first match to the second match to the center).  I think a helical read gives the Psalm a nice flow.

This is an interesting little chiasmus.  Note how sections A, A’, B’, and C all begin with an a, b, a’, b’ parallelism followed by an extra phrase or line.  But section B breaks this pattern, with it’s double mini-chiasmi.  I wonder why? Is the author trying to emphasize this section?  Perhaps emphasizing the ‘crimes’ of the wicked:  lying, pride, and the dismissal of God?

C makes for a nice strong center.  It ties in the opening line, “Help, Lord!” (which stands outside the chiasmus).  Because of the devastation of the wicked and the groaning of the needy God will arise and give His petitioners their safety.  At the center of the chiasmus we find God’s answer.  He arises and acts.

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Paul and Silvanus and Timothy to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.  2  We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers;  3  constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father,  4  knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you.


5  For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake.  6  You also became imitators of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit,  7  so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.  8  For the word of the Lord has sounded forth from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith toward God has gone forth, so that we have no need to say anything.  9  For they themselves report about us what kind of a reception we had with you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve a living and true God,  10  and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come.  2:1  For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain, 2  but after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi, as you know, we had the boldness in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.

C    3  For our exhortation does not come from error or impurity or by way of deceit;  4  but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men but God, who examines our hearts.

D    5  For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed God is witness — 6  nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority.  7  But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

E    8  Having thus a fond affection for you, we were well-pleased:

a   to impart to you not only the gospel of God

b   but also our own lives,


b’  9  For you recall, brethren, our labor and hardship, how working night and day so as not to be a burden to any of you,

a’  we proclaimed to you the gospel of God.

D’   10  You are witnesses, and so is God, how devoutly and uprightly and blamelessly we behaved toward you believers;  11  just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children12  so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.

C’   13  And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted itnot as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.


14  For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you also endured the same sufferings at the hands of your own countrymen, even as they did from the Jews,  15  who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets, and drove us out.  They are not pleasing to God, but hostile to all men,  16  hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved; with the result that they always fill up the measure of their sins. But wrath has come upon them to the utmost.


17  But we, brethren, having been bereft of you for a short while– in person, not in spirit– were all the more eager with great desire to see your face.  18  For we wanted to come to you– I, Paul, more than once– and yet Satan thwarted us.  19  For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  20  FOR YOU ARE OUR GLORY AND JOY!




–  1 Thessalonians is generally thought to be the first N.T. and Pauline writing.  It’s interesting that the first N.T. writing may have begun with a chiasmus.

–  In this chiasmus Paul, Sylvanus and Timothy (henceforth PST) use what I like to call ‘triple lists’.  That is, they group some of their ideas into three’s.  I believe they do this eight (or nine) times throughout this chiasmus.  The eight occasions can be found above.  They are in italicized and underlined

–  The triple lists seem to be absent following the chiasmus for a couple of chapters or so.  They do seem to reappear near the end of 1 Thessalonians. 

–  It seems as though the triple lists are an intended and integral part of the chiasmus.  They seem to be part of the author’s artistry.

–  The presence of triple lists in 1 Thess. 1-2 help to delineate the chiasmus.  That is, throughout the chiasmus, PST use triple lists.  When the chiasmus ends, the triple lists essentially end.  This helps us to see where the chiasmus lies:  beginning to end.  It’s where the triple lists exist.

–  The way the chiasmus begins and ends also helps to delineate where the chiasmus lies.  It begins with greetings.  A natural way to open.  It ends by referring to Jesus’ 2nd coming – looking to the future – the end game, if you will, in Christian thought, hope, and history.  The chiasmus ends well – in a reasonable way.


–  A/A’:


–  These sections are all about PST trying to connect with the Thessalonians.  A contains a fairly typical greeting:  ‘grace … peace … thanks … prayers’.  Here the connection between PST and the Thessalonians is being made by letter.  But this connection was not ideal.  Ideally, PST (or at least Paul) would have liked to connect in person – as mentioned in A’.  Because the ‘in person’ connecting was thwarted by Satan, a letter eventually became the ‘connecting’ reality.

–  The idea of connecting is continued in A’.  Ultimately an in-person connection will be made at Jesus’ second coming. 

–  In summary, we have  3 forms of connecting in A/A’:  attempts to connect in person in the past;  a connection by letter in the present; and the hope of an ultimate connection in the future.

–  It should be noted though A is not actually about connecting.  Here PST notes 3 important aspects of the Thessalonians’ life and experience:  faith, hope, and love (a triple list!).  In my opinion, these 3 items are of primary concern for PST, and will form the subject matter for the central portion of 1 Thessalonians.  In other words, PST tells us right up front what to expect later in their letter. 


Word matches:

–  Both A and A’ mention Paul.   In A, Paul is mentioned first, while in A’, Paul is singled out. 

–  Both sections have a triple list that includes the word ‘hope’.  A has “… faith, … love, … hope“, while A’ has  “hope … joy … crown of exultation” (is there a chiastic relationship here?). 

–  Both sections use the word ‘presence‘.  In A, ‘presence’ is related to “God the Father” while in A’, ‘presence’ is connected to the “Lord Jesus Christ”.  

–  The word ‘presence’ is used 4 times in 1 Thessalonians (7 times overall in Paul’s writings).  Besides A and A’, ‘presence’ is also used twice in 3:9-13 – both times in a very similar way as they are used in A/A’.  I would say that in 3:9-13, PST have combined the ideas in A/A’.  Perhaps confirming the intended A/A’ connection?

–  Both sections use the phrase “Lord Jesus Christ”  (A:  1:1, 1:3;  A’:  2:9).  In A it is used twice .   The phrase is not used elsewhere in the chiasmus. 

–  Interestingly, as with the word ‘presence’ above, the phrase “Lord Jesus Christ” also appears twice in 3:9-13, again, perhaps confirming PST’s the A/A’ connection (“Lord Jesus Christ” also appears 3 times near the end of 1 Thessalonians (5:9, 23, 28).  There’s a sense in which the phrase is used at the beginning and end within 1 Thessalonians – e.g., of the chiasmus, and the letter overall.

–  It’s interesting then to see these 2 sections end with a flurry of similarities (triple lists, hope, presence, Lord Jesus Christ):

–  A: “… constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father …”

–  A’:  “For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?”





To be contined …


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Chiasmus Pic


Symmetry in Life

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15  Because you have said,

A     1    “We have made a covenant with death,

2    And with Sheol we have made a pact.

3    The overwhelming scourge

4    will not reach us when it passes by,

    1    For we have made falsehood our refuge

2    and we have concealed ourselves with deception.”

   16  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, “Behold,  (a)  I am laying in Zion  (b)  a stone,  (c)  a tested stone(c’)  a costly cornerstone  (b’)  for the foundation,  (a’)  firmly placed.

D    He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

C’   17  “And I will make justice the measuring line, And righteousness the level;

B’    1    Then hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies,

   And the waters shall overflow the secret place.

A’    1    18  “And your covenant with death shall be canceled,

2    And your pact with Sheol shall not stand;

3    When the overwhelming scourge passes through,

   Then you become its trampling place.

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A    (i)   21  How the faithful city    (ii)    has become a harlot,

B    (i’)    (a)    (a)    She    (b)    who was full    (c)    of justice!    (c’)    Righteousness    (b’)    once lodged    (a’)    in her,    (ii’)    (b)    but now murderers.

C    22   Your silver has become dross,  your drink diluted with water.

D      i   23   Your rulers are rebels, and companions of thieves;  /  everyone loves a bribe, and chases after rewards   [my interjection: bribes and rewards typically placed in a person’s hand?]

E      a    They

b    do not defend

c    the orphan,

c’   Nor does the widow’s plea 

b’   come before

a’   them.

D’   24  Therefore the Lord GOD of hoststhe Mighty One of Israel   declares, “Ah, I will be relieved of My adversaries, and avenge Myself on My foes.  /  25  “I will also turn My hand against you,

C’   And will smelt away your dross as with lye,  and will remove all your alloy.

B’    (b’?)    26  “Then I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning;    (a’?)    after that you will be called the city of righteousness,

A’   A faithful city.”

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