Archive for July, 2011


Here’s a chiasmus by Dr. Daniel Newman.  His blog is Ad Trinitatum.    Once again, a deserving center.  Nice.

I’ve surrounded the chiasmus with a few extra verses to give it some context.



6:1  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Now you shall see what I will do to Pharaoh; for under compulsion he shall let them go, and under compulsion he shall drive them out of his land.”  2  God spoke further to Moses and said to him,

A    “I am the LORD;

B    3  and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them.  4  “And I also established My covenant with them, to give them  the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned.

C    5  “And furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage; and I have remembered My covenant.  6  “Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the LORD,  /  and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.

D    7  ‘Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God;

C’    and you shall know that I am the LORD your God,  /  who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

B’    8  ‘And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you  /  for a possession;

A’   I am the LORD.'”

9  So Moses spoke thus to the sons of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses on account of their despondency and cruel bondage.  10  Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  11  “Go, tell Pharaoh king of Egypt to let the sons of Israel go out of his land.”  12  But Moses spoke before the LORD, saying, “Behold, the sons of Israel have not listened to me; how then will Pharaoh listen to me, for I am unskilled in speech?”  13  Then the LORD spoke to Moses and to Aaron, and gave them a charge to the sons of Israel and to Pharaoh king of Egypt, to bring the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt.


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The center emphasizes Moses’ sacrifice (a fast) as well as a description of the two tablets given by God to Moses, written by the finger of God – a holy relationship.  In contrast to the strong center, the outside sections focus on the peoples’ stubbornness and rebelliousness.  God’s good actions are surrounded by ‘the peoples” bad actions.  ‘Holiness’ is surrounded by ‘evil’.

Is this a picture of God’s grace?  …  In spite of the peoples’ failings before and after, God nevertheless holds fast and gives the Law. 

Or, perhaps it demonstrate exactly why the people need the Law (E) – they have a tendency to wander without it (act rebelliously (B) and corruptly (B’)). 

…  They’re a stubborn people (A/A’).

Like us. 


It’s also possible I suppose that the author chose to put this story in the shape of a chiasmus because a chiasmus in a way reflects the georaphy of the story.  The people at the base of the mountain rebelling  (the outsides of the chiasmus)…  The law being given at the top of the mountain (the center – peak – of the chiasmus). 


Hmmm.  Maybe.


A    6  “Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people.

B    7  “Remember, do not forget how you provoked the LORD your God to wrath in the wilderness; from the day that you left the land of Egypt until you arrived at this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.  8  “Even at Horeb you provoked the LORD to wrath, and the LORD was so angry with you that He would have destroyed you.

C    9  “When I went up to the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant which the LORD had made with you,

D    then I remained on the mountain forty days and nights;

E    I neither ate bread nor drank water.  —  10  “And the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone written by the finger of God; and on them were all the words which the LORD had spoken with you at the mountain from the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly.

D’   11  “And it came about at the end of forty days and nights

C’   that the LORD gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant.

B’   12  “Then the LORD said to me, ‘Arise, go down from here quickly, for your people whom you brought out of Egypt have acted corruptly. They have quickly turned aside from the way which I commanded them; they have made a molten image for themselves.’

A’   13  “The LORD spoke further to me, saying, ‘I have seen this people, and indeed, it is a stubborn people.

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Here’s a chiasmus from the site How the Bible Fits Together:

I’ve changed the center from a double to a single. 

I rather like the center.  The idea of a ‘turning hinge’ seems fitting for the center of a chiasmus, since a chiasmus does just that:  ‘turns at its center’.  Nice touch by its author.


A    10 Like an   archer   who wounds everyone,  /  so is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.

B    11 Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly.

C    12 Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

D    13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road! A lion is in the open square!”

E    14 As the door turns on its hinges, So does the sluggard on his bed.

D’   15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; He is weary of bringing it to his mouth again.

C’   16 The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can give a discreet answer.

B’   17 Like one who takes a dog by the ears is he who passes by and meddles with strife not belonging to him.

A’   18 Like a madman who throws firebrands,   arrows   and death, 19  /  So is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, “Was I not joking?”

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From here, with some changes.


A    1 The elder to the chosen lady

B    and her children,

C    whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 2 for the sake of the truth which abides in us / and will be with us forever: 3 Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

D    4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth,

E    just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 5 And now I ask you, lady, not as writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning,

F    that we love one another.

F’   6 And this is love,

E’   that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning,

D’   that you should walk in it.

C’   7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, / he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds.

B’   (12 Having many things to write to you, I do not want to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that your joy may be made full.) 

13 The children

A’ of your chosen sister greet you.

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I came across a chiasmus for Philemon at the blog “studywithme” the other day.  It was posted by Joey Wulf.  It inspired me to take a look at Philemon myself.  Joey’s chiasmus has 10 parts and a double center.  My attempt has 17 parts and a single center.

John Paul Heil has also produced a chiasmus for Philemon, which can be found here and here.  John’s chiasmus has 9 parts and a single center. 

It seems to me that, at the very least, Philemon is chiastic. 

Like it. 

Interesting center.


A    1   Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker,  2  and to Apphia our sister, and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:  3  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

B    4  I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers,  5  because I hear of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints;  6  and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. 

C    7  For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you, brother.

D    8  Therefore, though I have enough confidence in Christ to order you to do that which is proper, 

E    9  yet for love’s sake I rather appeal to you— since I am such a person as Paul, the aged, and now also a prisoner of Christ Jesus–

F    10  I appeal to you for my child, whom I have begotten in my imprisonment, Onesimus,  11  who formerly was useless to you,  /  but now is useful  /  both to you and to me

G    12  And I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart,

H    13  whom I wished to keep with me, that in your behalf he might minister to me in my imprisonment for the gospel,

I    14  but without your consent I did not want to do anything, that your goodness should not be as it were by compulsion, but of your own free will.

H’   15  For perhaps he was for this reason parted from you for a while,

G’   that you should have him back forever, 

F’   16  no longer as a slave,  /  but more than a slave, a beloved brother,  /  especially to me, but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

E’   [Me: The appeal:]  17  If then you regard me a partner, accept him as you would me.  /  18  But if he has wronged you in any way, or owes you anything, charge that to my account;  19  I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand, I will repay it

D’    (lest I should mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well).

C’   20  Yes, brother, let me benefit from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in Christ. 

B’   21  Having confidence in your obedience, I write to you, since I know that you will do even more than what I say.  22  And at the same time also prepare me a lodging; for I hope that through your prayers I shall be given to you.

A’   23  Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, greets you,  24  as do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, Luke, my fellow workers.  25  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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Here’s a nice little chiasmus from the blog “Jason’s Exodus“.  The center makes a nice point.  Onesiphorus was not ashamed of Paul’s imprisonment – and Timothy shouldn’t be either.

A    15  You are aware of the fact

B    that all who are in Asia

   [Me:  contrast:]  turned away from me – among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes.

D    16  The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus

E    for he often refreshed me,

F    and was not ashamed of my chains;

E’   17  but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me, and found me

D’   18  the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day–

C’   [Me:  contrast]  the services he rendered

B’   at Ephesus  [Jason:  “the chief city in Asia],

A’   you know very well.

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I thought I would add a new category to my blog:  Blurbs.  These will be relatively short, informal, diverse thoughts regarding my blog and chiasmi in general. 

This is my first blurb  …  we’ll see how the they go.  😉

At the beginning I was primarily blogging my own chiastic discoveries, but lately I’ve been posting chiasmi by others.  I think this will be the trend for the future.

My ‘lot’ – which had been developed over a number of years – has been blown.

Of course, I could always discover some more.  🙂

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