Archive for September, 2011

Blurb – Why do I do this?



That’s a good question.  Doing a blog like this does take some time and effort.  E.g., research.  It’s work.

I suppose there’s a number of reasons I do it:

1).  I like to think that by discovering a chiasmus, where a chiasmus exists, a person is getting closer to the mind of the original author.  I like that idea.  I like the idea of ‘getting into the authors head’.  Getting to his original intent.  His original vision.  Seeing – if you will – how he/she was thinking. 

2).  I like the beauty of chiasmi.  I find it aesthetically pleasing – just as, I’m sure, they did.  …  It’s nice stuff.  It’s artful.

3).  I like the process of discovery.  Looking for clues; working them through; finding the patterns.  It can be a bit of a challenge and I like that.

4).  I hope that others might find at least some of this pleasing and helpful. 


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From here.

I’ve turned his D/D’ center into a D/E/F/E’/D’ center. 


A    21  And they went^ into Capernaum;

B    and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and began to teach.  22  And they were amazed at His teaching; for He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

C    23  And just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,

D    24  saying, “What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us?

E    I know who You are– the Holy One of God!”

F’   25  And Jesus rebuked him,

E’   saying, “Be quiet,

D’   and come out of him!

C’   26  And throwing him into convulsions, the unclean spirit  /  cried out with a loud voice, and came out of him.

B’   27  And they were all amazed, so that they debated among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.

A’   28  And immediately the news about Him went out everywhere into all the surrounding district of Galilee.

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Here’s a site that asks people to send in their ‘symmetrical’ pics:


From David Stanfield, the site’s author:

I’ve found symmetry to be fascinating for as long as I can remember. Whether in nature and architecture, or textures and details, it has always drawn my eye.  …  I’ve decided to start keeping a photographic record of symmetrical instances that pop up in the day-in and day-out.

…  But it’s never as much fun to go it alone. I want your help! When you start looking for it, symmetry is everywhere.

E.g., Human Symmetry:

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Picture is from here.


The following chiasmus is from here.  I like it.  Some nice imagery.



A    8  “Listen! My beloved! Behold, he is coming, Climbing on the mountains, Leaping on the hills!

B    9  “My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.

C    [Me:  He is seeing her]    Behold, he is standing behind our wall, He is looking through the windows, He is peering  /  through the lattice.

D    10  “My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along.

E    11  ‘For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone.  12  ‘The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines,

F    And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.

E’   13  ‘The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance.

D’   Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!‘”

C’    [Me:  She wants to see him]    14  “O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, In the secret place of the steep pathway,    a    Let me see your form,    b    Let me hear your voice;    b’    For your voice is sweet,    a’    And your form is lovely.”

B’   15  “Catch the foxes for us, The little foxes that are ruining the vineyards, While our vineyards are in blossom.”  16  “My beloved is mine, and I am his; He pastures his flock among the lilies.  17  “Until the cool of the day when the shadows flee away, Turn, my beloved, and be like a gazelle Or a young stag

A’   on the mountains of Bether.”

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Blurb – Linked

Inthebeginning.org, a site with a nice selection of chiasmi, has placed my little chiasmus blog on their “Helpful Links” page.  Nice.  Thank you.

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B and B’ are interested.  In B, Jesus lists the final 6 of the ’10 commandments’.  In this list he places the 5th commandment (“Honor your father and mother”) in the 10th (last) position.  I think he does this to give it emphasis.  The commandment is given the final position in a list – a position of importance.  In B’, we find 2 small reflective chiasmi, where “father and mother” and “mother” are at the center of the chiasmi – once again, in a chiasmus, a position of emphasis.  …  In both B and B’, father and mother recieve positional emphasis.   In my opinion, this is, in part, because the author wants to emphasis the overall B/B’ chiastic match.    In both B and B’, the importance of mother and father are emphasized.  A match – and idea or theme – is made clearer. 

Related to the above, I do find it interesting that in the second mini-chiasmus in B’, “father” is left out.  I’m not sure how important this is.  For me, it’s at least interesting.  Why would Mark leave it out? 

The center section is strong.  God is needed when it comes to salvation.  I assume this is a reference to the need of the cross – the crux of the matter.



A    17  And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

B    18  And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.  19  “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'”  20  And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 

C    21  And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  22  But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property.

D    23  And Jesus, looking around, said^ to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!”  24  And the disciples were amazed at His words. 

But Jesus answered^ again and said^ to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!  25  “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”  26  And they were even more astonished and said to Him,

…  “Then who can be saved?”  27  Looking upon them, Jesus said^, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.”

C’   28  Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.” 

B’   29  Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left  (a)  house or  (b)  brothers or sisters or  (c)  mother or father or  (b’)  children or  (a’)  farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,  30  but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in the present age,  (a)  houses and  (b)  brothers and sisters and  (c)  mothers and  (b’)  children and  (a’)  farms, along with persecutions;

A’   and in the age to come, eternal life.

31  “But many who are  (a)  first, will be  (b)  last; and the  (b’)  last,  (a’)  first.”

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Here’s a chiasmus by Peter J. Leithart.  Here’s his break-down:

A. Observe statutes carefully in land, v. 1

B. Destroy Canaanite worship, vv. 2-4

C. Worship at central sanctuary, vv. 5-14

D. Meat and blood, vv. 15-18

E. Don’t neglect Levites, v. 19

D’. Meat and blood, vv. 20-25

C’. Worship at central sanctuary, vv. 26-28

B’. Beware Canaanite worship, vv. 29-31

A’. Be careful to do commands, v. 3



A    1  “These are the statutes and the judgments which you shall carefully observe in the land which the LORD, the God of your fathers, has given you to possess as long as you live on the earth.

B    2  “You shall utterly destroy all the places where the nations whom you shall dispossess serve their gods, on the high mountains and on the hills and under every green tree.  3  “And you shall tear down their altars and smash their sacred pillars and burn their Asherim with fire, and you shall cut down the engraved images of their gods, and you shall obliterate their name from that place.  4  “You shall not act like this toward the LORD your God.

C    5  “But you shall seek the LORD at the place which the LORD your God shall choose from all your tribes, to establish His name there for His dwelling, and there you shall come.  6  “And there you shall bring your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the contribution of your hand, your votive offerings, your freewill offerings, and the first-born of your herd and of your flock.  7  “There also you and your households shall eat before the LORD your God, and rejoice in all your undertakings in which the LORD your God has blessed you.  8  “You shall not do at all what we are doing here today, every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes;  9  for you have not as yet come to the resting place and the inheritance which the LORD your God is giving you.  10  “When you cross the Jordan and live in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies around you so that you live in security,  11  then it shall come about that the place in which the LORD your God shall choose for His name to dwell, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution of your hand, and all your choice votive offerings which you will vow to the LORD.  12  “And you shall rejoice before the LORD your God, you and your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates, since he has no portion or inheritance with you.  13  “Be careful that you do not offer your burnt offerings in every cultic place you see,  14  but in the place which the LORD chooses in one of your tribes, there you shall offer your burnt offerings, and there you shall do all that I command you.

D    15  “However, you may slaughter and eat meat within any of your gates, whatever you desire, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you; the unclean and the clean may eat of it, as of the gazelle and the deer.  16  “Only you shall not eat the blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water.  17  “You are not allowed to eat within your gates the tithe of your grain, or new wine, or oil, or the first-born of your herd or flock, or any of your votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the contribution of your hand.  18  “But you shall eat them before the LORD your God in the place which the LORD your God will choose, you and your son and daughter, and your male and female servants, and the Levite who is within your gates; and you shall rejoice before the LORD your God in all your undertakings.

E    19  “Be careful that you do not forsake the Levite as long as you live in your land.

D’   20  “When the LORD your God extends your border as He has promised you, and you say, ‘I will eat meat,’ because you desire to eat meat, then you may eat meat, whatever you desire.  21  “If the place which the LORD your God chooses to put His name is too far from you, then you may slaughter of your herd and flock which the LORD has given you, as I have commanded you; and you may eat within your gates whatever you desire.  22  “Just as a gazelle or a deer is eaten, so you shall eat it; the unclean and the clean alike may eat of it.  23  “Only be sure not to eat the blood, for the blood is the life, and you shall not eat the life with the flesh.  24  “You shall not eat it; you shall pour it out on the ground like water.  25  “You shall not eat it, in order that it may be well with you and your sons after you, for you will be doing what is right in the sight of the LORD.

C ‘   26  “Only your holy things which you may have and your votive offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the LORD chooses.  27  “And you shall offer your burnt offerings, the flesh and the blood, on the altar of the LORD your God; and the blood of your sacrifices shall be poured out on the altar of the LORD your God, and you shall eat the flesh.  28  “Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, in order that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God.

B’   29  “When the LORD your God cuts off before you the nations which you are going in to dispossess, and you dispossess them and dwell in their land,  30  beware that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, ‘How do these nations serve their gods, that I also may do likewise?’  31  “You shall not behave thus toward the LORD your God, for every abominable act which the LORD hates they have done for their gods; for they even burn their sons and daughters in the fire to their gods.

A’   32  “Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it.

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From here, p. 109-110.


Jacob Milgrom describes an example of a large-scale chiastic structure in the narrative at Taberah (Num. 11:4-34):

A. People’s complaint: meat (vv. 4-10a)

     B. Moses’ complaint: assistance (vv. 10b-15)

          C. God’s answer to both complaints (vv. 16-24a)

     B’. God authorizes elders; diminishes Moses (vv. 24b-30)

A’. God supplies meat: punishes complainers (vv. 31-34)

***  J. Milgrom:  The JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1990) p. 420.



I think the above does a nice job of describing the chiasmus. 

I would just point out that C is also in a chiastic relationship with A/B.  In C, God first gives an answer for B and then gives an answer for A. 

C gives an answer to the problems voiced in A/B.  B’/A’ puts the answer into action.


A    4  And the rabble who were among them had greedy desires; and also the sons of Israel wept again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat?  5  “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic,  6  but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna.”  7  Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its appearance like that of bdellium.  8  The people would go about and gather it and grind it between two millstones or beat it in the mortar, and boil it in the pot and make cakes with it; and its taste was as the taste of cakes baked with oil.  9  And when the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.  10  Now Moses heard the people weeping throughout their families, each man at the doorway of his tent; and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly,

B    and Moses was displeased.  11  So Moses said to the LORD, “Why hast Thou been so hard on Thy servant? And why have I not found favor in Thy sight, that Thou hast laid the burden of all this people on me?  12  “Was it I who conceived all this people? Was it I who brought them forth, that Thou shouldest say to me, ‘Carry them in your bosom as a nurse carries a nursing infant, to the land which Thou didst swear to their fathers’?  13  “Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me, saying, ‘Give us meat that we may eat!’  14  “I alone am not able to carry all this people, because it is too burdensome for me.  15  “So if Thou art going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Thy sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”

C    (B’)  16  The LORD therefore said to Moses, “Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you.  17  “Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you shall not bear it all alone.  (A’)  18  “And say to the people, ‘Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the ears of the LORD, saying, “Oh that someone would give us meat to eat! For we were well-off in Egypt.” Therefore the LORD will give you meat and you shall eat.  19  ‘You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days,  20  but a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you; because you have rejected the LORD who is among you and have wept before Him, saying, “Why did we ever leave Egypt?”‘”  21  But Moses said, “The people, among whom I am, are 600,000 on foot; yet Thou hast said, ‘I will give them meat in order that they may eat for a whole month.’  22  “Should flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to be sufficient for them? Or should all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to be sufficient for them?”  23  And the LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”  24  So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD.

B’   Also, he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and stationed them around the tent.  25  Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And it came about that when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again.  26  But two men had remained in the camp; the name of one was Eldad and the name of the other Medad. And the Spirit rested upon them (now they were among those who had been registered, but had not gone out to the tent), and they prophesied in the camp.  27  So a young man ran and told Moses and said, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”  28  Then Joshua the son of Nun, the attendant of Moses from his youth, answered and said, “Moses, my lord, restrain them.”  29  But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”  30  Then Moses returned to the camp, both he and the elders of Israel.

A’   31  Now there went forth a wind from the LORD, and it brought quail from the sea, and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journey on this side and a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about two cubits deep on the surface of the ground.  32  And the people spent all day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail (he who gathered least gathered ten homers) and they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.  33  While the meat was still between their teeth, before it was chewed, the anger of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD struck the people with a very severe plague.  34  So the name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had been greedy.

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