Archive for the ‘Isaiah’ Category


Isaiah 56 contains two chiasmi.  In the first chiasmus notice the reversal of the terms:  foreigner – eunuch – eunuch – foreigner (B-C-C’-B’).  The second chiasmus is pretty straight forward. 

There does seem to be a contrast between the two chiasmi.  The first chiasmus is positive towards the social outsider (foreigner/eunuch) while the second is negative (hostile?) towards the social insider (watchmen/shepherds). 

A similar thing can be found, e.g., in Mark 3, regarding Jesus.  Jesus championed the social ‘outsider’ while critiquing the social ‘insider’.  Both Isaiah and Jesus used their prophetic offices as platforms for social commentary.  Both could be quite bold in both thought and language.


Chiasmus 1:


a    1  Thus says the LORD, “Preserve justice, and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.

b    2  “How blessed is the man who does this, And the son of man who takes hold of it; Who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”

B    3  Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, “The LORD will surely separate me from His people.”

C    Neither let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”

C’   4  For thus says the LORD, “To the eunuchs

b’   who keep My sabbaths, And choose what pleases Me, And hold fast My covenant,

a’   5  To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, And a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.

B’   6  “Also the foreigners

b’’  who join themselves to the LORD, To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath, And holds fast My covenant;

a’’ Even those I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”

A’   8  The Lord GOD, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, “Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”


Chiasmus 2:


1    9  All you beasts of the field, All you beasts in the forest,

2    Come to eat.

B    10  His watchmen are blind, All of them know nothing.

C    All of them are dumb dogs unable to bark,

D    Dreamers lying down,

D’   who love to slumber;

C’   11  And the dogs are greedy, they are not satisfied.

B’   And they are shepherds who have no understanding;


1    They have all turned to their own way, Each one to his unjust gain, to the last one.

2    12  “Come,” they say, “let us get wine, and let us drink heavily of strong drink;

And tomorrow will be like today, only more so.”


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Nice Center!


1  The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.  2  Now it will come about that In the last days, The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills;  And all the nations will stream to it.  3  And many peoples will come and say,

A     “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,

B    to the house of the God of Jacob;

C    that He may teach us concerning His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.”  For the law will go forth from Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem

D    4  And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples;

E    And they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks.

D’   Nation will not lift up sword against nation,

C’   And never again will they learn war.

B’   5  House of Jacob,

A’   come, and let us walk in the light of the LORD.

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(Picture from here)


   3:1  For behold, the Lord GOD / of hosts   

b    is going to remove from Jerusalem and Judah


Both  (1)  supply and  (2)  support,

a    (1′)    the whole supply of bread, And the whole supply of water

b   (2′)    The mighty man and the warrior, the judge and the prophet, the diviner and the elder,  3  the captain of fifty and the honorable man, the counselor and the expert artisan, and the skillful enchanter.

C    4  And I will make mere lads their princes And capricious children  /  will rule over them,

D    5  And the people will be oppressed  –  each one by another, and each one by his neighbor;

C’   The youth will storm against the elder, And the inferior against the honorable.


b’    6  When a man lays hold of his brother in his father’s house, saying, “You have a cloak, you shall be our ruler, And these ruins will be under your charge,”  7  On that day will he protest, saying, “I will not be your healer,

a’    For in my house there is neither bread  / nor cloak; You should not appoint me ruler of the people.”


b’    8  For Jerusalem has stumbled, and Judah has fallen,    

a’    because their speech and their actions are against the LORD, to rebel against His glorious presence.




– Comments:

–  A and A’ have a chiastic relationship:  A (a, b), A’ (b’, a’).

–  Matches:

–  Both  Aa and A’a’ refer to the Lord God, or Lord.  Both references seem to refer as well to ‘others’ – perhaps in God’s presence (Lord of hosts, to rebel against His glorious presence).

–  Both Ab and A’b’ refer to Jerusalem and Judah.


–  Comments: 

–  B and B’ have a chiastic relationship:  B (a, b), B’ (b’, a’).

–  B uses parallelism:  (1) supply, (2) support, (1′) examples of supply, (2′) examples of support

–  B’ could also be broken down as a chiasmus:  A:  cloak, ruler, negative: I will not be your healer … B:  bread … A’:  cloak, ruler, negative: You shall not apoint me ruler.

–  Matches:

–  Both Ba and B’a’ mention bread.

–  Both Bb and B’b’ refer to the issue of leadership.  Bb gives many examples of leadership positions, while B’b’ gives only one (healer).


–  In C and C’, society’s hierarchy is turned upside-down.  Those who should not rule, will rule – the young will rule over their elders.


–  In D, the specificity of  C/C’ is lost.  Generality wins the day (and the chiasmus’s center):  “And the people will be oppressed  –  each one by another, and each one by his neighbor”.  …  In other words, even the idea of the young ruling over the elders is abandoned.  ‘Ruling’ (and order) seems to be abandoned completely.   Anyone can ‘oppress’ anyone.  

Chaos rules.

Judgement on Jerusalem and Judah (A/A’) is complete.

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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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In this entry I’ll be placing lots of small chiasmi.  Small chiasmi are not my primary focus so it may take some time to ‘fill this up’.




Old Testament:



A    God created man

B    in His own image,

B’   in the image of God

A’   He created him


A    This is the account of the heavens

B    and the earth

C    when they were created,

C’   in the day that the LORD God made

B’   earth

A’   and heaven.


A    8  But Noah  /  found favor

B    in the eyes of the Lord

C    9  These are the records of the generations of Noah.

D    Noah was a righteous man,

D’   blameless

C’   in his time  [Me: ‘among his peers’];

B’   with God

A’   Noah  / walked


A    “Whoever sheds

B    the blood

C    of man

C’   by man

B’   his blood

A’   shall be shed …”


Therefore he  [Me: Pharoah]  treated Abram well for her  [Me: Sarai’s]  sake; and gave him

A    sheep and oxen

B    and  [Me: male]  donkeys

C    and male  [Me: servants]

C’   and female servants

B’   and female donkeys

A’   and camels.

2 Samuel


The king was deeply moved and went up to the chamber over the gate and wept.  And thus he said as he walked,

A    “O my son,

B    Absalom,

A    my son, my son,

B    Absalom!

C    Would I had died instead of you,

B’    2  O Absalom,

A’    my son, my son!”



6  So Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite spoke out and said,

A    “I am young in years and you are old; Therefore I was shy and afraid to tell you what I think.

B    7  “I thought age should speak, And increased years should teach wisdom.

C    8  “But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding.

B’   9  “The abundant in years may not be wise, Nor may elders understand justice.

A’   10  “So I say, ‘Listen to me, I too will tell what I think.’



A    The heavens

B    declare

C    the glory of God

C’   the work of his hands

B’   proclaim

A’   the sky.


A    1  Give the king Your justice, O God,

B    and Your righteousness to the king’s son. 

B’   2  May he judge Your people with righteousness

A’   and Your afflicted with justice.


A    Bless, O my soul,

B    the Lord

C    And all that is within me,

B’   the name of His holiness,

A’   bless, O my soul.



A    The wealth

B    of a rich man

C    is his fortress;

C’   the ruin

B’   of the poor

A’   is their poverty


A    19  He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life,

B    And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.

B’   20  The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD,

A’   But the blameless in their walk are His delight.



A    Woe to those who call evil

B    good,

B’   and good

A    evil;

A    Who substitute darkness

B    for light

B’   and light

A’   for darkness;

A    Who substitute bitter

B    for sweet,

B’    and sweet

A’    for bitter!


A    “Render the hearts of this people insensitive,

B    Their ears dull,

C    And their eyes dim,

C’   Lest they see with their eyes,

B’   Hear with their ears,

A’   Understand with their hearts,

And return and be healed.”



A    1  The sin of Judah

B    is written down

C    with an iron stylus;

C’   with a diamond point

B’   it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart, and on the horns of their altars,

A’   2  As they remember their children, So they remember their altars and their Asherim By green trees on the high hills … 3 … your high places for sin



A    28  It will come about after this

B    That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind;

C    And your sons and daughters will prophesy,

D    Your old men  /  will dream dreams,

D’   Your young men  /  will see visions.

C’   29  Even on the male and female servants

B’   I will pour out My Spirit

A’   in those days.



A    Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?

B    Shall I redeem them from death?

B’   O Death, where are your thorns?

A’   O Sheol, where is your sting?



A    11  “Then I raised up some of your sons to be prophets

B    And some of your young men to be Nazirites.

C    Is this not so, O sons of Israel?” declares the LORD.

B’   12  “But you made the Nazirites drink wine,

A’   And you commanded the prophets saying, ‘You shall not prophesy!’


A    Let roll down

B    like waters

C    justice

C’   and righteousness

B’   like a stream

A’   ever flowing




New Testament:



A    “But many who are first

B    will be last;

B’   and the last,

A’   first.”


A    “And whoever exalts himself

B    shall be humbled;

B’   and whoever humbles himself

A’   shall be exalted.



34  And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 

A    35  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 

B    [Me: question:]  36  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul  /  ? 

B’   [Me: question:]  37  For what will a man give in exchange for his soul  /  ? 

A’   38  For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

10:29b, 30, 31

28  Peter began to say to Him, “Behold, we have left everything and followed You.”  29  Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left

A    house

B    or brothers or sisters

C    or mother

C’   or father

B’   or children

A’   or farms,

for My sake and for the gospel’s sake,  30  but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age,

A   houses

B    and brothers and sisters

C    and mothers

B’   and children

A’   and farms,

along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.  31  But many

A    who are first

B    will be last,

B’   and the last,

A’   first.”


And many spread their coats in the road, and others spread leafy branches which they had cut from the fields.  9  Those who went in front and those who followed were shouting:

A    “Hosanna!

B    Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord

B’   10  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David;

A’   Hosanna in the highest!”



A    “No servant can serve two masters;

B    for either he will hate the one,

C    and love the other,

C’   or else he will hold to one,

B’   and despise the other.

A’   You cannot serve God and mammon.”



38  For I am convinced that

A    neither death,

B    nor life,

C    nor angels, nor rulers,

D    nor things present,

D’   nor things to come,

C’   nor powers

B’   39  nor height,

A’   nor depth,

nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Corinthians


For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

A    that though He was rich,

B    yet for your sake He became poor,

B’   that you through His poverty

A’   might become rich.



15   We are Jews by nature and not sinners from among the Gentiles;

A   16   nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified

B   by the works of the Law

C   but through faith in Christ Jesus,

D   even we have believed in Christ Jesus,

C’   so that we may be justified by faith in Christ

B’   and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law

A’   no flesh will be justified.



A    8  For by grace you have been saved through faith;

B    and that not of yourselves,

C    it is the gift of God;

B’   9  not as a result of works,

A’   that no one should boast.



A    15  Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife,

B    but some also from good will;

B’   16  the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;

A’    17  the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.

1 Thessalonians


A    Now the God of peace Himself,

B    sanctify you completely

C    and entirely your spirit and soul and body

B’   without blame

A’    at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 John


A    No one who is born of God

B    practices sin,

C    because His seed abides in him;

B’   and he cannot sin,

A’   because he is born of God.



“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: He who is holy, who is true, who has the key of David,

A    who opens

B    and no one will shut,

B’   and who shuts

A’   and no one opens,

says this …

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A    1  “Arise,

B    shine;

C    for your light has come,

D    And the glory

E    of the LORD

F    has risen upon you.

G    2  “For behold, darkness will cover the earth,

G’   And deep darkness the peoples;

F’   But the LORD will rise upon you,

E’   And His

D’   glory will appear upon you.

C’   3  “And nations will come to your light,

B’   And kings to the brightness

A’   of your rising.

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