Archive for the ‘Psalms’ Category



The following chiasmus is from here.

I’ve made a few changes.  I’ve changed his A to an A/B and his A’ to a B’/A’.  I’ve moved the end of his B section into C (my D1).  And finally,  I’ve created a spot of paralleling in his C and C’ sections (which is now my D1/D2/D’1/D’2). D1 and D’1 are negative descriptions of destruction, while D2 and D’2 are positive descriptions of peace and healing.

Here’s a quote offering a little more explanation:

Like most psalms, Psalm 46 originated in the life of the Israelite community. It was sung and recited long before it was ever written down, it’s poetic style shaped by confidence in God’s protection from threats, whether from other nations or “Mother Nature.”  In the face of a long history of threats and set backs faced by the Jewish community, God was with them, offering his provision and protection.

Robert Alden created a chiasm of Psalm 46 which pulls out some interesting features from its verses:

1      A  God is refuge.

2              B  No fear.

3-4                         C  God rules over natural calamities.

5                                       D  God is here.

6a                                               E  Nations rage.

6b                                               E  God speaks.

7                                       D  God is here.

8-9                          C  God rules over political calamities.

10                 B  Be still.

11        A  God is refuge.

Notice (B) “No fear” and “be still” are complementary, while (E) “nations rage” and “God speaks” contrast humanity’s actions with God’s actions. Verse 7 echoes verse 5, “God is here” (D), as though it were being underscored.  In verse 10, God sends a powerful message to the nations–to be still and submit to his reign.  … …  [H]e commands us all to “be still”– a quiet reminder that our ultimate confidence and security is in the power and presence of God.  Only then can we truly rest in his presence.


For the choir director.  A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamoth.  A Song.

A    1  God is our refuge and strength,

B    a very present help in trouble. 

C    2  Therefore we will not fear,


1    though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea3  though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.  Selah. 

2    4  There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High. 

E    5  God is in the midst of her,  /  she will not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns

F    6  The nations made an uproar,  /  the kingdoms tottered;

F’   He raised His voice,  /  the earth melted

E’   7  The Lord of hosts is with us;  /  the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah. 


1   8  Come, behold the works of the Lord, who has wrought desolations in the earth

2   9  He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariots with fire

C’   10  Cease striving and know that I am God – I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” 

B’   11  The Lord of hosts is with us;

A’   the God of Jacob is our stronghold. Selah.


Read Full Post »



I think this is a chiasmus.  It requires some commentary, but for now I thought I would just post it.  🙂



1  (For the choir director. A Psalm of David; for a memorial.)

A    a  O Godb  hasten to deliver me!

B    a  O LORD,  /  b  hasten to my help!

C    2  Let those be ashamed and humiliated

D    Who seek my life;

E    Let those be turned back and dishonored Who delight in my hurt.

E’   3  Let those be turned back because of their shame Who say, “Aha, aha!

D’   4  Let all who seek Thee

C’   rejoice and be glad in Thee – And let those who love Thy salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified.”

B’   5  But I am afflicted and needyb’  Hasten to me,  /  a’  O God!

A’   b’  Thou art my help and my deliverera’  O LORDdo not delay.


The end of the chiasmus also appears to be a small chiasmus:

a    5b  Hasten to me,

b    O God!

c    Thou art my help and my deliverer;

b’   O LORD,

a’   do not delay.

Read Full Post »




This chiasmus was found here.   I’ve changed it a bit. 

The ancient chiastic writer had quite a few options available to her.  One of those options was to create his chiasmus so that it could be read ‘helically’ – a modern term – perhaps attributable to Fr. John Breck, in his book “The Shape of Biblical Language”.  A helical read of a chiasmus ‘reads’ the various matches of a chiasmus in the order of their appearance.  That is, a helical read would move from section A to section A’ (the first match), to B to B’ (the second match), to C to C’ (the third match), etc.  A helical read ends at the center of the chiasmus, where something of significance is typically found. 

Imo, a nice example of a helical read can be found in Psalm 150

Here is Psalm 37:1-7 presented helically: 

Do not fret because of evildoers; do not be envious toward wrongdoers (A).  Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way; because of the man who carries out wicked schemes (A’).  …  For they will wither quickly like the grass, and fade like the green herb (B).  [The Lord] will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgment as the noonday.  Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him (B’).  … Trust in the Lord, and do good (C).  Trust [ ] in Him, and He will do it (C’).  … Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness (D).  Commit your way to the Lord (D’).  … Delight yourself in the Lord – and He will give you the desires of your Heart (E) !

To my way of thinking, a helical read of Psalm 37:1-7 produces a ‘smoother’ flow.  The chiasm’s ideas moves from a focus on the ‘evildoer’ to a focus on the ‘righteous’.  The concluding instructions for the righteous include … resting, waiting, trusting, cultivating faithfulness, committing, and delighting.  Overall, the chiasmus, in a helical read, moves from “do not fret” (the opening) to “delight yourself in the Lord – and He will give you the desires of your heart!” (the ending).  The emotional movement is from abandoning ‘worry’ (distress, concern) to ’embracing’ the faithfulness and goodness of God.  …  Rather than fret, we should delight ourselves in the Lord!

In a helical read, it’s perhaps possible to see that it’s not simply ‘delighting yourself in the Lord’ that results in the believer receiving ‘the desires of his or her own heart’ (the center, E).  The entire list of positive instructions may be necessary.  That is, when we rest (B’), wait (B’), trust (C/C’), are faithful (D), commit our way (D’), and delight ourselves in the Lord (E)  …  then, He will give us the desires of our heart.  It’s an entire way of faithful and committed living that comes before the ‘gift’ is given.   … …  The helical read helps bring this out.



1  (A Psalm of David.)

A    Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not be envious toward wrongdoers.

B    [Me: a ‘negative’ result for wrongdoers:]    2  For they will wither quickly like the grass, And fade like the green herb.

C    3  Trust in the LORD, and do good; 

D    Dwell in the land  /  and cultivate faithfulness.

E   4  Delight yourself in the LORD  –  And He will give you the desires of your heart!

D’   Commit your way to the LORD, 

C’   Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

B’   [Me: a ‘positive’ result for the righteous:]    6  And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, And your judgment as the noonday.  7  Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; 

A’    Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Read Full Post »

Here’s a brief chiastic lay-out of the Psalm:

A  Nations – Judah, Israel

B  Religion – Location:  Salem, Zion, tabernacle, dwelling place

C  War to Peace – war ends, ‘weapons broken’:  Selah

D God honoured.

E  Soldiers stopped – sank into ‘sleep’

F  Center Visual:  no fighting, peace  –  And none of the warriors could use his hands

E’  Soldiers stopped –  cast into ‘sleep’

D’ God honoured.

C’  War to Peace – war ends, “the earth … was still”:  Selah

B’  Religion – Practice:  praise, vows, bringing gifts to God

A’  Nations – princes, kings of the earth



Psalm 76:

1  (For the choir director; on stringed instruments. A Psalm of Asaph, a Song.)

A    God is known in Judah; His name is great in Israel.

B    2  And His tabernacle is in Salem; His dwelling place also is in Zion.

C    3  There He broke the flaming arrows, The shield, and the sword, and the weapons of war.    Selah.

D    4  Thou art resplendent, More majestic than the mountains of prey.

E    5  The stouthearted were plundered;  /  They sank into sleep;

F    And none of the warriors could use his hands.

E’   6  At Thy rebuke, O God of Jacob,  /  Both rider and horse were cast into a dead sleep.

D’   7  Thou, even Thou, art to be feared;

C’   And who may stand in Thy presence when once Thou art angry?  8  Thou didst cause judgment to be heard from heaven; The earth feared, and was still,  9  When God arose to judgment, To save all the humble of the earth.    Selah.   

B’   10  For the wrath of man shall praise Thee; With a remnant of wrath Thou shalt gird Thyself.  11  Make vows to the LORD your God and fulfill them; Let all who are around Him bring gifts to Him who is to be feared.

A’   12  He will cut off the spirit of princes; He is feared by the kings of the earth.

Read Full Post »



This Psalm has 2 parts.  The first part is a chiasmus.  The second part is not. 

The chiasmus has a famous beginning (“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me?”), a good center, and a nice end. 

Here’s a basic outline of the chiasmus:

A:  A cry for help:  no answer

B:  Israel

C:  Personal (an “I/me” section)

D:  Bulls, lion, bones

E:  Dogs, ‘pierce’, bones

FA prayer for God’s help

E’:   – , sword, dog

D’:   – , lion, oxen

C’:  Personal (an “I/me” section)

B’:  Israel

A’:  Cried for help:  heard

I particularly like the connections through D2, E2′, E’2”, and D’2” :  …  think ‘sharp’, as in e.g., ‘teeth’, as in ‘open lion’s mouth’.

Interestingly, D3 and E3′ (“bones”) have been left unmatched in E’ and D’.  I wonder why?  Is it because of the section’s closer association with death?  If so, then ‘death’ is absent in the latter sections.  …  Death is off the table.  Life is in play  …  ?

Note how D begins with the idea of being surrounded and encircled.  The paralleling and chiastic sections D, E, E’ and D’ then proceed to do just that.  They surround the individual at the center of the chiasmus.  …  The structure illustrates what’s being said.  Nice.

Section C is complex.  a and b are negative, while b’ and a’ are positive.  …  In particular I like the i/i’ match in b where i refers to sneering, while i’ delivers the actual content of the sneer.  The content is chiastic as well.  Once again, well done.


The second part nicely builds through space and time.  Overall, it seems to build and cover everything.

I like this chiasmus. 

It’s an important Psalm, in part, because of it’s connection to Jesus’ crucifixion.


1  (For the choir director; upon Aijeleth Hashshahar. A Psalm of David.)


Part 1


A    My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?  /   Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.  2  O my God, I cry by day, but Thou dost not answer; And by night, but I have no rest.

B    3  Yet Thou art holy, O Thou who art enthroned upon the praises of Israel.  4  In Thee our fathers trusted; They trusted, and Thou didst deliver them.  5  To Thee they cried out, and were delivered; In Thee they trusted, and were not disappointed.


a    i   6  But I am a worm,   ii   and not a man,   ii’  A reproach of men,   i’  and despised by the people.   


i   7  All who see me sneer at me;  

ii   They separate with the lip,  

ii’   they wag the head,  

i’   saying,   /   i   8  “Commit yourself   ii   to the LORD;   iii    let Him deliver him;   iii’   Let Him rescue him,   ii’   because He   i’   delights in him.” 


i    9  Yet Thou art He who didst bring me forth from the womb;   ii    Thou  /  didst make me trust when upon my mother’s breasts.    ii’   10  Upon Thee  /  I was cast from birth;   i’   Thou hast been my God  /  from my mother’s womb

a’   11  Be not far from me, for trouble is near;  /  For there is none to help.


1    12  Many bulls have surrounded me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.

2    13  They open wide their  /  mouth at me, As a ravening and  /  a roaring lion.

3    14  I am poured out like water, And all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.  15  My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue cleaves to my jaws; And Thou dost lay me in the dust of death.


1′    16  For dogs have surrounded me; A band of evildoers has encompassed me;

2′    They pierced my hands and my feet.

3′    17  I can count all my bones. They look, they stare at me;  18  They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots.


F    19  But Thou, O LORD, be not far off; O Thou my help, hasten to my assistance.




2”   20  Deliver my soul from the sword,

1”   My only life from the power of the dog.



2”   21  Save me from the lion’s  /  mouth;

1”   And from the horns of the wild oxen Thou dost answer me.

C’   22  I will tell of Thy name to my brethren; In the midst of the assembly I  /  will praise Thee.

B’   23  You who fear the LORD, praise Him; All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him, And stand in awe of Him, all you descendants of Israel.

A’   (B”)   24  For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;   (C”)   Neither has He hidden His face from him; But when he cried to Him for help, He heard.


Part 2


[Me:  Praising God, through expanding ‘space’]    25  From Thee comes my praise in the great assembly; I shall pay my vows before those who fear Him. 

    26  The afflicted shall eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever! 

    27  All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, And all the families of the nations will worship before Thee.  28  For the kingdom is the LORD’S, And He rules over the nations.  29  All the prosperous of the earth will eat and worship,


    [Me:  Praising God, through expanding ‘time’ / generations]    All those who go down to the dust will bow before Him, Even he who cannot keep his soul alive

    30  Posterity will serve Him; It will be told of the LORD to the coming generation

    31  They will come and will declare His righteousness To a people who will be born, that He has performed it.

Read Full Post »



1  (For the choir director; with stringed instruments. A Psalm. A Song.)


1    (A)  God be gracious to us and bless us,    (B)  And cause His face to shine upon us— Selah. 

2    2  That Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among all nations.

B    3  Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise Thee.

C    4  Let the nations  [Hebrew: ‘leom’]  be glad and sing for joy;

D    For Thou wilt judge the peoples  [Hebrew: ‘ ‘am’]  with uprightness   [Alt. Eng. translation: ‘fairness’],

C’   And guide the nations  [Hebrew: ‘leom’]  on the earth. Selah.

B’   5  Let the peoples praise Thee, O God; Let all the peoples praise Thee.


1    (B’)  (a)  6  The earth has yielded its produce;    (A’)  (b)  God(b’)  our God(a’)  blesses us.  /    7  God blesses us,

2     That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.

Read Full Post »


Here’s an interesting Psalm.  The center is a chiasmus which lays out the pros and cons (blessings and punishments) of a covenant God made with David.  Both the beginning and end (A/A’) and the center (F/F’) of the chiasmus present strong contrasts – the good and the bad.  As well, the beginning (A:  vss. 1-26) and end (A’:  40-51) of the overall Psalm additionally present similar contrasts – the good vs. the bad.  There’s some strong contrasts here which are meant to be seen by the reader.  Here’s a brief overview of the Psalm:


A:  The Good: God’s promise of blessing on David and his descendants (vss.  1-26)

B:  The Central Chiasmus (vss. 27-39):

A:  Good

F:  Bad

F’:  Good

A’:  Bad

A’:  The Bad:  ‘David’ in trouble (vss. 40-51).

Interestingly, the entire Psalm is surrounded (included) with praise!




1  A Maskil of Ethan the Ezrahite:      

A    I will sing of the lovingkindness of the LORD forever; To all generations I will make known Thy faithfulness with my mouth.  2  For I have said, “Lovingkindness will be built up forever; In the heavens Thou wilt establish Thy faithfulness.” 

3  “I have made a covenant with My chosen; I have sworn to David My servant,  4  I will establish your seed forever, And build up your throne to all generations.” Selah.  5  And the heavens will praise Thy wonders, O LORD; Thy faithfulness also in the assembly of the holy ones.  6  For who in the skies is comparable to the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty is like the LORD,  7  A God greatly feared in the council of the holy ones, And awesome above all those who are around Him?  8  O LORD God of hosts, who is like Thee, O mighty LORD? Thy faithfulness also surrounds Thee.  9  Thou dost rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, Thou dost still them.  10  Thou Thyself didst crush Rahab like one who is slain; Thou didst scatter Thine enemies with Thy mighty arm.  11  The heavens are Thine, the earth also is Thine; The world and all it contains, Thou hast founded them.  12  The north and the south, Thou hast created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Thy name.  13  Thou hast a strong arm; Thy hand is mighty, Thy right hand is exalted.  14  Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Thy throne; Lovingkindness and truth go before Thee.  15  How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Thy countenance.  16  In Thy name they rejoice all the day, And by Thy righteousness they are exalted.  17  For Thou art the glory of their strength, And by Thy favor our horn is exalted.  18  For our shield belongs to the LORD, And our king to the Holy One of Israel.  19  Once Thou didst speak in vision to Thy godly ones, And didst say, “I have given help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.  20  “I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him,  21  With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him.  22  “The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him.  23  “But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him.  24  “And My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted.  25  “I shall also set his hand on the sea, And his right hand on the rivers.  26  “He will cry to Me, ‘Thou art my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ 


A    27  “I also shall make him  [Me:  David]  My first-born, The highest of the kings of the earth.

B    28  “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him.

C    29  “So I will establish his descendants forever, And his throne  / as the days of heaven.

D    30  “If his sons forsake My law, And do not walk in My judgments,

E    31  If they violate / My statutes, And do not keep My commandments,

F    32  Then I will visit their transgression with the rod, And their iniquity with stripes.

F’   33  “But I will not break off My lovingkindness from him, Nor deal falsely in My faithfulness.

E’   34  “My covenant / I will not violate, Nor will I alter the utterance of My lips.

D’   35  “Once I have sworn by My holiness; I will not lie to David.

C   36  “His descendants / shall endure forever, And his throne / as the sun before Me.

B’   37  “It shall be established forever like the moon, And the witness in the sky is faithful.”  Selah.

A’    (1)   38  But Thou hast cast off and rejected,   (2)   Thou hast been full of wrath against Thine anointed.   (1′)   39  Thou hast spurned the covenant of Thy servant;   (2′)   Thou hast profaned his crown in the dust. 

A’   40  Thou hast broken down all his walls; Thou hast brought his strongholds to ruin.  41  All who pass along the way plunder him; He has become a reproach to his neighbors.  42  Thou hast exalted the right hand of his adversaries; Thou hast made all his enemies rejoice.  43  Thou dost also turn back the edge of his sword, And hast not made him stand in battle.  44  Thou hast made his splendor to cease, And cast his throne to the ground.  45  Thou hast shortened the days of his youth; Thou hast covered him with shame. Selah.  46  How long, O LORD? Wilt Thou hide Thyself forever? Will Thy wrath burn like fire?  47  Remember what my span of life is; For what vanity Thou hast created all the sons of men!  48  What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.  49  Where are Thy former lovingkindnesses, O Lord, Which Thou didst swear to David in Thy faithfulness?  50  Remember, O Lord, the reproach of Thy servants; How I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the many peoples,  51  With which Thine enemies have reproached, O LORD, With which they have reproached the footsteps of Thine anointed. 

52  Blessed be the LORD forever! Amen and Amen.



This is one of those chiasmi which I would like to revisit in the future.  It’s possible I’m missing something here.  E.g., perhaps the central chiasmus should be extended.  …  Hmmm.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: