Posts Tagged ‘Moses’


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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A    1  Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses‘ servant, saying,  2  “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.  3  “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses.  4  “From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun, will be your territory.  5  “No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life.  Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you;

B    I will not fail you or forsake you.

C    a    6  “Be strong and courageous,    b    for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.     a’    7  “Only be strong and very courageous;

D    be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.

E    8  “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night,

D’   so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

C’   9  “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed,

B’   for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

A’   10  Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,  11  “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it.’”  12  And to the Reubenites and to the Gadites and to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Joshua said,  13  “Remember the word which Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, saying, ‘The LORD your God gives you rest, and will give you this land.’  14  “Your wives, your little ones, and your cattle shall remain in the land which Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but you shall cross before your brothers in battle array, all your valiant warriors, and shall help them,  15  until the LORD gives your brothers rest, as He gives you, and they also possess the land which the LORD your God is giving them. Then you shall return to your own land, and possess that which Moses the servant of the LORD gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”  16  And they answered Joshua, saying, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.  17  “Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you; only may the LORD your God be with you, as He was with Moses.  18  “Anyone who rebels against your command and does not obey your words in all that you command him, shall be put to death; only be strong and courageous.”

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