Lesson-10 - Bald Eagle Baptist Church

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Hermeneutics Lesson
X:
Poetry
A.
Poetry distinguished from
Prose.
• In modern translations, poetry
is usually indicated by the
formatting of the text.
• It’s also written using
commissive language as
opposed to referential
language.
• So the biblical poets are no
different than modern poets –
painting word pictures that
appeal to the heart.
B) Specific Forms
of Poetry
Unlike much of English
poetry which is marked by
rhyme and rhythm, Hebrew
poetry
is
characterized
primarily by parallelism. At
times Hebrew poetry does
contain rhyme and rhythm,
but it is lost in translation.
However, the parallelism will
not be lost.
1. Synonymous
Parallelism
In synonymous parallelism, the second line
in a stanza restates the first line using
different vocabulary. As an example, note
Psalm 18:4-5.
The cords of death / encompassed me
And the torrents of ungodliness / terrified
me.
The cords of Sheol / surrounded me
The snares of death / confronted me.
Notice how in each stanza there is a
virtually precise AB/ab pattern.
Sometimes the synonymous
parallelism is in the form of a
chiasm, as in Psalm 95:5.
The sea is His/for it was He who made
it.
And His hands formed/ the dry land.
Here the pattern
is AB/ba.
Sometimes the parallelism is
incomplete. Note
Lamentations 3:10.
He is to me /like a bear / lying in wait
like a lion / in secret places.
The pattern is thus ABC/bc
The parallelism is at times
developed beyond one or two lines
or phrases, such as with Psalm 1:1.
Maybe we can call this EXTENDED
PARALLELISM.
How blessed is the man/who does not
walk /in the counsel of the wicked
nor stand / in the path of sinners
nor sit / in the seat of scoffers
This pattern is
ABC/bc/b’c’
2. Antithetical Parallelism
• Here the second line contrasts with
the first line.
• A wise son / makes a father glad
• But a foolish son / is a grief to his
mother.
• In antithetical parallelism, one can
also find examples of chiasm,
incomplete parallelism, and
extended parallelism.
•
• Prov. 10:4 = chiasm
• Prov. 23:31 = incomplete
• Prov. 31:2 = extended (and also
incomplete)
3. “Step” or “Climactic”
Parallelism
• In this, the second phrase takes the
first to a higher plane, e.g . Matthew
10:40
b) And he who receives me
receives Him who sent me
a) He who receives
you receives me,
One could argue however, this is merely
incomplete, synonymous parallelism.
Synthetic Parallelism
• This occurs when the second line does not
repeat the first, but develops it.
“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,/
And in his Law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers
of water/ That brings forth its fruit in its season
But notice, the first two lines are just
incomplete synonymous parallelism in chiasm.
• “But his delight
• And in His Law
is in the law of the
LORD
doth he meditate/
day and night
5. Acrostics
Here, the verses follow an
alphabetical pattern.
A perfect example of this is Psalm 119.
Made up of 176 verses, it is divided into
22 sections of 8 verses each. Every
verse in each section begins with the
same Hebrew letter in alphabetical
order. Thus the first 8 verses all start
with “aleph,” the second 8 verses all
begin with “beth,” all the way to the
end (“tav”).
C) Psalms
1. Introduction
a) they are poetry, and are written in commissive
language.
b) Despite being poetry, they still express objective
truth.
c) Since the historical/personal experiences of the
Psalmist are different than ours, and since he
expresses himself in culturally conditioned
language, we must be vigilant in search of
implications and significance to make application
for our life and condition.
d) Though all of the Bible is given by God to us, the
Psalms are also man’s expression of faith, hope,
pain, joy, and sorrow back to God.
e) Psalms are a great aid to worship, and were used
by the Jews as such. They are grett means by
which we too can express ourselves to God in
worship.
f) The Psalms are usually identified with King David,
they were written by a variety of individuals over
a long period of time. Eventually the Psalms were
compiled into 5 “books:” Pss. 1-41; 42-72; 73-89;
90-106; 107-150.
2. Types of Psalms
a) Lament Psalms
There are approximately
48 lament Psalms, making
it the largest category of
Psalms.
individual: e.g. 3, 4, 5, 6,
7, 17, 22, 61
corporate: e.g. 44, 85, 90,
137
As we can note from Psalm
13, lament Psalms have a
basic pattern, which applies
generally to all laments.
i. address to God (v. 1: “O LORD”)
ii. lament/description of need (vs. 1-2:
“How long will you forget me…”)
iii. petition/prayer for help (vs. 3-4:
“Look on me and answer”)
iv. confession of confidence (v. 5: “But I
will trust your unfailing love [pres.
tense])
v. vow or confession of praise (v. 6: “I
will sing to the LORD” [future tense])
Comparing Lament
Psalms
•
•
•
•
•
Psalm 13
Address to God
Lam./des. of need
Petition
Confession
Vow/praise
Psalm 3
same (v.1a)
same (v.1b-2)
confession (v.3-6)
petition (v. 7)
same (vs. 8)
The elements between these two verses
are essentially the same, though in
slightly different order.
b) Praise Psalms
These Psalms glorify
and thank God.
These can be classified in a couple
of ways:
• narrative praise (what God has
done for me/us) and some are
descriptive praise (what God is
or what He does/has done
objectively, as in nature Psalms
e.g. Ps. 104).
• Praise Psalms can be further
classified into individual praise
(18, 30, 116, et.al.) or corporate
praise (67, 98, 124, et. al.)
Like Lament Psalms, Praise
Psalms follow a general pattern,
though they are not all
identical. A classic example of
the praise format is the shortest
chapter in the Bible, Psalm 117.
opening praise (v. 1)
description of what God has
done/reason for praise (v.2a,b)
closing praise (2c)
c) Wisdom
Psalms
These Psalms contrast the
blessedness of serving God versus
the folly of rejecting Him, or they
discuss the benefits
of serving God.
At times they have philosophical
elements, as the Psalmist ponders
theological questions (e.g. 73)
Examples are Psalm 1, 36, 37, 49,
73, 112, 127, 128, 133
A classic example of a
wisdom Psalm is Psalm 1.
• The description of the blessed
man (vs. 1-2)
• Benefit of the blessed man (v. 3)
• Description of the wicked
man (v. 4)
• The curse on the wicked
man (v. 5)
• Final contrast between the
two (v. 6)
d) Royal Psalms
• Though some would not classify these
as a distinct type of Psalms, they
contain a “royal” element where the
King plays a prominent role. They
either involve God’s power upon the
King or “anointed,” or
exalt God as King.
Psalm 2, 20, 21, 45, 72, 89, 110,
and 132 are often classified
As Royal Psalms.
• Some of these may even be
considered “Messianic Psalms”
(e.g. 2, 16, 72, et. al.).
e) Imprecatory
Psalms
• These provide a special dilemma
for the Christian, as they call
down death and destruction upon
the Psalmist’s enemies.
• Examples are Psalms 58 and 83.
• Again, these are not always seen
as a distinct class of Psalms, as
short imprecations can be found
throughout the entire collection
(e.g. Ps. 35:3-8, 69:22-28, 137:89).
D) Cutting to the Chase
Read the following Psalms and
classify them. What type are they,
and where appropriate are
they individual or corporate,
descriptive or narrative, etc.
Psalms 5, 21, 43, 49, 73, 74, 90, 92,
100, 109, 132, 135.
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