Hebrew Poetry Update
by Angela M. Crowell
In earlier articles on Hebrew poetry we discussed how poetic techniques were used to emphasize the key points of the author's message. This article will further examine types of Biblical Hebrew poetry that have been identified by Biblical scholars. This identification will be compared to examples of the same type found in the Book of Mormon. We will look at one type of parallelism, two kinds of chiastic arrangements, two figures of speech, and a poetic device not covered in previous articles on Hebrew poetry.
In 1963 Stanley Gevirtz first identified this pattern of nouns or verbs, etc. in a parallel relationship. The second and fourth words in this sequence result in an ABCB pattern (i.e., justice, righteousness, salvation, righteousness) (Gevirtz 1963:44). In 1971 and 1982 scholars identified further examples, bringing the total in the Old Testament to 32 (Kselman 1982:228).
Thus says the LORD,
A Preserve justice,
B and do righteousness,
C for my salvation is about to come
B' And my righteousness to be revealed.
Isaiah 56:1 NASB
A Book of Mormon example of ABCB parallelism is:
Book of Mormon
A Therefore come and be baptized unto repentance,
B that ye may be washed from your sins,
C that ye may have faith on the Lamb of God,
B' who taketh away the sins of the world
Alma 5:25 [7:14]
Chiasms with Matching First, Center and Last Terms
In 1943 Nils Lund identified a type of chiasm commonly used where the center contains a single line with parallel or identical terms in the first and last lines (Lund 1943:107).
A For even as the body is one
B And yet has many members,
C And all the members of the body,
B' Though they are many,
A' Are one body, so also is Christ.
I Corinthians 12:12 NASB