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between different propositions in respect to the shape and turn of the whole sentence and of the constructive parts; such as noun answering to noun, verb to verb, member to member, negative to negative, interrogative to interrogative."! Two kinds of synthetic parallels may be noticed :

a) Correspondent, when there is a designed and formal correspondency between related sentences, as in the following example from Psa. xxvii, 1, where the first line corresponds with the third, and the second with the fourth:

Jehovah, my light and my salvation,

Of whom shall I be afraid?
Jehovah, fortress of my life,

Of whom shall I stand in terror? This same style of correspondence is noticeable in the following compound antithetic parallelism:

They shall be ashamed and blush together,

Who are rejoicing in my harm;
They shall be clothed with shame and disgrace,

Who magnify themselves over me.
They shall shout and rejoice,

Who delight in my righteousness,
And they shall say continually—be magnified, Jehovah,

Who delight in the peace of his servant. Psa. xxxv, 26, 27. 6) Cumulative, when there is a climax of sentiment running through the successive parallels, or when there is a constant variation of words and thought by means of the simple accumulation of images or ideas :

Happy the man who has not walked in the counsel of wicked ones,
And in the way of sinners has not stood,
And in the seat of scorners has not sat down;

But in the law of Jehovah is his delight;
And in his law will he meditate day and night. Psa. i, 1, 2.
Seek ye Jehovah while he may be found,
Call upon him while he is near by;
Let the wicked forsake his way,

And the man of iniquity his thoughts;
And let him return to Jehovah, and he will have mercy on him,
And to our God, for he will be abundant to pardon. Isa. lv, 6, 7.

For the fig-tree shall not blossom,
And no produce in the vines;
Deceived has the work of the olive,

And fields have not wrought food;
1 Lowth's Isaiah, Preliminary Dissertation, p. 21. London, 1779.



Cut off from the fold was the flock,
And no cattle in the stalls;

But I-in Jehovah will I exult;
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation. Hab. iii, 17.

But aside from these more regular forms of parallelism, there are numerous peculiarities in Hebrew poetry which are not Irregular struc

ture of impasto be classified under any rules or theories of prosody.

sioned poetical The rapt flights of the ancient bards ignored such utterances. trammels, and, by abrupt turns of thought, broken and unequal lines, and sudden ejaculations of prayer or emotion, they produced a great variety of expressive forms of sentiment. Take, for illustration, the two following extracts from Jacob's dying psalm-the blessings of Judah and Joseph-and note the variety of expression, the sharp transitions, the profound emotion, and the boldness and abundance of metaphor:

Judah, thou! Thy brothers shall praise thee;
Thy hand in the neck of thy foes!
They shall bow down to thee, the sons of thy father.

Whelp of a lion is Judah.
From the prey, O my son, thou hast gone up!

He bent low;
He lay down as a lion,
And as a lioness;

Who will rouse him up?
There shall not depart a sceptre from Judah,
And a ruler from between his feet,
Until he shall come-Shiloh-
And to him shall be gathered peoples.
Fastening to the vine his foal,
And to the choice vine the son of his ass,
He has washed in the wine his garment,
And in the blood of grapes his clothes.

Dark the eyes from wine,

And white the teeth from milk. Gen. xlix, 8-1%.
Son of a fruit tree is Joseph,
Son of a fruit tree over a fountain;
Daughters climbing over a wall.

And they imbittered him,
And they shot,
And they hated him,-

The lords of arrows.
Yet remained in strength his bow,
And firm were the arms of his hands,
From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob;
From the name of the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel;

From the God of thy father, and he will help thee;
And the Almighty, and he will bless thee;

Blessings of the beavens above,
Blessings of the deep lying down below,

Blessings of breasts and womb.
The blessings of thy father have been mighty,
Above the blessings of the enduring mountains,

The desire of the everlasting hills.
Let them be to the head of Joseph
And to the crown of the devoted of his brothers. Gen. xlix, 22–26.


In the later period of the language we find a number of artificial Alphabetical poems, in which the several lines or verses begin with

the letters of the Hebrew alphabet in their regular order. Thus, in Psalms cxi and cxii, the lines or half verses are arranged alphabetically. In Psalms xxv, xxxiv, cxlv, Prov. xxxi, 10–31, and Lam. i and ii, each separate verse begins with a new letter in regular order. In Psa. xxxvii, with some slight exceptions, every alternate verse begins with a new letter. In Psa. cxix and Lam. iii, a series of verses, each beginning with the same letter, is grouped into strophes or stanzas, and the strophes follow one another in alphabetical order. Such artificiality evinces a later period in the life of the language, when the poetical spirit, becoming less creative and more mechanical, contrives a new feature of external form to arrest attention and assist the memory. We find also in the Old Testament several noticeable instances

of rhyme. The following, in Samson's answer to Hebrew rhymes..

the men of Timnath (Judges xiv, 18), was probably designed

לוּלֵא חֲרַשְׁתֶּם בְּעֶגְלָתִי לֹא מְצָאתֶם חִידָתִי

If ye had not plowed with my heifer,

Ye had not found out my riddle. The following are perhaps only accidental:


מַלְכֵי תַרְשִׁישׁ וְאִים מִנְחָה יָשִׁיבוּ מַלְכֵי שְׁבָא וּסְבָא אֶשְׁכָּר יַקְרִיבוּ

Kings of Tarshish and of isles a gift shall return,
Kings of Sheba and Seba a present shall bring. Psa. lxxii, 10.

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In a nation profane will I send him,
And upon a people of my wrath will I command him. Isa. x, 6.'



But aside from all artificial forms, the Hebrew language, in its words, idiomatic phrases, vivid concepts, and pictorial power, has a remarkable simplicity and beauty. To Hebrew words

and phrases. the emotional Hebrew every thing was full of life, and the manner of the most ordinary action attracted his attention. Sentences full of pathos, sublime exclamations, and profound suggestions often found expression in his common talk. How often the word behold (1137) occurs in simple narrative! How the very process and order of action are pictured in the following passages : “Jacob lifted up his feet, and went to the land of the sons of the east” (Gen. xxix, 1). “ He lifted up his voice, and wept. . Laban heard the hearing about Jacob, the son of his brother, and he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house” (verses 11, 13). “Jacob lifted up his eyes, and looked, and, behold! Esau was coming” (Gen. xxxiii, 1).

There are, again, many passages where a notable ellipsis enhances the impression: “And now, lest he send forth his hand,

Ellipsis. and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever—and sent him forth Jehovah God from the garden of Eden” (Gen. iii, 22). “And now, if thou wilt forgive their sinand if not, wipe me, I pray, from thy book which thou hast written.” “Return, O Jehovah-how long !” (Psa. xc, 13). The attempt of our translators to supply the ellipsis in Psa. xix, 3, 4, perverts the real meaning: “ There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.” The simple Hebrew is much more impressive:

No saying, and no words ;-
Not heard-their voice;
In all the earth went forth their line,
And in the end of the world their utterances.

That is, the heavens have no audible language or voice such as mortal man is wont to speak; nevertheless, they have been stretched as a measuring line over all the surface of the earth, and, though voiceless, they have sermons for thoughtful souls in every part of the habitable world.

Comp. also Isa. i, 25, where three rhymes appear in one verse; and Isa. i, 29; Xliv, 3 ; xlix, 10; liii, 6; Job vi, 9: Psa. xlv, 8; Prov. vi, 1.

It is the province of Special Hermeneutics to recognize rhetorical Special Herme- form, and to distinguish the essential thought from the recognise thet peculiar mode of expression in which it may be set forth. orical form. And it must be obvious to every thoughtful mind that the impassioned poetry of the Hebrews is not of a nature to be subjected to a literal interpretation. Many of the finest passages of the Psalms and the Prophets have been wrought out in splendid style for the sake of rhetorical effect, and their magnificent parallelisms and strophes should be explained as we explain similar imaginative flights of other poets. Such highly wrought language may serve better than any other to deepen the impression of the divine thought which it conveys. It is not literal exposition but connate spiritual rapture that enables one to understand the force of such a passage as Deut. xxxii, 22:

For now a fire is kindled in my rage,
And it has burned to Sheol far below,
And it has eaten earth and her increase,

And made the bases of the mountains burn. The emotional language of Zech. xi, 1, 2 loses nothing in power or impressiveness by addressing mountains and trees as if they were beings of conscious life and feeling:

Open, O Lebapon, thy doors, and fire shall eat into thy cedars!
Howl, o Cypress, for the cedar has fallen which mighty ones did spoil!
Howl, oaks of Bashan, for down has gone the inaccessible forest!

In the coming calamity which this oracle announced, it is not necessary to suppose that a single cedar on Mount Lebanon or an oak of Bashan was destroyed. The language is that of poetic imagery, adapted to produce a profound impression, and to convey the idea of a widespread ruin, but never designed to be literally understood. And so those sublime descriptions of Jehovah found in the Psalms and Prophets—his bowing down the heavens and descending, with a dark cloud under his feet; his riding upon the cherubim and making himself visible on the wings of the wind (2 Sam. xxii, 10, 11; comp. Psa. xviii, 9, 10; Ezek. i, 13, 14), his standing and measuring the earth, riding on horses and chariots of salvation, with horns issuing out of his hand, and the lightning-glitter of his spear astonishing the sun and moon in the heavens (Hab. iii, 4, 6, 8, 11)—these and all like passages are but poetical pictures of the power and majesty of God in his providential administration of the world. The particular figures of speech employed in such descriptions will be discussed in the following chapters.

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