Chiastic Pattern in Lament Psalms?

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Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
I was reading in Richard Belcher's The Messiah and the Psalms and noticed a statement he makes about the lament psalms and the various elements that make up the psalm:

1) An invocation addressed to God.
2) A plea for help
3) The main part --> A complaint resulting from some frustration (at God, himself, or enemies).
4) A statement of confidence that God will hear him.
5) An ending praise

In listing that, I noticed that it would seem that there is a chiastic structure to those elements (ABCBA form, with C being the central them). The beginning and end would seem to be similar, in that both are addresses toward God. The second and fourth elements are also related, as both deal with cries for help.

Is this a recognized pattern, or am I reading too much into this ?
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
I'm interested in that form in particular, but don't have the background to answer your question ....
 

Marrow Man

Drunk with Powder
I'm interested in that form in particular, but don't have the background to answer your question ....

The pattern is easy enough to see, but I am wondering if others before, more learned in the psalms have seen something similar, of if I am looking for zebras instead of horses.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
We learn these at our church a lot. They seem to be all over the scriptures mostly in the Psalms though. We learned a possible one from Romans 14 today in class. :up:
 

baron

Puritan Board Graduate
Would you happen to have a link to the article he references for Psalms 1-50?

This should take you to Three articles by Robert Alden.
Chiastic Psalms: A Study In The Mechanics Of Semitic Poetry In Psalms 1-50 JETS 17:1 (Winter 1974)
Chiastic Psalms (II): A Study In The Mechanics Of Semitic Poetry In Psalms 51-100 JETS 19:3 (Summer 1976)
Chiastic Psalms (III): A Study In The Mechanics Of Semitic Poetry In Psalms 101-150

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jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
if I am looking for zebras instead of horses.
That's my dilemma too ...

I'm hoping we will do a Sunday School or evening study that specifically examines these structures found in the OT literature. I love to look for patterns, especially if they increase understanding. The chiastic form first came to my attention during a class on Ecclesiastes, but there are many others.
 
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