Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Structure of Psalm 110


Robert Alden recognizes a chiastic structure to Psalm 110, which highlights God’s oath to the Davidic king:
A v.1 The Lord installs the king
B v. 2 He is sent out to conquer
C v. 3 The day of power
D v. 4 The Lord swears an oath
C1 v. 5 The day of wrath
B1 v. 6 He goes out to conquer
A1 v. 7 The Lord installs the king[1]

The central place of God’s oath in the psalm bespeaks the psalmist's desire to highlight it.[2] Moreover, Alden recognizes other links, such as antonyms “feet” in v.1 and “head” in v.7, and the synonymous relationship between the “enemies,” “nations,” and “countries” in verses 2 and 6. Finally, he mentions the clear link between the “day of power” in verse 3 and the “day of wrath” in verse 5.[3]
[1] Robert L. Alden, “Chiastic Psalms (III): A Study in the Mechanics of Semitic Poetry in Psalms 101-150,” in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 21/3 (1978): 204. The installment of the king is implied by the expression, “He will lift up his head.” Also see, Starbuck, Court Oracles, 160.
[2] Kraus, Psalms 60-150, 350; Randy G. Haney, Text and Concept Analysis in Royal Psalms (New York: Peter Lang, 2002), 124.
[3] Alden, “Chiastic Psalms (III),” 204.

4 comments:

Aaron G said...

Dorsey's "Literary Structure of the Old Testament" finds chiastic structure everywhere!

DimBulb said...

Isn't this structure in reality "concentricism?" It's my understanding that Chiaism is outlined like this:

A1
B1
B2
A2

notice that there is a dual (B1, B2), rahter than a sigular center. Concentricism has a singel center, as in John 1:19-4:3:

A1 Baptist gives WITNESS TO JESUS, first DISCIPLES called (1:19-51).

B1 WATER mad wine at Cana.(2:1-12)

C Jesus predicts the destruction of his temple/body. (2:13-25)

B2 BORN of WATER and spirit. (3:1-21)

A2 the BAPTIST again WITNESSES TO JESUS who is making more DISCIPLES than john (3:22-4:3)

tony siew said...

Chiasm or chiasmus is the general term used. Concentricism normally involves more than a simple chiasm ABB'A'and looks more like ABCB'A' or ABCDC'B'A' and so forth. Anything more than 6 or 7 corresponding elements is usually called a macro-chiasm. The pivot of a chiasm or concentric structure can be either a single element or dual CC' or DD'.

Many psalms are structured chiastically including Psalm 2. I find J. Breck's and J. Brouwer's (John 13-17)books most helpful.

JJ said...

Good stuff here...
And if we see verse 3 as "Your army will be volunteers on the Day of your Strength, But, arrayed from Holy Majesty, from the womb of the dawn, your strength will be renewed each day as the dew"

Then, there is a contrast between these new volunteers to the chiefs / kings that are crushed.
In addition, if it is truly Holy Mountain, you would contrast that with the heap of corpses. But, I have yet to check that out.

Thanks for the blog.
JJ