Judges through Poets- 11a Poetry contd

Strophic Structure (stanza structure)
Is a structure where parallel lines can be grouped together in a common way.

How do we know there is strophic structure?
1) Look for a refrain.
A refrain is a regularly recurring verse that stands at the end of the stanza. The refrain is also known as the chorus.

For examples see Psalms 39, 42, 43, 62, 67.

See Isaiah 9:8-10:4
See the refrain in verses 9:12b, 9:17b. 9:21b, 10:4b. The division between these chapters is wrong (also the division between Psalm 42 and 43).

2) Look for an alphabetic acrostic
This is a poem where each successive line or verse starts with a new letter of the Hebrew alphabet. See Psalms 9, 10, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119 135. Alphabetic acrostics were primarily for remembrance.

Example: Isaiah 44:24-28
V24 Stanza 1 refers to events of the remote past
V25-26 Stanza 2 refers to the present
V27-28 Stanza 3 refers to the future

The movement of tenses may indicate the change of stanza

Figures of speech
A figure of speech translates the ordinary meaning of a word, applies it to a concept to communicate the extraordinary.
For example: ‘The mountains skipped like rams’ and ‘your wife shall be a fruitful vine.’

Figures of speech can be grouped into three categories:
1) Figures of comparison
2) Figures of substitution
3) Miscellaneous

A simile is defined as an explicitly stated comparison declaring the resemblance of one thing to another using the words ‘like’ and ‘as’. For this you need a figurative object and a literal object. These objects are then compared.

Eg: my room mate looks like a pig
As the interpreter we must diagnose which features are applicable to this statement.
This shouldn’t be difficult as similes are intended to be self-explanatory.

A metaphor is comparison by direct assertion. A metaphor is stronger than a simile.
1 Peter 1:24 ‘All flesh is like grass’ is a simile.
Isaiah 40:6 ‘All flesh is grass’ is a metaphor.

Psalm 84:11 ‘The Lord is a light and a shield’
Psalm 119 ‘your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’.


Hypocatastasis is a figure of comparison which is much more subtle than a simile or metaphor. A hypocatastasis doesn’t mention the literal subject.

Simile = My room mate is like a pig
Metaphor = I live with a pig
Hypocatastasis = I live with a pig

Eg David saying ‘for dogs have surrounded me’


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