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Morrish Bible Dictionary
The Books of Job, the Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and various parts of the Prophets are poetical. It is not easy to define Hebrew poetry. It appears clear that the lines did not end with corresponding sounds , and it cannot be discovered in what the rhythm consists, the ancient pronunciation of the language being lost. Ewald concluded that in the Hebrew poetry there was a thought rhythm, and not one of sound.
One of their most marked styles is an alphabetical poem. These consist of twenty-two lines or stanzas, or systems of lines, and the lines or stanzas begin with letters which follow in alphabetical order: the first A, the second B, and so on. There is doubtless a spiritual significance in these arrangements: such as intense human exercises, emotions, etc., under the working of the Spirit. And they may have assisted the memory, at least in the Psalms when they were sung. Such may be found in Psalm 25; Psalm 34; Psalm 37; Psalm 111; Psalm 112; Psalm 119; Psalm 145; Proverbs 31:10-31; Lamentations 1; Lamentations 2; Lamentations 3; Lamentations 4 .
In some stanzas, called 'synthetical,' one half corresponds to the other, either in expressing the same sentiment or explaining it: thus -
"But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses;
Therefore shall ye flee:
And, We will ride upon the swift;
Therefore shall they that pursue you be swift." Isaiah 30:16 ,
Other stanzas are called 'antithetical,' in which the second half is the reverse of the first: as
"The memory of the just is blessed:
But the name of the wicked shall rot." Proverbs 10:7
From these simple examples the form of the stanzas varies in many ways. The first example we meet with is what Lamech said to his wives. It will be seen that it is in parallelism, or correspondence.
"Adah and Zillah, hear my voice;
Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech:
For I have slain a man to my wounding,
And a young man to my hurt.
If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,
Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold." Genesis 4:23,24 .
Towards the end of the O.T., Habakkuk (Habakkuk 3:18,19 ), when all earthly blessings were failing, sang
"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength,
And he will make my feet like hinds' feet,
And he will make me to walk upon mine high places."
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Morrish, George. Entry for 'Poetry'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/mbd/p/poetry.html. 1897.