Chiastic Poetry in Psalm 73

By on 7-26-2012 in Bible Study, Poetry

Chiastic Poetry in Psalm 73

Structure

In preparing to preach through Psalms 73, I discovered a beautiful chiastic structure embedded with many rich parallellisms.

In this post, I wont even attempt to unpack it all (you’ll have to wait for my sermon).

Instead, let me simply share the chiastic outline of the passage. Take special note of the key word pairings used by the Psalmest that I have highlighted using different colors.

I noticed that almost every commentator sees v. 17 as the central turning point of the Psalm.  However, I see v.16 and the Psalmists choice to meditate upon the Lord as the focus which is then reinforced by his action in v.17.

I am ultimately intrigued by the closing thought in v.27 which emphasizes the Missio Dei (mission of God) in the life of the Psalmist.  I have yet to ready anybody who talked about this aspect of the Psalm, but I see it as the second focal point of the Chiasmus.

Read through Psalm 73 and let me know what you think.

Chiastic Psa 73

Theme

The theme of struggle against the world and turning to the one reliable foundation for faith is a strong theme in Psalm 73.  It reminds me a lot of the lyrics to “If I Ever Lose My Faith In You” by Sting (1993 album “Ten Summoner’s Tales“).

You could say I lost my faith in science and progress
You could say I lost my belief in the holy church
You could say I lost my sense of direction
You could say all of this and worse but

If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me

If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

I could be lost inside their lies without a trace
But every time I close my eyes I see your face

I never saw no miracle of science
That didn’t go from a blessing to a curse
I never saw no military solution
That didn’t always end up as something worse but
Let me say this first

If I ever lose my faith in you
There’d be nothing left for me to do

Dr. Joe Miller (aka JR) is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. In addition, he is a church planter and coach for other young leaders. Dr. Miller has a diverse educational background and authored multiple books on church history, biblical theology, and Leadership. Joe and his wife Suzanne enjoy the sun and surf with their 3 sons in San Diego, CA.

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