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Judges v, 12.- Arake! awake, Deborah!
Awake, awake, utter a song. Verse 19.—The kings came and fought;
They fought, the kings of Canaan.
That ancient rider, the river Kishon,
Curse with a curse its inhabitants :
To the help of Jehovah against the mighty.
At her feet he bowed, he fell :
Where he bowed, there he fell down dead.
Have they not divided the prey;
Thus also in Psalm cxxii :
Verse 2.–Our feet shall stand within thy gates, 0 Jerusalem.
The tribes of Jehovah, a testimony to Israel.
The thrones of the house of David.
Psalm cxxiv, 7.-Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers:
The snare is broken and we are escaped.
Psalm cxxxi, 2.—Truly I have soothed and made silent my soul,
As a child weaned from its mother;
My soul is [leans) upon me as the weaned child.
For we are exceedingly filled with contempt.
With the scorning of those that are at ease
In applying the rules of parallelism to the interpretation of the Psalms, the reader should be careful to notice the kind of parallelism employed; whether that of resemblance and comparison, or of antithesis, or of synthesis; or whether it is a mere general correspondence and proportion of the principal mem
bers of the verse or stanza. A little attention will suffice to determine this, and to discover in what particulars the comparison or contrast consists. He should consider whether the parallelism lies in words or things, or in both; and also which of the lines expresses the sentiment literally and which figuratively, which plainly and which obscurely. He will observe that sometimes the numbering of verses, as marked in our English Bible, is so arranged as to divide into two what should make but one verse or stanza, according to the rules of parallelism. Instances of this are given above in the quotations from Psalms xxi, 1, 2; xxxi, 19, 20; and xxxvii, 1, 2, 10, 11. Again, sometimes the parallelism would require four lines, where, according to the English numbering of the verse and the Hebrew punctuation, there are but two or three. For example:
“Thou didst drive out the heathen with thy bånd,
Psalm xliv, 2. The second and fourth lines refer to God's people. So also, instead of making one line of this parallelism in Psalm xxxi, 10,
'For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing," it should be put in two lines to make the parallelism obvious :
“For my life is spent with grief,
And my years with sighing.” These simple suggestions are such as to fall within the observation of the common reader, and attention to them will greatly aid his efforts to the profitable reading of the Psalms. Bishop Lowth has very strikingly illustrated the use and importance of parallelism in determining the meaning of words, and even of correcting the original text. For instance, in Isaiah xxviii, 14, 15, 18: Verse 14,—Wherefore hear ye the word of Jehovah, ye scoffers ;
Ye who to this people in Jerusalem utter sententious speeches. Verse 15.-Who say, We have entered into a covenant with death;
And with the grave we have made a treaty. Verse 18.-But your covenant with death shall be broken,
And your treaty with the grave shall not stand.
By observing the parallelism, it is readily perceived that yox, anesha latson, scoffers, scoffing men, in the first line of verse fourteen, is parallel to in, moshele, which our common version renders rulers, in the second line. But rulers, as such, were not the class of persons addressed. The prophet addresses those who ridiculed the messages of Jehovah, and gave out in mockery pseudo-prophetic sentences in their stead; and the translation should be accordingly. In verse fifteen the word nin, hozeh, translated agreement, which it would be otherwise difficult to interpret in this connexion, is clearly explained by the parallelism, thus : Verse 15.-We have entered into a covenant with death;
And with the grave we have made What? Every one perceives that the word agreement, league, is here intended; but the word hozeh, just noticed, does not denote it according to its common usage. We depend on the parallelism of this stanza, therefore, and on the exactly similar use of the word, with a little variation of forın, in verse eighteen, to fix its meaning. In verse eighteen the language of the distich is remarkably correspondent:
“And your covenant with death shall be disannulled,
And your agreement with the grave shall not stand.” The word mo?, kaphar, translated disannulled in the first line, properly means to cover, to overlay, and hence to atone, to expiate, and never to dissolve a covenant. This latter meaning, however, is imposed by the parallelism, and we must give this new signification on the authority of this single passage. Gesenius supposes the word here means to cover, blot out, as when a word is erased by drawing the stylus over it, and hence would arise the sense of cancelled, disannulled. This sense we must adopt, or suppose, with Houbigant, Archbishop Secker, and Bishop Lowth, that an error has crept into the orthography of the text, and that it should be hen, thuphar, shall be broken, as in Jeremiah xxxiii, 21, which would require the change only of a single letter. In either case, therefore, the use of the parallélism in fixing the meaning of the word is obvious. Again, Isaiah viii, 10:
“Take counsel together, and it shall come to naught;
The italicised words so correspond to each other that those of one line naturally suggest those of the other. In the couplet, Psalm xxxviii, 19,
“But mine enemies living are numerous;
And they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied," the words “living” and “ wrongfully” being the proper parallel words, and not contrasting well, suggested to Bishop Lowth the following correction of the text:
“For mine enemies without cause are numerous ;
And they that hate me wrongfully are multiplied.” This would require the change of sn, living, to dan, without cause, and would make the passage correspond to Psalm
“Let not them that are mine enemies falsely rejoice over me;
A similar passage also occurs in Psalm lxix, 4:
“They that hate me without cause are more than the hairs of my head. They that destroy me, being mine enemies wrongfully, are mighty."
Here it will be seen that the italicised words in the two lines, though they occupy the relative positions of synonymous members, are not parallel to each other. This suggested to Bishop Hare that an error had occurred in the original, which, by a slight change in one word would be restored so as to read : “ They that hate me without cause are multiplied beyond the hairs of my head; They that are mine enemies wrongfully are more numerous than the hairs of
And this correction, says Bishop Lowth, has been since confirmed by seven manuscripts. It is not consistent with my limits or my design to extend these remarks further. The above, which is mostly extracted from Bishop Lowth, will suffice, if carefully attended to, to illustrate the force of parallelism in the business of interpretation, and the method of employing it.
SECTION VIII.-DOCTRINAL TEACHING OF THE PSALMS.
The doctrinal inculcations of the Psalms deserve special notice in two respects: first, as setting forth the full-orbed light of the old dispensation; secondly, in reference to the principles by which we are to explain its figurative language.
The breadth and substance of all the Old Testament revelations are comprehended and expressed in the Pentateuch. After Moses no absolutely new truth was given, no enlargement made upon the primary matter of revelation, until the coming of Christ. The eye of Moses was assisted to take in the outline of all those facts and truths concerning God, the moral government, redemption, human obligation and destiny, which it was the will of God to make known during the continuance of the first covenant. The mission of the prophets was not to reveal new truths, but to explain old ones; not to supersede Moses, but to enforce him; not to add to the matter and ground-work of the Mosaic economy, but to develop and apply its doctrinal and spiritual meaning, and elevate the mind of the nation from the sensuous and outward to the spiritual and inward life. They were the spiritual interpreters of the old economy. To the Psalmists belonged still another work. It was their office to develop and explain the inward and the subjective of the dispensation under which they lived. David, indeed, belongs to the prophetic as well as the lyric school, but his productions are lyrical; the offspring of the immediate feelings, the outflowing of the warm gushings of the heart. The Psalms do, indeed, contain doctrine and prophecy; but it was not their peculiar and distinctive office to utter the one or to teach the other. Their distinctive sphere is in the realm of feeling, and of the inward experiences of that truth which Moses and the prophets taught. In them we see the exact heart-workings of the old economy. In them we see reflected the internal, antitypal image of the Pentateuchal doctrine. The heart here gives back the answering echo which that was designed to evoke. The character and mental exercises which that was adapted to create, are here embodied in all the lineaments of living reality. But it is not possible to express these