I had an interesting assignment this week. I had to write my own psalm and in it I had to show several Hebraic types. I chose a literary device known as seconding sequencing in the form of synonymous parallelism. Simply put, it means that if you have two lines of poetry the second line will parallel the first line in order to bring the reader into deeper theological reflection. Here is what I came up with. A basic breakdown is provided after the psalm.
Oh God, creator of all that is true, all that is good, and all that is beautiful
You are high and lifted up, oh God of justice, righteousness and eternal glory
You are invisible, perfect in every way
For no one can see your face and live, oh sovereign God
How then, shall our eyes gaze upon what we cannot bear to see?
How then, are we to veil ourselves from you, oh God of mercy?
Shall we cover ourselves with the blood of sacrifices?
Shall we empty the life of an innocent lamb?
How many then, Oh Lord, how many lambs?
For countless sins require countless sacrifices.
If a lamb will atone, then a lamb we ask of you, oh God of provision and grace
Provide and redress us, Lord, as you provided for Abraham in your boundless mercy
Give to us your lamb to be poured out on the final altar
Send us your divinity in flesh and blood
So that we may take, eat, and drink of you
Oh sovereign God, give to us your lamb
Give to us yourself and make known to us your once and for all
So that we may see your face and live, oh God.
The above psalm shows, to the best of my ability, seconding sequencing, which is a common literary element found in many of the Hebraic psalms. More precisely, the above psalm uses synonymous parallelism throughout, which is found in groups of two lines each. For example: line one mentions God, which is followed by three attributes of God. Line two follows suite by restating that God is high and lifted up, which is also followed up by three attributes that parallel the first. Justice parallels all that is true; righteousness parallels all that is good; and endless glory parallels all that is beautiful. This pattern, hopefully, is evident throughout the rest of the psalm. See if you can spot them!
In addition, Hebrew poetry clearly set its focus on the one true God. In other words, they were strictly monotheistic (one God), which the above psalm shows as well. Finally, this psalm draws upon several types such as history, lament, and praise. The line that mentions Abraham is historical because it looks back to a time when God directly involved himself with his people. It also contains a lament because it depicts a troubled situation before the Lord and finally, it contains praise because it is only God who is able to make the final and proper atonement for the sins of humanity.
. Holy Bible: English Standard Version, Study Bible, esv text ed. (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 2011, 2014), 865.
. Ibid., 940.