Some Types of Parallelism in the Psalms

I. Parallelism: pairing of a line with one or more lines that are linguistically equivalent

A. Synonomous: two lines repeating the same text (example: Psalm 59)



"O Lord, do not rebuke me in your wratch

Nor chasten me in your displeasure." (38:1)

B. Antithetical: statement followed by its opposite (example: Psalm 49: 6-10)

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses,

But we will remember the name of our Lord." (20:7)

C. Synthetic: an extension of the same thought in one line: (example: Psalm 148)

_______________________ / _________________________

"O sing unto the Lord a new song; sing unto the Lord, all the earth." (96:1)

D. Progressive: two synthetic parallel lines (example: Psalm 126: 4-6)

______________ / _________________

______________ / _________________

"Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it

Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes in vain." (127:1)

E. Stepped: refrain reinforcing the progression (example: Psalm 136)





"Let Israel declare:

His steadfast love is eternal

Let the house of Aaron declare

His steadfast love is eternal." (118: 2-3)