Note: adapted from Breck who suggests that there are 5 units, 1,2,4,5 having internal chiastic structure, and a centre in verse 8 – “He is near that justifieth me”.
A. Christ obedient to his calling
a. 4 The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary:
b. he wakeneth morning by morning,
he wakeneth mine ear
c. to hear as the learned.
b’. 5 The LORD God hath opened mine ear,
a’. and I was not rebellious,
neither turned away back.
B. suffering servant
a. 6 I gave my back to the smiters,
and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair:
b. I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
c. 7 For the Lord GOD will help me;
b’. therefore shall I not be confounded:
a’. therefore have I set my face like a flint,
and I know that I shall not be ashamed.
C. 8 He is near that justifieth me;
B’. secret of the Lord’s endurance of suffering
a. who will contend with me?
let us stand together:
b. who is mine adversary?
let him come near to me.
c. 9 Behold, the Lord God will help me;
b’. who is he that shall condemn me?
a’. lo, they all shall wax old as a garment;
the moth shall eat them up.
A’. Call to wayward disciple to obey
a. 10 Who is among you that feareth the LORD,
that obeyeth the voice of his servant,
b. that walketh in darkness, and hath no light?
let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God.
c. 11 Behold, all ye that kindle a fire,
that compass yourselves about with sparks:
b’. walk in the light of your fire,
and in the sparks that ye have kindled.
a’. This shall ye have of mine hand;
ye shall lie down in sorrow.