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1 Thessalonians 4:18-5:11

Note: the central exhortation of verse 6 is to watch (stay awake) and to be sober (not drunken). These two elements are picked up in turn in verse 7 which is why I have set out the structure as a double centre.  

A. 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

B. 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

C. 4 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

D. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch (keep awake) and be sober (not drunken)

D’. 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

C’. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

B’. 9 For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

A’. 11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

A.13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren , concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

B.15 For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord

C. shall not prevent them which are asleep.

D. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:

C’. and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

B’. 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:

A’. and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Hosea 12:2-14

Note: is there a pattern here? The references to the man Jacob’s life are split into two sections. Also the references to the sins of Ephraim are interrupted by YHWH’s promise of blessing.

A. God will repay

2 The LORD has an indictment against Judah
and will punish Jacob according to his ways;
he will repay him according to his deeds.

B. Concerning the man Jacob

3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
4 He strove with the angel and prevailed;
he wept and sought his favor.
He met God at Bethel,
and there God spoke with us—
5 the LORD, the God of hosts,
the LORD is his memorial name:
6 “So you, by the help of your God, return,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.”

C. false balances

7 A merchant, in whose hands are false balances,
he loves to oppress.
8 Ephraim has said, “Ah, but I am rich;
I have found wealth for myself;
in all my labors they cannot find in me iniquity or sin.”

D. 9 I am the LORD your God
from the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents,
as in the days of the appointed feast.
10 I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who multiplied visions,
and through the prophets gave parables.

C’. false worship

11 If there is iniquity in Gilead,
they shall surely come to nothing:
in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls;
their altars also are like stone heaps
on the furrows of the field.

B’. Concerning the man Jacob

12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram;
there Israel served for a wife,
and for a wife he guarded sheep.

13 By a prophet the LORD brought Israel up from Egypt,
and by a prophet he was guarded.

A’. God will repay

14 Ephraim has given bitter provocation;
so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him
and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds.

Isaiah 1

Note: a previous post put forward the proposal by Dorsey of a 7 part structure. Further study leads me to suggest a variation – 6 parts with a double centre, contrasting the ritualistic worship in Jerusalem with the invitation of YHWH to help Judah come to true worship.

Isaiah 1


Under the page “Complete Books” the Gospel of Luke has been added as a pdf. The purpose is not to suggest the job of analysing the gospel has been completed satisfactorily but to expose sections where further clarity on structure is needed. 


Mark 1:45-3:7*

Note: based on J Dewey in “The Literacy Structure of the Controversy Stories in Mark 2:1-3:6”   Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 92, No. 3 (Sep., 1973), pp. 394-401. Five pericopes form an ABCB’A’ pattern around the central theme of the new covenant. 

Mark 1-3

Genesis 7:19-24*

Note: Development of a proposal by Lund, 1930. The centre indicates the syntax of the Hebrew. Curiously the two lists of  living things destroyed are not in  regular or inverted parallel unless we group the land  animals into one set. The structure serves to emphasise the contrast between “all flesh” and Noah. 

A. 19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. 20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

B. 21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth,

C.i. both of fowl,

ii. and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth,

iii. and every man:

D. 22 All in whose nostrils was the breath of life,
of all that was in the dry land,

E. died.
E’. [and was destroyed]

D’. 23 … every living substance [ … ]
which was upon the face of the ground,

C’. iii. both man,

ii. and cattle, and the creeping things,

i. and the fowl of the heaven;

B’. and they were destroyed from the earthand Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

A’. 24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.

1 Samuel 9:25-10:16*

Note: The proposal has been worked through following  clues from Lund (1930) “The presence of Chiasmus in the Old Testament”, The American Journal of Semitic languages and Literatures, 46, 104-126. However, it seems that the fulfilment of only one of the three signs given to Saul is specifically mentioned making the section asymmetrical. This highlights the Spirit of God coming upon Saul. The central statement highlights  the waiting for 7 days. This is specifically the issue that led to Saul losing the kingdom (1 Samuel 13:8-10).

A. 25 And when they were come down from the high place into the city, Samuel communed with Saul upon the top of the house. 26 And they arose early: and it came to pass about the spring of the day, that Samuel called Saul to the top of the house, saying, Up, that I may send thee away. And Saul arose, and they went out both of them, he and Samuel, abroad. 27 And as they were going down to the end of the city, Samuel said to Saul, Bid the servant pass on 10:1 Then Samuel took a vial of oil, and poured it upon his head, and kissed him, and said, Is it not because the LORD hath anointed thee to be captain over his inheritance?

B. a. 2 When thou art departed from me to day, then thou shalt find two men by Rachel’s sepulchre in the border of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say unto thee, The asses which thou wentest to seek are found: and, lo, thy father hath left the care of the asses, and sorroweth for you, saying, What shall I do for my son?

b. 3 Then shalt thou go on forward from thence, and thou shalt come to the plain of Tabor, and there shall meet thee three men going up to God to Bethel, one carrying three kids, and another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a bottle of wine: 4 And they will salute thee, and give thee two loaves of bread; which thou shalt receive of their hands.

c. 5 After that thou shalt come to the hill of God, where is the garrison of the Philistines: and it shall come to pass, when thou art come thither to the city, that thou shalt meet a company of prophets coming down from the high place with a psaltery, and a tabret, and a pipe, and a harp, before them; and they shall prophesy: 6 And the Spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them,

C. and shalt be turned into another man.

D. 7 And let it be, when these signs are come unto thee,
that thou do as occasion serve thee; for God is with thee.

E. 8 And thou shalt go down before me to Gilgal;

F. and, behold, I will come down unto thee, to offer burnt offerings, and to sacrifice sacrifices of peace offerings:

G. seven days shalt thou tarry,

F’. till I come to thee, and shew thee what thou shalt do.

E’. 9 And it was so, that when he had turned his back to go from Samuel,

C’. God gave (turned) him another heart:

D’. and all those signs came to pass that day.

B’. 10 And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them. 11 And it came to pass, when all that knew him beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come unto the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets? 12 And one of the same place answered and said, But who is their father? Therefore it became a proverb, Is Saul also among the prophets?

A’. 13 And when he had made an end of prophesying, he came to the high place. 14 And Saul’s uncle said unto him and to his servant, Whither went ye? And he said, To seek the asses: and when we saw that they were no where, we came to Samuel. 15 And Saul’s uncle said, Tell me, I pray thee, what Samuel said unto you. 16 And Saul said unto his uncle, He told us plainly that the asses were found. But of the matter of the kingdom, whereof Samuel spake, he told him not.