21 Day Experiment - Day 15

random blue watercolor lines
We’re memorizing Psalm 145, one verse per day, and today is Day 15. If you’d like to join us, don’t try to catch up—this can be your Day 1. For those who’ve fallen behind, don’t heap on guilt—pick up where you left off and keep going.

Today I thought I’d share with you some insights into Hebrew poetry because it will open up the beauty of the psalm. Unlike English poetry, Hebrew poetry doesn’t use rhyme or meter. That’s a huge break for us because it would be totally lost in translation.

Hebrew poetry uses different types of parallelism, where the second line parallels the previous line.

Here are a few examples from Psalm 145:

Synonymous Parallelism repeats a corresponding thought.
Verse 4
One generation will commend your works to another;
they will tell of your mighty acts.

Verse 13
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures through all generations.

Verse 14
The Lord upholds all those who fall
and lifts up all who are bowed down.

Synthetic Parallelism adds new information to the previous line.
Verse 15
The eyes of all look to you,
and you give them their food at the proper time.

Verse 18
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.

Antithetic Parallelism gives an opposing thought to the previous line.
Verse 20
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but the wicked he will destroy.

Inclusion Parallelism ties the final verse of the psalm back to the first verse
Verses 1-2
I will exalt you, my God the King;
I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
and extol your name for ever and ever.
Verse 21
My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

As our awareness of Hebrew poetry grows, so does our appreciation. When we recognize and identify the parallelism in the psalms, we see and feel the richness therein. God’s people repeat their praises in nuanced expressions of worship. As we memorize this psalm and others, we join them in extoling God for his virtues and his mighty works.

I would love to hear what you’ve seen or learned from memorizing this psalm, or from other psalms.

10 comments to 21 Day Experiment – Day 15

  • Barbara Tyndall

    Thank you so much for sharing these awesome insights into Hebrew poetry. I have saved this information and look forward to applying it to better understanding the Psalms.

  • Patty

    Dear Janet,

    Thank you for your encouragement and help to focus our thoughts on the Lord.

  • Richie

    I am on the team memorizing this psalm even though I am probably bringing up the rear on about verse 6. It is fantastic! I have also encouraged my 14 year old niece to memorize it since she told me she wants to start meditating. What better words to dwell on?! Thanks for the poetry lesson. It helps make more sense of the structure.

    • It’s ok to be a few verses behind. I’m also in that category but I’ll eventually catch up. What a great idea to teach your niece. I’m helping my granddaughter with Psalm 19.

  • Chérie

    Oh please do a video someday of that little dickens saying Psalm 19. Would love to see it! We all would.

  • Chérie

    Alrighty, so when Janet brought up Psalm 145, I was working Hebrews 6. But I decided to memorize it with y’all and I wanted to share a couple things. 
    First, I have noticed a 4/4 time rhythm in many of the Psalms I’ve memorized. (I memorize from NIV84) If you were to set a metronome or even just tap your hand in 4/4 time, and say several of the verses, you might see what I mean. 
    Vs. 10
    “All You {1}
    have made {2}
    will praise you, {3}
    O Lord; {4}
    Your saints {1}
    will {2}
    extol You.” {3,4}
    (Vs 10)
    (I don’t know if that makes sense….Don’t know how else to type it out)
    Anyway—also we Castillo’s have been going through a rough patch with getting our youngest adopted kiddo the right treatment for his special needs. On top of that we found out something a couple weeks ago that will cause another (albeit temporary) level of stress on our family. I was so grateful that I chose to memorize Psalm 145. Going through a stressful issue, WHILE working a chapter of praise and worship was not only a good idea, but a lifesaver. Yesterday, my VOTD, (verse of the day) was: “You open Your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” (Ps 145:16 NIV84)
    “Wouldn’t you know”, we got a phone call we had been hoping for that will take quite a bit of the stress off. 
    Ok, I know…some might call it a fluke—but I mean, really; is there such a thing as coincidence in the life of a Christian?
    Thanks Janet. I’ve read every Psalm in my Bible but this wasnt even on my memory work list and I can’t believe that I might have missed it. 

    • Cherie, So happy to hear that you have good news. We all go through stressful patches and there’s nothing more reassuring than praise on our lips. Thanks for sharing with all of us.

  • Lynette Nobles

    I am still slogging through Titus. I am at the end, but I have run out of steam. Also, the days are busier with less “down” time. However, I have noticed that I can write out these verses without much trouble at all. I am a grammar/word person, so writing triggers memory a bit better than speaking. I will finish it and maybe linger on the book throughout the month of March. I have noticed how many times Paul speaks of learning/doing “good”things. This is standing out to me. Thanks!

    • Hi Lynette, I understand the slogging through. That happens sometimes as a book nears the end. Have you tried Scripture Typer? That is a tool where you type out your verses and it alerts you to any mistakes. Lots of people use it because typing it out helps them in review. Titus is a very compact book with good doctrine and also the practical side, as you said, doing good things. It’s hard to miss the theme when you’re memorizing word for word. Keep pressing on. You will not regret the effort.