Friday, September 23, 2011

When reading the Scriptures, keep your mind open for a rhetorical feature that can help you find the cohesion of the text. One way that the biblical writers can tie their discourses together is by using a feature called an inclusio. An inclusio is a device where the author says one thing and then "bookends" it later on with the same phrase. These "bookends" can tie the discourse together around that theme.

An example of this is Psalm 113:

1 Praise the LORD! Praise, O servants of the LORD, Praise the name of the LORD.
2 Blessed be the name of the LORD From this time forth and forever.
3 From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised.
4 The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God, Who is enthroned on high,
6 Who humbles Himself to behold The things that are in heaven and in the earth?
7 He raises the poor from the dust And lifts the needy from the ash heap,
8 To make them sit with princes, With the princes of His people.
9 He makes the barren woman abide in the house As a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!

The inclusio in Ps 113 is the phrase "Praise the LORD!" (הַ֥לְלוּ יָ֙הּ). The entire psalm is cohesively joined together by means of this phrase that occurs at the outset (v.1a) as well as at the conclusion (v.9b)—"Praise the LORD." Yahweh is worthy of praise because of his sovereign character (vv.1-5a) as well as his sovereign condescension to be involved in the affairs of humble men (vv.5b-9a).

For this reason, we are called, summoned, and commanded to "Praise the LORD!"

Have you obeyed this biblical command today?

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