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Psalm 119 - Literary Form & Resources

Literary Form

The literary form of this longest of Psalms is called an alphabetic acrostic. The eight lines of the first stanza begin with the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This form is repeated for each successive letter of the alphabet resulting in a total of 22 stanzas or 176 verses.

Within the eight verses of each stanza there can be additional imbedded literary structures. For example, the third stanza (Gimel) appears to be a series of four couplets. The first couplet is a unified petition to God. The three following couplets contain contrasting or comparative elements that suggest where the Psalmist will be if the petition is, or is not, granted. Looking for the form of each stanza can be a helpful aid in interpreting the poetic intent of the Psalmist.

Study Resources

Below is a cumulative list of study resources used in writing the journal entries.

Hebrew Alphabet Chart -

Introduction to the Psalms -

Bible Hub (especially the Interlinear English/Hebrew view) -

Thomas Manton, An Exposition of Psalm 119 -

Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament -

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