Chiastic Structures
The Old Testament
Chiastic Parallels
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A

1 An oracle concerning Egypt:
When Jehovah enters Egypt riding on swift clouds,
the idols of Egypt will rock at his presence and the Egyptians’ hearts melt within them. 2 I will stir up the Egyptians against the Egyptians;
they will fight brother against brother and neighbor against neighbor,
city against city and state against state.

B

3 Egypt’s spirit shall be drained from within;

C

I will frustrate their plans, and they will resort to the idols and to spiritists,
to mediums and witchcraft.

D

4 Then will I deliver the Egyptians
into the hand of a cruel master; a harsh ruler will subject them,
says the Lord, Jehovah of Hosts.

E

5 The waters of the lakes shall ebb away
as stream beds become desolate and dry. 6 The rivers shall turn foul,
and Egypt’s waterways recede and dry up. Reeds and rushes shall wither;
7 vegetation adjoining canals and estuaries, and all things sown along irrigation channels, shall shrivel and blow away and be no more.

E'

8 Fishermen will deplore their lot
and anglers in canals bemoan themselves; those who cast nets on water
will be in misery. 9 Manufacturers of combed linen
and weavers of fine fabrics will be dismayed. 10 The textile workers will know despair,
and all who work for wages suffer distress.

C'

11 The ministers of Zoan are utter fools;
the wisest of Pharaoh’s advisers give absurd counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh,
We ourselves are as wise as the first rulers? 12 Where are your wise men indeed?
Let them please tell you, if they can discern it, what Jehovah of Hosts has in mind for Egypt!

B'

13 The ministers of Zoan have been foolish,
the officials of Noph deluded; the heads of state have led Egypt astray. 14 Jehovah has permeated them
with a spirit of confusion; they have misled Egypt in all that it does,
causing it to stagger like a drunkard into his vomit. 15 And there shall be nothing the Egyptians
can do about it, neither head nor tail, palm top or reed.

D'

16 In that day the Egyptians will be as women, fearful and afraid at the brandishing hand Jehovah of Hosts wields over them.

A'

17 The land of Judah shall become a source of terror to the Egyptians; all reminded of it shall dread what Jehovah of Hosts has in store for them.