chapter  7
4 Pages


ByJacqueline Vayntrub

This chapter examines the mashal in its narrative context, as staged performances by Balaam in Num 23–24, as well as David’s performance of a mashal in the larger context of his speech to Saul in 1 Sam 24 and the future performance of a mashal directed towards a tyrannical ruler in Isa 14. Across time and space, the essential aspect of biblical poetry was variously located in the audience reception of its artifice, in the poet’s genius, in an original motivating performance context, and in its structuring patterns. Each of these theories proved generative for their time, focusing on important aspects of biblical poetry as it functions as textualized forms of communication. Beyond close attention to biblical poetry’s patterning structures, a study of biblical poetry as speechmaking should strive to understand its various rhetorical strategies and connect these strategies to underlying cultural ideas that give them their persuasive power.