In his comments on Psalm 22, Hans-Joachim Kraus writes the following,

"Metrically, Psalm 22 presents many problems, most of which cannot be solved by text-critical means. If we observe the text carefully, we shall be able to identify the following meters: The double triple meter is present in vv. 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12-15a, 16a, 17-20, 23a, 24a𝛄/b [?], 26a."

He goes on to discuss other metrical breakdowns but I'm unable to see how he arrives at the double-triple meter for the included verses. Maybe someone can shed some light for me.

1 Answer 1


Thanks for the question. I'm not poetically inclined, so to speak, but was intrigued by the question nonetheless. Was confused for a while because I kept trying to have it make sense by syllables in transliteration, as in English poetry. Didn't work.

Your quote appears to be from Psalms 1-59: A Commentary by Kraus, Hans-Joachim (1988).

I borrowed the book from archive.org for an hour. "The Poetic Form of the Psalms," p. 32 begins the explanation of his metrical system. The system applies to the Hebrew, not translations or transliteration syllables.

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In Kraus' book, it also says, "In its meter, Psalms 18 almost throughout reveals the form of the double triple scheme...." Which prompted me to look at BHS. I'd noticed the 'gaps' in verses before, just never questioned their purpose. Perhaps those 'gaps' denote poetry meters which, for space-saving reasons, were separated by gaps instead of being placed on separate lines.

Having no real knowledge of this topic, that's as far as I can take this. If anyone can confirm or correct my conclusion, I'd appreciate it.

The images below are from BHS of Psalms 18 on archive.org - https://archive.org/details/biblia-hebraica-stuttgartensia-bhs/Biblia%20Hebraica%20Stuttgartensia%20BHS/page/n1131/mode/2up

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  • +1. Good research.
    – Jason_
    Commented May 13 at 1:09
  • Thanks for the insights, and yes, I too am in the deep end of the pool in this area. My concern with meter is how redaction seems to be a function of determining meter as to whether words are excluded or making modifications to an existing word by changing a letter or vowel pointing. The metrical breakdown of Psalm 27:9 is puzzling to me without a detailed analysis of the '3+2' schematic Kraus proposes.
    – ed huff
    Commented May 15 at 14:01

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