ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Synonymous, Antithetic, and Emblemetic Parallelism

Updated on June 16, 2008

Synonymous Parallelism

The most common form of parallelism used by our poetic prophets in the scriptures is called synonymous parallelism. This is a result of the theme on the first line being repeated in the second line but with slightly different words.



A: A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth

B: with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. (Proverbs 18:20)

A: A false witness shall not be unpunished

B: He that speaketh lies shall perish. (Proverbs 19:19)


Both lines are closely related or are repeated ideas to reinforce a single major concept. Repetition is a major teaching technique used throughout the scriptures. With synonymous parallelism the poet would repeat and reinforce the idea for his listeners making it easier to recall when orally repeating it.

Antithetic Parallelism

Another form of parallelism is called antithetic parallelism. This is where the thought of the first part of the couplet contrasts with an opposite theme contained in the second part.


A: A hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor;

B: through knowledge shall the just be delivered. (Proverbs 11:9)

A: By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted

B: It is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked. (Proverbs 11:11)


The use of opposites clarifies both extremes. In poetry the use of opposites can bring a sharper contrast to an image and provide a greater focus to the desired message.

Emblematic Parallelism

Emblematic parallelism is another form of poetry that is used in the teachings of the scriptures. This is shown when two lines are compared by means of a simile or metaphor.


A: Though your sins be as scarlet

B: they shall be white as snow

A: though they be red as died wool

B: they shall be as fleece. (Isaiah 1:18)

"Like" and "As"

This parallelism is often recognized by the key words of "like" and "as." This type of poetic teaching allows the listener to compare his experiences in life to help him understand the message being conveyed, however; like parables which were also used in teaching, it can be challenging to discover the additional insight or message that is included in this form of poetic expression.

Look for them as you study.

All three of these semantic parallelisms are fairly easy to find in the Old Testament and it can be fun to try to identify them as you study.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)