Don’t Skip the Poems (Michelle Knight)

The poetry in Scripture can be hard to understand. And, especially when it is embedded within a story, such as the Song of Deborah, we might be tempted to skip over it. It uses a lot of allusion and metaphor and is pregnant with imagery and historical detail. We would rather the author just “get to the point” and give us a bullet-point summary. However, to ignore the stylistic force of biblical poetry (or any biblical genre) is to miss out on some of the deep theological underpinnings of the text.

In this episode, Dr. Michelle Knight, Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, discusses biblical poetry and literary sensitivity to the genres of Scripture. She and Dr. Dru Johnson zoom in on the Song of Deborah in Judges and the violence it seems to celebrate, then expand to discuss Joshua and Judges more broadly. They cover biblical characterization, how the New Testament authors draw on motifs in Judges, and even compare Joshua to a Marvel movie. In the end, they aim to encourage us toward both theological understanding and literary prowess when we read the Bible.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Reading biblical poetry
  • 2:24 Dru squeezes his rubber ducky
  • 3:55 Violence in the Song of Deborah
  • 8:51 The purpose of poetic devices in conveying meaning
  • 12:42 Understanding the “rules” of poetry
  • 15:18 The style of Joshua versus that of Judges
  • 18:53 Joshua and Judges in the New Testament
  • 21:45 Are Samson and Gideon heroes?
  • 25:24 Understanding the character of Joshua

Read more about Michelle Knight.

Show notes by Micah Long.

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