Synonymous Parallelism – God's Name, God's Power

One of the primary features of the Hebrew poetry of the Old Testament is parallelism.  One of these types of parallelism is called synonymous, which means that the writer is essentially saying the same thing two different ways.  In today’s responsorial Psalm, there is a potentially helpful example of synonymous parallelism.  It may demonstrate the idea that God’s name is synonymous with God’s power.  Psalm 54.3 reads:

O God, by your name save me,

by your power plead my cause.

The parallels here are your name/your power and save me/plead my cause.  Of course, there is no such thing as full correspondence between synonyms.  God’s name can communicate more than the idea of power.  And, power is not limited to God’s name.  Perhaps this is even some other kind of parallelism (though I don’t think so).  However, it is sometimes said that God’s name is representative of God’s power.  Yet many people may not know where this idea comes from.  Psalm 54.3 is one potential place to drawn upon for that idea.

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