Continuing on in our adventure of discovering new vistas of Polysyndeton, we note that examples of this figure abound throughout scripture. Neither the Old nor the New Testament are at a loss for examples. In fact, it is one of the very first figures God uses in His word. We will look at that a little later, but first, let’s see some of the examples Dr. Bullinger gives of Polysyndeton in his book “
Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible“.

“Gen. 25:34—
“Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles;
and he did eat and drink,
and rose up,
and went his way:
And Esau despised his birthright.”
“Here our attention is drawn to the deliberateness of Esau’s action.
There is no haste in the words, as there was none in Esau’s deed.
Each part of it is minutely pointed out, and dwelt upon, as showing that Esau did not fall under some sudden temptation, but that he deliberately and willfully “despised his birthright.”
Heb. 12:16, 17

Here, our attention is drawn to the formula of the “3Fs”. Without so many words, Dr. Bullinger points them out. The Form, being like Anaphora, rests in the example he provides. The Function then is expressed in his comment, “There is no haste in the words”, and “our attention is drawn to the deliberateness of Esau’s actions”. Finally, he points out its purpose Fulfilled in teaching us that Esau’s actions were deliberate, not merely a mistake.

“Psa. 107:35-37—Here, to enhance the blessings which Jehovah bestows upon His people they are set forth with such distinctness that we are asked to dwell upon each one that goes to make up the whole:”
“He turneth the wilderness into a standing water,
and dry ground into watersprings,
and there he maketh the hungry to dwell,
that they may prepare a city for habitation;
and sow the fields,
and plant vineyards, which may yield fruits of increase.”

Here too the “3F” pattern can be seen in Dr. Bullinger’s comments, as well as his mention of this figure making up a whole. Anaphora draws our thought back to what is being repeated as the distinct thought, whereas here, with Polysyndeton, each thought is used to make a whole.

“Luke 1:31, 32—Here the birth of the Lord Jesus is presented as it is in
Isa. 9:6, 7, with the “sufferings” overleaped, and the present season of His rejection not noticed. Our attention is called to all the wondrous details
and separate parts of His glory, which, though thus linked together and connected with His birth, are not
immediately consecutive.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb,
and bring forth a son,
and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great,
and shall be called the Son of the Highest:
and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever;
and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Mary would have known, from the prophet Isaiah’s writings, of the sufferings of Christ, but the angel of the Lord leaped over those details because, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18; Hebrews 12:2).

These are just a few of the examples given in the book. Next time we will examine several ways in which conjunctions are used, and consider whether the figure Polysyndeton also is used in various ways. Stay tuned, don’t touch that dial, and remember, ENJOY!

Ken Rossoll,  Jan. 30, 2021.


Tags: , , , , ,