A Word Fitly Spoken

Poetic Artistry in the First Four Acrostics of the Hebrew Psalter

by Les D. Maloney (Author)
©2009 Monographs XXII, 178 Pages
Series: Studies in Biblical Literature, Volume 119


A Word Fitly Spoken explores significant poetic devices within the four alphabetic acrostic psalms found in Book I of the Psalter. The majority of scholarly opinion has been that these acrostics are poetically and artistically deficient due to the writers’ and editors’ preoccupation with the alphabetic pattern. In contrast to this view, A Word Fitly Spoken proposes that the acrostic pattern contributes to, rather than detracts from, the poetic artistry of these psalms. In an effort to promote a holistic, canonical reading of the four acrostic poems within Book I of the Psalter, this study also examines the linguistic and grammatical connections within the text. Such a close reading repeatedly demonstrates the emotive power and the imagination of this literature in contradiction to its supposedly stiff, wooden nature. A Word Fitly Spoken is attuned to the frequent plays on word and sound that occur throughout these four poems and as such would be useful in graduate courses on biblical interpretation, Hebrew poetry, or the Psalms.


XXII, 178
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2008 (November)
Rhythmic Psalm Psalmen Akrostichon Poetik Bible Hebrew language Metric Hebrew poetry Religion
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2009. XXII, 178 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Les D. Maloney (Author)

The Author: Les D. Maloney is currently serving as a U.S. Army Reserve chaplain at Fort Hood, Texas, ministering to the families of soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. A graduate of Harding University Graduate School of Religion and Lubbock Christian University, Chaplain Maloney received his Ph.D. from Baylor University. He is the author of several articles that have appeared in Restoration Quarterly as well as a series of articles on the U.S. Army chaplaincy in Iraq (2003-2004) in Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.


Title: A Word Fitly Spoken