A stich is a unit of poetry, the Greek word stichos means a "line". Hebrew poetry is made up of "parallel lines", this parallelism is both semantic and formal. As this very literal rendering of Amos 1:2 (laid out to show the word-units of the Hebrew) which shows how elements of one line usually have corresponding elements in the paired line:

A  Adonai     |  from Zion    |   roars,
B         and from Jerusalem |     gives     |     voice;
C  they wither | the pastures | of the shepherds,
D  and it dries |   the crest    |  of Carmel.

Thus "from Zion" in A corresponds to "and from Jerusalem" in B "roars" (A) and "gives voice" (B) are also synonyms. In this first pair of lines the subject of both is only expressed once (ellipsis) in the second pair each element has its "partner". Since Hebrew poetry works with pairs or triplets of such short lines there are two uses of the term "stich" which are current: (i) each of these short lines (A,B,C,D) is a stich, a pair is then a "distich" (triads are "tristichs") or (ii) each pair (or triplet) is a stich and each line above is a "hemstitch" (half a stich).

This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos,

© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.