Biblical Allusions

The Waters of Babylon

Line 182 of the poem reads, “By the waters of Leman I sat down and wept…” PSALM 137 begins, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept…” PSALM 137 : 1 is also the inspiration for the title of Stephen Vincent Benét’s 1937 post-apocalyptic short story, By the Waters of Babylon.


With an encouraging forgiveness in his voice, Lincoln famously and powerfully ends his address: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for […]

The Judgments of the Lord

Lincoln declares that “if God wills that it [war] continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, […]


Tagged With: , , - MOBY DICK

Entry 116 quotes Ishmael’s description of the interior of a whale, in which he mentions “leviathan.” Though portrayed in Ishmael’s description as a whale, the Biblical Leviathan is a large sea creature described by God Himself in JOB 41 : 1-34 as overwhelming…

Threescore Years and Ten


In the “Custom-House” introduction to the novel, Hawthorne describes a “gallant old General” who “had already numbered, nearly or quite, his threescore years and ten, and was pursuing the remainder of his earthly march…” A score is an antiquated term for 20 years. Threescore would signify 20 x 3, or 60 years. The most famous […]