The climax principle asserts that a sequence of similar phrases
should be interpreted climactically even if the words
and grammatical constructs used do not directly suggest this. That is
the fact of the sequence justifies
reading into the Biblical text
a climactic interpretation
even if no other textual indication justifies it. For this reason we consider
the climax method a distinct and separate method.
a punishment of several diseases for disobedience to God
I also will do this to you;
I will appoint over you in a rush, consumption, and fever,
that shall destroy sight[of hope] , and
cause sorrow of heart; ....
The table below compactly shows the climactic progression in the
four underlined phrases in the verse.
Aspect of Climax
skin disease; horrid appearance
destructive of sight [of personal hope]
depressive; no personal hope of recovery
emotional anguish [to others]
no communal expectation of recovery.
Notice how Rashi almost arbitrarily interprets destructive of eyes
as meaning loss of personal hope while emotional anguish
Rashi interprets as meaning loss of communal hope. There is nothing
in the language or grammar which justifies this however the Rashi interpretation
is justified by the fact of Biblical sequence which justifies a climactic
interpretation. The skillful fitting of a well chosen climactic interpretation
on a poetic verse gives a nifty demonstration of the climax method.