Updated: Feb 15, 2020
Many of my readers know that I divide my reading of the Bible in accordance with how a book is divided by chapters. I do not have a set number of chapters or pages that I read on a daily basis. Instead, I count the chapters in a book and divide accordingly. I read Genesis in 10 days giving each day 5 chapters. I read Exodus in 5 days of 8 chapters each. In doing so, and by starting in Genesis on June 1st and on December 1st, I read through my bible twice a year.
This often leads to a disparity in how much I read on any given day. There are many days when I read less than 100 verses a day, a few days where I read less than 50, but many days when I read well over 300 verses. When I read I Kings 1-11 (the book divides naturally into two divisions of 11 chapters each) I end up reading 434 verses in one day. I have found that this system makes it easier to discipline my flesh. A routine of an exact amount of pages or chapters wearies me. Somehow, having different amounts to read at sundry times keeps the whole process fresher for me.
I Samuel made that system difficult. There are 31 chapters in I Samuel and 31 just doesn't divide. At first I tried reading the book in one day, but it's kind of like taking a cold shower, invigorating once, but not to be repeated. Reading a chapter a day for 31 days made folly out of my whole system and so I sought for a more natural way to divide the book. I found the key to dividing it by looking at its alternative title.
The King James Bible gives the Book of I Samuel an alternative title calling it the First Book of the Kings. There are two kings in the Book of I Samuel. Saul is anointed king and then later David is anointed. Could it be that the book is divided equally between both kings? Yes, it is. Having an uneven amount of chapters, I Samuel divides with chapter 16 being the middle chapter. There are 15 chapters before it and 15 chapters after it.
Chapter 16 has 23 verses in it. Having an uneven amount of verses, verse 12 is the exact middle verse there being 11 verses prior and 11 verse after. What is this 12th verse of chapter 16, the exact middle verse of I Samuel? And he sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy, and withal of a beautiful countenance, and goodly to look to. And the LORD said, Arise, anoint him: for this is he, I Samuel 16:12. That's right, the Book of I Samuel divides exactly in the middle with the anointing of David as king. His anointing is the fulcrum of the book. There are two kings in the book and half of the book is for one king and the other half is for the other king.
With that in mind, the book divides quite naturally. There are 3 distinct divisions of 4 chapters each, a middle division of 7 chapters, then 3 more divisions of 4 chapters. The first 4 chapters deals with Eli as the priest who judges Israel. The next 4 chapters deal with Samuel as the judge. The next 4 chapters deal with Saul ruling Israel in the will of God. The middle seven chapters start with the beginning of Saul's apostasy, he is replaced in the middle, and they end with Saul naked to his shame and prophesying. The next 4 chapters deal with David in flight. The next 4 deal with David in triumph and the last 4 deal with the destruction of Saul. The book quite naturally divides 4-4-4-7-4-4-4.
Coincidence? I trow not. We will see in subsequent posts that the numbering system of the King James Bible is real. I don't pretend to know or understand it all, but because I was trained from my salvation onwards that the verse markings in a King James Bible are infallible, and because I have looked for the patterns, I have seen more than my peers.