The Two Parallel Chiasms in 1 Samuel 23-26

The writers of Scripture were careful to incorporate a variety of literary styles and structures as a means of communicating their point.  One example of this is found in the common use of chiasms.  Chiasms use a pattern of repetition for clarification and emphasis.  In short, a chiasm is a pattern within a passage in which the second half parallels the first half, but in reverse order.  Below is an example:

Chiasm example

The book of 1 Samuel also includes several simple chiasms, including one that I wrote about here surrounding the Ark of the Covenant.  There are two more near the end of 1 Samuel, one in chapter 23 (Listen to the sermon here) as well as one that covers chapters 24-26.  I have outlined these sections below.


1 Samuel 23

A- v. 1-14 David is going to die because his own people betray him but he miraculously escapes (Divine Revelation)

B- v. 15-18 Jonathan trusts in David’s coming kingship

A- v. 19-29 David is going to die because his own people betray him but he miraculously escapes (Divine Intervention)


1 Samuel 24-26

A- 1 Samuel 24 David Spares Saul

B- 1 Samuel 25 Abigail trusts in David’s coming kingship

A- 1 Samuel 26 David Spares Saul



When you study the outline of both sections, the point which the author is making becomes clear: Be like Jonathan and Abigail who trust in the coming kingship of God’s king.  We live that out today by trusting in Jesus to save us from the wages of sin.  Even though Jesus is not widely excepted in our day and age, we know that one day His kingship  will be visible and present, and in that day we will reign with him.  We who embrace Him now will be rewarded when He returns.

Sermon: The Crown in the Dust 1 Samuel 13

  1. During times of trial, our faith is tested.  V. 1-7
  2. God’s word must never be compromised. V. 8-15
  3. Apart from God there is no hope.  V. 16-23

Find more sermons here.

Sermon: Introduction to 1 Samuel

This weeks Blog Post: 1 Samuel in the History of Redemption: The Six C’s Leading to the Crown of 1 & 2 Samuel

6 C’s- Creation, Corruption, Call,

Captivity, Conquest, Cycles


Books- Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers,

Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel


See other Sermons here.

Understanding the Big Picture of the Bible: A Guide to Reading the Bible Well

Edited by Wayne Grudem, C. John Collins, Thomas Schreiner

Having a proper understanding of the Bible as you read it is of extreme importance.  The bible is “breathed out by God”.  This means that when you open up your bible, you are not opening up a book mealy written by man, but a book written by God.  The words of the scripture make you “wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” and “complete, equipped for every good work”.  (2 Timothy 3:15, 17).  This is why Paul says, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth”. (2 Timothy 2:15) The proper understanding of scripture is a matter of eternal life and death. If you don’t understand the Bible as the author intended, it will not make you “complete, equipped for every good work.  But there are challenges to reading the bible.  God chose to speak in a certain cultural context using certain literally genres.  Without understanding the context of the writers, the nature of the genre, or the big picture of the bible, the Christian will often be left to his own imagination, interpreting the text in a way that is unfaithful and often dangerous.

This helpful book is for the Christian who wants to grow in his understanding and knowledge of God’s perfect Word.   Faithfulness is not easy, yet the reward is more than worth it.  That is why this book is worth its weight in gold.  A newer Christian will struggle to follow along at times, but it is well worth the read.  The book starts with an overview of the Bible’s story line which is worth the price of the book by itself and then is split up into three main parts, Part 1 The Old Testament, Part 2 Background to the New Testament, and Part 3 New Testament and a fourth section having helpful timelines. Each chapter is written in an accessible way by bible scholars who are experts in the chapter’s topic.  Each author is biblical faithful and does an amazing job highlighting the beauty of the scriptures both in its unity and in its diversity.  By reading this book carefully, you will understand each section of the bible with more clarity and will be more equipped to deal with the challenging parts of the bible with more joy and ease.

This book review was written by Pastor Jonathan Ahlgren

Buy the book here.