There’s a bit of Hebrew poetry that never fails to bring me joy whenever I encounter it. Instances seem scattered throughout the Old Testament, congregating especially in poetic books like Proverbs and Psalms.
It looks like this:
Three things are too wonderful for me;
four I do not understand.
This construction (which in my head I call “n, n+1”, but out loud I call “some, some more” so I don’t sound quite so much like the nerd I am1) has a few different meanings depending on how it’s used. In this case, it means that all of the items fall in both categories and that the last item is the most important.
So in Proverbs 30:18, the verse I just quoted, the author means that the following four things (listed in the next verse) are both too wonderful for him and he does not understand them. And the last is the most wonderful and the least understood:
- “the way of an eagle in the sky”,
- “the way of a serpent on a rock”,
- “the way of a ship on the high seas”, and
- “the way of a man with a virgin”.
Regardless of understanding, coming across one of these particular turns of phrase always makes me smile. It’s like my own private Biblical numerical joke. And that’s important when you’re reading the Bible. It is, after all, the whole point of this website: delight in the Scripture, don’t just read it. If it’s only drudgery, you should take a step back and rethink your reading.
Getting to Delight
But the point of this article isn’t to dive deep into the interpretation of this device (there’s another article for that). The point of this article is to point out something in Scripture that I love, so maybe you will love it, too.
So why does “some, some more” make me so happy? It started because it doesn’t make much sense. English translations make the authors sound like they’re contradicting themselves, such as in Psalm 62 when the psalmist appears to hear an echo of God’s words:
Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
according to his work.
But over time, it’s become a mnemonic device: a tool to help me remember what I’ve read. Whenever I read a new “some, some more”—or, to be honest, sometimes an old one I’ve forgotten—I remember the others. Not that I’ve memorized all the occurrences, but that I remember the ones that I have encountered and enjoyed in the past.
And when I remember, my eyes are opened to a wider, longer, bigger, and infinitely more beautiful story than the little one I’m reading today.
It gives me something concrete to look forward to in my reading: “What am I going to encounter today? Maybe one of those weird number things.”
But that’s not all.
“Some, some more” reminds me that what I’m reading is not only truth, it’s also literature. The Bible is not just the Word of God; it’s art, and it’s beautiful. The men who wrote it were part of a culture that loved poetry and imagery, and in that style, they composed poems and hymns and songs for their God.
He will deliver you from six troubles;
in seven no evil shall touch you. —Job 5:19
Pathways to Delight
So here are two easy pathways to delight in Scripture. First, find something that fascinates you the way “some, some more” fascinates me. Something that will snap you out of reading and make you aware of the whole story. Something to look forward to every time you open your Bible. Something, maybe, that will surprise, uplift, and delight. You can share this one with me, if you like it, but I encourage you to find your own, so you can make the Bible your own.
The other pathway here is reading the Bible for what it is: literature. Art. You can’t—or, you know, shouldn’t—read the psalms the same way you read Revelation, or 2 Timothy the same way you read 2 Chronicles. That would be like expecting a book of recipes to read like Harry Potter. Understanding the genre of the passage you’re reading illuminates the text and connects you with the inspired author by placing you, if only briefly, inside his culture instead of yours.
Every step you take like this helps you understand the Bible better. And better you understand the Bible, the better you know its Author. Following these two pathways will help you enjoy reading the Bible more, sure, but more importantly, they’ll help you know Jesus better.
Which is why we have this book in the first place.
Delight Is In the Details
When I started looking into this topic more seriously before I sat down to write, I found more than I ever expected. So much, in fact, that I pulled out all the glorious details into a separate article. I find great joy in those details, but if you just want to see “some, some more” in action, keep on going to the examples below. Don’t worry, I won’t be offended.
“Some, Some More” In the Wild
I’ve been haphazardly collecting instances of “some, some more” for years, but writing this was a good opportunity to put them all in one place. Here, for your enjoyment and reference, are all the examples I found, organized by the numbers the author chose.
|2 Kings 6:10||1/2|
|1 Samuel 18:7, 21:11, 29:5||1k/10k|
|Psalm 68:172||2, 10k, 1k|
|2 Kings 9:32||2/3|
|Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13, 2:1, 4, 6||3/4|
|2 Kings 13:19||5/6|
Counting Every Verse
Every verse counts. We know that God put every verse, every word, every jot, every tittle, in place on purpose. One of our jobs and joys as we read is to find out why they’re there.
Picking out a sequence like this is a great way to start. It gives you something to look for, like a scavenger hunt, and to look forward to, like a surprise. It makes you eager to read instead of daunted.
Like I said before, you can have mine, but you’ll love the Word more—you’ll love every word more—if you find your own.
And when you’ve found it, let me know.
It has a real name; we’ll get to that. Keep reading. ↩
Similar structure to “some, some more”, but only one number instead of two. So… just “some”? ↩