The English Standard Version has a footnote for Jonah 1:17 stating that the verse is "Chapter 2:1 in Hebrew".

The Miles Coverdale, Geneva and 1611 Authorised Version all contain Jonah 1:17, while the Septuagint and Vulgate match the Hebrew chapter division. It is my understanding is that chapter divisions preceed the Reformation and the translation of the Old Testament into English, for example according to Wikipedia, they were added to the Vulgate in 1205.

I am aware of some cases where pre-Authorised Version English bibles follow the chapter divisions of the Vulgate, rather than the Hebrew Bible (i.e. in Lamentations), but the fact that the Vulgate contains the same chapter division as the Hebrew Bible has left me perplexed.

Does this variant chapter division originate from outside of the Bible's translation into English, or is it just an English Bible aberration?

  • My understanding is the books of the Bible in their original form didn't have divisions.
    – Perry Webb
    Aug 16, 2018 at 0:18
  • @perry-webb Correct - although there were several systems of division used in the centuries after the Bible was completed (such as the Eusebian canons). The Wikipedia article I referenced is useful if you want a brief overview of the history of the divisions. My question is more around why the English bible uses a different division for chapter 2 than earlier bibles.
    – Peter
    Aug 16, 2018 at 0:47
  • the fact that the Vulgate contains the same chapter division as the Hebrew Bible has left me perplexed - Why would it ? The former was a translation of the latter, and its author had only the highest words of praise for the Masoretic Text, which is still being used by Western churches until this very day as the main basis for their various translations of Old Testament Scripture.
    – Lucian
    Aug 16, 2018 at 1:03
  • @Lucian it has left me perplexed, as the other chapter division differences between English bibles I have encountered have been explained by the translator's reliance on the Vulgate. The English chapter division in Jonah appears out of nowhere, as far as I can tell.
    – Peter
    Aug 16, 2018 at 1:38
  • Coverdale 1535 does not place it in chapter one as stated, but in chapter two.
    – user21676
    Aug 16, 2018 at 18:56


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