Two little ducks, twenty-two. The atomic number of Titanium, a very strong metal named after the Greek Titans. The number twenty-two is known as a semiprime, which means it is the product of two prime numbers (2x11). It is also a pentagonal number, a Perrin number, an Erdös-Woods number and a Smith number. Like me, you probably have no idea what any of that means!
The length of a cricket pitch is twenty-two yards, which is equivalent to the length of one chain. On a rugby pitch, the “22” is a line in each half of the field, which is twenty-two metres from the respective try line. A snooker game begins with twenty-two balls on the table (fifteen red, six coloured and one white). In football, there is a maximum of twenty-two players on a pitch at any time.
The human skull contains twenty-two bones: eight cranial and fourteen facial. There are twenty-two Major Arcana cards in a standard Tarot deck. The Hebrew alphabet contains twenty-two letters: alef, bet, gimel, dalet, he, vav, zayin, chet, tet, yod, kaf, lamed, mem, nun, samech, ayin, pay, tsade, qof, resh, shin, tav. In fact, most Semitic alphabets and the Phoenician language contain twenty-two letters.
As mentioned, the number twenty-two is double eleven, which symbolises disorder and chaos in the Bible. As a result, twenty-two can represent disorganisation. The number can also represent the beginning and end of man. In Genesis, God created twenty-two things during the six days of creation. At the opposite end of the Bible, the Book of Revelation contains twenty-two chapters.
The number twenty-two is used around thirty-one times in the Bible, depending on the translation. Here are a few examples:
According to Luke 3:23-38, there are twenty-two generations between God and Abraham:
Although there are thirty-nine books in the Old Testament, the original amount finalised by Ezra the prophet and the Great Assembly was twenty-two. It has also been counted that Jesus quoted from twenty-two Old Testament books. When Jesus was on the cross, Mark 15:34 (NIV) records: “And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).” Although those at the foot of the cross mistakenly believed Jesus was calling out to Elijah, he was, in fact, quoting from Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.
Psalm 22:1-2 (NIV)
To end, I leave you with some words that appear twenty-two times in scripture:
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon