Of the numbers seventy-one to seventy-nine, only seventy-two, seventy-four, seventy-five and seventy-seven are written in the Bible. I have researched all the seventies, however, just in case something interesting cropped up.
Seventy-one is the twentieth prime number and the atomic number of lutetium. There are seventy-one laps of the Austrian, Mexican and Brazilian Grand Prix. It is the age that the Greek philosopher Socrates died.
Seventy-two is the atomic number of Hafnium. Seventy-two degrees Fahrenheit is considered to be the average room temperature. The Second World War lasted seventy-two months (roughly). The heart beats an average of seventy-two beats per minute. The human body is seventy-two per cent water.
According to the Kabbalah (Jewish school of thought), there are seventy-two names for God. The anonymously written grimoire Lesser Key of Solomon claims that King Solomon sealed away seventy-two demons. Some literature suggests that seventy-two languages were spoken at the Tower of Babel.
The only example of the number seventy-two I found written in the Old Testament was in the book of Numbers. It records that of the plunder taken from the Midianites, seventy-two cattle were to be sacrificed to God.
Seventy-two is written twice in the New Testament in Luke 10, which the New International Version titles Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two. There is a slight confusion here because other manuscripts claim Jesus appointed seventy people. Verse one of the NIV version, however, states: “After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.”
The seventy-two went out and told everyone they could about Jesus. Luke 10:17 records that they “returned with joy and said, ‘Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.’”
The number seventy-three is not written in the Bible. What I can tell you is that it is the twenty-first prime number and the atomic number of tantalum. This is a metal you may find in your mobile phone or DVD player. In international curling competitions, each team is given seventy-three minutes to complete all their throws.
Some Catholic Bibles, for example, the Jerusalem Bible, contain seventy-three books. The extra books are Tobit, Judith, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach (or Ecclesiasticus) and Baruch.
Tungsten, one of the strongest metals in the world, has the atomic number seventy-four. A hurricane occurs when there is a sustained wind of at least seventy-four miles per hour.
The number appears twice in the Bible. The first is in Ezra 2:40 (NIV): “The Levites: the descendants of Jeshua and Kadmiel (of the line of Hodaviah) 74.” The second is in Nehemiah 7:43, which records the exact same thing.
Seventy-four people ate in the presence of God on Mount Sinai without dying. This is recorded in Exodus 24:9-11 (NKJV): “Then Moses went up, also Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and they saw the God of Israel. And there was under His feet as it were a paved work of sapphire stone, and it was like the veryheavens in its clarity. But on the nobles of the children of Israel He did not lay His hand. So they saw God, and they ate and drank.” The seventy elders plus Moses, Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, total seventy-four.
A diamond-wedding anniversary celebrates seventy-five years of marriage. The atomic number of rhenium, one of the most expensive metals in the world, is seventy-five.
The number seventy-five appears twice in the Bible, once in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament. It is first written in Genesis 12:4 (NIV): “So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he set out from Harran.”
The second time the number seventy-five is mentioned is in the Acts of the Apostles 7:14 (NIV): “After this, Joseph sent for his father Jacob and his whole family, seventy-five in all.”
Some editions of the Bible, for instance, the New English Translation (NET) have rewritten measurements in contemporary systems. A talent, which is mentioned numerous times in the NIV Bible, is about seventy-five pounds in weight.
I have little to tell you about the number seventy-six other than it is the atomic number of osmium. In colloquial American jargon, seventy-six refers to the year 1776, the year of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
Seventy-seven is the atomic number of iridium. Halley’s comet reappears approximately every seventy-seven years. In English gematria, Christ equals seventy-seven: C = 3, H = 8, R = 18, I = 0, S = 19, T = 20.
The New International Version of the Bible uses the number seventy-seven four times. The first occurs in Genesis 4:24 (NIV): If Cain is avenged seven times, then Lamech seventy-seven times.” This is part of Lamech’s speech to his wives after he killed a man.
The next two uses of the number seventy-seven are as follows:
The final occurrence of the number seventy-seven is in the Gospel of Matthew. Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brothers and sisters who sin against him. He enquires whether seven times would be enough. Jesus, on the other hand, answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” (Matthew 18:22 NIV) Jesus then goes on to tell the parable of the unmerciful servant.
Neither seventy-eight nor seventy-nine appears in the Bible. I also have little of importance about either number generally. You may be interested to know, however, that seventy-eight is the atomic number of platinum and seventy-nine the atomic number of gold (“Finally, elements we have heard of!” I hear you all say).
Needless to say, the lack of the numbers above in the Bible suggests that there is no real meaning or importance for their use. Seventy-seven, in the examples from Genesis and Matthew, can be linked to the perfection of the number seven. Some manuscripts claim Jesus said “seventy times seven” rather then seventy-seven. Whichever version is read, we can infer that Jesus meant we should continuously forgive rather than pardon someone a specific number of times.
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon