Did you know, the number one hundred and twenty (120) was formerly known as “one hundred” in Germanic languages? Six score (twenty times six) was considered to be the “long hundred” or “great hundred”, whereas, 100 (five score) was the “short hundred”. Rather confusing if you ask me!
In science, 120 is the atomic number of Unbinilium, of which many people, including myself, have not heard. This is because it is a hypothetical element, an element yet to be discovered. Scientists apparently know of its existence but have not yet “found” it.
In basketball, the hoop is required to be 120 inches off the ground; that is ten foot. In China, dialling 120 gets you through to emergency services. In Israel, the government or Knesset has 120 seats.
The number 120 appears at least twelve times in the Bible. Some theologians say it is a symbol of a divine waiting time. This idea is taken from Genesis 6 where God talks about the wickedness in the world. Genesis 6:3 (NET) states, “So the Lord said, ‘My spirit will not remain in humankind indefinitely, since they are mortal. They will remain for 120 more years.’” God had seen how sinful his world was becoming and gave his people 120 years to repent until he destroyed the world with a flood.
Moses, a man who did a lot of divine waiting during his lifetime, died at the age of 120. This is recorded in the book of Deuteronomy. Chapter thirty-one explains how Moses appointed Joshua as his successor. He began by saying “Today I am a hundred and twenty years old. I am no longer able to get about, and the Lord has said to me, ‘You will not cross the Jordan.’” (Deuteronomy 31:2 NET)
The following chapters record Moses preparing for his death. He makes sure the Israelites have what they need in order to continue without him. His death is eventually documented in Deuteronomy 34:7 (NET): “Moses was 120 years old when he died, but his eye was not dull nor had his vitality departed.” He died and was buried in Moab after viewing the Promised Land from the top of Mount Nebo. To this day, no one knows where he was buried.
The number 120 frequently crops up as an amount of money or weight. The prices of items mean little to us today unless we have a good understanding of ancient money and how it compares to today’s prices. Nonetheless, the writers of the Bible felt it important to record these:
There are also accounts of groups of people that total 120:
It is thought that Jesus had a total of 120 disciples, including the apostles. Acts 1:15 (NIV) states, “In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty).” These people were gathered for the election of a new apostle to take Judas’ place. From the crowd, two people were nominated: Joseph (also known as Justus) and Matthias. After praying and casting lots, Matthias was elected to be the twelfth disciple.
Mary of Jesus of Ágreda (1602-1665) claimed she saw in a vision that 120 disciples were present during the Ascension of Jesus. Presumably, these are the same people quoted in the Acts of the Apostles.
In the Jewish Talmud, it is stated that Noah had 120 years to build the ark – another example of divine waiting.
My final fact for you is the word “king” is apparently written 120 times in the New Testament.
We’ve made it to one hundred! Also known as five score in medieval contexts, there is so much I could tell you about this first three-digit whole number. There are almost one hundred references to the number in the Bible and I have tried to condense all the important examples in this article.
In science, one hundred is the atomic number of fermium. Water boils at 100 degrees Celsius or centigrade. The Karman line, which separates the Earth’s atmosphere from the rest of space, lies at one hundred kilometres above sea level.
In the United States of America, there are one hundred senators in congress at one time. The $100 bill is known as the “Benjamin” because it features a portrait of founding father Benjamin Franklin. A €100 banknote features the image of a Rococo gateway on one side and a Baroque bridge on the reverse.
A devout Jew is expected to say at least one hundred blessings per day. In Islam, the Koran states that men and women who commit adultery will receive one hundred lashes of a whip. In Greek mythology, the giant Argus had one hundred eyes. He could sleep with fifty eyes open, allowing him to keep an eye on whatever he was charged to guard.
The fourteen epistles written by Paul have in total one hundred chapters. The apocryphal book of Barnabas claims Adam and Eve cried for one hundred days in repentance of their sins.
There are one hundred years in a century and when someone reaches their 100th birthday they become a centenarian. In the Bible, there are records of events that occurred to two people who were one hundred years old – Shem and Abraham:
As you can see, the above examples are from the book of Genesis. There are two more mentions of the number one hundred in this book:
Initially, I was not expecting to find so many mentions of the number one hundred in the Bible, however, when I turned to Exodus and started noting them down, I soon gave up! From chapter 25, the book of Exodus records God’s precise instruction for the construction of the Tabernacle. The courtyard of the Tabernacle (Exodus 27) was to be 100 cubits long on the north and south sides. This information is repeated in Exodus 38 when the Israelites start the building work.
Exodus 38:25-27 records the cost of the building materials used to construct the Tabernacle. The silver obtained from the people in the community weighed 100 talents. “The 100 talents of silver were used to cast the bases for the sanctuary and for the curtain--100 bases from the 100 talents, one talent for each base.” (38:25 NIV)
Later on in the Old Testament in the book of Ezekiel chapters 40-42, we are told the of Ezekiel’s vision for the restoration of the Temple. This includes a number of measurements. The outer court was 100 cubits on the east and north side. The distance between the north gate of the outer court and the north gate of the inner court was 100 cubits. The same measurements were given for the south gates. The measurement of the court was 100x100 cubits. The temple was 100 cubits long as was its court. The building at the rear of the temple was also 100 cubits in length. The rooms for the priests were in a building that was 100 cubits long. The inner passage was the same length.
Other verses from the Old Testament that mention measurements or weight include:
There are quite a few times the number one hundred is used in relation to a group of people:
Other examples of one hundred in the Old Testament include:
In the New Testament, Jesus occasionally refers to one hundred items in his parables. In the parable of the sower, which is recorded in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, he says “Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” (Matthew 13:8; Mark 4:8; Luke 8:8) This seed refers to someone who hears the word of God and understands it.
In Matthew 18 and Luke 15, Jesus tells the parable of the wandering sheep.
Later in the same chapter of Matthew, Jesus tells Peter the parable of the unmerciful servant. The servant’s master had forgiven him of all his debts but the servant would not do likewise to those who owed him money. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.” (Matthew 18:28 NIV)
In Matthew 19 and Mark 10, Jesus is asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” During his explanation, Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life.But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” (Mark 10:29-31 NIV)
The remaining two examples of the number one hundred in the New Testament come from the book of Romans and Revelation:
With so many examples in the Bible, theologians have been quick to assume the number one hundred holds a special meaning. Once again, it could be a rough estimate, particularly in relation to a number of people and, therefore, represent a large amount. The precise measurements recorded in Exodus and Ezekiel suggest otherwise.
Some writers have proposed one hundred represents wholeness, whereas other Christian literature uses the number as a symbol of celestial beatitude. Saint Augustine, on the other hand, associates the number with martyrdom.
The meaning may derive from the nineteenth letter of the Semitic alphabet. Qoph or qop has a numerical value of 100. In an ancient Jewish interpretation of the book of Genesis, Sarah is described as “Qof years of age.” There are various other meanings of this letter, which include “sun”, “revolution”, “circle” and “horizon.” It can also mean “time” as in the complete orbit of the Earth around the sun. In some ways, this links with other ideas about the number one hundred representing wholeness or completeness.
In other words, the number one hundred was a nice “round number” for the writers of the Bible to use. The measurements of the Temple and Tabernacle may be correct but the reason for building things 100 cubits long may have been due to simplicity and ease rather than divine meaning. Quite often, when the length of something was 100 cubits, the width was exactly half.
When I first started writing about numbers in the Bible, people asked how high I would go. I did not expect to go up to one hundred but here we are. I am not going to continue to write about each successive number, however, there are a few more I would like to look at. My next number will be 120.
Ninety: the number of minutes in a football match; the number of degrees in a right angle. Unlike other multiples of ten, the number ninety appears very little in the Bible. In fact, I have only found three examples.
Twice, the number is written in Genesis:
The third example of the number ninety I found is in Ezekiel’s description of the New Temple he was shown in a vision.
Ninety-one is the sum of the numbers one to thirteen. Some people claim this means the number is linked to the Son of God, i.e. thirteen people at the Last Supper. The actual number, however, does not appear in the Bible.
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest place name in the world consists of ninety-two characters: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu. This is the name of a hill in New Zealand. Before you panic, I can give you the pronunciation: Toe-mah-tah-fah-kah-tah-ngi-hah-nga-kaw-oh-oh-aw-ta-ma-te-a-too-ri-poo-ka-ka-pee-kee-mow-nga-haw-raw-noo-koo-paw-kai-feh-noo-ah-kee-tah-nah-tah-hoo. If that is still too much of a tongue twister you will be pleased to know they often shorten the name to Taumata.
Ninety-two does not appear in the Bible. Nor does the number ninety-three. According to the visions of Augustinian Canoness Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824), the apostle Thomas was ninety-three when he died.
The number ninety-four does not appear in the Bible either. Once again, we can turn to the visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich for a fun “fact” about the number. Apparently, the apostle John died in 101 AD at the age of ninety-four. She claimed the remains of John’s physical body are not on Earth because it had been transported to somewhere else, a place between the Orient and the North, “a resplendent place like a sun.”
The number ninety-five is written twice in the Bible. The first is found in a list of descendants of the people of Israel who returned to Jerusalem from exile:
The number ninety-six also appears twice in the Bible.
Alas, the number ninety-seven, the twenty-fifth prime, gets no mention. Some theological historians claim that the apostle James the less was ninety-seven when he died. Did you know, there are ninety-seven pyramids in Egypt?
The number ninety-eight appears three times. Eli, a leader of Israel, was ninety-eight when he died:
The second and third mention of the number ninety-eight occurs in the same list of exiles as mentioned above. Ezra 2:16 (NIV) records “of Ater (through Hezekiah) 98.” Nehemiah 7:21 records the same.
Finally, we reach ninety-nine, of which there are six mentions in the Bible. It is the atomic number of Einsteinium, named after the famous scientist. It is also the name of a particularly tasty ice cream.
In the Old Testament, ninety-nine is mentioned twice in relation to Abraham’s age.
In the New Testament, the number is mentioned in the Parable of the Wandering Sheep. This parable is written in two gospels. Matthew:
That ends the nineties. Once again, these number have no particular meaning in the Bible, however, I hope you have found it as interesting as I have in discovering these little snippets of information.
Of the eighties, only eighty-three, eighty-four, eighty-five and eighty-six appear in the Bible. Just because some numbers are not mentioned, does not mean there is nothing to connect them with the word of God. For example, the first sixteen verses in Matthew record eighty-one names in the genealogy of Jesus. In Jewish Annals, eighty-one great priests are recorded, beginning with Aaron and ending with Phannias. In Buddhism, it is believed Buddha was eighty-one when he died. The Greek philosopher Plato also died at the age of eighty-one.
Eighty-two is the atomic number of lead, a metal with which we are all familiar. The book of Genesis uses eighty-two different numbers that are greater than one thousand.
Eighty-three is the twenty-third prime number. In Judaism, when a man reaches the age of eighty-three, they may celebrate a second bar mitzvah. The Torah suggests that the lifespan of a man is seventy years; therefore, an eighty-three-year-old has lived thirteen years of a second lifespan.
In the Bible, Aaron is eighty-three at the time the plagues began in Egypt.
Did you know, it takes eighty-four years for Uranus to orbit the sun? That is the same length of time the prophetess Anna waited to meet the child Jesus, for she was eighty-four years old when he was presented at the temple:
The number eighty-five appears twice in the Bible. The first can be found in the book of Joshua. Caleb tells Joshua that he was forty-years-old when Moses sent him out to explore the land. Since then, he has lived forty-five years:
In 1 Samuel, Saul ordered Doeg the Edomite to kill the priests of Nob:
Eighty-six is the atomic number of radon. There are eighty-six elements on the modern periodic table. There is only one mention of the number in the Bible:
The number of stars in the Great Bear constellation total eighty-seven, however, eighty of them are invisible to the naked eye. Eighty-seven is not written in the Bible but those interested in Hebrew Gematria will tell you that the word Eden has the numerical number of eighty-seven.
The planet Mercury takes a mere eighty-eight days to travel around the sun. Whilst the number does not appear in the Bible, the number seven appears eighty-eight times!
According to the apocryphal book of Levi, which is part of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, Levi records that he spent eighty-nine years in Egypt.
When combined together, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John total eighty-nine chapters.
Since these numbers are barely touched on in the Bible, it is safe to say they hold no particular meaning. Nonetheless, I have found it fascinating to discover little known facts in my research.
Around the World in Eighty Days is a novel by Jules Verne about a man named Phileas Fogg who took on the bet that he could circumnavigate the world in eighty days. The fact that I am starting this article with a work of fiction suggests that there are not many details about the number eighty worth sharing. Mercury has the atomic number eighty and the Dutch Revolt of 1568-1648 is also known as the Eight Years’ War. That, I am afraid, is all I have discovered about the number’s use in everyday life. In the Bible, however, it is much more prevalent.
The number eighty is written around sixteen times in the Bible, three of which are in relation to somebody’s age. The first eighty-year-old recorded is Moses. We are told his age moments before God sent the first plague on Egypt. “Moses was eighty years old and Aaron eighty-three when they spoke to Pharaoh.”(Exodus 7:7 NIV)
In 2 Samuel 19, Barzillai the Gileadite is said to be “very old, eighty years of age.” (V.32) During King David’s time in exile, Barzillai provided for him and his household. He also helped David travel safely to the River Jordan in order to cross over into Judah on their way back to Jerusalem. “Barzillai answered the king, “How many more years will I live, that I should go up to Jerusalem with the king? I am now eighty years old.” (V.34-35)
Twice, the number eighty refers to a period of time. The first is in the book of Judges 30 following Israel’s defeat of Moab, a mountainous tract of land in Jordan.
The second we have already looked at before in my article about the number seventy. It is written in Moses’ prayer in the fourth Book of Psalms:
On only one occasion is the number eighty used in relation to money. 2 Kings 6 records the prices of a few items during the famine in besieged Samaria:
The remainder of the verses containing the number eighty reference a number of people”
According to René Allendy (1889-1942), the number eighty “represents the karmic liberation for the whole of the creatures of Cosmos, or the community of the initiate disengaged of the fate of reincarnations, the communion of Saints or the Great White Lodge.” Looking at the Bible verses above, it is unlikely he came to this conclusion through any of these examples.
To finish, I leave you with one final fact: the word “apostle” is written eighty times in some versions of the Bible.
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.
“Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures; yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.” - Psalm 90:10 (NIV)
In some Asian cultures, the age of seventy is called the Rare Age of the Olden Times. It is represented by platinum in wedding anniversaries. Copyrights generally expire after seventy years.
Seventy is the atomic number of ytterbium. In archery, the archers stand seventy metres from the targets. Both the Canadian and Hungarian Grand Prix contain seventy laps. Seventy miles per hour is the national speed limit, although I am sure some drivers appear to be unaware of this! The Earth’s oceans and seas cover approximately seventy per cent of the planet.
In the Bible, the number seventy appears at least sixty times and is considered to be a sacred number. It is made up of the sum of two perfect numbers: seven, which represents perfection, and ten, representing God’s law. As a result, some theologians say the number represents the universe.
The first time the number seventy appears in scripture is in chapter five of the book of Genesis. Here, in verse twelve, we are told that Kenan was seventy years old when he became the father of Mahalelel. Later, in chapter eleven, it is revealed that Terah was seventy when he fathered Nahor, Haran and Abram, subsequently renamed Abraham.
Some sources say that the Ancient Egyptians took seventy days to embalm a body. In the Bible, however, we are told the time required for embalming was forty days. This is written in Genesis 50:1-3 following the death of Jacob (Israel). It is reported that the Egyptians mourned him for seventy days.
Several times in the Bible, it is recorded that there were a total of seventy descendants of Jacob in Egypt:
Another important mention of the number seventy is in relation to the amount of time the Israelites were held in captivity by the Babylonians. The people of Judah were also in captivity for seventy years. In the book of Daniel, Jerusalem was given seventy weeks to put an end to their sins. Records of these are found several times in the Bible. Here are a few:
There are many other mentions of the number seventy but I could spend all day telling you about each one. I have selected a few more verses in addition to those already mentioned to give you a flavour of the significance the number held. Only once is the number seventy mentioned in the New Testament.
Saint Augustine of Hippo (345 AD – 430 AD), a Roman African philosopher, associated the number seventy with the totality of an evolution, i.e. a life cycle being completed. This was mostly in relation to the cosmos, however, other thinkers have connected this theory with the years the Israelites spent in Babylonian captivity followed by the seventy years that Jerusalem thrived.
The fact that the number seventy appears so frequently in the Old Testament suggests that there ought to be a particular reason for its use. Sceptics, however, point out that it could be a rough number to indicate that there were a lot of years, people etc. involved.
What do you think? Does the number seventy hold special meaning in the Bible? I welcome your thoughts.
Once again, I am going to combine several numbers together. Despite the number sixty being prevalent in the Bible, the rest of the sixties appear very little, however, they are still worth studying.
Sixty-one is the eighteenth prime number and is the atomic number of promethium – a very rare element. It is the number of points required to win a standard game of Cribbage.
The only mention of the number sixty-one in the Bible appears in an inventory of the spoils of war mentioned in the book of Numbers: 30,500 donkeys, of which the tribute for the Lord was 61. (31:39; NIV)
Interestingly, 2 Peter, which is the sixty-first book of the Bible, also has sixty-one chapters.
The number sixty-two, the atomic number of Samarium, is found at least four times in the Bible. The first occurrence is in 1 Chronicles 26:8, which states that Obed-Edom had sixty-two descendants:“All these were descendants of Obed-Edom; they and their sons and their relatives were capable men with the strength to do the work—descendants of Obed-Edom, 62 in all.” (NIV)
In the book of Daniel, the number sixty-two is mentioned on three separate occasions:
The number sixty-three does not appear in scripture, however, you may be interested to know it is the atomic number of europium, which was discovered in 1892. In pre-decimal currency, there were sixty-three groats in a guinea.
The number sixty-four does not appear in the Bible either. It is the atomic number of gadolinium. There are sixty-four squares on a chessboard. It is the subject of a song by The Beatles: When I’m Sixty-Four. There are sixty-four generations from Adam to Jesus according to the Gospel of Luke.
Sixty-five, the atomic number of terbium, is represented in years with a sapphire jubilee.
According to Christian historians, the emperor Domitian arrested the apostle John sixty-five years after Jesus’ crucifixion. John was thrown into a vat of boiling oil but came out unscathed.
The number sixty-five appears three times in the Bible. Mahalalel was sixty-five years old when he became the father of Jared (Genesis 5:15). Enoch was also sixty-five when he fathered Methuselah (Genesis 5:21).
The third mention of the number sixty-five is in Isaiah 7:8 (NIV): “Within sixty-five years Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.”
Now we reach sixty-six: the number of books in the Bible. It is also the atomic number of dysprosium and the number of laps in the Spanish Grand Prix. There are sixty-six chapters in the book of Isaiah.
In the Bible, the number sixty-six is mentioned twice. The first occurrence is in Genesis 46:26, which says that sixty-six members of Jacob’s family (not including his son’s wives), went with him to Egypt.
Leviticus 12:5 gives instructions about the purification process after a woman has given birth: “If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.” (NIV)
Sixty-seven is the nineteenth prime number and atomic number of holmium. It appears once in the Bible at the end of a list of exiles that returned to Jerusalem and Judah after spending time as captives under King Nebuchadnezzar:
Sixty-eight, the atomic number of erbium, also only appears once in the Bible.
Lastly, we reach number sixty-nine, the atomic number of thulium, which does not appear in the Bible. The only thing worth mentioning here is according to the visions of Mary of Jesus of Ágreda (1602-65), Saint Joachim, the father of Mary and Jesus’ grandfather, was sixty-nine years old when he died.
So, that ends the sixties. There are no apparent meanings associated with them, although, some suggest the number sixty-four being the sum of eight times eight is a perfect number.
Sixty years: a diamond anniversary. Unlike the previous nine numbers, the number sixty appears multiple times in the Bible. It also appears numerous times in everyday life: sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour. It is the atomic number of neodymium, which can be found in some magnets, loudspeakers and electric cars.
There are sixty marbles used in a game of Chinese chequers. In darts, sixty is the highest score that can be scored with a single dart.
In old literature, sixty was sometimes called “three score” because it was three times twenty (a score). The Babylonians had a number system with a base of sixty, which is known as sexagesimal. In some cultures, sixty is considered to be the age in which someone becomes a senior citizen. In Buddhism, Buddha had sixty disciples.
The number sixty appears approximately thirty-two times in the Bible. Occasionally, a particular instance is repeated in different books. Take, for example, Deuteronomy 3:4, which says:
Here’s another example:
The measurements of Solomon’s temple are mentioned in both 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles:
In the book of Ezra, temple measurements are also given:
Other measurements of sixty cubits include:
A handful of people have been quoted as being sixty years old at the times of certain events:
Let’s take a look at some more examples of the number sixty in the Old Testament:
I have mentioned a couple of New Testament verses above already but I have a few more to share with you. Both Matthew and Mark write about the parable of the sower, therefore, the same information is repeated, including two mentions of the number sixty.
So, does the number sixty mean anything in scripture? The French psychoanalyst René Allendy believed it represented the global karma of the world. The German philosopher Jakob Böhme called this number “the earth”. There is, however, no obvious answer based on the examples above.
I leave you with the knowledge that the word “Sabbath” is used sixty times in the New Testament.
I have nothing to tell you about the number fifty-one other than it is the atomic number of antimony. It does not appear in the Bible. The number fifty-two, however, does.
The number fifty-two is the atomic number of tellurium. There are fifty-two weeks in a year and fifty-two white keys on a piano. There are also fifty-two cards in a pack of playing cards and the British Grand Prix consists of fifty-two laps. The Ancient Mayans divided their calendars into periods of fifty-two years.
The number fifty-two appears in the Bible six times. Twice, it is mentioned that Uzziah became king when he was sixteen and reigned in Jerusalem for fifty-two years (2 Kings 15:2 and 2 Chronicles 26:3). In 2 Kings 15:27 it is recorded that “In the fifty-second year of Azariah king of Judah, Pekah son of Remaliah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twenty years.” (NIV)
In Ezra 2:29 and Nehemiah 7:33, a census of the people of Israel logs that there were fifty-two descendants of a man named Nebo.
Finally, Nehemiah writes that the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. (Nehemiah 6:15)
The number fifty-three does not appear in the Bible, although you may be interested to know that the First World War lasted fifty-three months. It is the sixteenth prime number and the atomic number of iodine. The fictional Volkswagen Beetle Herbiehas the number fifty-three painted on its side and bonnet. In Catholicism, there are fifty-three beads on a standard rosary.
Apparently, the phrase “I am” appears fifty-three times in the Gospel of John. On three occasions, John the Baptist utters this phrase and Jesus speaks the remaining fifty.
The number fifty-four does not appear in the Bible either. In case you are wondering, it is the atomic number of xenon. There are fifty-four coloured squares on a Rubik’s cube. In golf, a score of fifty-four is referred to as a perfect round. There are fifty-four countries in Africa. In Judaism, the Torah is divided into fifty-four weekly sessions, which are known as Paracha or Sidra. These are read in the synagogue during the morning of the Sabbath.
Now, you’ll be pleased to know there are two instances of the number fifty-five in the Bible, although they both record the same thing. Fifty-five is the atomic number of caesium and is represented by the emerald in wedding anniversaries.
The first instance of the number fifty-five in the Bible is in 2 Kings 21:1 (NIV): “Manasseh was twelve years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years. His mother’s name was Hephzibah.” This is repeated word for word in 2 Chronicles 33:1.
Fifty-six, the atomic number of barium, only appears once in the Bible. It records the number of decedents of a man named Netophah in the census mentioned in Ezra 2:22.
Fun fact: Shirley Temple wore fifty-six curls in her hair as a child. Her mother set her curls every day and ensured there was the exact number. Another point of interest is that Aristotle believed there were fifty-six layers of the universe.
Fifty-seven, fifty-eight and fifty-nine do not appear in the Bible. Just for fun, here are some general facts about these numbers.
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon