Symbols used to designate quantity. The Hebrews used the decimal system, but did not develop their own symbols until the postexilic period (539 BCE on). In all preexilic inscriptions, numbers are either represented by Egyptian symbols or are written out. Some numbers in biblical usage had symbolic meaning. Seven probably represented completeness and perfection, as seen in the seven days of creation and the corresponding seven-day week, climaxing with the Sabbath (Gen 1:1-2:4). See, e.g., (Gen 41:1-36; Gen 29:15-30; Ps 12:6). Multiples of seven were also important (Exod 24:1; Exod 24:9; Lev 25:8-9; Jer 25:12; Jer 29:10; Dan 9:2). A similar use of the number seven (and multiples of seven) can be seen in the NT (Matt 18:21-22; Luke 10:1-17; Acts 6:1-6; Rev 2-3). The number three also indicated completeness (Dan 6:10; Ps 55:17; Matt 12:40). Four could be significant, since there were four cardinal directions, four corners of the earth (Isa 11:12), and the four winds (Jer 49:36). Four rivers flowed out of Eden to water the world (Gen 2:10-14). Surrounding God were four living creatures (Ezek 1:10; Rev 4:6-7). Forty, a frequently occurring multiple of four, represented a large number or a long period of time (Gen 7:12; Mark 1:12).

Gen 1:1-2:4

Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath
1In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth,2the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face o ... View more

Gen 41:1-36

Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dream
1After two whole years, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing by the Nile,2and there came up out of the Nile seven sleek and fa ... View more

Gen 29:15-30

Jacob Marries Laban's Daughters
15Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my kinsman, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wag ... View more

Ps 12:6

6The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure,
silver refined in a furnace on the ground,
purified seven times.

Exod 24:1

The Blood of the Covenant
1Then he said to Moses, “Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, and worship at a d ... View more

Exod 24:9

On the Mountain with God
9Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up,

Lev 25:8-9

The Year of Jubilee
8You shall count off seven weeks of years, seven times seven years, so that the period of seven weeks of years gives forty-nine years.9Then ... View more

Jer 25:12

12Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says the Lord, makin ... View more

Jer 29:10

10For thus says the Lord: Only when Babylon's seventy years are completed will I visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this plac ... View more

Dan 9:2

2in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah, must be ... View more

Matt 18:21-22

21Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?”22Jes ... View more

Luke 10:1-17

The Mission of the Seventy
1After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intende ... View more

Acts 6:1-6

Seven Chosen to Serve
1Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows w ... View more

Rev 2-3

The Message to Ephesus
1“To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among th ... View more

Dan 6:10

Daniel in the Lions' Den
10Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open tow ... View more

Ps 55:17

17Evening and morning and at noon
I utter my complaint and moan,
and he will hear my voice.

Matt 12:40

40For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so for three days and three nights the Son of Man will be in the heart of t ... View more

Isa 11:12

12He will raise a signal for the nations,
and will assemble the outcasts of Israel,
and gather the dispersed of Judah
from the four corners of the earth.

Jer 49:36

36and I will bring upon Elam the four winds from the four quarters of heaven; and I will scatter them to all these winds, and there shall be no nation to which ... View more

Gen 2:10-14

10A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches.11The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows ... View more

Ezek 1:10

10As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and th ... View more

Rev 4:6-7

6and in front of the throne there is something like a sea of glass, like crystal.
Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, ... View more

Gen 7:12

12The rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.

Mark 1:12

The Temptation of Jesus
12And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.

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