The Number Thirteen in the Bible

Numerology is part of studying the Bible; there are certain numbers that have been assigned certain meanings.  Three, seven, six, twelve, eight and forty are just a few numbers that most Christians will be able to give you as having an important significance in the Bible. Three is a “God” number for the three persons of the Trinity.  Seven represents completeness from the seven days of the week. Six is the number of man this comes from the fact that we were made on the sixth day and the number 666 from the Book of Revelation.  Twelve represents government as shown by the twelve disciples and the number of the tribes of Israel (the sons of Jacob). Forty is the number testing or trail as shown in the years spent by Israel in the wilderness and the length of days Jesus was tested after He received the Holy Spirit. Eight is the number of new beginnings given that the eight day of Creation started a new week.  The number fourteen is also an interesting study if you would like to see mine you may click this address https://ificouldteachthebible.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/the-number-fourteen-in-the-bible/  A study of the number fifteen is available at Cleaning Up to Celebrate.

Unfortunately people and Christians in particular start to focus on the number instead of the God of the numbers. So we get people with triskaidekaphobia which is the fear of the number thirteen. Beliefs about this number are varied and separating fact from fiction is about impossible. Some early ideas on this number and its “significance” to bring bad luck are hinged on the assumption that there were only 13 people at the Last Supper and that Jesus died on a Friday the 13th. (World Book Encyclopedia)

I would like to offer a different look at the number 13 from a Biblical perspective. I already know that this does not fit into most numerological frameworks but I will ask you to follow through my reasons and then you make up your mind.  I will show that a possible meaning for the number thirteen is the signal for the “start of or the beginning of something new.”  I am not trying to mix this with the number eight in any way.

These are a few of the instances that there is thirteen of something and each of these represent the “start of a new thing.”

1. In Genesis 17:25 Ishmael is circumcised at the age of thirteen which is when God made the promise to Abraham; this contrast with Isaac being circumcised at eight days old.

2. 1 Kings 7:1 Solomon took 13 years to complete his palace.

3. Genesis 14: 4 Sodom rebelled after 13 years of servitude to Chedorlaomer king of Elam (Babylon) and Abraham rescued Lot.  This brought on Melchizedek’s blessing and Abraham’s covenant with God.

4. Esther 3: 12 Haman had orders written on the 13 day of first month about the 13 day of last month to kill all Jews.  They have to defend themselves and so put an end to the threats of Haman the Agagite an Amalekite and a new time of freedom for the Jews.

5. Jeremiah starts his ministry in the 13th year of Josiah (Jeremiah 1:2).  Josiah had started purifying the land in his 12th year of being a king.  Jeremiah may have been 13 years old when his ministry started.  The term for his age shows a child up to the age of becoming a young man.

6. Joseph was 17 years old when he was taken as a slave. He was 30 when Pharaoh put him in charge of Egypt (13 years). Genesis 37:2 to 41:46.

7. The Children of Israel went around Jericho 13 times before they yelled and the walls fell down.

There are many more “13’s” in the Bible but I hope you get my point about it showing a “new start.”

My personal feeling about thirteen/Friday the 13 and other lucky things is summed up in this: It is bad luck to be superstitious!  ← (This is another post in my blog.)

So I look at it this way.

 Number 13

graphic by Ryan Johanningmeier

http://about.me/ryanjo

 

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28 thoughts on “The Number Thirteen in the Bible

  1. Thanks for helping me on the “#13”. It is clear that this number is a number of “RESTORATION”, do u c it now? How bout Rev. 5:13 and Rev. 20:13? These also show God’s power of loving “ALL SOULS” BACK TO HIM THROUGH HIS WORD OF COURSE THAT DON’T RETURN TO HIM VOID. PRAISE YE THE LORD!

  2. This is comforting to me. I registered a business two days ago and realized it was the 11th. I wondered why God didn’t stop me. Then I got the EIN today and was devastated to note that it’s the 13th out here! Either way, it was the 12th and the 14th somewhere else, and if it wasn’t, then 13 is not such a bad number after all. Thank you for sharing your insights!

  3. After reading book of Esther it was in my heart that 13 is ‘turn around’ into new and greater things seeing how the Jews went from victim to victor and when I read your article I knew immediately I had witness from God….the wisdom and love of our Father is truly without end.

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  5. Great study. Thanks a bunch. Today is September 11, 2014. It has been 13 years since the attacks on our beloved country. I hope and pray that God gives US a new beginning and starts something new in our country. We are in a big mess. We need Him now more than ever. Thanks again and God Bless.

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  8. I have just read your blog. The number 13 has played a role in my life. Every time that word appeared in my life, some past, present or future upheaval was presented in my life, except when I related to the Bible.

    • Thanks for the input. Most of what you shared I was reluctant to post because of its personal nature and it could used wrong. Keep up your quest and I hope God will continue to lead and direct you.

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