The Number Thirteen in the Bible

The number thirteen in the Bible heralds that a change is coming. We like to attach all sorts of meanings to numbers, but the truth is that God created numbers for His use (See Genesis 1). Thirteen as used in the Bible is another number that God uses to show His plan for His people.

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 the government as shown by the twelve disciples and the number of the tribes of Israel (the sons of Jacob). Forty is the number of 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 eighth 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  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 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)

WHY 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 with 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.

Examples of Thirteen in the Bible These are a few of the instances that there are thirteen of something and each of these represents 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 contrasts 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 13th day of the first month about the 13th 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, who is 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

61 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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  16. One of the best days of my life was on Friday the 13th when I was about 14 years old – and here 28 years later I still look at 13 as a number to celebrate – Thank you for this amazing refocus on God and what He’s created. wow

    • I think it is our western superstitions that influence people about numbers. But if it is important to you go with, because God made numbers!!!!:-)

      • Numbers are important! Like cycles, dates, seasons and times are imortant to God. I think because of the abuse of trying to find a “lucky number” we tend to reject things that are on the edge of our comfort zones. Numbers are not an object of worship or reverance, only Jesus should get those from us. Numbers are another way that God shows His glory to us. (Ester I did edit your comment! If that last part was not your thought let me know so it can be changed.)

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  18. I just passed by looking for answers to a dream a friend of mine had about me concerning the number 13..i was filled with dread and foreboding at what i found until i came here- God’s answers are swift and comforting…thank you so much for posting this..and Esther is my favourite book of all time! God bless you mightily

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  20. This will blow your mind. Yesterday morning I dreamt I was in a situation where I had to pay a fee ( I didn’t think was right) and while at the counter a woman to the left reaches over and snatches the money out of my hand, it was 13 dollars. But she only grabbed $3 and I looked and saw the $10 bill and quickly gave it to her. I had laid $8 on the counter and the woman in front of behind a desk snatched it trying to steal it! I reached over and took back what was mine and said; ” Shady…Jadey, the LORD sees everything you do!. I WILL get back what he has stolen from me! Amen! Restoration and a new beginning! I
    AM a true child of the One True King!

  21. The Apostle Paul has thirteen epistles and it’s the beginning of a new program (new start) – I like that.

  22. Thank you for your insights on the number 13. I just got back from a trip exploring new direction for my life and kept seeing the #13 as I traveled…Gate 13 (twice), flight 1303, etc. I felt God wanted me to focus on the meaning of the number and your information was the only positive insight I found. Thanks for being faithful to study the word diligently. It made my day!

  23. I am so happy to hear bible based positive things spoke of the number 13 I don’t normally search different meanings on a number but I knew and know it felt good, like God is going to or is doing something awesome in my life. It feels like he’s telling me my dark hours is almost over and to look up!!! Thank you for taking the time to explain this number 13, God Bless

  24. Thank you for this Mark, being in an emotionally abusive relationship I believe our Lord Jesus made a way for me to get out. I believe it is time for a new beginning! Only He can help me further to make this happen! Blessings! Marinda.

  25. 7. The Children of Israel went around Jericho 13 times before they yelled and the walls fell down. Please provide the bible reference. Thank you

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    • Not much. I used Bible Gateway, the NIV version, and did a search for twenty-eight, 28, and 2028. 2028 does not have a reference. 28 is listed with people in Ezra and a proverb. Twenty-eight is associated with the curtains of the Tabernacle, Jehu’s reign, and Rehoboam’s sons. Another idea would be to look into four sets of seven, like weeks. The curtains and Jehu are interesting to me because of recent studies, but I will reserve comments. But I will encourage you to use your research skills and look into that number.

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