The biblical significance of the number fourteen is very understated if you are just looking in a concordance, as there are not a lot of instances of it mentioned. Many of them are associated with one very important day but fourteen and its symbolism goes very deep and starts with how it is written in Hebrew. Each of the twenty-two letters in the Hebrew alphabet represents a number. The first nine letters are the ones for single digit numbers and the others take on higher numerical values. An acrostic psalm is one that each verse/section starts with a letter of the alphabet so they either have twenty-two verses like Psalm 25 and 34 or twenty-two sections. Psalm 119, which is acrostic, is divided into twenty-two sections of eight verses. (Please see my blog for different way to read Psalm 119.)
The fourteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is Nun, like Joshua, and is pronounced “noon”; in the counting system it represents the number fifty. The meanings and types and shadows that are associated with Nun really are a great study in itself so I will encourage you to look deeper but here are my gleanings from the literature. Nun equals the word David so it is immediately associated with the Messiah. (See more on fourteen in the Book of Matthew and the Christmas story.) For Christians it goes deeper than that since it also means “fish” in Aramaic, which leads to the symbol of the fish or ichthus. The thirteenth letter in Hebrew is Mem, which represents water that is needed for fish. Nun is a shared letter with several other languages so in the literature you will see that it also represents a snake/eel and seeds. The snake that Moses made in the wilderness, Nehushtan, was a shadow of Jesus and He referred to Himself as a “seed of wheat” that had to “fall to the ground and die.” Nun is used to portray life and faithfulness so you can see it is a very symbolic letter.
There are two different Nuns, one is standing and the other is kneeling. They can also be written with “crowns.” (Please see the website Hebrew4Christians listed below.) When they are combined to make the word Nun together they represent the righteous one (who is upright) and faithful one (who is bent) or love and fear.
“image copyright Bitsela, used courtesy of free-bitsela.com”
Numerically Nun is fifty or Pentecost, which leads to what I would like to propose the number 14 means in Scripture – the new thing actually starting. Pentecost was the beginning of the Church of Jesus and the new anointing of the Holy Spirit. Just as 13 was signaling the start so 14 is the start. Remember Mem is before Nun in the alphabet. Just as Joshua son of Nun “started” the Promise Land or David started the family tree of Jesus things associated with 14 show things starting. My groupings below are just a product of my need to sort things but hopefully they will help.
- Exodus 12:6 – The 14th day of the month was the start of Passover or when Israel as a nation was started. Most references to 14 in the Bible are about a Passover that was being celebrated.
- Esther 9:15 – The day of Purim was the 14th day of the month; this is when the Jews were allowed to kill their enemies. This started a new period of freedom for them.
- Ezekiel 40 – Fourteen years after Jerusalem was destroyed Ezekiel had the vision of the New Temple. In verse one the reference to 25 years is how long Ezekiel was in exile. (Please see the timeline at Jeremiah 52.) One way to look at the 70 years of Exile is 14 x 5 = 70.
- Acts 27:27 – It was the 14th day of being in the storm when Paul got the crew to eat so they could start “new” on the island.
- Matthew 1:17 – Matthew used fourteen because David translated into numbers equals fourteen. (See Jesus’ Generations in Matthew)
7 + 7 = 14
- Genesis 8:9 -12 – Noah sent the dove out twice and waited a total of 14 days. That showed that the earth had dried and started growing again.
- 1 Kings 8:65 – Solomon and the people had 14 days of partying for the new Temple.
- 2 Chronicles 30:15 – Hezekiah and the people had 14 days of partying for Passover. Which had not been celebrated in a long time so it was a sort of new beginnings.
12 + 2 = 14
- Ezra 3: 1+8 – Zerubbabel and the people had been back in Jerusalem a year and in the second month of the second year they started to build the Second Temple, 12 months + 2 months = 14 months. In the 7th month of the first year they built the altar and started sacrificing burnt offerings so it could be a 7+7.
Other 14’s (You may need to work with me here.)
- Genesis 31:41 – Jacob worked 14 years for his wives and then started working for his family.
- Book of Joshua – The tribe of Benjamin and a “clan” of Judah got 14 towns each to start new life in the Promise Land.
- 2 Kings 18:13 – Hezekiah and Jerusalem were attacked in his 14th year as king and he got the boil with the death sentence. But he got a new lease on life and 15 more years (2 Kings 20:6).
- 1 Chronicles 25:5 – Heman had 14 sons through the promise of God so he had a new reason to praise God.
“Pushing it” 14’s
- Genesis 14 – King of Sodom rebels in his 14th year and Abraham rescues Lot. In verse 22 is where Abraham starts to really acknowledge God, up until now God was “doing for” Abraham.
- Exodus 14 – Moses and the people were directed back to the Red Sea so they could actually start out of Egypt; until now they were just wandering around inside of Egypt.
- No, I did not check all Chapter 14’s in the Bible so who knows what gems of knowledge are waiting to be found. Yes, I did check all the 13th chapters when I studied the number 13.
A quick look at the “14th verses” of some of the acrostic Psalms. (This is not all of the acrostic psalms.) These may not show a “starting” I just like the scripture.
- Ps 25: 14 The Lord confides in those who fear Him; He makes His covenant known to them.
- Ps. 34: 14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
- Ps.37: 25 – 27 Verse 27 is similar to Ps 34:14 Turn from evil and do good; then you will dwell in the land forever.
- Ps.145:14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
- Ps 119: 105 Your word is a lamp to my and a light for my path.
The 14’s after the 13’s
Remember Joseph after 13 years of slavery/prison was leader of the country in the 14th year and several others that I listed in post on The Number Thirteen in the Bible. I hope this study has shown you that biblically fourteen is important and that the significance of fourteen is alive and well in your life and that “new things” are starting in your life now. A study of the number fifteen is available at Cleaning Up to Celebrate. A study on sixteen in the Bible is at Sixteen In The Bible.
The Nun graphics came from http://free-bitsela.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=897&g2_page=6