The Number Twenty in the Bible

My habit is to look at the number itself (Jewish thought) and the meaning of the letter in the Hebrew alphabet and then look at the examples of the number used in Scripture. The number lent itself to nine groupings or usages and three groups of larger numbers – 120, 20,000, and 120,000. 120 and 120,000 could be handled as part of a study in the number twelve.  I found 120 interesting, so I will include it and loosely work 20,000 into this study.  I viewed other websites but the three I list at the bottom of the post seemed to be less complicated, yet very informative.  Twenty is a number that does not stir much interest!  I am not sure why.  The concordance and the Bible translation you use will produce slightly different results in the number of times it is used.  After I grouped and studied them, it seemed to me that I could have put more into the miscellaneous and time column.

The nine groups I picked are miscellaneous, Solomon, Tabernacle, food, Temple, dates and times, Jacob, rulers, and age of males (general population and Levities).  But I will start with the letter in the Hebrew alphabet that represents twenty.

Kaph– resembles the palm of an open hand.  Kaph is the eleventh letter in the alphabet.  The idea of a hand corresponds with ten fingers and ten toes, making twenty a “natural number”.

Reish/resh– This is the twentieth letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It is taken to represent the head and all that is involved with a human head.  The bej.org site has good details.  Resh is used for the number 200.  20 x 10:}

Examples – I listed some of the many verses from each group.  Use a concordance or Bible Gateway to find all of the references.

  • Miscellaneous– Genesis 7:20 the height of the floodwaters above the mountains; Genesis 37:28 the sum of money that the brothers got for Joseph – it came to two shekels each.
  • Solomon– 1 Kings 9: 10,11 the years to build the Temple and his palace; towns he gave to Hiram for payment. 2 Chronicles 2: 10 (20,000) the amounts of wheat, barley, wine, oil he paid Hiram.
  • Tabernacle and Temple– Exodus 26, 27, 30 36, 38 and for the Temple 1 Kings 6:2,3,16,20 and 2Chronicles 3:3, 4, 8 and 3:11,13; 4: 1, and Ezekiel 40, 41, 42, 45.  These references are sizes of rooms, angels, and the shekel.
  • Jacob– Genesis 31 and 32 have references for the number of years Jacob worked for Laban and the quantities of certain animals in the gift for Esau.
  • Food– 2 Kings 4:42 loaves of bread Elisha gave away. Ezekiel 4:10 amount of food he was to eat at set times of the day.
  • Dates/Times– Numbers 10:11 is when the cloud moved so the people would travel again after the Ark and Tabernacle were made.  Many of the dates deal with when kings started to rule.
  • Rulers– Judges 4:3 Jabin and Sisera oppressed Israel, 2 Kings 15:27 years that Pekah of N. Israel ruled; Assyria deported people, Judges 15:20 years Samson led Israel, 2 Kings 16: 2 the age that Ahaz became king
  • Age of males– Exodus 30:14 – age that money was collected for them to ransom themselves, Leviticus 27: 3,5 – ages and shekels if dedicated to the Lord, Numbers 14:29 age of those counted and who grumbled against God, Numbers 26: 2, 4 age for army service, Numbers 32: 11 those who would die before the people could enter the Land,1Chronicles 23:24,27 – age of Levites in David’s counting for service to the Ark,Ezra 3:8 age of Levites to supervise work on Temple
  • 120– Genesis 6:3 length of time a man would live, Deuteronomy 31:2, 34:7 Moses’ age, Acts 1:15 number praying in Upper Room

My Thoughts on Twenty

Twenty in many of the examples seem to be a “boundary” for the ending and beginning of things.  The Tabernacle and Temple are examples of physical boundaries, while the age of accountability for the complainers is noteworthy.  Numbers 10: 11 ended the construction of the Tabernacle and the moving of the camp to the Land.

I have noticed that people try to pick a “lucky number”!  This really will not work with twenty!  As very few of the twenties had anything to do with the people that were a part of the number.  God set the boundaries – the size, age, date.  He is the One who made the number important and set the pattern and meaning.

The age of twenty and the thirty-eight years of wandering have had the greatest impact on me personally.  All of the “twenties” had to die during the season of “thirty-eight” before the People could enter the Land. For two years the wonders of God and the labors of Egypt were on display for these men and women.  Their paradigms/boundaries that they had set on God had to go away. Unfortunately, they did pass some down to the “nineteens” and they were dealt with but they plagued the people again.

# Jesus, HELP!  Reset my Twenties and get me into the Promised Land!

(My DISCLAIMER – People view numbers very differently, so there are many interpretations for twenty.  Jewish studies seem to be different than Christian studies and then there are people who do not believe in God/Jesus throwing in their opinions. The Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are what makes anything important!  Look to Them and not a number, because they are a teaching aid in Their hands!)

The Number Thirty-eight in the Bible

 

Thirty-eight is mentioned five times in the Bible.  Well, 1 Chronicles is 38,000 but that still counts because it is 38 x 1000.  Notes on the verses are below.

If you do an internet search, it is obvious that there are many thoughts about this number.  The people who wrote about thirty-eight have done some impressive research.  I guess I am taking a slightly different thought toward it, so please add this post to the mix.  Numbers in the Bible are part of the Father’s creation and He uses them in His story (history)! I have always wanted to do that:)

So, please do not try and have numbers direct your life; His peace and righteousness is God’s gift for direction in your life.

I have grouped the thirty-eights into three groups – Deuteronomy/Numbers and John, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles.  Why!  Because this number, like many other numbers God uses, has several thoughts associated with it.

The best place to start is at its first mention/reference in Numbers 14.  Okay, anybody with a concordance knows that thirty-eight is not mentioned in Numbers.  But it was in God’s heart!   The number that is mentioned is forty (verses 33 + 34), but Deuteronomy 2: 14 explains how God carried out His plan.  There are four different viewpoints in Deuteronomy that need to be looked at:

Group 1

Deuteronomy

  1. The People – Predictably they rebelled, but they had already done that. (Remeber, they had tested God ten times.)   Now, there are two sets of people in this group.  The twenty an older group who were being held accountable and the nineteen and under who were going to suffer for the first group’s grumbling.  Knowing teenagers, they would have been in on the complaining, but God drew His line at nineteen years of age.  The thought of going back to Egypt dissolved when they thought about slavery and that they were not allowed to go into the Land.
  2. Joshua and Caleb – they were in the “right” and would still have to wait to get their promises from God. If anybody had the right to be mad it was these guys!  But since they had better spirits than the others I want to image they started working with the youngsters.
  3. Moses, Aaron, (Miriam) – Once again they fell to their knees, but you have to think they may have been annoyed with the people. The people had already tested God ten times and this refusal to go into the Land was serious.  The brothers stood in the middle of this scene and worked for the people.
  4. God – Mad, yes! Out of love for Abraham, He listened to Moses.  He said forty and gave them credit for the first two years.  Or, He cut it short for the sake of the spies.  40 – Joshua and Caleb = 38.  (Well, it makes sense if it was common core math.).   His viewpoint, there is mercy and cleansing in this number.

John –The man at the pool was there for thirty-eight years.  That number directed Jesus’ actions for him.  Like the people in the wilderness, he was “sick” and had a death sentence.  Verse fourteen is a warning that he “stop sinning”, which is pretty much what the nineteen and under group had to do.  I have mixed feelings about the fact he told on Jesus, was this bragging or trying to get favor? (See Psalm 95: 10.)

At the end of these thirty-eights, there were better times and promises ahead.

Group 2

1 Kings 16: 29 and 2 Kings 15: 8 have many similarities besides the number thirty-eight.  Both of these verses are timestamps of when kings of the northern tribes (Israel) came into power.  1 Kings tells of Ahab (Israel) becoming king in the thirty-eighth year of Asa (Judah). 2 Kings is the story of Zechariah (Israel) and Azariah (Judah).  Both of the kings of Judah “did what was right in the eyes of the Lord”.  These two kings had a severe illness at the end of their reigns.  Neither of the kings of Israel did what was “right” in eyes of the Lord.

Asa– His story is recorded in 1 Kings 15: 9-24 and 2 Chronicles 14: 2- 16: 14.  I will use the later reference for now.  Asa had everything going for him until he made a deal with Ben-Hadad of Aram.  God lifted His protective covering from Asa as a warning/lesson for later kings.  Asa contracted a disease in his feet (possibly gout).  His treaty with Aram probably took place in the thirty-eighth year of his reign, and he went from a good king to a bad king.  16: 12 says that is when he became ill and refused to seek God.  For thirty-eight years he was walking in blessings and then he shut God out!

Azariah/Uzziah– His story is in 2 Kings 15: 1-7 and 2 Chronicles 26.  2 Chronicles 26: 16 talks of pride and unfaithfulness in a king who had been doing right and was blessed.  He also had the Lord’s shield lifted from him and developed leprosy.  I have no clues to support this, but this could have happened in his thirty-eighth year.  The thirty-eight of Uzziah is for Zechariah of Israel, who is the fulfillment of the promise to Jehu.

Group 3

1 Chronicles 23: 3 is part of the preparation David made for the Temple that Solomon was to build.  Well, it is 38,000 but David requiring that the Levities once again take part in the worship of God is a major development.  In Judges, it seemed that only the sons of Aaron were working with the Ark and worship of God.

Reflections– People like definite answers for things – that will not work here!  Numbers frequently have more than one aspect to them and thirty-eight is no different. Having pondered this for a while the best idea, I have, is that thirty-eight signals A SHIFT! This may be to the better or for the worse. Group 1 and 2 easily show a shift. Group 1 went to a better state, while Group 2 declined.  Group 3 is a shift back to the way it was.

The nineteen-year-olds had thirty-eight years to THINK, listen to Joshua and Caleb, or the now regretful older generation.  Some believed Joshua and listened, looked, and learned, some did not.  But the new generation knew where the Promised Land was and that they would get back there.  They even got their own “Red Sea” experience – see Joshua’s Passover.

MY NOTES

Deuteronomy 2: 14 – This passage in Deuteronomy is a recounting of the journey to Promise Land. It was thirty-eight years from when the spies brought the bad report to them getting ready to enter the land.  The reason for the delay was the “fighting men” of the camp had to die off.  The number forty is associated with the wandering.  I feel God gave them credit for the two years of battle training, constructing the Ark, and seeing miracles when He handed out the sentence.

1 Chronicles 23: 3 – David was preparing for the Temple.  He counted 38, 000 Levites and divided them into working units – 24,000 for working on the Temple, 6,000 for officials and judges, 4,000 for gatekeepers, and 4,000 to praise the Lord. This was done while he was alive before any work began on the Temple.

1 Kings 16: 29 – In the thirty-eighth year of Asa, Ahab became king in the Northern Kingdom.  Asa was a king who did what was right and Ahab was not.  Ahab was the seventh king of Israel during the reign of Asa (Jeroboam to Ahab).

2 Kings 15: 8 – in the thirty-eighth year of Azariah, Zechariah became king of Israel.  He is the grandson of Jehu (2 Kings 9 to 10) and completes the prophecy in 2 Kings 10: 30. (See 2 Kings 15: 12). Azariah did what was right in the eyes of the Lord- 2 Kings 15: 3.

John 5: 5 – Jesus was at a Feast of the Jews (vs. 1).  He healed a man of the Sabbath, who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years.  Jesus told the man to take his mat and walk.  The man was caught and threatened by the Jews for breaking the Sabbath, carrying the mat was work.  Verses 14 and 15 end the story with the man being warned and then he tells the Jews who healed him.

The Number Nineteen in the Bible

The symbolism and occurrences of the number nineteen and the nineteenth letter of the Hebrew alphabet carry great importance in the Bible.  The NIV uses the number nineteen six times (number of man).  The nineteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is KOPH, which corresponds to the letter Q.  Joshua 19 and 1 Chronicles 24, 25 are parts of list for towns, priest and singers. 2 Samuel 2:30 states the number of David’s men that are killed in the cycle of battles with Abner’s forces after the death of King Saul. 2 Kings 25:8 and Jeremiah 52: 12 tell the same story – that of Jerusalem being burned in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.

KOPH, the letter, and the occurrences of number nineteen are intertwined.  KOPH is associated with cycles, especially the cycles of the Feast.  In Joshua 19:38 the towns that are listed make up the territory of Naphtali, which is Galilee.  2 Samuel is the first of several years’ worth of fighting in Israel.

The story of Jerusalem being sacked/burned is part of a cycle in the history of that city.  David starts it when he captures it for his capital. Egyptians plundering it, the Northern Tribes breaking down its walls are also part of the cycle.  It continued with the Romans when they tore the city apart. 

For more study on the number see the website below.  

https://www.christianforums.com/threads/the-hebrew-letter-qoph-koph-the-back-of-the-head.61826/

 

Things Paul Wrote About – One

One 

Poetically we know one as the “loneliest number”.  It is a concept we learn very early in life when we discover “me”. One can be a number or type of pronoun. Calculating with “one” is a major part of math that is done in science class.  In the New Testament “one” stands in contrast to “many” the example here is “one Lord”.  In Greek it is used with other words to be “everyone” or “one another”.  Greek has three different words that are used for one – heis, mia, hen; these are male, female, and neutral forms of the word.

When Many are One

Ephesians 5:31 uses marriage to stress the point of “many can be one”.  This verse on marriage was first stated in Genesis 2:24. Paul, however, expands this idea to cover the Body of Christ in numerous places: Romans 9:25, 1 Corinthians 10:17; 12:12,13,14-27; Galatians 3:28; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 3:15; Ephesians 2:14.  To show the importance of one Paul uses the concept of marriage again but he does this with a negative – why not to visit a prostitute – 1 Corinthians 6: 15 – 17.

This whole line of thought may seem to contradict my earlier statement about one not being many!  It is just the opposite, it shows us how we are to act within the Body of Christ. Jesus is coming for “A” bride.  One bride! 

Now, we are made of many parts but that does not mean we should not be one.  Jesus being (your) Lord is more important than slight variations in personal or church doctrine.  

Things That are One

Yes, Paul does talk of many things that are “one” but if you really look at what he says it will beat up many of the things Christians chose to fight about. In Acts and his letters Paul spends time addressing divisions in the Body.  He condemns false teachings and teachers and corrects Peter and Barnabas about separating themselves from other believers.  (Using Bible Gateway can make a hunt for these very easy.)  Here are some of the things that Paul declares and teaches are one (not many): God, Father, Spirit, Lord, gospel, faith, baptism. Many of those “ones” are in Ephesians 4. In Ephesians 6:16 Paul reduces warfare and who we are to be fighting very nicely to the “evil one”.

One Another

This phrase is complicated!  My Strong’s concordance puts the words “one” and “another” into the dreaded appendix section, while the Goodrick and Kohlenberger concordance (Zondervan NIV Concordance) does list them individually for better referencing.  It also has a reference tool so you can find the words meaning in the Strong’s.  This helped, but that shows there are three main words for “another”:  Allelon which comes from allosand heteros.  Allos and allelon should/could be understood as “another of the same sort” while heterosis “another of a different sort”.

I will use 1 Corinthians 12: 7-11 (NIV) as an example.  I am adding the bold and alternate words.

Now to each one  the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.

To one (hos) there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom,

to another (same sort)a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit,

 to another (different sort) faith by the same Spirit, 

to another (same sort)gifts of healing by that one (heis) Spirit, 

10 to another (same sort)miraculous powers, 

to another (same sort)prophecy, 

to another (same sort)distinguishing between spirits, 

to another (different sort)speaking in different kinds of tongues,

and to still another (same sort)the interpretation of tongues.

11 All these are the work of one(heis) and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

Hos is a “female” word for who, etc.  The “one” in vs.7 and the second “one” in vs. 11 are added for better reading in the NIV. 

Reflection: Doing this is challenging some thoughts on the Gifts of the Spirit.

Jesus’ Generations in Matthew

The first two chapters of Matthew are part of the Christmas story.  Matthew wrote his Gospel for Hebrew Christians, and something important for them was their genealogy.  Two millennia later we may not understand all of this but being able to prove your roots would have connected to the priesthood and land ownership.  One thing that Matthew included in this list of family members, were some of the women who played important roles in the family of Judah.  Tradition has Matthew’s list as belonging to Joseph and the one in Luke’s Gospel belongs to Mary.  Even though it was not unusual, this list has five women it.  Matthew used something that would appeal to his audience, and that was highlighting three sets of fourteen generations.  The first two sets can be found in 1 Chronicles Chapters 1 through 3.  These people may have meant more to the first audience than they do to us, but there are many lessons here for us too.  (See Fourteen in the Bible)

The first overall lesson is seen by the first and last person in these three lists – Abraham and Jesus Christ.  Abraham represents faith, in a God, he did not know, while the ins and outs of the family tree lead to salvation.  I will set before you three lessons, and acknowledge that there are more truths in these first sixteen verses in Matthew.  We will look at these three generations by themselves and as a group.

  1. Generation 1 is verse 2 – 6a and shows Abraham to David, or faith to pleasing God.
  2. Generation 2 is verse 6b – 11 and shows David to Jehoiachin or the Exile; these represent pleasing God to judgment.
  3. Generation 3 is verse 12 – 16 and shows Jehoiachin to Jesus through Joseph; these people take us from judgment to mercy.

My hope is that you will build these other views of this genealogy keeping the previous views in mind.  Please be patient and read through my entire attempt before you make up your mind.

This possible view is using the Trinity.

  1. Generation 1 is the “Father Generation,” and like Him, it is well documented in 1 Chronicles 2. This generation followed God by faith, received the Law, endured the Judges, and had to fight to have and settle the Land.
  2. Generation 2 is the “Son Generation,” and it is recorded in 1 Chronicles 3. 2 Chronicles and 1 & 2 Kings are the telling of their stories and of their times as rulers.  This generation is the royal family, and they were all over the place spiritually.  There were Hezekiah and Josiah but there was also Manasseh and Zedekiah.
  3. Generation 3 is the “Holy Spirit Generation,” this generation is a bit of a mystery, but they lead us to Jesus. 1 Chronicles 3: 17 records the royal line starting with Jehoiachin but it does not match up with the list in Matthew or Luke. Zerubbabel is the major common name; he was the governor of the Land when the Second Temple was built.  The men in Matthew were real, they lived and did their work without a lot of fanfare.  The Holy Spirit, we know was and is present, He was sent on the Day of Pentecost, and He is still doing His part in the story of the Gospel.

I will give these three generations a different name in this last viewing, and I will use the women present in each to help build my thoughts for the story.

  1. Generation 1 is the generation of “Roots.” Tamar, Rahab, and Ruth are the three women in this generation.  Each “added” a trait into the Root of Jesse for the Branch.  Tamar the rejected daughter-in-law who was determined to have a child.  Rahab was the woman who hid Joshua’s spies because she feared God.  Ruth was the loving faithful daughter-in-law who had determined not to leave Namoi.  These three women add to this Root generation rejection, determination, the fear of God, and faithfulness.
  2. Generation 2 is the generation of “Religion.” Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba, is the woman connected with kings of Judah.  You cannot condone her unfaithfulness toward her husband, both she and David were punished for it.  Since she outlived David she probably saw some of the spiritual unfaithfulnesses of Solomon.  The royal line would vacillate between God and demons until God ended that part of the genealogy at the Exile.  With all of that said, her addition into the story was dissatisfaction.

Bathsheba’s grandchildren changed their “religion” frequently because they were not satisfied with what David had.  Unrest can be for the good or bad.  Even in modern times, the different sects within Christianity rise and fall because people are not satisfied with something or someone.

Generation 3 is the generation of “Receive.” Mary’s position in her genealogy is different than the other women, she is at the end of her segment, not the beginning.  Of course, her trait of being “willing” is what allowed her to the mother of Jesus.  The addition of that trait into David’s line is easily seen in Jesus’ life in the Garden, He was willing to receive the “Cup” that brought our salvation.