The Number Twenty-two in the Bible

The Number Twenty-two in the Bible is my last study that will mirror the year. They have encouraged me to focus on my writing and I have learned plenty. Believing in God and doing lucky numbers just don’t fit together in my brain. Father God made numbers for our benefit and He uses them to speak to us in His Word. 

The Letter

The twenty-second letter of the Hebrew alphabet is tav or taw. When applied as a number, tav is four hundred. Because of its last position in the alphabet, it represents truth. explains the truth of a thing is known when the thing is done. The term for truth is emes.

Psalm 119, which is an acrostic, has been my influence on the series of posts on numbers. In keeping with the meaning of tav I would recommend you read Psalm 119:169 -176. They seem to represent points that are relevant at the end of the matter. I did an alternate approach to read this Psalm. I separated the twenty-two sections into eight sections twenty-two verses long. It is fun to speculate about who composed the longest Psalm. Solomon would be the first guess, but I can’t help thinking Hezekiah may have made it to praise God for fifteen more years of life. 

The Number Twenty-two

With the aid of research tools, like Bible Gateway, you can get an easy look at the occurrences of a word. This time I found that for the NIV you need to use twenty-two and 22 (two separate searches). In trying to make sense of how God used it is His Word, I saw three general groupings: counts, things that “died”, and rulers. This number, more than some others I have studied, has several examples of thousands-22,000. 

I found no references in the New Testament to the number twenty-two. There may be hidden ones. The individuals who count uses of words or the times something appears in Scripture amaze me. If you do an internet search, there are interesting things to be found. Please do your own study to verify how important or real these are. Different translations may have varying counts of words and sentence structures. So, making meaning from your counts in your favorite translation may not carry over in another work. (Sorry, Jesus did not speak King James English.)   


Remember this is from the NIV. I choose five verses to go into the “counts” list; I will feature two. 


  • 2 Chronicles 13:21 Abijah, a good king, was growing in strength. The chroniclers showed this by utilizing numbers- fourteen wives, twenty-two sons, and sixteen daughters. (I like including the daughters.) His total count of children was thirty-eight. This also is an important number in Israel’s history.  
  • Numbers 3:39 tells the total number of Levite males. There was a redeeming process for these 22,000 males from among all of Israel. I am uncertain how these fit with the other 22,000 verses.
  • Joshua 19:30 Asher’s towns, 1 Chronicles 12:29 may talk about 22 officers from the clan of Zadok, 1 Chronicles 15:6 220 relatives of Merari (I still used it:).

Died or 22,000

  • Judges 7:3 22,000 men left Gideon’s army, so I think they were “dead” to his cause. They were the ones who trembled because of the battle.
  • Judges 20:21 tells of the Benjamites killing 22,000 men who came to punish them for the sin they were defending.
  • 2 Samuel 8:5 and 1 Chronicles 18:5 tell when David killed 22,000 Arameans who supported the king of Zobah.
  • 1 Kings 8:63 and 2 Chronicles 7:5 speaks of Solomon dedicating the Temple and offering 22,000 cattle. This sacrifice was probably to feed the people that showed up for the dedication.

The leader portion covers several quantities and time periods.


  • Judges 10:3 talks about Jair, who judged Israel twenty-two years. He had thirty sons, who had thirty donkeys, and they ruled thirty cities.
  • 1 Kings 14:20-Jeroboam who leads the Northern Kingdom away from God reigned twenty-two years.
  • 1 Kings 16:29-Ahab ruled in Samaria for twenty-two years. Omri, his father, was an evil king who set an awful example for his family.
  • 2 Kings 8:26 and 2 Chronicles 22:2- Ahaziah, who was a poor king of Judah, was twenty-two years old when he became king. His mother, Athaliah, was Omri’s granddaughter, enough said. Jehu killed Ahaziah and Joram.
  • 2 Kings 21:19 and 2 Chronicles 33:21 mention Amon. He was the son of Manasseh, the worst king of Judah, and the father of Josiah, one of the best kings of Judah. Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king.

There are other 22,000+ numbers, I choose not to include them.

The numbers twenty-two and 22,000 are connected with interesting things in the Bible. In my research, I saw a lot about it representing chaos, confusion, and other bad things. Some sites had good with twenty-two. I will say that there were a lot of poor kings that had a twenty-two connection. The other references don’t support chaos. Like tav many things ended when twenty-two was involved.

The Number Twenty-one in the Bible

Twenty-one in the Bible is associated with four major topics and a minor one.  The minor topic is found in 1 Chronicles 24 + 25.  These references are the list of people who have a job that has been assigned to them and the numerical order of these people.

The four major topics are Zedekiah, Daniel’s fasting, the seventh month, and the Passover and unleavened bread.

  1. 2 Kings 24:18, 2 Chronicles 36:11, and Jeremiah 52:1 reference that King Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he began his reign of Jerusalem/Judah.  He would have been ten years old when his father Josiah died.  He was the last king of Israel, until Jesus, and he did not follow God or listen to the prophets.  2 Chronicles 36 mirrors Jeremiah 52 and gives a good summary of his life.  Nebuchadnezzar made him king and changed his name from Mattaniah (gift of God) to Zedekiah (Yahweh is righteousness).  He is one of several people in the Bible to have their name changed.  The change may have been to remind him to follow the rules!  The ten and twenty-one we will see again in another topic. 
  2. Daniel 10:13 is part of the story of Daniel’s fast.  The twenty-one days have become important parts of fasting and warfare narratives.  In studying this I feel it is important to remember the reason and the timing of his fast.  The reason was the ending of the seventy years of rest for the land.  Okay, that is also the time that Jerusalem would be vacant before Cyrus king of Persia would let Israel go home.  If “the first month” was the Jewish religious calendar this fast went through the time of Passover.  (Which started on the tenth of the month and went to the twenty-first of the month with the end of Feast of the Unleavened Bread.  So, Daniels’s fast could correspond to the birth/rebirth of the nation of Israel.)
  3. Exodus 12:18 is the reference for the first Passover and the ending of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.  This should have been the time period for the crossing of the Red Sea and a time of freedom for Israel.
  4. The last major topic also deals with the Feast on the twenty-first day of the seventh month.  The best reference is Haggai 2:1 when a word of encouragement went to Zerubbabel.  This occurred in the seventh month or during the time of the Feast of Tabernacles.  This commemorates Israel living in tents for forty years.  This feast comes after the Day of Atonement, which is on the tenth day of the seventh month. (Study Leviticus 23.) The prophet Jeremiah was also being taken to Egypt, against his will, during this time period after the fall of Jerusalem.

The twenty-first letter of the Jewish alphabet is “shin” and it is the letter that looks like a crown.  The number value of shin in the Hebrew language is 300.  This letter is associated with the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) because its gematria is 300. To appreciate the full scope of shin go to as they have a good article on this topic.

An interesting “twenty-one” I found is in Luke 3:34-38.  Start with Adam, as number one, and count to Abraham.  I just read in my devotional book that we give up the curse of Adam at the cross and take on the blessing of Abraham – who is twenty-one from Adam.

I do not believe in “good luck” numbers as Jesus does not do things by luck.  But because of this study, I would associate the number twenty-one with the Feasts of Israel and the beginning of the nation.

The Number Twenty in the Bible

The number twenty in the Bible is used with many individuals and with key things in Scripture. 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 twenty  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 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, this is fifteen cubits in the KJV; 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.

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! God set the boundaries – the size, age, date.  He is the One who made the number important and set the pattern and meaning. 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


  1. The People – Predictably they rebelled, but they had already done that. (Remember, 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. (Timeline for the 38 Years in the Wilderness)
  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 imagine 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.).   In 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 for 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.


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 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.