The Number Seventeen in the Bible

Seventeen as a number is used sixteen times in the KJV; six of those are associated with numerical list of people, two have a positive inflection, and eight have a negative association.  Five of the negative associations are connected with rulers of the land.  The seventeenth letter of the Jewish alphabet also has a connection with a leader of Israel.

Peh or Fey is the seventeenth letter of the Jewish alphabet.  In the Hebrew numbering system it is the number 80.  Peh is associated with the mouth and the power of speech.  This reminds us of the power of our words for both good and bad.  Moses is the leader that ties these thoughts together.  According to some teachings he was 80 years old when he was given a “new mouth” to speak with. (He stuttered.)

The two positive references are Genesis 47:28 and Jeremiah 32:9. These show God’s provisions and mercy for believers.  Jacob lived in Egypt and was taken care of by Joseph for 17 years before he died, he never thought he would see the day.  Jeremiah paid 17 units of money for a field while Jerusalem was being attacked; it was to show the people that there would be a positive end to the situation.

The first two mentions of 17 are the starting and stopping of Noah’s Flood (Genesis 7 + 8).  This is when God was cleansing His world from the evil that was running rampant.  Using the lunar calendar (30 days to a month) they are 150 days apart.  The next use of 17 is Genesis 37:2, it is the age of Joseph when he spoke out against his brothers; they plotted evil against him (this did turn out for good).  He was a prisoner for thirteen years before he became ruler of Egypt.

The other five references to 17 all involve kings/rulers and are either how long they have reigned or connected to when they began.  The rulers are: Rehoboam, Ahaziah, Jehoahaz, Ahaz (Pekah is the reference).  They are in the Kings Timeline post.