The Number Thirteen in the Bible

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 government as shown by the twelve disciples and the number of the tribes of Israel (the sons of Jacob). Forty is the number 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 eight 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 https://ificouldteachthebible.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/the-number-fourteen-in-the-bible/  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 about 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)

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 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.

These are a few of the instances that there is thirteen of something and each of these represent 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 contrast 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 13 day of the first month about the 13 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 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

http://about.me/ryanjo