Liberal Arts Blog — Biblical Magic — Nine, Forty, Seven — Do You Remember Why?
Liberal Arts Blog — Monday is the Joy of Math, Statistics, Shapes, and Numbers Day
Today’s topic — Biblical Magic — Nine, Forty, Seven — Do You Remember Why?
Who isn’t a numerologist? Numbers are magic. It seems to me that every culture has magic numbers. But maybe I’m wrong. Today, a note on three magical biblical numbers. More to come next week. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE VERY SPECIAL NUMBER 9 — what happened at the ninth hour after dawn?
1. The number 9 symbolized completeness, finality.
2. Christ died at 3pm. The ninth hour after dawn.
3. Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Hebrew calendar, begins on the 9th day of the seventh month.
NB: “According to an Ancient Greek and Roman custom, the day was, like the night, divided into four parts, each consisting of three hours. Among the ancients the hour of Nones was regarded as the close of the day’s business and the time for the baths and supper. This division of the day was in vogue also among the Jews, from whom the Church borrowed it. In addition to Morning and Evening Prayer to accompany the sacrifices, there was prayer at the Third, Sixth and Ninth Hours of the day.”
THE NUMBER 9 APPEARS 49X IN SCRIPTURE, BUT THE NUMBER 40 SHOWS UP 149X
1. Noah and the Flood: it rained for forty days and forty nights.
2. Moses: three consecutive 40 day stays on Mt. Sinai and it took Elijah 40 days and 40 nights to meet Mt. Horeb.
3. Jesus: fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the desert, and spent forty days hanging out after his resurrection before ascending into heaven.
NB: Mohammed was 40 when he got the news from Gabriel — at the “cave called Hira on the mountain called Jabal-Nour, near Mecca.”
THE NUMBER 7 — HOW MANY TIMES SHOULD YOU FORGIVE YOUR AGGRESSOR?
1. “The Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? as many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven.” (Matthew 18:21,22) Wow!
2. “God is said in Revelation to have 7 spirits, depicted as 7 lampstands. The 7 candelabra (menorah) set on the Tabernacle in Exodus and Deuteronomy are an homage to God’s “sevenfold Spirit.”
3. “Joshua led the Israelites, with the Ark, 7 times around Jericho.”
NB: And, of course, there are the “Seven Deadly Sins” and the “Seven Heavenly (or Capital) Virtues.”
Last three years of posts organized thematically:
PDF with headlines — Google Drive
Please share the coolest thing you learned this week related to math, statistics, or numbers in general. Or, even better, the coolest or most important thing you learned in your life related to math.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And to consolidate in your memory something you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something dear to your heart. Continuity is key to depth of thought