Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Recurring Number

I keep coming across the figure 40 in the readings - the days of the flood, the years Moses led the people in the wilderness, several times as saying there were forty years of peace. Jesus spent forty days in the Wilderness. Is there a special significance about it always being forty?

4 Comments:

At 1/24/2006 7:22 AM, Blogger LutheranChik said...

My understanding is that it is representative of birth of transformation...moving from one way of being to another. And if you think about some of the references to "40" in the Bible they often refer to change -- the 40 days and nights of the flood, the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, the 40 days between Jesus' resurrection and ascension.

In Judaism there's a very complex mysticism surrounding numbers -- each letter of the alphabet is assigned a number, so there's thought to be a kind of underlying pattern to the universe based on words and their corresponding numbers.

 
At 1/24/2006 8:21 AM, Blogger see-through faith said...

I think 40 means a long time :)

 
At 1/24/2006 10:59 AM, Blogger Rachel's Big Dunk said...

Hi Rose,

In ancient Hebrew, they didn't have numbers, so they used letters to represent them. (Sort of like Roman Numerals...) The letter for 40 is, interestingly, Mem, which means 'water'. I believe there is deep significance to the numbers selected in the bible. Water is an agent of transformation. It was, not surprisingly,hugely significant in the desert land of the ancient Hebrews. Water symbolizes transformation, even today, with baptism. Fetuses float in water. We are born from water.

So, my guess is 40 has to do with transformation because of it's connection to water.

Love,
Rachel

 
At 1/30/2006 5:50 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Thanks for those interesting comments.

 

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