Numerical symbolism, that is, the use of numbers not merely, if at all, with their literal numerical value, or as round numbers, but with symbolic significance, sacred or otherwise, was widespread in the ancient East, especially in Babylonia and regions more or less influenced by Babylonian culture which, to a certain extent, included Canaan. It must also be remembered that the ancestors of the Israelites are said to have been of Babylonian origin and may therefore have transmitted to their descendants the germs at least of numerical symbolism as developed in Babylonia in the age of Hammurabi. Be that as it may, the presence of this use of numbers in the Bible, and that on a large scale, cannot reasonably be doubted, although some writers have gone too far in their speculations on the subject. The numbers which are unmistakably used with more or less symbolic meaning are 7 and its multiples, and 3, 4, 10 and 12.
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Author: International Std. Bible Encyclopedia
Keywords: Significant Numbers Four, four, 4, numbers, number four, numeric values, Numeric symbolism
Bible reference(s): Amos 1:3, Daniel 1:5, Daniel 2:37, Daniel 7:3, Ezekiel 14:21, Ezekiel 37:9, Ezekiel 7:2, Genesis 2:10, Isaiah 11:12, Jeremiah 15:3, Jeremiah 49:36, Matthew 13:19, Proverbs 30:15, Revelation 20:8, Revelation 4:6, Zechariah 1:8, Zechariah 6:1
Source: James Orr (editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 5 volume set.
Page indexed by: inWORD Bible Software.