Significant Numbers: Three

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 Three, three, 3, numbers, number three, numeric values, Numeric symbolism

Bible reference(s): 1 Corinthians 13:1, 1 John 5:8, 1 Samuel 11:11, 1 Samuel 3:8, 2 Corinthians 12:8, 2 Samuel 24:13, Acts 10:16, Acts 9:9, Daniel 6:10, Exodus 2:2, Exodus 23:14, Ezekiel 21:27, Genesis 18:2, Genesis 40:12, Genesis 6:10, Isaiah 20:3, Isaiah 6:3, Jeremiah 52:24, Job 1:2, Job 2:11, Job 42:13, John 11:39, John 21:15, Jonah 1:17, Joshua 22:22, Judges 7:16, Luke 2:46, Matthew 13:33, Matthew 15:32, Matthew 16:21, Matthew 26:39, Matthew 27:63, Matthew 28:19, Matthew 4:3, Numbers 6:24, Psalms 42:5, Psalms 50:1, Psalms 55:17, Revelation 1:4

Source: James Orr (editor), The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 5 volume set.

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