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God seems to favor the number seven and I'm not sure why. Is there a reason, or is this just His favorite number?

You'll notice that God not only uses the number seven, but multiplies other numbers by seven as well. Please provide scripture and let me know if there are other numbers that God uses.

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Some occurrences are listed here. – hammar Sep 4 '11 at 21:14
It's definitely not a Judeo/Christian thing: – Sklivvz Sep 4 '11 at 21:31
The number 7 (and it's variations) is typically used for "complete" or "holy" things, and the number 6 (and it's variations) is typically used for evil or corrupt things (666 being the most famous example from the Bible). – Flimzy Sep 4 '11 at 21:35
@Flimzy Find me a verse that says that. I think there's a lot more Biblical evidence for the number twelve being special. – C. Ross Sep 4 '11 at 21:50
@C. Ross: I never said the number 12 wasn't special. – Flimzy Sep 4 '11 at 21:51

3 Answers 3

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think this answer from the Judaism site sums it up:

7 is the length of time for a natural cycle to transpire, often ending with holiness/sanctification of some sort (the pattern set by creation)

7 is special because it was set down by God as the natural cycle in creation.

In the same question above is this answer about other numbers:

It mentions the numbers:

1, (2?), 4, (5?), (6?), 7, 8, 10, 12, 40, and 70 all have significance.

See that answer for full details of their importance.

Also important is the number 50 for Jubilee (from this answer):

Toward the end of the book of Leviticus the 7 day measure that is most familiarly the Sabbath is unrolled across years to be the sabbatical year, and across decades to be the Jubilee. The Jubilee is the 50th year - the crown of the 7th 7.

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A week is 7 days and that hasn't changed in a long time, and it's just enough time to get things done with a day of rest included :-) – David d C e Freitas Sep 7 '11 at 21:07

The number 7 has religious meaning in diverse religions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism and ancient Near Eastern paganism. Leon R. Kass says in The Beginning of Wisdom, page 52, the Mesopotamians (Babylonians and Assyrians), before the coming of the Bible, already reckoned seven-day cycles, connected with the phases of the moon. They set aside the seventh, fourteenth, twenty first, and twenty eighth days of the lunar months; they had their own Sabbath, sabattu or sapattu, the day of the full moon. It seems likely that the familiar Hebrew seven-day week is based on the Babylonian tradition, although going through certain adaptations. By the second century BCE, seven was also associated with the number of known planets. The concepts of a full week or the total number of planets can be associated with completeness.

Twenty and its multiples are other favoured numbers. In Noah's Flood, it rained for forty days and forty nights. In '“There Was No King in Israel”: The Era of the Judges' (published in The Oxford History of the Biblical World, pages 139-140), Jo Ann Hackett points out that the number of years of peace brought about by each of the major judges, or the number of years of their ruling, is a multiple of 20, with the sole exception of Jephthah who ruled Israel for 6 years. Othniel's defeat of Cushan-rishathaim gave Israel 40 years of peace; after Ehud, 80 years of peace; after Deborah, 40 years; after Gideon, 40 years; then Samson is said to have judged Israel for 20 years. These numbers were no doubt fortuitous, as they helped the early tradents when passing the stories down orally before they were finally written down.

The number 17 is important in the numerology behind the Book of Genesis, especially in the ages of the Patriarchs:

  1. Genesis 25:7 - Abraham lived to 175 (5 X 5 X 7)
  2. Genesis 35:28 - Isaac lived to 180 (6 X 6 X 5)
  3. Genesis 47:28 - Jacob lived to 147 (7 X 7 X 3)

Each lifespan involves a perfect square (5, 6, 7 in a numeric series) and the third factor also forms a series (7, 5, 3). For each patriarch the sum of the factors is 17.

Furthering the above formulas, Genesis says Abraham’s wife Sarah lived to 127 years, which is the sum of these consecutive square numbers plus 17.

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I like this answer in general, but I am rather skeptical about all the mathematical theories that have been placed on various numbers in the Bible that go beyond the math that its writers probably knew. I suspect that an ingenious mathematician could find all sorts of "patterns" in the numbers of the Bible that have nothing to do with the cultural context in which it was written. Mathematics has lots of patterns. Does that really say anything special about the numbers in the Bible, or just that the Bible uses lots of numbers, and numbers have lots of patterns? – Lee Woofenden Jul 20 at 16:30
I'm not saying that the numbers don't have significance. Clearly they do. But I'm more comfortable with answers that stick to the rather simpler mathematics that was likely known to the original writers of the Bible, as embodied in the text of the Bible itself. For example, the 50th, or Jubilee, year is derived by 7 x 7 + 1. That's a Biblical formula for deriving the number 50 in that context, and it has a specific meaning within the context of Biblical culture. – Lee Woofenden Jul 20 at 16:34
@LeeWoofenden We know that the Greeks and Egyptians of this period thought that numbers had mystical meaning. Pythagoras isknown as much for his philosophy and religious beliefs as for maths. This site is superficial, but shows a taste of Egyptian beliefs about numbers. So what I have described was within the capabilities of the Jews of that time. – Dick Harfield Jul 20 at 21:34

The word "seven" occurs 461 times in 390 verses in the NKJV.

The number seven is used many times throughout the Bible. It usually is significant of something being whole, complete or perfected. There are other numbers that are prevalent in the Bible as well. Someone above mentioned the number twelve, which usually signifies government (12 tribes, 12 apostles). Six is said to be the number of man, and three sixes the number of the beast. While it's all very interesting the truth of the matter is that Jesus died for our sins, ANYTHING else is insignificant in comparison.

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