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For a glossary of unfamiliar terms, CLICK HERE. For assistance in
pronouncing Hebrew terms, a pronunciation guide is located HERE.

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Introductory Notes and Comments
Bible Books Index  •  Global Notes  •  Biblical Numerology
Torah  •  Neviim  •  Kituvim  •  Apocrypha  •  Apostolic Writings


Gematria and Biblical Numerology

Gematria

Gematria is a numerological system by which Hebrew letters correspond to numbers. This system, developed by practitioners of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism), derived from Greek influence and became a tool for interpreting biblical texts.

In gematria, each Hebrew has a numerical value (for example, aleph = 1, bet = 2, etc.). One can then calculate the numerical value of a word by adding together the values of each letter in it. In the realm of biblical interpretation, commentators base an argument on numerological equivalence of words. If a word’s numerical value equals that of another word, a commentator might draw a connection between these two words and the verses in which they appear and use this to prove larger conceptual conclusions.[1]

Numerical Value of Hebrew Letters

Gematria aside, in modern Hebrew letters are often used in place of Arabic numerals. These are the values of each letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

1 Aleph א
2 Bet ב
3 Gimel ג
4 Daleth ד
5 Heh ה
6 Vav ו
7 Zayin ז
8 Het ח
9 Tet ט
10 Yud י
20 Kaf כ
30 Lamed ל
40 Mem מ
50 Nun נ
60 Samech ס
70 Ayin ע
80 Peh פ
90 Tzady צ
100 Koof ק
200 Reish ר
300 Shin ש
400 Taf ת
500 Kaf (final) ך
600 Mem (final) ם
700 Nun (final) ן
800 Peh (final) ף
900 Tzady (final) ץ

Biblical Numerolgy

In contrast to Gematria, which seeks deeper or hidden meanings within the Scriptures, Biblical Numerololgy simply recognizes the indisputable fact that HaShem has used numbers, both in Creation and in His Scriptures, and those numbers have certain significance. I have also included numbers which have no specific Biblical meaning, but which are nontheless considered important in Judaism.

1. The numerical value of the Hebrew letter alef א indicates singularity, unity. HaShem is one: “Sh'ma, Yisra'el! ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad [Hear, Isra'el! ADONAI our God, ADONAI is one]. (Deut 6:4)

2. The numerical of value the Hebrew letter bet ב indicates calid (testimony). In Hebrew jurisprudence, two witnesses are required to authenticate a testimony (Deuteronomy 19:15; cf. Numbers 35:30; Deuteronomy 17:6; Matthew 18:16; John 8:17; Hebrew 10:28). In Revelation 11, the two witnesses give their testimony for three and one-half years. There are two tablets of the covenant. There were two of every unclean animal in Noah’s Ark.

3. The numerical value of the Hebrew letter gimel ג denotes perfection, holiness. There three Fathers (Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob). Noah had three sons of (Ham, Shem, and Japheth) who repopulated the earth after the Flood. Frequently, threes have a superlative force with the last in the series underscoring a character’s resolve, for example Yeshua’s three temptations (Matthew 4:1-11 and parallels) and Peter’s three denials (John 18:13-27 and parallels). Examples include:

Threes are also associated with the divine or counterfeit divine. In the Book of Revelation, HaShem’s title is the one “Who is and Who was and Who is to come” (Revelation 1:4-8; cf. Rev. 4:8). The four living creatures use threes to extol the attributes of HaShem: “Holy, holy, holy is ADONAI, God of heaven’s armies the One who was, who is and who is coming!” (Revelation 4:8). In this instance, threes have superlative force, emphasizing HaShem’s exceeding holiness (“Holy, holy, holy”).

The Adversary’s negative counterpart to HaShem, the beast from the sea, is also given a threefold title: “was and is not and is to come” (Revelation 17:8; cf. Rev 17:8-11). As HaShem primarily manifests Himself as Father, Son, and Spirit, so the Adversary at the end of time manifests himself as Antichrist, Beast, and False Prophet.

3½. Three and a half is a broken seven, a symbolic week that “is arrested midway in its normal course.” It is derived from Daniel 7:25 and Daniel 12:7, where “a time, two times, and half a time” or “time, times, and a half a time” designates a period of oppression and corresponds approximately to the temple’s desecration under Antiochus IV Epiphanes (167-164 BCE). In the Book of Revelation, three and a half is a numerical cipher for the in-between times, the time between Yeshua’s ascension to heaven and His return at the end of age to defeat evil. Other variants of three and a half occur in Revelation, for example, forty-two months (Rev. 11:2; Rev. 13:5); one thousand two hundred and sixty days (1260 days, Rev. 11:3; Rev. 12:6); “time and times and half a time” (Rev. 12:4-11); and three and a half days (Rev. 11:9-11).

4. The numerical value of the Hebrew letter dalet ד. Four are the Mothers (Matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah). Four signifies a sense of totality; it is associated with creation or the earth and occurs frequently in the Book of Revelation. It derives its meaning from the four cardinal directions, as also attested in Mesopotamian literature.

5. The numeric value of the Hebrew letter heh ה.

6. Six is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter vav ו. It is the number of “man,” “imperfection,” or “evil.”

This occurs preeminently in the Book of Revelation.

For other interpretations of 666 see “The Number of the Beast.” I personally think that the triple-six is particulary significant since 3 is superlative and 6 is imperfection, then 666 could indicated “superlative imperfection.”

7. Seven is the numerical value of the Hebrew letter zayn ז and signifies “totality of perfection,” “completeness.” Examples:

Sevens are also used in rhetorical sequences in Revelation, for example, “worthy is the Lamb … to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

8. Eight is the numerical value the Hebrew letter chet ח and means “new life,” or “resurrection,” or “new beginning.” Examples include:

9. Nine is the value of the Hebrew letter tet ט. There are nine months of human pregnancy.

10. Ten is the value of the Hebrew letter yod י representing totality.

11. There are eleven stars in Joseph's dream.

12.Twelve implies “governmental perfection” or completeness, often associated with the people of God. Examples include:

13.

14.

15. One of two numbers that is written differently from the conventions of writing numbers in Hebrew in order to avoid writing the name of God. The other is 16.

16. One of two numbers that is written differently from the conventions of writing numbers in Hebrew in order to avoid writing the name of God. The other is 15.

17. Date in the month of Tammuz when the fast of the Seventeenth of Tammuz occurs.

 In the Bible the number 17 symbolizes “overcoming the enemy” and “complete victory.” God overcame the sins of rebellious humans when he began to flood the earth through rain on the 17th of the second Hebrew month. Noah’s ark and its eight passengers rested on the mountains of Ararat on the 17th of the seventh month (right in the middle of God’s annual Holy period known as Sukkot (the Feast of Tabernacles).

Jesus Christ gained a complete victory over death and the grave when God resurrected him near sunset on Nisan 17 (Saturday, April 8, 30 A.D.).

In the book of 1Corinthians the thirteenth chapter, the seventeenth mention of the word “love” comes when Rav Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) states that it is the greatest gift of all (1Corinthians 13:13). God’s unending love (John 3:16) is truly victorious over all things. Those who stay faithful to God to the end of their lives will gain the victory over the grave when they are miraculously brought back to life (see 1Corinthians 15).

18. The numerical value of the Hebrew word chai חַי, the Hebrew word for life. Multiples of this number are considered good luck and are often used in gift giving.

19. The number 19, which is the combining of 10 and 9, usually denotes God’s perfect order in regard to his judgment in the Bible. The names Job and Eve, if we substitute letters for numbers, add up to 19.

What does the number 19 mean in relation to Israel? The united kingdom split into two pieces after the death of Solomon. The piece referred to as Israel, or the Northern Ten Tribes, had Jeroboam as their first king (930 to 909 BCE). Judah’s first king was Rehoboam (930 to 913 BCE).

Including Jeroboam, Israel was ruled by nineteen (19) kings before God allowed them to be conquered by the Assyrians. They were conquered and taken out of the land as captives due to their many sins against the Eternal.

Also:

20. The value of the Hebrew letter kaf כ, twenty, which is one more than nineteen, is twice ten and can, at times, mean a complete or perfect waiting period.

For 20 years Jacob waited to get possession of his wives and property, and to be freed from the control of Laban his father-in-law (Genesis 31:38 - 41). For 20 years the children of Israel waited to be freed of Jabin, king of Canaan, who oppressed them. God response was to raise up Deborah and Barak, who freed the people from bondage (Judges 4 - 5).

In the days of Samuel the prophet the Philistines battled and overcame Israel, taking the Ark of the Covenant back to their land. The Ark brought such calamities on the Philistines that after seven months they gave it back to the Israelites. It ended up in the city of Kirjath-jearim, which is several miles west of Jerusalem. Israel had to wait at least twenty years (1Samuel 5 - 7) before the Ark would be moved again.

21. Twenty-one symbolizes the great wickedness of rebellion and sin. After the children of Israel left Egyptian bondage they had 21 major rebellious events as their traveled and wandered the wilderness.

The number 13, which symbolizes depravity and sinfulness, and 21 are closely related. The meaning of twenty-one in the Bible is an outgrowth of thirteen. Adding thirteen (sinfulness) and eight (symbolizing a new beginning) gives us twenty-one or a number that represents beginning a new level or effort that is sinful and disobedient against God.

 On the last day of God’s seven-day Spring festival, Pesach (Passover), the 21st of the month of Nisan, the Eternal carried out his last judgment against the Egyptians. He drowned Pharaoh and his entire army in the Red Sea as they were pursuing the Israelites in order to make them slaves again.

22. The number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet; the number of years in which Jacob and Joseph were separated.

24.

25. Date in the month of Elul on which creation began; date in the month of Kislev on which Chanukah begins

26. Numerical value of the Tetragrammaton, the four-letter Name of HaShem that is too sacred to pronounce: יְהוָה֒, YHWH, YeHoVaH.

28. The value associated with “Koakh” meaning strength, commonly used in the saying “Yasher Koakh.”

30. The value of the Hebrew letter lamed ל; the number of days in some months of the Hebrew calendar.

Part of the meaning of the number 30 comes from it symbolizing dedication to a particular task or calling. Aaronic priests were initially dedicated to serving at thirty years of age (Numbers 4:3). God likely choose this age because it was when a person reached both physical and mental maturity and could therefore handle major responsibilities.

Yochanan the Immerser (John the Baptist) was of priestly descent (his mother was a descendant of the daughters of Aaron and his father was a priest), and very probably the legitimate Cohen Gadol (High Priest) at the time. He began his ministry at age 30. In the fall of 26 CE, at the age of thirty, Yeshua began to publicly preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (Luke 3:23). His ministry lasted for just over a year, from one Pesach to the next.

36. The Tzadikim Nistarim (Hebrew: צַדִיקִים נִסתָּרים, hidden righteous ones) or Lamed Vav Tzadikim (Hebrew: ל"ו צַדִיקִים, 36 righteous ones), often abbreviated to Lamed Vav(niks), refers to 36 Righteous people, a notion rooted within the more mystical dimensions of Judaism. The singular form is Tzadik Nistar (Hebrew: צַדִיק נִסתָר). The source is the Talmud itself, explained as follows:

As a mystical concept, the number 36 is even more intriguing. It is said that at all times there are 36 special people in the world, and that were it not for them, all of them, if even one of them was missing, the world would come to an end. The two Hebrew letters for 36 are the l lamed, which is 30, and the w vav, which is 6. Therefore, these 36 are referred to as the Lamed-Vav Tzadikim (the Righteous Thirty-Six). This widely held belief, this most unusual Jewish concept is based on a Talmudic statement to the effect that in every generation 36 righteous “greet the Shechinah,” the Divine Presence (Tractate Sanhedrin 97b; Tractate Sukkah 45b).

The Lamed-Vav Tzaddikim are also called the Nistarim (“concealed ones”). In our folk tales, they emerge from their self-imposed concealment and, by the mystic powers which they possess, they succeed in averting the threatened disasters of a people persecuted by the enemies that surround them. They return to their anonymity as soon as their task is accomplished, “concealing” themselves once again in a Jewish community wherein they are relatively unknown. The lamed-vavniks, scattered as they are throughout the Diaspora, have no acquaintance with one another. On very rare occasions, one of them is “discovered” by accident, in which case the secret of their identity must not be disclosed. The lamed-vavniks do not themselves know that they are one of the 36. In fact, tradition has it that should a person claim to be one of the 36, that is proof positive that they are certainly not one. Since the 36 are each exemplars of anavah (“humility”), having such a virtue would preclude against one’s self-proclamation of being among the special righteous. The 36 are simply too humble to believe that they are one of the 36.

The term lamed-vavnik is derived from the Hebrew letters l lamed, which is 30, and w vav, which is 6, whose numerical value adds up to 36. The “nik” at the end is a Russian or Yiddish suffix indicating “a person who …” (As in “Beatnik”; in English, this would be something like calling them “The Thirty-Sixers”.) The number 36 is twice 18. In gematria the number 18 stands for “life”, because the Hebrew letters that spell chai, meaning “living”, add up to 18. Because 36 = 2×18, it represents “two lives”.

40. The value of the Hebrew letter mem מ.

Mentioned 146 times in Scripture, the number 40 generally symbolizes a period of testing, trial, or probation. During Moshe’s (Moses') life he lived forty years in Egypt and forty years in the desert before God selected him to lead his people out of slavery, a third 40-year period. Moshe was also on Mount Sinai for 40 days and nights on two separate occasions (Exodus 24:18, Exodus 34:1-28), receiving HaShem’s Torah. He also sent spies, for forty days, to investigate the land Hashem promised the Israelites as an inheritance (Numbers 13:25, Num. 14:34).

The prophet Jonah powerfully warned ancient Nineveh, for forty days, that its destruction would come because of its many sins. The prophet Ezekiel laid on His right side for 40 days to symbolize Judah's sins (Ezekiel 4:6).

Also:

42. The value of the letters in the Divine Name (יְהוָה֒).

50. The value of the Hebrew letter nun נ. The 50th year of the land, which is also a Shabbat of the land, is called Yovel in Hebrew, which is the origin of the Latin term “Jubilee,” (Leviicus 25) also meaning 50th. We “count the omer” for 50 days between Firstfruits and Pentecost.

Pentecost (Greek pentekoste Pentekoste, “the fiftieth day”), or Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks, is the second of the three great Pilgrim Feasts of ADONAI, celebrated at Jerusalem yearly, the seventh week after the Passover, in grateful recognition of the completed harvest. Every able-bodied Israelite was duty-bound to make every possible effort to be in Jerusalem for this Feast. Happening 50 days after Pesach (Passover), which celebrated Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, Pentecost was a time to celebrate the initial harvest feast. Israel gathered together to offer the Lord two loaves of wheat bread made from firstfruits of the grain. In Acts 2, Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit) comes to the Emessaries (Apostles) to fulfill Yeshua’s words that they would receive power from Ruach HaKodesh to glorify HaShem’s name to all nations.

60. The value of the Hebrew letter samech ס.

65. The value of the Hebrew word Adonai (Lord).

70. The value of the Hebrew letter ayin ע.

80. The value of the Hebrew letter peh פ.

87. The value of the Hebrew word Paz, refined gold

90. The value of the Hebrew letter tzady צ.

100. The value of the Hebrew letter koof ק.

200. The value of the Hebrew letter reish ר.

216. The value of Lion (בורה) — my name, Ari — and Gevurah (גבורה), the fifth sephirah in the kabbalistic tree of life.

248. Value of the name Avraham (אברהם); number of positive commandments (according to Miamonades).

300. The value of the Hebrew letter shin ש.

365. The number of days in the solar calendar.

374. The number of years the first Temple stood.

400. The value of the Hebrew letter tav ת.

500. The value of the Hebrew letter kaf (final) ך.

600. The value of the Hebrew letter mem (final) ם. Value of the word צִיצִת Tzitzit (the fringes to beworn on the corners of the garments).

613. The number of mitzvot (commands) in the Torah.

666. The Number of the name of the Beast. The meaning of six hundred sixty six (666) is derived from the number and mark of the Beast’s power discussed in the book of Revelation. The number 666 symbolizes the perfection (culmination) of man’s overall system that is separated from God and under the constant influence of HaSatan, the Accuser. Six in the Bible represents, by itself, incompleteness or imperfection, as it is one less than seven (which symbolizes completeness). Man’s system on earth is made up of three parts, each represented by a six in the numeric 666.

The first six of the number 666 means the perfectly false religions of man under HaSatan’s lead. HaSatan is the god of this world (2Corinthians 4:3-4; John 12:31; John 16:11), and allowed to deceive mankind, until the return of Messiah Yeshua.

The second six is for the deceived false governments of this world.

The third six of 666 is symbolic of mankind’s self-centered economic system.

The Mark of the Beast. Is the mark of the beast a special number that will be forced upon people? The world is inundated with the belief that the mark will be something that uses the number 666. Some believe we will soon be forced to receive a computer chip with 666 embedded within it. Others think an identifying tattoo will be placed on humans. There are also those who firmly think the mark of the beast will be hidden on money or on other things.

The mark of the beast, used to identify those allowed to buy or sell in the End Time, will be found in (not on) people’s hands or foreheads (Revelation 13:16). For those who are concerned about accidentally accepting the “mark,” it would seem that the true mark which allows one to buy and sell (Revelation 13:16-18) seems to associated with some sort of oath of allegiance to the government of Antichrist. It is the oath, not the physical “mark,” which condemns one. [See also Wikipedia, Number of the Beast.]

700. The value of the Hebrew letter nun (final) ן.

702. The value of the Hebrew word שַׁבָּת (Shabbat; the Sabbath).

800. The value of the Hebrew letter peh (final) ף.

900. The value of the Hebrew letter tzady (final) ץ.

1000. One thousand signifies “immensity” or “fullness of quantity,” preeminently in the Book of Revelation.

____________

  1. See “My Jewish Learning: Gematria.” [RETURN]

Page posted on Thursday, 23 April 2020
Revised on Shabbat, 2 January 2020

Page last updated on Sunday, 11 July 2021 10:51 AM
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