God, Hebrews, and the Number 40

What’s with the Hebrews and the number forty? Sounds like they were heavily into numerology.

  • The Flood rain was forty days.
  • After landing on the mountaintop, Noah waited forty days to open the windows in the Ark.
  • Moses was on the mountain for forty days.
  • The Hebrews walked the desert for forty years
  • They search out the Promised Land for forty days
  • Isaac was forty when he married Rebekah.
  • Twice, Judges gave peace for forty years.
  • One occasion, war for forty years.
  • One Judge had forty sons…poor wife.
  • Saul ruled for forty years.
  • David ruled for forty years.
  • Solomon ruled for forty years.
  • Joash ruled for forty years.
  • Prophecy said Egypt would be barren for forty years.
  • Elijah was in the desert for forty days.
  • Jesus walked the desert for forty days.
  • Joseph walked Nineveh for forty days.
  • Jesus was said to appear to his followers for forty days after his resurrection from the dead.

I’ve heard, but never checked, that forty years is mentioned forty times in the Bible.
The word ‘forty’ is mentioned one hundred and forty times. This seems to be an obsession with the Jews…or ‘God.’

I know I have missed a few (?) here, but doesn’t this raise a few questions about the stories? Do modern day Christian religions have an obsession with the number 40? I haven’t heard anything about this.

Update: Moses killed an Egyptian who was beating a Jewish slave…at the age of forty. 6.15.08

Moses spent 40 years in Midian tending his father-in-law’s sheep.

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