Biblical significance of the number “40” (and others)

FORTY:  This number is recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence and with the uniformity of its association both as a time of consecration and as a period of trial.

  • 40 day epic periods during the great flood (Gen 7:4, 12, 17,8:6)
  • 40 years was the age of Isaac when he married Rebekah (Gen 25:20)
  • 40 years of Moses in Egypt (do the math, see Ex 7:7; Dt 34:7; Acts 7:30 )
  • 40 years of Moses in Midian before his return to Egypt (Acts 7:30)
  • 40 years from the Exodus until Moses’ death (Dt 1:3; 34:7)
  • 40 years Israel ate manna (Ex 16:35; Dt 29:5)
  • 40 days Moses was on the Mountain to receive the Law of the Sinai Covenant (Ex 24:18)
  • 40 days the children of Israel were tested while Moses was on the mountain (Ex 32:1)
  • 40 days Moses was on the Mountain after the golden calf. (Ex 34:28)
  • 40 days after his birth a male child of Israel was dedicated to God at the Sanctuary (Lev 12:1-4)
  • 40 days the Israelite spies reconnoitered the land of Canaan (Num 13:25)
  • 40 years was Caleb’s age when Moses sent him to reconnoiter Canaan (Josh 14:7)
  • 40 years that Israel spent in the wilderness before they camped by the Jordan River (Num 14:33; Dt 1:1-3; 8:2)
  • 40 years from the giving of the Law at Sinai to the conquest of the Promised land (Josh 5:6)
  • 40 year intervals of peace in the age of the Judges (Judg 3:11; 5:31; 8:28)
  • 40 years Eli judged Israel (1 Sam 4:18)
  • 40 years of war between Israel and the Philistines
  • 40 years David ruled as King of Israel (2 Sam 5:5; 1 Chr 29:26-27)
  • 40 years of Solomon ruled Israel. (2 Chr 9:30)
  • 40 days Jonah was in the Assyrian city of Nineveh (Jonah 3:4)
  • 40 years Josiah ruled Judah (2 Kng 12:2)
  • 40 days Ezekiel lay on his right side to symbolize the 40 years of Judah’s transgressions (Ez 4:6)
  • 40 days Jesus fasted in the wilderness before His temptation (Mt 4:2; Mk 1:13; Lk 4:2)
  • 40 days Jesus taught His disciples after the Resurrection.  On the 40th day He ascended to the Father (Acts 1:3)

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The meaning of Memorial Day

Officially, Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday of May (this year it’s May 30), honors the war dead. Unofficially, the day honors the start of summer. (More on that in a moment.)

The upcoming three-day weekend has prompted searches on Yahoo! for “when is memorial day,” “what is memorial day,” and “memorial day history.” The day was originally known as “Decoration Day” because the day was dedicated to the Civil War dead, when mourners would decorate gravesites as a remembrance.

The holiday was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, when 5,000 people helped decorate the gravesites of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery. (Some parts of the South still remember members of the Confederate Army with Confederate Memorial Day.)

After World War I, the observances were widened to honor the fallen from all American wars–and in 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday.

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Images and significance of various types of trees, as mentioned in the Bible

The sycamore, the “ficus sycomorus,” belongs to the same family of the fig tree. Its name comes from the Greek “sicon,” fig and “moros,” blackberry bush. That is, the sycamore has leaves similar to the blackberry bush and fruit similar to the fig. In Jesus’ time there were a great number of sycamores in the Holy Land. Its wood was commonly used because it is harder than that of the fig tree. Today, it is a rare tree in the Holy Land. We can find sycamores in Jericho and in Gaza. One of them in Jericho is 15 meters high. Let us remember that the fig tree is never higher than 5 meters.

During the time of King Solomon, “the king made silver common as pebbles, and cedars plentiful as the sycamores of the lowlands” (I Kgs. 10:27).

The fruit of the sycamore was considered as humble food. It is confirmed by the prophet Amos, shepherd of Tekoa: I was no prophet, neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of prophets. I was a shepherd, and looked after sycamores: but it was Yahweh who took me from herding the flock, and Yahweh who said, “Go, prophesy to My people Israel’ (Amos 7:14-15).

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