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Number

The Bible

Bible Usage:

Dictionaries:

  • Included in Eastons: No
  • Included in Hitchcocks: No
  • Included in Naves: No
  • Included in Smiths: Yes
  • Included in Websters: Yes
  • Included in Strongs: Yes
  • Included in Thayers: Yes
  • Included in BDB: Yes

Strongs Concordance:

Smith's Bible Dictionary
Number

Like most Oriental nations, it is probable that the Hebrews in their written calculations made use of the letters of the alphabet. That they did so in post-Babylonian times we have conclusive evidence in the Maccab'an coins; and it is highly probable that this was the ease also in earlier times. But though, on the one hand, it is certain that in all existing MSS of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament the numerical expressions are written at length, yet, on the other, the variations in the several versions between themselves and from the Hebrew text, added to the evident inconsistencies in numerical statement between certain passages of that text itself seems to prove that some shorter mode of writing was originally in vogue, liable to be misunderstood, and in fact misunderstood by copyists and translators. These variations appear to have proceeded from the alphabetic method of writing numbers. There can be little doubt, however, that some at least of the numbers mentioned in Scripture are intended to be representative rather than determinative. Certain numbers, as 7,10,40,100, were regarded as giving the idea of completeness. Without entering into St. Augustine's theory of this usage, we may remark that the notion of representative numbers in certain cases is one extremely common among eastern nations, who have a prejudice against counting their possessions accurately; that it enters largely into many ancient systems of chronology, and that it is found in the philosophical and metaphysical speculations not only of the Pythagorean and other ancient schools of philosophy, both Greek and Roman, but also in those of the later Jewish writers, of the Gnostics, and also of such Christian writers se St. Augustine himself. We proceed to give some instances of numbers used, (a) representatively, and thus probably by design indefinitely, or, (b) definitely, but, as we may say, preferentially, i.e. because some meaning (which we do not in all cases understand) was attached to them.

  1. Seven as denoting either plurality or completeness, perhaps because seven days completed the week is so frequent as to make a selection only of instances necessary, e.g. seven fold (Genesis 4:24) seven times , i.e. completely, (Leviticus 26:24; Psalms 12:6) seven (i.e. many) ways, (28:25)
  2. Ten as a preferential number is exemplified in the Ten Commandments and the law of tithe.
  3. Seventy , as compounded of 7 X 10, appears frequently e.g. seventy fold. (Genesis 4:24; Matthew 18:22) Its definite use appears in the offerings of 70 shekels, (Numbers 7:13,19) ff,; the 70 elders, ch. (Numbers 11:16) 70 Years of captivity. (Jeremiah 25:11)
  4. Five appears in the table of punishments, of legal requirements, (Exodus 22:1; Leviticus 5:16; 22:14; 27:15; Numbers 5:7; 18:16) and in the five empires of Daniel. (Daniel 2:1) ...
  5. Four is used in reference to the 4 winds, (Daniel 7:2) and the so-called 4 corners of the earth; the creatures, each with 4 wings and 4 faces, of Ezekiel, (Ezekiel 1:5) ff.; 4 Rivers of Paradise (Genesis 2:10) 4 Beasts, (Daniel 7:1) ... and Revelation 4:6 The 4 equal-sided temple-chamber. (Ezekiel 40:47)
  6. Three was regarded, by both the Jews and other nations as a specially complete and mystic number.
  7. Twelve (3X4) appears in 12 tribes 12 stones in the high priest's breastplate, 12 apostles, 12 foundation-stones, and 12 gates. (Revelation 21:19-21)
  8. Lastly, the mystic number 666. (Revelation 13:18)


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Number

NUM'BER, noun [Probably the radical sense is to speak, name or tell, as our word tell, in the other dialects, is to number number may be allied to name, as the Spaniards use nombre for name, and the French word written with the same letters, is number ]

1. The designation of a unit reference to other units, or in reckoning, counting, enumerating; as, one is the first number; a simple number

2. An assemblage of two or more units. Two is a number composed of one and one added. Five and three added make the number eight. number may be applied to any collection or multitude of units or individuals, and therefore is indefinite, unless defined by other words or by figures or signs of definite signification. Hence,

3. More than one; many.

Ladies are always of great use to the party they espouse, and never fail to win over numbers.

4. Multitude.

Number itself importeth not much in armies, where the men are of weak courage.

5. In poetry, measure; the order and quantity of syllables constituting feet, which render verse musical to the ear. The harmony of verse consists in the proper distribution of the long and short syllables, with suitable pauses. In oratory, a judicious disposition of words, syllables and cadences constitutes a kind of measure resembling poetic numbers.

6. Poetry; verse.

I lisped in numbers, for the numbers came.

Here the first word numbers may be taken for poetry or verse, and the second for measure.

Yet shoud the Muses bid my numbers roll.

7. In grammar, the difference of termination or form of a word, to express unity or plurality. The termination which denotes one or an individual, is the singular number; the termination that denotes two or more individuals or units, constitues the plural number Hence we say, a noun, an adjective, a pronoun or a verb is in the singular or the plural number

8. In mathematics, number is variously distinguished. cardinal numbers are those which express the amount of units; as 1.2.3.4.5.6.7.8.9.10. Ordinal numbers are those which express order; as first, second, third, fourth, etc.

Determinate number is that referred to a given unit, as a ternary or three; an indeterminate number is referred to unity in general, and called quantity.

Homogeneal numbers, are those referred to the same units; those referred to different units are termed heterogeneal.

Whole numbers, are called integers.

A rational number is one commensurable with unity. A number incommensurable with unity, is termed irrational or surd.

A prime or primitive number is divisible only by unity; as three, five, seven, etc.

A perfect number is that whose aliquot parts added together, make the whole number as 28, whose aliquot parts, 14. 7. 4. 2. 1. make the number 28.

An imperfect number is that whose aliquot parts added together, make more or less than the number This is abundant or defedtive; abundant, as 12, whose aliquot parts, 6. 4. 3. 2. 1. make 16; or defective, as 16 whose aliquot parts, 8. 4. 2. 1. make 15 only.

A square number is the product of a number multiplied by itself; as, 16 is the square number of four.

A cubic number is the product of a square number by its root; as, 27 is the product of the square number 9 by its root 3.

Golden number the cycle of the moon, or revolution of 19 years, in which time the conjunctions, oppositions and other aspects of the moon are nearly the same as they were on the same days of the month 19 years before.

NUM'BER, verb transitive

1. To count; to reckon; to ascertain the units of any sum, collection or multitude.

If a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered. Genesis 8:1.

2. To reckon as one of a collection or multitude.

He was numbered with the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12.


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Numbered

NUM'BERED, participle passive Counted; enumerated.


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Numberer

NUMBERER, noun One that counts numbers.


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Numbering

NUM'BERING, participle present tense Counting; ascertaining the units of a multitutde or collection.


Easton's Bible Dictionary
Numbering of the People

Besides the numbering of the tribes mentioned in the history of the wanderings in the wilderness, we have an account of a general census of the whole nation from Dan to Beersheba, which David gave directions to Joab to make (1 Chronicles 21:1). Joab very reluctantly began to carry out the king's command.

This act of David in ordering a numbering of the people arose from pride and a self-glorifying spirit. It indicated a reliance on his part on an arm of flesh, an estimating of his power not by the divine favour but by the material resources of his kingdom. He thought of military achievement and of conquest, and forgot that he was God's vicegerent. In all this he sinned against God. While Joab was engaged in the census, David's heart smote him, and he became deeply conscious of his fault; and in profound humiliation he confessed, "I have sinned greatly in what I have done." The prophet Gad was sent to him to put before him three dreadful alternatives (2 Samuel 24:13; for "seven years" in this verse, the LXX. and 1 Chronicles 21:12 have "three years"), three of Jehovah's four sore judgments (Ezekiel 14:21). Two of these David had already experienced. He had fled for some months before Absalom, and had suffered three years' famine on account of the slaughter of the Gibeonites. In his "strait" David said, "Let me fall into the hands of the Lord." A pestilence broke out among the people, and in three days swept away 70,000. At David's intercession the plague was stayed, and at the threshing-floor of Araunah (q.v.), where the destroying angel was arrested in his progress, David erected an altar, and there offered up sacrifies to God (2 Chronicles 3:1).

The census, so far as completed, showed that there were at least 1,300,000 fighting men in the kingdom, indicating at that time a population of about six or seven millions in all. (See CENSUS.)


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Numberless

NUM'BERLESS, adjective That cannot be counted; innumerable.


Smith's Bible Dictionary
Numbers

the fourth book of the law or Pentateuch. It takes its name in the LXX. and Vulgate (whence our "Numbers") from the double numbering or census of the people, the first of which is given in chs. 1-4, and the second in ch. 28. Contents .

The book may be said to contain generally the history of the Isr'lites from the time of their leaving Sinai, in the second year after the exodus till their arrival at the borders of the Promised land in the fortieth year of their journeyings It consists of the following principal divisions: 1, The Preparations for the departure from Sinai. (Numbers 1:1; Numbers 10:10)

  1. The journey from Sinai to the borders of Canaan. ch. (Numbers 10:11; Numbers 14:45)
  2. A brief notice of laws and events which transpired during the thirty-seven years wandering in the wilderness. ch. (Numbers 15:1; Numbers 19:22)
  3. The history of the last year, from the second arrival of the Isr'lites in Kadesh till they reached "the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho." ch, (Numbers 20:1; Numbers 36:13) Integrity .

    This, like the other books of the Pentateuch, is supposed by many critics to consist of a compilation from two or three or more earlier documents; but the grounds on which this distinction of documents rests are in every respect most unsatisfactory, and it may, in common with the preceding books and Deuteronomy, be regarded as the work of Moses. The book of Numbers is rich in fragments of ancient poetry, some of them of great beauty and all throwing an interesting light on the character of the times in which they were composed. Such, for instance, is the blessing of the high priest. ch. (Numbers 6:24-26) Such too are chants which were the signal for the ark to move when the people journeyed, and for it to rest when they were about to encamp. In ch. 21 we have a passage cited from a book called the "Book of the Wars of Jehovah." This was probably a collection of ballads and songs composed on different occasions by the watch-fires of the camp, and for the most part, though not perhaps exclusively, in commemoration of the victories of the Isr'lites over their enemies.


Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Numbers

NUM'BERS, noun The title of the fourth book of the Pentateuch.


Easton's Bible Dictionary
Numbers, Book of

The fourth of the books of the Pentateuch, called in the Hebrew be-midbar, i.e., "in the wilderness." In the LXX. version it is called "Numbers," and this name is now the usual title of the book. It is so called because it contains a record of the numbering of the people in the wilderness of Sinai (1-4), and of their numbering afterwards on the plain of Moab (26).

This book is of special historical interest as furnishing us with details as to the route of the Israelites in the wilderness and their principal encampments. It may be divided into three parts-

1. The numbering of the people at Sinai, and preparations for their resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth chapter gives an account of the vow of a Nazarite.

2. An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the sending out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the way (10:11-21:20).

3. The transactions in the plain of Moab before crossing the Jordan (21:21-ch. 36).

The period comprehended in the history extends from the second month of the second year after the Exodus to the beginning of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period of wanderings, during which that disobedient generation all died in the wilderness. They were fewer in number at the end of their wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt. We see in this history, on the one hand, the unceasing care of the Almighty over his chosen people during their wanderings; and, on the other hand, the murmurings and rebellions by which they offended their heavenly Protector, drew down repeated marks of his displeasure, and provoked him to say that they should "not enter into his rest" because of their unbelief (Hebrews 3:19).

This, like the other books of the Pentateuch, bears evidence of having been written by Moses.

The expression "the book of the wars of the Lord," occurring in 21:14, has given rise to much discussion. But, after all, "what this book was is uncertain, whether some writing of Israel not now extant, or some writing of the Amorites which contained songs and triumphs of their king Sihon's victories, out of which Moses may cite this testimony, as Paul sometimes does out of heathen poets (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12)."