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Frances Johnson wrote:

Hi, guys —

Our Scripture students want more information about the significance of the numbers 40 and 50.

  • Please share with me what you know.



  { Is there any Scriptural significance to the numbers 40 and 50? }

John replied:

Hi Frances,

I couldn't tell you about 50 but you can note that the time periods of 40, be they days or years, always come as a time of trial or time of preparation.

Some have said this is because the normal gestation time for a human being is 40 weeks, give or take a week.

Hope this helps,


John followed-up later:

Actually, after jarring of my memory a bit and checking around, I have an answer on the 50.

50 = 7 X 7 + 1

Seven is the number of perfection. It is also the same Hebrew word for oath so when you swear an oath, in the Hebrew language, it says you sevened yourself. Oath's are the essential element of a covenant which is the total and complete giving of self.

So 50 is 1 more than that perfection times itself: (7 X 7 + 1). Therefore, the Jubilee year that happened every 50 years, happened 1 year after every Sabbath year.

A Sabbath year was the year you rested your soil, and certain things like debts might be forgiven, but during the Jubilee year, if you had been forced to sell your land in order to pay your debt,
the land would revert you.

The symbolism is that forgiveness transcends perfection.


Frances replied:

Thank-you, John!

I think the number 40 is more symbolic of a period of probation, trail and chastisement of the covenant people. This leads to renewal, where as 50 symbolizes repentance.

Thank-you, though for your input on the number 40.


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