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English Bible Dictionary

Seven

 

The frequent recurrence of certain numbers in the sacred literature of the Hebrews is obvious to the most superficial reader, but seven so far surpasses the rest, both in the frequency with which it recurs and in the importance of the objects with which it is associated, that it may fairly be termed the representative symbolic number. The influence of the number seven was not restricted to the Hebrews; it prevailed among the Persians, ancient Indians, Greeks and Romans. The peculiarity of the Hebrew view consists in the special dignity of the seventh, and not simply in that of seen. The Sabbath being the seventh day suggested the adoption of seven as the coefficient, so to say, for their appointment of all sacred periods; and we thus find the 7th month ushered in by the Feast of Trumpets, and signalized by the celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles and the Great Day of Atonement; 7 weeks as the interval between the Passover and the Pentecost; the 7th year as the sabbatical year; and the year: succeeding 7X7 years as the Jubilee year, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. Seven days were appointed as the length of the feasts of Passover and Tabernacles; 7 days for the ceremonies of the consecration of priests, and so on; 7 victims to be offered on any special occasion, as in Balaam's sacrifice. (Numbers 23:1) and especially at the ratification of a treaty, the notion of seven being embodied in the very term signifying to swear, literally meaning to do seven times. (Genesis 31:28) Seven is used for any round number, or for completeness, as we say a dozen, or as a speaker says he will say two or three words.

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