Judges 9.4–5 – Incidental reference to seven

As we continue through the ninth chapter of the Book of Judges, we will continue to see an incidental use of the number 7, as it merely gives the number of Gideon’s sons, multiplied by ten, such as in the passage below,

So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men; and they followed him. Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself (Judges 9.4–5).

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Judges 9.2 – Incidental Reference to the Number of Sons of Gideon

Abimelech, a son of Gideon and one of the seventy sons of Gideon, spoke to the members of his mother’s family, saying,

“Please speak in the hearing of all the men of Shechem: ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal reign over you, or that one reign over you?’ Remember that I am your own flesh and bone” (Judges 9.2).

If seventy, a multiple of seven, has any significance in this passage and story, I cannot see it. Therefore, it appears to be an incidental reference to seven.

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Judges 8.30 – Gideon’s seventy sons; an incidental reference

We know the great and amazing work that Gideon did for Israel, but did you know of the number of sons he had?

Gideon had seventy sons who were his own offspring, for he had many wives (Judges 8.30).

That is a lot of sons!

Is there any significance to how many sons he had, and the fact that they numbered 70? I do not see where the Bible makes a point of it, and so we must conclude that this is an incidental reference to the number 7.

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Judges 8.26 – Incidental reference to seven

Gideon ask the people to give him the earrings from their plunder. Then the Bible records the weight of the earrings,

Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks (Judges 8.26). 

The total number of the weight was 1,700. The Bible does not seem to make any significance of this seven, for truly seven is only part of a larger number.

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Judges 8.14 – Seventy-seven leaders of Succoth

The following passage from the Book of Judges uses the number seven twice, and in some ways the usage appears to be incidental, and yet, it does not,

And he caught a young man of the men of Succoth and interrogated him; and he wrote down for him the leaders of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men (Judges 8.14).

The seventy-seven leaders of this town that refused to help Gideon, appears to be incidental, for in this case these men did not do the right thing, and typically we have seen seven represent something good.

Yet, the passage could simply have said that the young man whom Gideon caught, wrote down the names of the leaders of the city, and that would have been enough. However, the writer notes that the number of the names totaled seventy-seven.

What we are to make of this, if anything, I do not know. What are your thoughts?

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Judges 6.25 – Second bull of seven years

The Lord prepared Gideon for his work for the Lord and for Israel by having him destroy the work of Baal, and his followers,

Now it came to pass the same night that the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s young bull, the second bull of seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the wooden image that is beside it…” (Judges 6.25).

What was the significance of the second bull of seven years of age? I do not know other than the fact that the Lord would use this bull and Gideon’s actions to turn the hearts of the Israelites away from idolatry and back to worshiping the one true and living God, Yahweh of Hosts!

Seven often represents completeness or perfection, and that would hold true in this case, because converting people from idolatry to worshiping the true God is the greatest and most complete work that one can do.

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Judges 6.1 – Israel delivered to Midian for seven years

After Deborah died, and Barak as well, Israel did what they often did during the days of the judges, when a judge died,

Then the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years… (Judges 6.1).

At other times, the Lord delivered Israel to their enemies for times different than seven years. Why did He deliver Israel to Midian for seven years?

The Bible does not say, from what I can tell, and since this was not a pattern, that is, since He often delivered Israel for times other than seven years, I am inclined to conclude that this period was incidental.

It just might be that it was seven because that was how long before Israel sought the Lord again, and before Gideon was ready to take on the role of judge.

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Judges 1.7 – Adoni-Bezek cut off the thumbs and big toes of seventy kings

The tribes of Judah and Simeon fought against the Canaanites and the Perizzites, and when the tribes caught Adoni-Bezek, which means Lord of Bezek, they cut off his thumbs and big toes.

Why did Israel do such a thing? Adoni-Bezek knew why,

And Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and big toes cut off used to gather scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.” Then they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died (Judges 1.7).

He knew that he simply reaped what he had sown.

Concerning the number seven, this appears to be an incidental reference to the number seven.

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Joshua 19.40 – Incidental Reference to the seventh lot for the tribe of Dan

In Joshua 19, the Bible provides another incidental reference to the number seven.

The seventh lot came out for the tribe of the children of Dan according to their families (Joshua 19.40).

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Joshua 18.9 – Seven parts of the land to be divided

The following passage refers back to verses 2, 5, and 6,

So the men went, passed through the land, and wrote the survey in a book in seven parts by cities; and they came to Joshua at the camp in Shiloh (Joshua 18.9).

It tells of the work of getting the seven last tribes of Israel their inheritance in the Land of Canaan. Therefore, it is only an incidental reference to the number seven.

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