The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 40
The number forty has long been universally recognized as an important number, both on account of the frequency of its occurrence, and the uniformity of its association with a period of probation, trial, and chastisement - (not judgment, like the number 9, which stands in connection with the punishment of enemies, but the chastisement of sons, and of a covenant people).
The number 40 is the product of 5 and 8, and points to the action of grace (5), leading to and ending in revival and renewal (8). This is certainly the case where Forty relates to a period of evident probation. But where it relates to enlarged dominion, or to renewed or extended rule, then it does so in virtue of its factors 4 and 10, and in harmony with their signification.
There are 15 such periods which appear on the surface of the Scriptures, and which may be thus classified:.....Wow! Impressive machinations. While reading this I was reminded of the importance of the number 3 in Monty Python’s. Holy Grail
" ...And Saint Attila raised the hand grenade up on high, saying, "O LORD, bless this Thy hand grenade that with it Thou mayest blow Thine enemies to tiny bits, in Thy mercy." And the LORD did grin and the people did feast upon the lambs and sloths and carp and anchovies and orangutans and breakfast cereals, and fruit bats and large chu... [At this point, the friar is urged by Brother Maynard to "skip a bit, brother"]... And the LORD spake, saying, "First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the third number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it."
One is serious and one is satire, can’t really remember which is which.