31 - Thirty One - 31
By Andrew Harris 26 November 1998 ©
One of the names for God in the Hebrew is El, meaning The Almighty. The numeric value of this Hebrew word is 31. Thus this number is stamped with the theme of The Almighty God. It might also be worth noting that this value is arrived at by adding one to thirty. Thirty is three (divine perfection) times ten (ordinal perfection) and so represents a magnification or superabundance of divine perfection. Adding one to this value would indicate divine perfection plus more, divine perfection added to. That God has reserved this number for himself shows in Numerics that:
20Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Indeed God is able to do above even what we could possible think or imagine.
Genesis Chapter 1
The first chapter of the Bible speaks of Gods sovereign work of creation, and gives Him all the glory as the creator of everything. There are 31 verses in Genesis chapter 1. Further, the Hebrew word Elohim, another of the names of God, which has as its first part the syllable El, occurs in this chapter 31 times. In Genesis chapter 1 every time the word God is seen in the English translation it is the Hebrew word Elohim.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
This shows the primacy of God and the significance of the number thirty-one.
The Link with the Number One
It should be obvious (assuming you have already read about the number one, and it is still fresh in your mind) that number one can be linked with 31. One is the sovereign Lord God, God first, and this meaning also carries on to other prime numbers by virtue of the fact that prime numbers are divisible only by themselves and one. Thirty-one is a prime number and so even if it had no significance in itself it would partake of the meaning of one. However its meaning, rather than overriding its meaning as a prime number, is perhaps a more intense or specialized form of it.
The 31st Chapter in the Bible
Genesis 31 tells the story of Jacobs departure from his uncle Laban. The first two verses set the scene, with Jacob becoming aware that Laban and his sons are unhappy with him. In verse three God tells Jacob to leave. Starting in verse four Jacob puts his case to his two wives, Rachael and Leah, the daughters of Laban. He spends most of verses five to twelve telling how God had saved him from Labans deceit, and blessed him despite Labans unfairness. He finishes up in verse thirteen by telling them that God had said to leave. They answer in verses fourteen to sixteen that he should go and they will be with him. Jacob leaves secretly in verse seventeen Rachael has taken some things of her fathers as they leave. Laban learns of it and catches up with him in verse twenty three. Verse twenty four God warns Laban to take care how he speaks to Jacob on the morrow. From verse 25 to 35, Laban talks with Jacob and searches for his missing items. Verses 36 to 42 Jacob tells of all the injustices Laban has committed against him, but how that God has preserved Jacob and rebuked Laban. Verses 43 to 55 sees Jacob and Laban make a pact not to cause each other trouble and they set a pile of stone as a marker to seal it.
Thus in this chapter we have three testimonials to the lords power. Firstly in verses four to twelve Jacob tells his wives of how the Lord has blessed him. Secondly, in verse 29 Laban tells Jacob that God warned him to be careful how he spoke to Jacob.