40 days/nights

peter_kirk at sil.org peter_kirk at sil.org
Sat Sep 25 16:18:00 EDT 1999

Not any commentary, though maybe any commentary which you would accept 
as scholarly. There is good evidence that the final redactors of the 
Pentateuch intended the 40 years of wilderness wanderings to be taken 
literally e.g. in calculating Moses' age at death as 120 (Deu 34:7) 
compared with his age just before the Exodus which is given as 80 (and 
Aaron's as 83, Exodus 7:7). Such a time period for the wilderness 
wanderings also fits nicely with the idea of all of the older 
generation (those 20 years or older at the Exodus) dying before the 
conquest, which is a fundamental point in the whole wilderness 
tradition. My point is not so much that this was an actual historical 
period, but rather that the redactors believed it to be. (Rohl of 
course takes this as a historical 40 years, but then "he would, 
wouldn't he").

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re: 40 days/nights
Author:  <jwest at highland.net> at Internet
Date:    24/09/1999 19:35

At 12:15 AM 9/25/99 +0200, you wrote:
>What is the understanding of the number 40 as an idiom meaning a long time 
>in  Biblical Hebrew.  Is this understanding legit?

yes- its merely a formulaic way of saying "a long time".  See any commentary 
on, for instance, the 40 years in the wilderness.

>Should 40 days/nights be taken as lit. or as an idiom or both?

as a way of saying "a long time".


Jim West, ThD
email- jwest at highland.net
web page-  http://web.infoave.net/~jwest

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