40 days/nights

peter_kirk at sil.org peter_kirk at sil.org
Mon Sep 27 11:34:42 EDT 1999

I would suggest a clear literal intention in the Noah saga from the 
fact that these 40 days are related in a consistent way to particular 
calendar dates (Gen 8:5 1st day of 10th month; 8:6 40 days plus wait 
for the raven's return, 8:10 7 days, 8:12 7 days plus a further wait 
for the dove's return, gets you very close 60 days before 8:13 first 
day of first month of the new year). That's not a historical argument 
but one from the author's calendar framework, whether historical or 

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[3]: 40 days/nights
Author:  <markhamm at topsurf.com> at Internet
Date:    26/09/1999 17:10

Ok.  Well what I want to know is what did the author intend  literal or fig 
in the use of forty-days and forty nights in the Noah saga, also the 40 day 
cake in ! Kings 19 as well as the forty day fast of Christ ( from a Hebrew 
perspective if possible).

It seems all these are presented as accounts intended to be literal. Does 
the language allow this (keep away historical arguments-- I am interested in 
the authors intentions).  Thanks.

Mark Markham
Heidelberg, Germany
----- Original Message -----
From: <peter_kirk at sil.org>
To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at franklin.oit.unc.edu> 
Sent: Saturday, September 25, 1999 10:18 PM 
Subject: Re[2]: 40 days/nights

> 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 
> >in  Biblical Hebrew.  Is this understanding legit? 
> yes- its merely a formulaic way of saying "a long time".  See any 
> 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
> +++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Jim West, ThD
> email- jwest at highland.net
> web page-  http://web.infoave.net/~jwest 
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