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Surprisingly a time period of 40 (days, weeks, years) is actually significant. Each time period of 40 units is related to testing, probation or being tried.  Also notice each period ends with a time or item of blessing.

Each time period of 40 units is related to testing, probation or being tried.


Forty Remarkable Coincidences of the Number 40 in the Bible


Of rain, at the time of the flood For forty days the rain poured down without stopping. And the water  became deeper and deeper, until the boat started floating high above the ground. Genesis 7:17 Contemporary English Version (CEV) Of flood, before sending forth the raven Forty days later Noah opened a window to send out a raven, but it kept flying around until the water had dried up. Genesis 8:6 Contemporary English Version (CEV) For embalming …and it took the usual forty days. The Egyptians mourned seventy days for Jacob.  Genesis 50:3 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


By Moses Moses did so and stayed there forty days and nights. To the people, the Lord’s glory looked like a blazing fire on top of the mountain. Exodus 24:17-18 Contemporary English Version (CEV) Moses stayed on the mountain with the Lord for forty days and nights, without eating or drinking. And he wrote down the Ten Commandments, the most important part of God’s agreement with his people. Exodus 34:28 Contemporary English Version (CEV) It happened during those forty days and nights that I was on the mountain, without anything to eat or drink. He had told me to come up there so he could give me the agreement he made with us. And this agreement was actually the same Ten Commandments he had announced to you when he spoke from the fire on the mountain. The Lord had written them on two flat stones with his own hand. But after giving me the two stones,  Deuteronomy 9:9-11 Contemporary English Version (CEV) After you had made the idol in the shape of a calf, the Lord said he was going to destroy you. So I bowed down in front of the sacred tent for forty days and nights, Deuteronomy 9:25 Contemporary English Version(CEV) By Elijah So Elijah sat up and ate and drank. The food and water made him strong enough to walk forty more days. At last, he reached Mount Sinai, the mountain of God, 1 Kings 19:8 Contemporary English Version (CEV) By spies in the land of promise [The Men Report Back to the People] After exploring the land of Canaan forty days, Numbers 13:25 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Given to the Ninevites After walking for a day, Jonah warned the people, “Forty days from now, Nineveh will be destroyed!” Jonah 3:4 Contemporary English Version (CEV) By Jesus After Jesus had gone without eating for forty days and nights, he was very hungry. Matthew 4:2 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


After the resurrection For forty days after Jesus had suffered and died, he proved in many ways that he had been raised from death. He appeared to his apostles and spoke to them about God’s kingdom. Acts 1:3 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Then turn over and lie on your right side forty more days. That will be a sign of Judah’s punishment—one day for each year of its suffering. Ezekiel- 4:6 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Wanderings of the Israelites in the wilderness

The Israelites ate manna for forty years, before they came to the border of Canaan that was a settled land. Exodus 16:35-36 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

I will cruelly punish you every day for the next forty years—one year for each day that the land was explored. Numbers 14:34 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

 Peace in Israel
and Israel was at peace until Othniel died about forty years later. Judges 3:11 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Our Lord, we pray that all your enemies     will die like Sisera. But let everyone who loves you shine brightly like the sun     at dawn.

There was peace in Israel for about forty years.  Judges 5:31 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Gideon returned to his home in Ophrah and had the gold made into a statue, which the Israelites soon started worshiping. They became unfaithful to God, and even Gideon and his family were trapped into worshiping the statue. The Midianites had been defeated so badly that they were no longer strong enough to attack Israel. And so Israel was at peace for the remaining forty years of Gideon’s life. Judges 8:27-29 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Egypt to be desolated

No human or animal will even dare travel through Egypt, because no sign of life will be found there for forty years. Ezekiel 29:11 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Egypt to be restored after

Then after those forty years have passed, I will bring your people back from the places where I scattered them. Ezekiel 29:13 Contemporary English Version (CEV)


Administered in punishing criminals

Forty lashes is the most that you can be given, because more than that might make other Israelites think you are worthless. Deuteronomy 25:3 Contemporary English Version (CEV) Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 2 Corinthians 11:24 New International Version (NIV) See more Answers to Bible Questions

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