Often people will speak of the number forty as a generational number. There is no evidence for such an interpretation from the Scripture. The number 40 expresses a change or transition. The examples for such a view are seen  throughout both the Old and New Covenants.

It rained for 40 days in the days of Noah (see Genesis 7:12). These rains brought about a transition, HaShem would begin the world again with the family of Noah.
• Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights (see Exodus 34:28). Although this was the second time Moses went up to the mountain, it was this time that the Law was actually given to the Children of Israel and a transition was made to Israel being commanded to observe the Law.
• Yeshua was tested in the mountains of Judah for 40 days and 40 nights (see Matthew 4:2) and afterwards He began His ministry. Hence, a transition was made from when Yeshua did not minister, to the time when He began to fulfill His Father’s will in a formal way.
• After the resurrection, Yeshua appeared for 40 days (Acts 1:3) and He ascended into the heavens. Yeshua’s earthly ministry had finished and there was a transition to His disciples carrying on His work.
• In the account of Absalom, the reader is told that at the end of 40 years (see 2 Samuel 15:7), Absalom requested permission to go to Hebron from his father. Although he said that he wanted to pay his vows, this was said so he could depart and begin his rebellion against David, his father. Why is 40 years mentioned? To what does the 40 years refer? Some commentaries say the 40 years was from when Saul began the monarchy. Whether this is true or not is undetermined. However, what is for sure is that there was a transition in the leadership of Israel. 

The number 40 appears in verse 7 to assist the reader in identifying this change in leadership. Numerous other examples could be provided, but these few sufficiently demonstrate the meaning and use of the number 40 in the Scriptures.


HOW can WE help you?