What does the Number 13 Mean in the Bible?

Last updated on February 8th, 2022 at 06:25 pm

What does the number 13 mean in the bible?

In the bible, the number 13 means the outworking of pride. The two Hebrew letters that make up the number 13 are YOD and GIMEL, translated to English these letters mean the hand or outworking, and pride or to be lifted up. It can also be used to symbolize rebellion and depravity or lawlessness.

Thirteen is the 6th prime number, which is man’s number.

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The Hebrew Alphabet and the number 13

Before we get into more specifics about the number 13 itself, it’s important to mention that the Hebrew language uses it’s letters as numbers.

Why does this matter?

Because the old testament was written in Hebrew and the new testament church understood Hebrew and the implications of this alphabet. It is also important to know that the individual letters/numbers all had words and concepts attached to them (pictographs). This made the use of the symbol literal or figurative.

Thirteens Pictograph

A pictograph is a symbol or an image that represents a concept or an idea. For example, a graphic of a cigarette with a red circle around it and a slash through it is a pictograph; it commonly means ‘No smoking’.

The thirteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet is ‘Mem’ which has a numerical value of forty. The pictographic meaning of mem is water, chaos, immersion, womb, blood. Mem is the “center” of the Hebrew alef-bet.

With this, the meaning of the number 13 starts to take a little shape.

The interesting part about the number 13 in Hebrew is that it is actually a combination of two other letters which add together to make 13. Yod which is ten and gimel which is 3, this would signify a hand that is being lifted up, or some element of pride, chaos or rebellion.

The number thirteen when spoken in Hebrew is shlosh esre [f.] shlosha asar [m.] This suggests 13 aligning with covenant unity and love, this is because the Hebrew word for love (Ahavah) and oneness (Echad) share the numerical value of 13.

Where is 13 in the Bible?

The first time that the number 13 is found in the bible is in Genesis 14:4 and it signifies a time of rebellion.

4 For twelve years they had been subject to King Kedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year the rebelled against him.

Genesis 14:4 – NLT

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In Mark 7:21, 22 Jesus lists 13 sins that proceed out of the heart of a carnal man.

The word “dragon” appears 13 times in the book of Revelation.

In Genesis Nimrod, the mighty hunter who was ‘before the Lord’ (meaning he tried to take the place of God – Genesis 10:9), was the 13th in Ham’s line (Ham survived the flood, he was one of Noah’s sons).

Biblical Meaning of the Number Thirteen

When we start to look at biblical meanings behind numbers we look to the scriptures, not only for applied meanings but patterns of meanings. Is there a pattern that we can follow to see what a number means.

For the number 13 there are a number of places where rebellion is attached.

The number 13 and Rebellion

  • The first occurance of the number 13 in the bible is found in Gen 14:4 where it signifies a rebellion
  • There weree 13 tribes of Israel, including Levi, after Joseph recieved the double portion with two tribes, Ephraim and Manasseh. When the tribes where given their inheritances there was also 13 inheritances. Levi recieved no inheritance, and Manasseh recieved a double portion. This shows the rebellious heart of Israel after the flesh.
  • The destruction of Jericho is marked with the number 13. When the Isrealites crossed over the Jordan they marched around for six straight days, and on the seventh day they marched 7 times, making thirteen total.
  • 13 is considered the coming of age number for Jewish boys. Although this may not be seen as rebellious this is the time when the weight of responsibility was placed on a child and he became a man. We know this as Bar Mitzvah.
  • Nimrod, the mighty hunter who was ‘before the Lord’ (meaning he tried to take the place of God – Genesis 10:9), was the 13th in Ham’s line (Ham was one of Noah’s three sons who survived the flood). Thirteen represents all the governments created by men, and inspired by Satan, in outright rebellion against the Eternal.
  • In Romans 1 the apostle Paul lists 23 characteristics of sinful people who have a debased or reprobate mind. The thirteenth characteristic is that they are haters of God (Romans 1:28 – 32).
  • Judas, how betrayed Jesus, what the 13th guest to the last supper.

the new city of Jericho

The number 13 and the Leap Year

The Jewish Calendar has 12 months in it. It is different than the traditional calendar that we inherited from the Romans. The interesting thing to note about the calendar and the number 13 is that during a leap year the Jewish calendar has 13 months.

Why is this important?

At 15 Degrees NE we are prophetic people, we like to study the scriptures, look for signs and patterns but also listen to the Holy Spirit for inspiration and direction. The number 13 seems to be an off-centre number, it’s imperfect. It is an add on. The extra year, the extra tribe the extra inheritance.

Now you could look at that like it’s a blessing…something extra. But in all cases, the extra thing didn’t belong and ended up being chaotic for the people involved.

The 13 tribes became 12 for a perfect Jewish history.
The 13 inheritances were actually only given to twelve people as one person didn’t get one.
And the leap year month was changed to a day.

Could it be that if you are seeing the number 13 in dreams, or in your daily life and wondering what that means, perhaps there is something of excess in your life that needs to be removed or reduced in some manner. Could it be that 13 is chaos and out of balance and God is trying to show you a path to wholeness and peace through removal?

The Jewish Calendar is different.

What Does the Number 13 Mean in a Dream?

Dream interpretation is a subject beyond the measure of this blog post, but when it comes to the number 13 perhaps, like mentioned above, you need to remove something from your life.

Context is everything though in a dream. What is around you when you are seeing the number? What are you doing? Are there any colours or sounds or smells? Everything can mean something, or at least give context to the meaning of the number.

Here are a couple of pointers you can use to help you.

  • A Car. If there is a car or a vehicle in your dream that usually is connected to your ministry. So what is your role within the kingdom? We are not talking about pastors and leaders, we are talking about your gifts, your talents and your kindom role. Everyone has one. If it’s in your dream then likely God is speaking to you about it and using the number 13 to signify something.
  • A House. If you are in a house that usually means your life or your inner self. Yes it can acutually mean something about the physical place that you live, but usually this is about your life, its path, and your decisions.
  • A Backpack. I say this because my wife has had a dream of trying to help me from dropping my backpack. We likely think this was about her helping me and me letting go of too many things that I was carrying and letting her help me. We didn’t have the number 13 in the dream but it would be fitting, with the whole too much in your life metaphore.

Alternative Meanings for 13

There are a couple of alternative thoughts around the number 13, and it’s biblical meaning. It’s not bad luck cause there is no such thing as luck or bad luck.

The number thirteen when spoken in Hebrew is shlosh esre [f.] shlosha asar [m.] This suggests 13 aligning with covenant unity and love, this is because the Hebrew word for love (Ahavah) and oneness (Echad) share the numerical value of 13.

The Hebrew word for love (ahavah) and oneness (echad) share the numerical value of 13. Thus, one would expect to see 13 linked with love and unity. However, on the negative side, there are connections to the opposite of love, which is not hated, but apathy, indifference, and fear.

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tags – biblical meaning, Jesus Christ, positive number, number 13, religious beliefs, divine angels, bad reputation, interesting facts, sacred numbers, king Solomon, new beginnings.

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About the author

Lucas is a former worship pastor and Hillsong College graduate (2005). He has spoken at churches, conferences and worship events and loves inspiring people to be more than just a Sunday service-goer. He founded 15 Degrees NE and is one of our leading authors.

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