Thirty-Seven: Sin, Salvation, and Service

This post is an offshoot of a discussion about the grief faced by the firstborn sons in scripture. I was talking about Cain and Abel, then took note that Abel has a Gematria value of 37. In looking at examples of 37s in scripture, I came across a theme of Sin, Salvation, and Service.

Numbers 3:7 is the 3700th verse of the Bible, and is where God has told Aaron to bring the Levites before him as holy and set apart, and described their service to God before the tent of meeting and at the tabernacle. They also perform duties (accepting and making sacrifices) on behalf of the congregation. That’s pretty cool. Don’t forget that the Levites self-selected (try not to overthink that, because surely God put it in their hearts to do so) when the people rebelled and engaged in idol worship. 

In other words, like Abel, the Levites sacrifice was more acceptable to God than that of the first born of every man and beast, after sin had been committed. 

There are more examples of 37 being significant in the same way. For example, there are seven books of the Bible in which you can find a chapter 37. The theme of each of those chapters is similar to the example above.

Genesis 37. Joseph is thrown into a pit by his sinful, jealous brothers to die. Thankfully, he is also taken out of the pit and saved. After some trials, he is exalted and put in a position to save his brothers. Brother’s sin, Joseph wins.

Exodus 37. This is the chapter that describes the actual making of the tabernacle and all the wonderfully symbolic treasures inside it. The ark is made, the lampstand (my favorite) is made, the table of the showbread, the altar of incense, and the anointing oil are all made in this chapter. Each item has a purpose in the service of God. This is the second time these items are described in such detail. Twelve chapters earlier, the design is spoken about, but wasn’t actually made just then, because of that whole golden calf debacle. Firstborn sins, Levites win.

Job 37. Elihu begins to speak to Job in chapter 32 and chapter 37 is the sixth chapter of that address. The next chapter (seventh after all the noise and misrepresentation of God by Job’s three alleged “friends”) is when God stands up and sets the record straight. Verse 37:7 is where Elihu tells Job that God seals up the hand of every man so that all men may know his work (perhaps service to God?). Don’t forget that Job is the one to offer sacrifices on behalf of those shady guys. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar sin, Job wins.

Psalm 37. One of my favorites for this season of my life. It’s an encouragement to ignore the perceived prosperity of the wicked because it will amount to nothing for them. The wicked will sin against the righteous and certainly against God, but there is an inheritance coming for the righteous, and though not specifically stated here, a purpose for us that will certainly be service to God. The wicked sin, but the righteous win.

Isaiah 37. Things are looking grim for King Hezekiah as the army of Sennacharib sends criers to mock God and assure Jerusalem that God won’t save them. Hezekiah puts it all before God and is encouraged with God’s word given through Isaiah, that God will defend Jerusalem and put the king of Assyria in his place. Overnight, 185,000 of the siege troops are slain by an angel of the Lord. Tail tucked between his legs, Sennacharib retreats to Nineveh and is slain by his own two sons as he worships an idol. But there’s a little more tucked in verse 32, in which a remnant of Judah will appear in the third year, called a band of survivors, who will go forth. No doubt they’ll go forth in service to God. Sennacharib sins, God’s people win.

That’s enough of that. You can read Jeremiah 37 and Ezekiel 37 for yourselves to see how the pattern continues. 

But I want to leave you with one more thought. Haggai is the 37th book in the Bible. It’s short, but pretty wonderful. In Haggai, God tells His people that they need to start building his temple, instead of worrying about their own paneled houses. Sure, they have a lot of stuff, but it’s never enough for the people. That’s a perfect description of our present day lives, isn’t it?

For historical context, this is the first day of the sixth month of the second year in the reign of King Darius (September 11th, this year), who took over Babylon when Belshazzar died after been told by God that he had been measured and found wanting. God is speaking to Haggai (feasts), Zerubbabel (out of Babylon) the son of Shealti-el (asked for of God), and Joshua (salvation). 

Not quite a month later (21st day of 7th month, Last day of Tabernacles), God warns them all that he’s going to shake every nation and every place on Earth, to shake loose all the gold and silver which belong to Him, and fill the new temple with splendor to rival that of the first temple.

That sounds a lot like what we’re about to face.

I believe the short book of Haggai is very, very important and the fact that it’s the 37th book in the Bible makes me even more sure. The temple is being built and will go into service very soon. And I’m not speaking of the brick and mortar version Israel is so desperately longing for. I’m talking about God’s people.

Three months after the people start to work on the temple, God addresses them twice in one day. The first time, He poses a question specifically to the priests about sanctification, helping them to understand that it’s much easier to become unclean than to become clean. God explains that the toil of their hands is unclean, and not the kind of sacrifice he wants (think Cain and Abel!). God tells them to forever remember that the 24th day of the 9th month (right around Hanukkah, if we’re talking calendars) as the day God begins to bless them.

Then, in a second address that same day, God asks Haggai to tell Zerubbabel that he is about to shake the nations and overthrown them.

But, ON THAT DAY, God will take Zerubbabel (out of Babylon, asked for of God) as his signet ring.

I’m guessing that’s us.

Also consider the name translation of the names of the minor prophets and it’s hidden message:

Salvation (through)
(the) Lord of God,
Burden Bearer,
Servant of the Lord,
Who is Afraid?
Comfort (to)
he that embraces (the)
Hidden of the Lord (in)
Haggai (Book 37!)
My Feasts.
YHWH remembers
My Messenger.

Eyes up!


  1. This is a very interesting article. Also the names on the Levite's breastplate add up to 3700 in the Hebrew Gematria. Also 37 is the 12th prime while 73 is the 21st prime. Just want to point that out.

    1. Sara, that's fantastic! I love that so much. Thank you for adding it. :-)


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