Carborendum

Why This Repetition?

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What the heck is this about?

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8 ¶ And they cast lots, ward against ward, as well the small as the great, the teacher as the scholar.

9 Now the first lot came forth for Asaph to Joseph: the second to Gedaliah, who with his brethren and sons were twelve:

10 The third to Zaccur, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

11 The fourth to Izri, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

12 The fifth to Nethaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

13 The sixth to Bukkiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

14 The seventh to Jesharelah, he, his sons, and his brethren, weret welve:

15 The eighth to Jeshaiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

16 The ninth to Mattaniah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

17 The tenth to Shimei, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

18 The eleventh to Azareel, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

19 The twelfth to Hashabiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

20 The thirteenth to Shubael, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

21 The fourteenth to Mattithiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

22 The fifteenth to Jeremoth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

23 The sixteenth to Hananiah, he, his sons, and his brethren, weret welve:

24 The seventeenth to Joshbekashah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

25 The eighteenth to Hanani, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

26 The nineteenth to Mallothi, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

27 The twentieth to Eliathah, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

28 The one and twentieth to Hothir, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

29 The two and twentieth to Giddalti, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

30 The three and twentieth to Mahazioth, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve:

31 The four and twentieth to Romamti-ezer, he, his sons, and his brethren, were twelve.

-- 1 Chron 25

Whenever I see repetition in scriptures, I tend to think it has some significance to it.  I see a whole bunch of repetition of twelve (among other words).  Then the twelve is also repeated 24 times (a multiple of 12).  So, I'm thinking, there's something I'm missing.  Can't figure it out.

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8 hours ago, Carborendum said:

What the heck is this about?

Whenever I see repetition in scriptures, I tend to think it has some significance to it.  I see a whole bunch of repetition of twelve (among other words).  Then the twelve is also repeated 24 times (a multiple of 12).  So, I'm thinking, there's something I'm missing.  Can't figure it out.

Hmm.  I'm disappointed, Carb.  12 * 24 is 288.  Simple multiplication.  Maybe you should ask your daughter to teach you. ;)  Just teasing.  I have no idea.  Clearly they wanted 12 in each group of musicians.  Why, and why 24 groups, and the significance of all this, I don't know.

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/1-chr/25?lang=eng

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I don't know the exact answer, but I do know that numbers have special significance in the ancient Hebrew language.  Ancient Hebrew has a lot of symbolism with numbers.  

Maybe you already know this, but the number three symbolizes divinity (as in the Godhead) and four symbolizes things of the earth.   The product of the two is 12.  The number 12 in the Bible symbolizes faith (just as the number seven symbolizes perfection and the number 40 symbolizes many).  

In this case, as Zil mentioned King David organized singers and musicians in groups of 12.  I don't know why the writer just didn't say that all the groups were 12 rather than repeating it each time, but the Bible is quite repetitive at times.  So, likely the number twelve was used to symbolize hymns of faith sung and played by the singers and musicians.  As to the number 24, I don't know why and it would be hard to decipher since it could be something simple or symbolic.  

Edited by Scott

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One thing that some translations other than the KJV do better than the KJV is to format poetry to show that it is poetry. In the NIV, I notice that from verse 9 on, the text indicates that this is poetry, and poetry is prone to use repetition for poetic effect. Also note that this appears to be a long list of musicians, and perhaps David (or whoever put this together) decided that a long list of musicians ought to be presented as a song. Is it possible that it is no more significant than that?

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These musicians are Levites (priesthood).  Musicians in David's era were the leaders in praise/worship/proselyting and even prophesying.  12 is significant in the order of the priesthood - as it is now with the 12 apostles.  I don't know why it is 12 and not 10.  Maybe the metric system is an enemy to God (hardi har har).  Anyway, in my reading of it, I think the call was for 12 priests from each of the 24 sons of the 3 brothers... which would then total 288 instead of the other way around - they chose 288 first then divided 288 by 24 to assign to each of the sons to end up with 12.  Make sense?

I think the repetition is just there to make the account orderly.  The resulting order of the calling written with their patriarch and the constituents of their priests (sons and brethren) to number 12 (none of them had enough sons to call 12 so they have to call on their brethren too).  But it could also be for poetic reasons, although I doubt this because the chapter is not poetic.

Edited by anatess2

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12 is significant in the order of the priesthood - as it is now with the 12 apostles.  I don't know why it is 12 and not 10. 

According to Biblical scholars and many of those who study ancient Hebrew, it is because the number three represents divinity (Godhead or Trinity) and four represents of being of the earth.  12 (3 X 4) represents faith or ministry (which makes sense in a way because three and four together mean a joining of the divine and earth); or in the case of our Church priesthood.

I kind of like the explanation given in the site below concerning the symbolism in the 12 pinnacles on each side of the Salt Lake Temple:

http://www.moroni10.com/lds/temple_tour/symbols/pinnacles.html

Each of the six spires on the Salt Lake Temple is adorned with twelve pinnacles. One pinnacle is set on each corner of the three-levels on the spire. The symbolic significance of the pinnacles builds on the symbolism of the towers and spires, which pertains to the holy priesthood. The East tower and spired represents the Melchizedek Priesthood and the West tower and spired represents the Aaronic Priesthood. The pinnacles on the Melchizedek tower spires represent the Twelve Apostles. The pinnacles on the Aaronic tower spires represent the Ward and Stake High Council. 
 

The number 12 itself is also rich in Judeo-Christian symbolism. In the Old Testament, there were twelve tribes of Israel, the altars of the temples measured twelve cubits, and various items in multiples of twelve were placed thereon. Also, there were twelve oxen holding up the brazen sea at the temple. In the New Testament, Jesus called twelve apostles, and in the Book of Revelations it says that the Holy City of God in Heaven has twelve gates.

The number twelve is also a representation of the Holy Priesthood and multiple uses of twelve symbolizes a fullness of that priesthood. Furthermore, the number twelve symbolizes a union of the temporal with the spiritual, or a joining of Heaven and Earth. These semiotics are quite fitting for the temple since Mormons view it as a sacred space where Heaven and Earth meet. The covenants made and the blessings pronounced inside the temple, under authority of the priesthood, are valid on Earth and in Heaven. For example, temple marriages are solemnized temporally and for eternity. 

The priesthood significance of the number 12 also explains why Jesus Christ chose twelve men, instead of six, eight or even twenty, to be Apostles. It wasn't an arbitrary number. The Priesthood Authority of the Apostles gives them the keys for the fullness of the priesthood and the power to bind on Earth and in Heaven.

I was hoping to find a comprehensive list of symbolic numbers used in the temple on LDS.org, but I was unable.  Maybe I am searching for it wrong.  Any finders?   

 

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6 hours ago, MrShorty said:

One thing that some translations other than the KJV do better than the KJV is to format poetry to show that it is poetry. In the NIV, I notice that from verse 9 on, the text indicates that this is poetry, and poetry is prone to use repetition for poetic effect. Also note that this appears to be a long list of musicians, and perhaps David (or whoever put this together) decided that a long list of musicians ought to be presented as a song. Is it possible that it is no more significant than that?

In other words...

99 bottle of beer on the wall.  99 bottles of beer.  Take one down.  Pass it around...

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10 hours ago, Scott said:

According to Biblical scholars and many of those who study ancient Hebrew, it is because the number three represents divinity (Godhead or Trinity) and four represents of being of the earth.  12 (3 X 4) represents faith or ministry (which makes sense in a way because three and four together mean a joining of the divine and earth); or in the case of our Church priesthood.

Why is 4 earth?  Fire, Water, Earth, and Air?

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7 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Why is 4 earth?  Fire, Water, Earth, and Air?

Four corners of the earth. Four seasons. Four compass directions...

Including Shemp, there were four stooges.

Four categories of animals.

Four armed forces.

Four quadrants of the Galaxy.

Four ... Uhm... Stuff about the ... Other. Stuff about the earth...  Yeah.  That's the ticket.

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12 hours ago, anatess2 said:

Why is 4 earth?  Fire, Water, Earth, and Air?

As far as I know, it isn't because of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air.   Four represents completeness and the earth itself was completed on the fourth day of creation. Days five and six were for living things.  

This isn't from our Church website, but it does have some good information on how numbers are symbolic in the ancient Hebrew Language:

https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/four/

Maybe in a few thousand years, people will wonder why our culture was also fixated on certain numbers.  For example "sweet 16", "we're number 1". "she's a perfect 10", "you scored a perfect 100", "13 is unlucky", "I'm 18; I can do what I want", "21 to drink or to hold certain jobs",  etc.  

I wonder what future archaeologists and anthropologists are going to think when they find out that none of our hotels have 13th floors. 🙂

img_06741.jpg

Edited by Scott

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On 11/3/2018 at 12:16 PM, Scott said:

I wonder what future archaeologists and anthropologists are going to think when they find out that none of our hotels have 13th floors. 🙂

Some fun facts. 

No one knows the origin of the 13 superstition.  All sources that people provide have all been researched and debunked or decidedly "undetermined".

The omission of the 13th floor on hotels in the US was for approximately 100 years.  Prior to 1885, the tallest buildings were only 12 stories tall.  Part of it was because of tristadekaphobia.  But there was also a practical reason.  Building a hotel taller than that was a monumental engineering feat back then.  We simply didn't have the data to properly design such a thing.  Steel technology was still fairly crude.  Common woods wouldn't hold such loads at the spans that were required.  And brick didn't have the stability.

But they took it on in in the 1880s.  The first building of Note was the New York World Building built in 1889 (completed in 1890).  There were other buildings over 12 stories before that.  But they were fairly obscure in the history (i.e. I couldn't identify them in a quick Google search).

At some point, that tradition stopped for the superstitious reason.  But another reason crept up.  Large buildings like that would benefit from having a floor every so often where mechanical equipment and maintenance access could be had.  In a 20 to 30 story building, the 13 story seemed appropriate. So, the tradition changed to have an "APO" floor between the 12th and 14th floors.  This actually had the effect of encouraging tales of what "actually" happened on that 13th floor.

Somewhere in the 90s or early 2000s, new buildings no longer followed that pattern.  The maintenance floor was wherever the architect deemed it necessary.  The public elevators didn't stop there.  Only service elevators did.  Or you had to have a special key to go to those levels.  So, the numbers on the elevator panel didn't indicate anything as they passed that maintenance floor.  The observant passenger may notice a slight delay between "dings" at each floor.  But that's it.

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