The number 11

The number 11 is a little harder to get the exact meaning on as compared to numbers such as 7 and 13.  As I have studied its use in the scriptures, I have found it used in two ways. 

The first usage is man in confusion or man falling short.  The second usage of the number 11 in the scriptures is God keeping His promises.  It is as if in the number 11 you had God and man side by side in a comparison.

This side by side comparison can be seen in Genesis 11.  The first part of the chapter contains the account of the confounding of the languages at Babel.  The second half of the chapter contains the messianic line from Shem all of the way to Abram (father to son).

When the number 11 is used with Israel (the apostles also) it shows them in confusion or short of what they should be.  Genesis 32:22 is the first use of the number 11 in the Bible where it describes Jacob’s 11 sons with Jacob preparing to meet Jacob’s brother Esau.  In this passage, God again is faithful while Jacob is in fear of his brother.

The book of Deuteronomy is the regiving of the law just before the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan to enter the promised land.  Deuteronomy 1:2 states that there are 11 days journey from Horeb by the way of mount Seir unto Kadeshbarnea.  The nation of Israel, because of the unbelief of the previous generation took 40 years to make an 11 day journey.

The number 11 surrounds the kings of Israel falling short.  2 Samuel 11 is where David commits his great sin with Bathsheba and yet, 2 Samuel 22 (2 X 11) is David singing of the Lord’s faithfulness.  1 Kings 11 is Solomon falling short because of the many strange women that he loved.  In verse 11, God tells Solomon that he has broken God’s covenant.  Yet, God still remains faithful to His promise to David.  It is interesting to see the kings of Israel who reigned a number of years which has the number 11 as a multiplying factor.  Jerboam reigned 22 years,  Ahab reigned 22 years, and Zedekiah reigned 11 years over Judah.

This pattern of man’s confusion and God’s faithfulness surrounding the number 11 can also be seen in the New Testament.  Matthew 11 shows the confusion of John the Baptist concerning the identity of Jesus and it also shows Jesus as our rest.  Acts 11 shows the confusion of the brethren in Judaea when they heard that the Gentiles had received the word of God but it also shows God’s faithfulness to His promises concerning the Gentiles.  Romans 11 is about the stumbling of Israel because of unbelief but then their restoration because God is faithful to His covenant (v. 27) with Israel.

The final mention about the number 11 in this study is in the number of the books of the Bible.  There are 66 (6 X 11) books in the Bible.  The Bible is the story of man falling short and God’s everlasting faithfulness.

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