Q. My jaw just dropped while reading your understanding of Jairus’ daughter and the sick woman. I never noticed the symbolism! I have a question about it. I would like your thoughts on the number 12 that is so prominent here. Woman with an issue of blood 12 yrs – 12 year old daughter. I read somewhere that 12 is the number for government. Is the number 12 in this case representative of the 12 tribes (Israel) and the 12 apostles (church)?
A. You’re correct in saying that the number 12 typically stands for government. But in the symbolism of this double healing we see the woman has been diseased for the same length of time as the little girl has been alive, so there’s no issue of government there. I believe the meaning of this “coincidence” is revealed if we assume Israel was born with the giving of the Law on Mt. Sinai. That’s when they entered into covenant with God (Exodus 19:5-6).
Paul made the point that sin was in the world before the Law, but sin is not taken into account when there is no Law (Romans 5:13). What he meant was until the Law was given there was no way to define it (Romans 3:20). For example, if you’re driving down a highway at 100 miles per hour, you may be going too fast, but unless there’s a posted speed limit you technically aren’t speeding. When sin was defined by the Law all of humanity became responsible, therefore the Gentiles, represented by the woman, acquired their blood disease at the moment that Israel, represented by the girl, was given the Law.
I should add that the Bible never clearly says that the woman was a Gentile, but a woman with an issue of blood was considered to be ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 15:25-27). Had she been Jewish, it would have been against the Law for her to be part of a crowd of other Jews because even by accidentally touching them she would make them unclean as well. And to touch a Rabbi would have been unthinkable.