Moses And The Number 40


I have 2 questions. First I noticed the #40 mentioned several time in the Bible and that Moses spent 40 days on Mt. Sinai two different times. I remember that Moses was 40 yrs. old when he killed the Egyptian and after the next 40 years, God called him to go back to Egypt and tell Pharaoh that Israel’s God told him to release the Israelites so they could go into the wilderness to worship their God. Another time, Jesus was in the wilderness for 40 days. Just wondering if there is a special significance to the #40.

My second question is: After Moses had gone up to Mt. Sinai many times to meet with God, why did his face shine radiantly when he returned to the camp with the second set of stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written by the hand of God? Why was this time more significant that all the other times?


Those who study the use of numbers in Scripture believe 40 is meant to symbolize testing. Moses met with God several times, twice for periods of 40 days each. During the last 40 day visit, he asked to see God’s Glory. God said no one could see His face and live, but hid him in the cleft of a rock and came close enough to him to cause his face to become temporarily radiant. (Exodus 33:12-23) He wore a veil for a time until it returned to its normal condition.