Counting to Twelve in the Old Testament Quiz

All this happened to King Nebuchadnezzar.  Twelve months later, as the king was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?”

  • Daniel 4:28-30

The Scripture above is the last mention of the number twelve in the Old Testament of the NIV.  Daniel 4 talks of a dream that Nebuchadnezzar had, and Daniel interpreted.  Nebuchadnezzar is much like the leaders of the world today.  He had no respect for God, only puffing himself up.  As a result, he would have his kingdom taken away.  But that punishment did not happen until 12 years later when Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind for a while, eating grass like an ox in the field.  Nebuchadnezzar remained like that, driven from his people, until he raised his head toward heaven and praised God who makes all things on the earth and who can humble someone like Nebuchadnezzar.

This tiny bit of Scripture answered a question that I had in my prayer life.  God is so amazing when you do not know how to even pray about something and then God gives you the answer a few days later.

But before I had a blessed revelation from God to aide in my prayer life, I had come up with the idea for this quiz, and I did all the research for the first mention of the numbers one through twelve in the Old Testament and New Testament.  The New Testament will be the quiz for next week, with a couple of wrinkles in the rules that do not apply to the Old Testament.

When I say the first mention, that does not mean the letters “O-N-E” in a word like “alone.”  Not being part of a word would include ordinals, like fourth or sixth.  Sorry, there is no “oneth.”  That would be first.  The first mention cannot be part of another number, like seventy-one.  One of the wrinkles for next week, it cannot be a reference to the time of day, like one o’clock.  This does not mean that the answers cannot be one day old or after one year.  The other wrinkle for next week is that the number cannot be a hyphenated word, or a word associated with the value of a coin, as in a one-drachma coin.

You can guess that most of these numbers will be found in the book of Genesis.  You would be right in eleven of the twelve cases, but, ah, what is the number and in what book of the Old Testament does that number first appear?  I will give you a hint.  The book for that number is not Exodus, the next book after Genesis.  Okay, this is not an easy quiz, but as for the number for a book other than Genesis, logic can get you close, within a few numbers.  You can imagine, knowing the stories of the Old Testament what some of the numbers in Genesis might be, but those might not be the first mention of the number, rarely in fact.  And another hint, the twelve sons of Jacob is not the answer for twelve.  But logic would tell you that the common numbers in a variety of stories would be less than say “six,” as the lower numbers could be in reference to just about anything – thus a very hard quiz.  But a great opportunity to talk about the stories themselves.  And the number of occurrences that something will happen is acceptable – in fact, another hint.

The questions are for each of these numbers:  What is the item for which the number identifies the quantity?  And what event is happening, basically the story?

The Questions:


For a few hints, only two of these numbers appear in the telling of Creation, but none by stating day six, for example.  Genesis is divided into 50 chapters and only three answers are past the halfway point in Genesis, halfway by chapters.  The number in the different book being one of those.  Yet, all the numbers found in Genesis are before Jacob meets his brother Esau upon Jacob’s return to Canaan, one number just barely making that event.  Other than two of the numbers referring to the Creation story, but not the same day, there are only two other numbers that are found in the same story, a story that has another quite unique number, 318.

And only five numbers are prior to Abram entering the story line.  And as for the answers, three answers are “sons” and two answers are “years.”  No other answers are repeated.

I will torture you no more.  I would have probably not gotten any of these answers correctly myself.  If I did, it was just a wild guess.

And if you have not guessed the book of the Bible other than Genesis, the answer made me laugh: Numbers.

Bible References:

OneGen. 1:9  
TwoGen. 1:16  
ThreeGen. 6:10  
FourGen. 2:10  
FiveGen. 14:9  
SixGen. 30:20  
SevenGen. 4:15  
EightGen. 17:12  
NineNum. 29:26  
TenGen. 16:3  
ElevenGen. 32:22  
TwelveGen. 14:4  

Abram was not a man without means.  He had no place of his own to live, but he had 318 trained servants who rescued Lot after Lot was captured.  In this story, we see the mysterious Melchizedek, a priest and king of Salem (thought to be Jerusalem).  The book of Hebrews spends a few chapters discussing how Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek.  The numbers are insignificant compared to this other part of the story.  Note that Abram gave Melchizedek one-tenth of the spoils of war.

The one number not mentioned until the book of Numbers applies to the Festival of Tabernacles.  As a preview to next week’s quiz, there are two numbers that relate to the story of the Transfiguration.  Simon Peter is always talking, whether he knows what he is saying is another subject.  In this case, it is thought that the setting up of booths for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah is in reference to the Festival of Tabernacles celebration, sometimes called the Festival of Booths.

And thinking about Bible stories, there are several important numbers, but the importance may not mesh with the first appearance of the number.




The Answers:

OneGen. 1:9PlaceOn the 3rd day of Creation, the air, water, and dry land are separated, a place for each.
TwoGen. 1:16Great lightsOn the 4th day of Creation, the sun and moon were placed into the sky, along with the stars…
ThreeGen. 6:10SonsIf you knew this answer was “sons,” you might have guessed Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah.
FourGen. 2:10HeadwatersThe location of the Garden of Eden is at the headwaters for four rivers: Pishon, Gihon, Tigris, Euphrates.
FiveGen. 14:9KingsYou would think that five kings could rebel against four kings and win.  But no, Abram and his 318 men rescued the kings along with Lot.
SixGen. 30:20SonsLeah gives birth to Zebulun, but laments that maybe after giving Jacob six sons, she will be noticed.  Alas, Rachel was his heart’s desire.
SevenGen. 4:15TimesIn the curse of Cain for killing his brother, Cain is given the mark of Cain to protect him from being killed, but God says that Cain will suffer vengeance seven times.
EightGen. 17:12Days oldIn the covenant of Circumcision, Abram is renamed Abraham and each male, born after that point, must be circumcised when he is eight days old.
NineNum. 29:26BullsNine bulls are to be sacrificed on the fifth day of the festival of tabernacles, with a variety of sacrifices each day.
TenGen. 16:3YearsAbram was given Sarai’s Egyptian servant to produce a son, Ishmael, when Abram had lived in Canaan ten years.  We may think poorly of Abram, but he waited ten years before taking matters into his own hands.
ElevenGen. 32:22SonsThis refers to the number of sons of Jacob when he wrestled with God, demanding a blessing before he met Esau the next day.  Benjamin was not yet born, being born in what was later known as Bethlehem, where Rachel, Benjamin’s mother passed away.
TwelveGen. 14:4YearsBack to the four kings conquering the five kings, Kedorlaomer of Elam ruled for twelve years over Sodom, Gomorrah and the other three cities until they rebelled, requiring Abram to rescue them.

Maybe we should celebrate getting any of this right or celebrate that it is over.

And regardless of how you did, here is a video of the riff that made the twelve-string guitar famous.

And here is another video of what someone considers the twelve best twelve-string guitar riffs.

While looking for the number twelve, another video was suggested, and I had to watch it.  It is choppy with video clips spliced together.  I would love to edit this and simply piece together the profound points of Alice Cooper – the Christian.  He makes several key statements about Christianity and his faith that everyone should hear.  The video is ten and a half minutes long, and he repeats himself a lot, but the nuggets are scattered throughout.

If you like these Saturday morning Bible quizzes, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Saturday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

One Comment

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  1. Sorry, the Alice Cooper video worked until the day this was posted.


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