Meaning of Numbers: The Number 137
The possible meaning of the number 137 is derived mostly from the Psalms and Biblical history.
In 723 B.C. the nation of Israel (northern ten tribes), after years of rejecting God, is conquered by the mighty Assyrian Empire. 137 years later, in 586, the Babylonian Empire led by King Nebuchadnezzar completes its conquering of Judea and Jerusalem. The Kingdom of Israel, with its capital of Samaria, lasts only 207 years (930 to 723). The Kingdom of Judah lasts a bit longer at 344 years (930 to 586).
Ishmael, the son of Abraham and his wife Sarah's maidservant named Hagar, lived 137 years (Genesis 25:16). Levi, the third son of the patriarch Jacob, had the same lifespan. Amram, the father of Moses and Aaron, additionally lived to the same age (Exodus 6:20).
Appearances of Number One Hundred Thirty Seven
The patriarch Isaac is 137 years old in 1723 B.C. His two sons, Jacob (later Israel) and his twin Esau (founder of the Edomites), are 77 (Genesis 25:24 - 26). It is in 1723 that Jacob, taking advantage of his father's advanced age and inability to see clearly, pretends to be his brother in order to receive the birthright blessing (Genesis 27).
Esau's understandable anger forces Jacob to flee Canaan. Although the men make peace with each other roughly 20 years later (Genesis 33), the descendants of Esau treat the Israelites as their enemy.
The Hebrew word chakam (Strong's Concordance #H2450) is recorded 137 times in 133 Hebrew Old Testament verses. It is written the most in Proverbs (46 times) followed by Ecclesiastes (21) and Jeremiah (11). The word references someone who is wise, skillful, prudent, shrewd, crafty or cunning in the Bible.
And it came to pass in the morning that his spirit was troubled; and he sent and called for all the magicians of Egypt, and all the wise men (chakam) thereof: and Pharaoh told them his dream; but there was none that could interpret them unto Pharaoh (Genesis 41:8, KJV).
A wise (chakam) man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels (Proverbs 1:5, KJV).
Alexandria was named after Alexander the Great. Its famous library is thought to have numbered 700,000 volumes in its possession. Additionally, it was the home of the Septuagint, a translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek created in the third century B.C. It also boasted a huge lighthouse considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The lighthouse stood between 393 feet (120 meters) and 450 feet (137 meters) tall.
The Temple of Artemis (Diana) is another structure considered one of the seven wonders of the world. This building in Ephesus was 450 feet long (137 meters) by 225 feet wide (69 meters) and 60 feet (18 meters) high. It was those in Ephesus who worshipped the pagan deity Diana that caused a great deal of trouble for the Apostle Paul (Acts 19).
The Psalms and Number 137
The first four verses of Psalm 137 contain the well-known lament in the Bible sung by those from Judea taken captive into Babylon.
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down; yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our lyres on the willows in the midst of it, for there our captors demanded a song from us; and our tormentors demanded joy, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion." How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? (Psalm 137:1 - 4, HBFV).
Psalm 137 also reveals the animosity of Edom's descendants toward ancient Israel.
Remember, O Lord, concerning the sons of Edom in the day of Jerusalem, who said, "Raze it! Raze it! Even to its foundation!" (Verse 7 of Psalm 137, HBFV).
The Edomites were started by Esau, the twin brother of the Biblical patriarch Jacob. Although often overshadowed by Jacob, whose sons were the foundation of the nation of Israel, God also blessed Esau with 11 sons known as the dukes of Edom (Genesis 36:15 - 19). The Edomites generally settled southeast, south and southwest of the Dead Sea.
Many people fled Judea and Jerusalem to escape capture by the conquering Babylonians. The Edomites, due to their close proximity to Judea, caught many of those who fled and turned them over to Babylon (Obadiah 1:14). They also rejoiced over Judah's fall. God strongly condemned Edom's treatment of those who fled and promised to punish them for actively plundering his people (verse 13)!
More Info on Biblical Meaning of 137
137 is the 33rd prime number. The primes that come immediately before it are 113, 127 and 131, and those that come immediately after it are 139, 149 and 151.
137 is equal to 1 + (2 x 2 x 2) + (2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2) or 1 + 8 + 128. The number is represented in the binary system as 10001001.
If we conservatively assume the cubit used by Noah to build the Ark was 18 inches (.45 meters), we end up with a ship that was 450 feet (137 meters) long, 75 feet (22.8 meters) wide, and 45 feet (13.7 meters) high.