The Meaning of Numbers: Number 23
The number 23 derives part of its meaning from the fact that Adam and Eve produced a total number of twenty-three daughters according to the first century historian Josephus (Jewish tradition).
Tola served as a judge of Israel for a total number of twenty-three years, from 1102 to 1079 B.C. (Judges 10:1 - 2).
Psalm 23 is perhaps the most well known and popular of all the Psalms. King David, who wrote it, sings of God's protection, guidance, refreshment, abundant blessing and promise of eternal life to those who love him.
Other appearances of number twenty-three
In 609 B.C., after the death of King Josiah, his 23 year old son Jehoahaz succeeded him as ruler. His reign, however, would become one of the shortest in Judah's history. After being king for only three months, he is taken prisoner and dethroned by the Egyptian Pharaoh Neco. Jehoahaz, who would die as a captive in Egypt, is replaced by Jehoiakim (2Kings 23:31 - 34).
Aaron, the first High Priest of ancient Israel, died at the age of 123 (100 + 23, Numbers 33:39) on Mount Hor (20:25 - 28). He, along with his younger brother Moses, were not allowed to enter the Promised Land as punishment for their sin at the rock of Meribah (20:12).
Jezebel is perhaps the most evil woman mentioned in the Bible. She is reference a total of twenty-three times in God's word. Compare this to Mary, Jesus' mother, who is mentioned by name only nineteen times!
The book of 2Timothy is one of the most personal epistles written by the Apostle Paul. This book mentions twenty-three distinct people, twenty of which are not mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament (Encyclopedia of Bible Facts).
How is number twenty-three related to war?
In at least one instance, the number 23 conveys the meaning that a special group of people is reserved by God for his service and therefore ineligible to fight. On God's command, Moses instituted a count of all the men in Israel who were twenty years old or older (all those who could go to war, Numbers 26:1 - 2). It was discovered, a short time before Moses' death, that there were 601,730 males among the people.
One special group, however, was not counted toward those who would be eligible to fight the enemies of Israel. The tribe of Levi was consecrated to serving the Lord. They represent substitutes to God's claim of all the firstborn in Israel when he saved them, and not the Egyptians, from the death angel (Numbers 3:12 - 13). Counted separately, it was found that twenty-three thousand (23 x 1000) males, one month of age or above, were Levites (26:62).
Additional info on the Biblical Meaning of 23
A man named Jair (Numbers 32:41, 1Chronicles 2:22), seemingly by force of arms, took possession of 23 cities in the land of Gilead. The area of Gilead, originally given by God to the tribe of Manasseh as an inheritance, was known for its balm made from a secretion of the balsam tree.
Jair renamed several of the cities he took after himself (e.g. Bashanhavoth-jair or the "towns of Jair," see Deuteronomy 3:14). One of the Judges of Israel, also named Jair, may have been one of his descendants (Judges 10:3 - 5).
Mordecai, on the 23rd of Sivan, with the permission of Persia's king, had a decree written that gave Jews protection from Haman's inspired edict for their destruction (Esther 3:10 - 11, 8:9 - 11). The Jews, in the lands controlled by the Persians, were allowed to defend themselves and to take any spoil from those who sought to harm them.
Paul warns Christians not to lust after evil things or be idolaters, because doing so risks the same fate as twenty-three thousand (23 x 1000) Israelites killed, in one day, by God's wrath (1Corinthians 10:8).