The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 77
While the number 77 rarely occurs in Scripture, far more common is the appearance of double 7's, some of which have a special meaning.
Noah wanted to determine the status of the water after the great flood. He sent out a raven and later a dove from the ark (Genesis 8:7 - 8). The dove returned without any symbol of life. Seven days later, he resent the dove. This time it returned with an olive leaf, proving that the waters had almost completely subsided although the ground was likely still water logged. He waited yet another seven days (double 7 or 77) and sent the dove yet again. This time, it did not return, which meant that the ground was dry enough for many kinds of animals.
Appearances of the number seventy-seven
Psalm 77 is one of several in the book of Psalms written by priests serving during the time of King David. Two verses in particular praise God's character and his mighty power to help his people.
Your way, O God, is in holiness; who is so great a God as our God? You are the God Who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the people (verses 13 - 14 of Psalm 77).
Egypt's Pharaoh, at the time of Joseph, receives two sets of dreams (Genesis 41:2 - 3, 5 - 6). Each set contains double sevens (77) symbolizing a seven-year period of plenty followed by seven of famine. Joseph's inspired interpretation of the dreams not only earns him freedom from prison but also the reward of becoming Egypt's second most powerful person (Genesis 41)!
Esau, Jacob and the number 77!
God, when twin brothers Esau and Jacob were born, declared that Jacob, born second, would become greater than firstborn Esau would (Genesis 25:23). Years later Jacob, taking advantage of his brother's hunger, convinces Esau to sell him his birthright (Genesis 25:29 - 34).
In 1723 B.C., both Jacob and his brother Esau are 77 years old. Jacob, in response to the strong urging of his mother Rebekah (Genesis 27:6 - 10), pretends to be Esau in order to further insure he receives the greatest blessings from their father Isaac (verses 18 - 30). Esau's understandable anger at his brother for his sinful deception forces Jacob to flee to Haran.
Jacob, after fleeing the wrath of his brother, ends up meeting a relative named Laban. Smitten by his younger daughter Rachel, he agrees to work seven years for the right to marry her (Genesis 29:1 - 20).
After laboring for seven years, Jacob is tricked by Laban into marrying his oldest daughter Leah instead of Rachel! Although infuriated at Laban's deception, the two men nevertheless agree that Jacob can also marry Leah but that it will cost him another seven years of work.
It therefore costs Jacob two sets of seven years (or 77) in order to marry his beautiful and beloved Rachel. These two women will ultimately become the two primary mothers of the nation of Israel!
More info on Biblical Meaning of 77
The first taking of a life recorded in the Bible is that of Abel at the hands of his brother Cain (Genesis 4:8). The second, however, was carried out by Lamech, the great-great-great grandson of Cain (Genesis 4). He was, through Cain, the seventh from Adam (not to be confused with another Lamech who was the ninth through Seth, another son of Adam, Genesis 5). Lamech, the first polygamist, used 77 to underscore his innocence about his act being murder.
And Lamech said to his wives, Adah and Zillah, "Hear my voice . . . for I have killed a man because he wounded me, a young man because he hurt me; For if Cain is avenged seven times, then truly Lamech is avenged seventy-seven (77) times (Genesis 4:23 - 24, HBFV).
Although he may have killed a man in self-defense, Lamech seems rather boastful about his ability to exact revenge rather than regretting what took place.
Only the book of Psalms has more than seventy-seven chapters in the King James translation. The only chapters with more than 77 verses are Numbers 7, 1Chronicles 6, Psalm 119 and Luke 1.