The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 85
The possible meaning of the number 85 is derived primarily from events in Scripture.
Joshua, born in 1490 B.C., leads the Israelites into the Promised Land when he is an amazing 85 years old! He then both commands and fights alongside Israel's army for almost seven years until much of the land is conquered. His last responsibility, after dividing the territory among the tribes, is to serve as the nation's first Judge until his death at the age of 110 (Judges 2:8).
Caleb and Joshua are the only two Israelites allowed to wander the wilderness for forty years and then enter the Promised Land. At the age of 85, after fighting to help Israel claim their land inheritance, Caleb requests the territory promised him by Moses.
And Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land on which your feet have trodden shall be your inheritance . . .' And now, behold, the Lord has kept me alive these forty-five years as He said . . . And now, lo, I am eighty-five (85) years old today (Joshua 14:9 - 10, HBFV).
Appearances of the number eighty-five
The book of Psalms, in the original Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible, is divided into five sections. Psalm 85 is in the third section composed of chapters 73 through 89. It is in a section whose general theme is the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.
Psalm 85 is one of eleven songs created for the sons of Korah (the others are Psalms 42, 44 - 49, 84, 87 and 88).
Abraham is 85 years old when God establishes his first covenant with him (Genesis 15). This special covenant promises to make his descendants as numerous as the stars in heaven and give them a huge inheritance of land (Genesis 15). This covenant also means the entire world will be blessed through his family (Genesis 12:3).
Bloody number 85
King Saul, who believes Ahimelech the High Priest has been conspiring against him, summons him and his entire household for a meeting. He then, after he refuses to accept Ahimelech's honest response to his questioning, flies into a rage and commands the priests be put to death! No Israelite, however, dares lay a hand on those anointed to serve God.
Doeg the Edomite, however, zealously carries out Saul's order by murdering all 85 priests in attendance. Not content with this bloodshed, he travels to the nearby priestly city of Nob where he also kills all the city's inhabitants (including women and children) including all the animals (1Samuel 22).
Assyrian King Sennacherib, in 701 B.C., sends a vast military force to surround Jerusalem. One of the three commanders leading the troops loudly proclaims, to those on the city's walls, that he will destroy the city unless King Hezekiah and the people unconditionally surrender. He also openly mocks the God of Israel in an attempt to convince the people that their resistance is futile.
Then the chief of staff stood and shouted in Hebrew to the people on the wall, "Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria! . . . What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?" (2Kings 18:28, 35, NLT).
God's response to being openly mocked and vainly blasphemed against (2Kings 19:6) is both quick and severe. He sends the Angel of the Lord who, in one night, silently kills "an hundred fourscore and five (85) thousand" or an army that numbers 185,000 troops!
More info on Biblical Meaning of 85
The book of Ruth has four chapters and eighty-five total verses in the King James translation.
In 1085 (1000 + 85) B.C. both Samson and Samuel serve as Judges over Israel. Samuel is considered a Judge over all the people (1Samuel 4:1, 7:6, 15 - 17). Samson, however, serves as Judge in the South and West (Judges 15:20).