Meaning of Numbers in the Bible
The Number 87

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Meaning of Numbers: The Number 87

The English phrase "fourscore and seven," used for the number 87, is recorded 1 time in 1 King James Bible verse.

The possible meaning of the number 87 is derived primarily from the frequency of certain words found in Scripture.

The Hebrew word Chizkijah (Strong's #H2396) occurs 87 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It is written the most in 2Kings (43 times) followed by Isaiah (32). It is translated in the King James Bible as "Hezekiah," one of the most righteous rulers to reign over Judah.

And Ahaz slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David: and Hezekiah (Chizkijah) his son reigned in his stead (2Kings 16:20, KJV).

And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah (Chizkijah), and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? (2Kings 20;20, KJV).

During Hezekiah's rule he built a now famous tunnel that redirected Jerusalem's only freshwater source at the Gihon Spring to the pool of Siloam (2Chronicles 32:1 - 8). He also witnessed the greatest military defeat in history when God had 185,000 Assyrian troops instantly killed while they surrounded Jerusalem to attack it (2Kings 18 - 19)!

Appearances of Number Eighty-Seven

The book of 1Chronicles delineates, in chapter 7, Issachar's descendants. Issachar was one of the three youngest sons of Jacob and his wife Leah (the ninth of Jacob's twelve sons produced through four women). At the time of King David, the tribe had eighty-seven thousand (87 x 1,000) fighting men (1Chronicles 7:5).

Methuselah was 187 years old (100 + 87) when he produced his first son (Genesis 5:25). He would ultimately live to become the world's oldest human, dying at the age of 969 (verse 27). Methuselah holds the distinction of dying in the same year, 2313 B.C., that God floods the earth as punishment for man's sins (Genesis 6 - 8).

Catalyst for Persecution

Roman Emperor Titus' death in September of 81 A.D. brought his brother Domitian to the throne. Domitian, in the middle period of his rule in 87 A.D., began to demand he be worshipped as if he were a god. This act made him the first emperor to deify himself during his own lifetime (1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on Domitian). Christians, who refused such outright idolatry, were persecuted and many times martyred.

The Apostle John suffered under Domitian's rule, being exiled to the tiny remote island of Patmos "because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:9, HBFV). It is also highly likely that the martyrdom of Antipas, mentioned in Revelation 2:13, was also carried out during his reign.

Domitian was so zealous in his persecutions that he is known to have put to death Christians found in his own family on the charge of atheism. He would ultimately be murdered in 96 A.D. by a group led by his own wife!

Number 87 and the Psalms

Psalm 87 is one of eleven songs created for the sons of Korah (the others are Psalms 42, 44 - 49, 84, 85 and 88).

This Psalm reveals that God has chosen Zion as his dwelling place ("the city of God"). It will be the focal point for the entire world to worship their Creator when the Kingdom is established on earth by Jesus Christ.

His foundation is in the holy mountains. The Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of God. Selah.

I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to those who know me; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there (verses 1 - 4 of Psalm 87, HBFV).

Psalm 87, in the King James translation, is one of thirty-one songs in the book that mention Zion (e.g. Psalm 2, 9, 14, 20, 48, 50, 51, etc.). Psalm 48 and 102 record it the most with three occurrences each.

It should be noted that the name "Rahab" found in Psalm 87 is not referring to Rahab the Harlot. She was one of four Gentile (non-Israelite) women in Jesus' legal lineage through his stepfather Joseph (Matthew 1:5). Bible commentaries believe the Rahab mentioned in the Psalm is a symbolic or poetic name for Egypt.

Israel's Enemy

The Hebrew word emoriy (Strong's #H567) is found 87 times in 86 Hebrew Old Testament verses. It is recorded the most in Joshua (20 times) followed by Deuteronomy (15). The word, which means "a sayer" In the King James, is translated as "Amorite" or its plural in the KJV.

And I (God) am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites (emoriy) . . . (Exodus 3:8, KJV).

And say, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite (emoriy), and thy mother an Hittite (Ezekiel 16:3, KJV).

The Amorites were a fierce, determined and influential enemy of ancient Israel (see Genesis 15:16). They battled the Israelites several times over control of the Promised Land. One of their leaders, King Og, was so big that his bed was roughly 13 1/2 feet (4.1 meters) long (Deuteronomy 3:11)! Even after they were soundly defeated, their pagan culture negatively influenced the Israelites for many years (Ezekiel 16:3, 45).

More Info on Biblical Meaning of 87

The Greek word hepta (Strong's Concordance #G2033) occurs 87 times in 63 Greek New Testament verses. It is recorded the most in Revelation (54 times) followed by both Matthew and Mark (9 times each). The word is translated "seven" in the King James translation, the name of the Biblically perfect number.

Then goeth he (a demonic spirit), and taketh with himself seven (hepta) other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation (Matthew 12:45, KJV).

Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven (hepta) stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven (hepta) golden candlesticks (Revelation 2:1, KJV).

Hepta is sometimes used in modern compound words such as heptahedron, which is a solid object that has seven faces.

There are 7 words and phrases in the Bible's original languages that are recorded exactly 87 times.

87 is the product of 3 x 29. Both 3 and 29 are prime numbers.

87 is also equal to the squaring of the first four primes added together or (2 x 2) + (3 x 3) + (5 x 5) + (7 x 7).

God commanded ancient Israel, ever seven years, to observe what is known as a Sabbatical year (Leviticus 25:1 - 7, 19 - 23). One of these special years began on September 20 in 88 B.C. and ended on September 9 in 87 B.C.

The English word "dream" or variation is found 123 times in 87 verses in the King James Old Testament. The book with the most occurrences is Genesis (48 times) followed by Daniel (29 times).

And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more (Genesis 37:5, KJV).

And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me (Genesis 37:9, KJV).

The Tetragrammaton is the four Hebrew consonants (Yod, He, Vav and He or YHWH) that represent God's name in Scripture. According to a 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia on the Tetragrammaton, it occurs 87 times in the original language version of Proverbs. It occurs the most in the Psalms (645) followed by the book of Jeremiah (555).

Recommended Articles
The Life of Hezekiah
Where Is Zion Located?
Timeline of Amorite Wars with Israel
Did Jesus Have a Last Name?
Where Does Scripture Mention Giants?
How Did the Amorites Trouble Israel!
Did Israel Rule All the Promised Land?
Different Names for God in Scripture

Biblical Meaning of Numbers
Introduction   -   Book of Numbers
Forgiveness Numbers  -  Abraham's Numbers
Israel's Kings by the Numbers
Lucky Number 13!
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Series References
Number in Scripture: Its Supernatural
Design and Spiritual Significance

Quotes related to the
meaning of the number 87 taken from
Holy Bible Faithful Version (HBFV)