Meaning of Numbers: The Number 88
The possible meaning of the number 88 is derived from both facts about and writings within Scripture.
King Rehoboam, who ruled the Kingdom of Judah from 930 to 913 B.C., had 88 children (28 sons and 60 daughters)! He produced this offspring through 18 wives and 60 concubines (78 females, 2Chronicles 11:21).
The king's 88 children are the largest recorded royal family of any ruler over Israel or Judah. This is in stark contrast to his father Solomon who, although he had seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines (1Kings 11:1 - 3), is recorded to have produced only him and some daughters (1Kings 4:11, 15).
There are no chapters that have exactly 88 verses. In fact, only four chapters in the entirety of the King James translation have 80 or more verses. These chapters are Luke 1 (80), 1Chronicles 6 (81), Numbers 7 (89) and Psalm 119 (176).
Appearances of Number Eighty-Eight
Psalm 88 was written by priests who served during King David's reign (1010 to 970 B.C.). It encourages us to remain faithful and diligent, and to cry out to our heavenly Father all day and night if need be.
O Lord God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before You. Let my prayer come before You; bow down Your ear to my cry, for my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near the grave (verses 1 - 3).
The English word "sick" is recorded 88 times in the King James Bible. It is found the most in Matthew (14 times) followed by Mark (13) and Luke (7). The word "bed" is also written in 88 KJV verses. Both of these words occur together in Matthew when Jesus displays his power to heal and asserts his right as God's Son to forgive sins.
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house (Matthew 9:6, KJV).
One of the hallmarks of Jesus' earthly ministry, and one of the primary proofs he was mankind's savior, was that he healed every disease, including those which caused death. Healing the sick and raising the dead were powers that he gave to his apostles (Matthew 10:8, Mark 16:18).
Single Words and Number 88
The phrase hapax legomenon, in Greek, means "thing once said." One interesting way of studying God's word is to look for hapax legomenon or words that are recorded only once in the Bible. There are several of these in the King James translation, one of which, "forgetfulness," is found only in Psalm 88.
Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? (verse 12 of Psalm 88).
Other words found only once in the KJV Old Testament include "reverend" (Psalms 111:9) and "eternity" (Isaiah 57:15). Single word occurrences in the New Testament include "grandmother" (2Timothy 1:5), "itching" (2Timothy 4:3), "wrestle" (Ephesians 6:12), "philosophy" (Colossians 2:8) and "fleshy" (2Corinthians 3:3).
Surprisingly, quite a few hapax legomenon are found in the book of Hebrews authored by the Apostle Paul. Some of these are "sundry" (Hebrews 1:1), "discerner" (4:12), "unskilful" (5:13), "forerunner" (6:20), "unchangeable" (7:24) and "finisher" (12:2).
More Info on Biblical Meaning of 88
88 is the product of 2 x 2 x 2 (2 cubed) x 11. Both 2 and 11 are prime numbers.
In modern astronomy, 88 constellations are recognized in the sky by the International Astronomical Union. The IAU, formed in 1919, is a non-governmental agency that promotes the advancement of astronomy. As of 2023 the IAU had 85 member countries.
Psalm 119, verse 88, asks God to quicken or keep us alive so that we can continue to be obedient to Him.
Give me life according to Your lovingkindness; so shall I keep the testimony of Your mouth.
There are several words in Scripture's original languages that occur 88 times. The Hebrew word deleth (Strong's #H1817) refers to a door hinge. Tame (#H2931) describes something foul in a religious sense. Etsah (#H6098) is to offer advice. Sheqel (shekel, Strong's #H8255) was a common weight, especially for money, in ancient Israel. Eme (#G1691), in the Greek text of the New Testament, refers to the self while touto (#G5129) is usually translated as "this."
Only the book of Psalms numbers more than 88 chapters in the KJV translation.