The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 97
The possible meaning of the number 97 is derived primarily from Biblical history and the occurrence of certain original language words.
Friday, April 7 is day 97 (31 + 28 + 31 + 7) of Roman year 30 A.D. On this day Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome purchase and prepare spices for Jesus' dead body. The Lord has been in his tomb since just before sunset on April 5. The women run out of time and are unable to apply the spices as the Biblical weekly Sabbath begins at sunset Friday (Mark 16:1, Luke 23:56).
Roman Catholic tradition states Timothy, who worked alongside Apostle Paul, died in Ephesus when he was over 80 years old (1913 Catholic Encyclopedia). According to Foxe's Book of Martyrs, however, he died in 97 A.D. Foxe's also writes that he was the bishop of Ephesus and was martyred by pagans after stating their idolatrous celebrations were ridiculous.
Appearances of Number Ninety-Seven
Only two Old Testament and four New Testament words are recorded 97 times in the Bible's original language. The Hebrew esav (Strong's #H6215) is defined as "rough to handle" and is used as a basis for the name Esau, Jacob's twin brother (Genesis 25). Qatseh (#H7097) designates an extremity or limit of something. It is often translated as "the end," "border," "edge" and other related words.
The New Testament Greek gennao (Strong's #G1080) means to procreate or begat. Didasko (#G1321) is often translated as "to teach" or "taught." Emoi (#G1698) is used as a reference to oneself such as "me" or "mine." The last word found 97 times, Phago (#G5315), is used to designate eating or consuming something.
Jacob and Esau, twin brothers, are born in 1800 B.C. Jacob, when the brothers are 77, steals Esau's birthright blessing from their father Isaac. Fearing for his life he then flees the country (Genesis 27). Twenty years later the brothers meet and are reconciled when they are both 97 (Genesis 33:1 - 16).
Number Ninety-Seven and the Psalms
Psalm 97 can be divided into four sets of three verses each. The first set describes the Lord's coming, with the second set revealing its effect on the earth. The third set, from verses 7 to 9, foretells the influence of his coming on the pagans and His people. The last set exhorts those who love God and reiterates the promise that their lives will be preserved (The Treasury of David).
The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of islands be glad . . . The heavens declare His righteousness, and all the people see His glory. All those who serve graven images are ashamed who boast themselves in idols; bow down to Him, all you gods . . .
You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked (Psalm 97:1, 6 - 7, 10, HBFV).
Verse 97 of Psalm 119 is the first verse in a section labeled with the 13th letter of the Hebrew alphabet called Mem. This section, from verses 97 to 104, praises God's laws and the wisdom they bring. Such laws, if meditated upon, can make a person far wiser than their enemies.
O how love I Your law! It is my meditation all the day. Your commandments make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me.
I have more understanding than all my teachers, for Your testimonies are my meditation (verses 97 - 99 of Psalm 119, HBFV).
More Info on Biblical Meaning of 97
Ninety-seven is the 25th prime number. The primes, which are greater than one and only divisible by one and themselves, are 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29 and so on.
The English word "God" appears in sixty-four of sixty-six books or ninety-seven percent of all Bible books. For comparison, the word "Lord" shows up in ninety-two percent of all books. The books of Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, all written by Moses, contain 97 chapters and 3,106 verses in the King James.