When I was an undergrad I took a class called, "The Bible as Literature". The class was taught by a Jesuit Priest. He said that the number 40 was a plug number when the writer didn't know how long it actually was and that was a popular convention at the time. So, anytime there was an extended period and the writer didn't know how long it was, they just said 40 days.
The number 40 - Is there a connection? Flood, Sinai, Wilderness, Jesus
Oh,oh don't let the Watchtower writers see this thread
Here are a couple end times predictions... 144,000 divided by 40 = 3600...that's the big day.
Or maybe 40 x's 1000 = 4000 and that's it
Or wait...666 x's 40 = 26640 yes I think this is the date of A.
Oh, maybe I did it backwards 666 divided by 40 = 16.65 + 1914 = 3579
I'm not making fun of the dates. I'm just being silly. Acutally I'm taking courses on it and the numbers of the bible are amazing and accurate. I think EVERYTHING in it has significance. We just don't know what it is yet. But it's fun to speculate.
I was wondering about this also.
Looks like that they usd the number 40 to symbolize something large. (like we use 100 or 1000 for that in fairytales ans stories)
it is matimatically obvious that those number 40 coincidences are made up. i.e. not represent actual history.
the number 7 in the bible is easily explained by the number of planets.
the number twelf (12 tribes) etc is the number of months in the the year ( a nature constant)
our number of 100 etc is easily explained by our base 10 system (ten fingers)
but then where does the 40 come from?
Since the babylonians used 60 base (or maybe better to say the used both 6 and 10 based)
(we still have 60 minutes etc, 360 degrees etc)
egyptians used 10 based, and as far as i know also the hebrews.
in earlier days the base system was more mixed. We see for example lot of vigesimal influences in european languages.
maybe it was just double 20, as representing some large number double that of 20?