'Three' in the Bible
Now Noah became the father of three sons: Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
On the very same day Noah and Shem and Ham and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife and the three wives of his sons with them, entered the ark,
These are the three sons of Noah, and from these [men] the whole earth was populated and scattered with inhabitants.
So God said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
When he raised his eyes and looked up, behold, three men were standing [a little distance] from him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent door to meet them and bowed down [with his face] to the ground,
So Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly, get ready three measures of fine meal, knead it and bake cakes.”
As he looked, he saw a well in the field, and three flocks of sheep lying there [resting] beside it because the flocks were watered from that well. Now the stone on the mouth of the well [that covered and protected it] was large,
She conceived again and gave birth to a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become attached to me [as a companion], for I have given him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi.
And he put [a distance of] three days’ journey between himself and Jacob, and Jacob was then left in care of the rest of Laban’s flock.
About three months later Judah was told, “Tamar your daughter-in-law has played the [role of a] prostitute, and she is with child because of her immorality.” So Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned [to death as punishment]!”
and on the vine were three branches. Then as soon as it budded, its blossoms burst open, and its clusters produced ripe grapes [in rapid succession].
Then Joseph said to him, “This is the interpretation of it: the three branches represent three days;
within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head (present you in public) and restore you to your position; and you will [again] put Pharaoh’s cup into his hand just as [you did] when you were his cupbearer.
When the chief baker saw that the interpretation [of the dream] was good, he said to Joseph, “I also dreamed, and [in my dream] there were three cake baskets on my head;
Joseph answered, “This is the interpretation of it: the three baskets represent three days;
within three more days Pharaoh will lift up your head and will hang you on a tree (gallows, pole), and [you will not so much as be given a burial, but] the birds will eat your flesh.”
Then Joseph put them all in prison for three days.
The woman conceived and gave birth to a son; and when she saw that he was [especially] beautiful and healthy, she hid him for three months [to protect him from the Egyptians].
The elders [of the tribes] will listen and pay attention to what you say; and you, with the elders of Israel, shall go to the king of Egypt and you shall say to him, ‘The Lord, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us; so now, please, [we ask and plead with you,] let us go on a three days’ journey into the wilderness, so that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God.’
Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Please, let us go on a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God, so that He does not discipline us with pestilence or with the sword.”
We must go a three days’ journey into the wilderness and sacrifice to the Lord our God as He commands us.”
So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and for three days a thick darkness was all over the land of Egypt [no sun, no moon, no stars].
The Egyptians could not see one another, nor did anyone leave his place for three days, but all the Israelites had [supernatural] light in their dwellings.
Then Moses led Israel from the Red Sea, and they went into the Wilderness of Shur; they went [a distance of] three days (about thirty-three miles) in the wilderness and found no water.
If he does not do these three things for her, then shall she leave free, without payment of money.
“Three times a year you shall celebrate a feast [dedicated] to Me.
Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord God.
Six branches shall come out of its sides; three branches of the lampstand out of the one side and three branches of the lampstand out of its other side [the shaft being the seventh branch].
Three cups shall be made like almond blossoms, each with a calyx and a flower on one branch, and three cups made like almond blossoms on the other branch with a calyx and a flower—so for the six branches coming out of the lampstand;
“And you shall make the altar [for burnt offerings] of acacia wood, five cubits long and five cubits wide; the altar shall be square, and its height shall be three cubits.
The curtains for one side [of the gate] shall be fifteen cubits with three pillars and three sockets.
On the other side [of the gate] the curtains shall be fifteen cubits with three pillars and three sockets.
Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel.
For I will drive out and dispossess nations before you and enlarge your borders; nor shall any man covet (actively seek for himself) your land when you go up to appear before the Lord your God three times a year.
There were six branches coming out of the sides of the lampstand, three branches from one side of the center shaft and three branches from the other side of it;
three cups shaped like almond blossoms, a calyx and a flower in one branch, and three cups shaped like almond blossoms, a calyx and a flower in the opposite branch—so for the six branches coming out of the center shaft of the lampstand.
Then Bezalel made the altar of burnt offering of acacia wood; its top was square, five cubits long and five cubits wide, and three cubits high.
The curtains for one side of the court gate were fifteen cubits, with their three support poles and their three sockets;
and the same for the other side [of the court gate]. Left and right of the court gate there were curtains of fifteen cubits; with their three support poles and their three sockets.
‘When you enter the land and plant all kinds of trees for food, then you shall consider their fruit forbidden. For three years the fruit shall be forbidden to you; it shall not be eaten.
It is immoral and shameful if a man marries a woman and her mother; all three shall be burned in fire, so that there will be no immorality among you.
then [this is My answer:] I will order My [special] blessing for you in the sixth year, so that it will produce [sufficient] crops for three years.
But if the child is between one month and five years of age, then your valuation shall be five shekels of silver for the male and three shekels for the female.
The total of the numbered men [in the three tribes on the east side] in the camp of Judah was 186,400, by their armies. They shall move out first [on the march].
The total of the numbered men [in the three tribes on the south side] in the camp of Reuben was 151,450, by their armies. They shall move out second [on the march].
The total of the numbered men [of the three tribes on the west side] in the camp of Ephraim was 108,100, by their armies. They shall move out in third place.
The total of the numbered men [of the three tribes on the north side] in the camp of Dan was 157,600. They shall move out last, standard after standard.”
So they set out from the mountain of the Lord (Sinai) three days’ journey; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went in front of them during the three days’ journey to seek out a resting place for them.
Suddenly the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “Come out, you three, to the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle).” And the three of them came out.
When they had gone up into the Negev (the South country), they came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai the descendants of Anak were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)
then you shall offer with the bull a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with half a hin of oil;
And the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, “What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?”
The Angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out to stand against you, because your behavior was obstinate and contrary to Me.
The donkey saw Me and turned away from Me these three times. If she had not turned away from Me, I would have certainly killed you now, and let her live.”
Then Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, but behold, you have done nothing but bless them these three times.
They moved out from before Pi-hahiroth and passed through the midst of the [Red] Sea into the wilderness; and they went a three days’ journey in the Wilderness of Etham and camped at Marah.
You shall provide three cities on this [east] side of the Jordan [River], and three [more] cities in the land of Canaan; they are to be the cities of refuge.
Then Moses set apart three cities [of refuge] beyond the Jordan toward the rising of the sun (eastward),
“At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce for that year, and shall store it up within your [city] gates.
“Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Passover) and at the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) and at the Feast of Booths (Tabernacles), and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed.
On the evidence of two or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of [only] one witness.
you shall designate three cities for yourself in the central area of the land, which the Lord your God is giving you to possess.
You shall prepare and maintain for yourself the roads [to these cities], and divide the territory of your land into three parts, so that anyone who kills another unintentionally may escape there [for asylum].
Therefore, I command you, saying, ‘You shall set aside three cities [of refuge] for yourself.’
if you keep and carefully observe all these commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God, and to walk [that is, to live each and every day] always in His ways—then you shall add three more cities [of refuge] for yourself, besides these three,
“A single witness shall not appear in a trial against a man for any wrong or any sin which he has committed; [only] on the testimony or evidence of two or three witnesses shall a charge be confirmed.
“Go throughout the camp and command the people, saying, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to cross this [river] Jordan, to go in to take possession of the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess [as an inheritance].’”
And she said to them, “Go [west] to the hill country, so that the pursuers [who have headed east] will not encounter you; hide yourselves there for three days until the pursuers return. Then afterward you can go your way.”
They left and went [on their way] to the hill country [west of Jericho], and stayed there [hidden in the caves] three days until the pursuers returned. The pursuers had searched all along the road but had not found them.
And it happened at the end of three days that the officers went throughout the camp,
Then they returned to Joshua and said to him, “Do not make all the people go up [to fight]; have only about two thousand or three thousand men go up and attack Ai; do not make the entire army go up there, for they [of Ai] are few.”
So about three thousand men from the sons of Israel went up there, but they fled [in retreat] from the men of Ai.
It happened that three days after they had made a covenant (treaty) with them, the Israelites heard that they were [actually] their neighbors and that they were living among them.
So Caleb drove out from there the three sons of Anak: Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai, the children of Anak.
Provide for yourselves three men from each tribe so that I may send them, and that they may go through the land and write a description of it with regard to their [tribal] inheritance; then they shall return to me.
From the tribe of Naphtali, they gave Kedesh in Galilee, the city of refuge for anyone who committed manslaughter, with its pasture lands and Hammoth-dor with its pasture lands and Kartan with its pasture lands; three cities.
Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had said, and he drove out from there the three sons of Anak.
He divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers.
When three companies blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow, and they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!”
Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years.
So he took his people and divided them into three companies, and set an ambush in the field; and he looked and saw the people coming out of the city. And he rose up against them and struck them down.
So he said to them,“Out of the eater came something to eat,And out of the strong came something sweet.”And they could not solve the riddle in three days.
Then she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times and have not told me where your great strength lies.”
So his father-in-law, the girl’s father, detained him; and he stayed there with him for three days. So they ate and drank, and he lodged there.
and the custom of the priests with [the sacrifices of] the people. When any man was offering a sacrifice, the priest’s servant would come while the meat was boiling, with a three-pronged [meat] fork in his hand;
And [the time came when] the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived and gave birth to three sons and two daughters. And the boy Samuel grew before the Lord.
As for your donkeys which were lost three days ago, do not be concerned about them, for they have been found. And for whom are all things that are desirable in Israel? Are they not for you and for all your father’s household (family)?”
Then you will go on further from there, and you will come to the terebinth tree of Tabor, and three men going up to [sacrifice to] God at Bethel will meet you there, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a jug of wine.
The next morning Saul put the men into three companies; and they entered the [Ammonites’] camp during the [darkness of the early] morning watch and killed the Ammonites until the heat of the day; and the survivors were scattered, and no two of them were left together.
And the raiding party came from the Philistine camp in three companies: one company turned toward Ophrah, to the land of Shual,
His three older sons had followed Saul into battle. The names of his three sons who went to battle were Eliab, the firstborn; next, Abinadab; and third, Shammah.
David was the youngest. Now the three oldest followed Saul,
I will shoot three arrows to the side of it, as though I shot at a target.
As soon as the boy was gone, David got up from the south side [beside the mound of stones] and fell on his face to the ground [in submission and respect], and bowed three times. Then they kissed one another and wept together, but David wept more.
David answered the priest, “Be assured that women have been kept from us in these three days since I set out, and the bodies of the young men were consecrated (ceremonially clean), although it was an ordinary (unconsecrated) journey; so how much more will their vessels be holy today?”
and they gave him a piece of a fig cake and two clusters of raisins; and when he had eaten, his energy returned, for he had not eaten bread or had any water to drink for three days and three nights.
David said to him, “To whom do you belong, and where are you from?” He said, “I am a young man from Egypt, a servant of an Amalekite; and my master abandoned me [as useless] when I fell sick three days ago.
So Saul, his three sons, his armor bearer, and all his men died together on that day.
The next day, when the Philistines came to plunder the dead, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.
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