What is the significance of Forty Days?


We read in many parts of scripture, old and new, of events and activities occuring in a period of forrty days and forrty nights, such as the flood, Jesus in the desert, etc. What is the significance of this period of forrty days/nights?


The number forty seems to indicate a time of purification, preparation or penance. For example:

  1.  During the Flood, it rained forty days and forty nights (Gen.7:17) -purification
  2.  Moses, Elijah, Jesus fasted 40 days  (Ex.24:18; 1Kg.19:7-9;Mt.4:2) - preparation
  3.  The Israelites wandered 40 years in the desert (Num 32:13)-penance

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