Easton's Bible Dictionary
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
The mystic number 666. ( Revelation
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(GemaTriya'). A peculiar application of numbers which was in great favor with
the later Jews and some of the early Christians and is not absolutely unknown
to the Bible, is Gematria, that is the use of the letters of a word so as by means
of their combined numerical value to express a name, or a witty association of
ideas. The term is usually explained as an adaptation of the Greek word geometria,
that is, "geometry," but Dalman (Worterbuch, under the word) connects it in this
application of it with grammateia. There is only one clear example in Scripture,
the number of the beast which is the number of a man, six hundred sixty and six
13:18). If, as most scholars are inclined to believe, a name is intended,
the numerical value of the letters composing which adds up to 666, and if it is
assumed that the writer thought in Hebrew or Aramaic.
Nero Caesar written with the consonants nun (n) equals 50, resh (r) equals 200,
waw (w) equals 6, nun (n) equals 50, qoph (q) equals 100, camekh (c) equals 60,
resh (r) equals 200: total equals 666, seems to be the best solution.
Perhaps the idea suggested by Dr. Milligan that the 3-fold use of 6 which just
falls short of 7, the number of sacred completeness, and is therefore a note of
imperfection, may have been also in the writer's mind. Some modern scholars find
a second instance in Genesis
14:14 and Genesis
15:2. As the numerical value of the consonants which compose Eliezer in Hebrew
add up to 318, it has been maintained that the number is not historical, but has
been fancifully constructed by means of gematria out of the name. This strange
idea is not new, for it is found in the Midrash on Genesis
43 in the name of a rabbi who lived circa 200 AD, but its antiquity is its
In addition to other books referred to in the course of the article: Hehn, Siebenzahl
und Sabbath bei den Babyloniern und im Altes Testament; Konig, Stilistik, Rhetorik,
Poetik, etc., 51-57, and the same writer's article "Number" in HDB; Sir J. Hawkins,.
Horae Synopticae2, 163-67; Wiener, Essays in Pentateuchal Criticism, 155-69; "Number"
in HDB (1-vol); EB; Jewish Encyclopedia;Smith, DB; "Numbers" in DCG; "Zahlen"
in the Dicts. of Wiener, Riehm2, Guthe; "Zahlen" and "Sieben" in RE3.
William Taylor Smith
666, bible commentary, bible reference, bible study, define, gematria, history, nero, six six six