November 11 is mentioned at least 43 times in the Bible. However, of these mentioned, only 24 mention 11 explicitly while the other 19 are other variants of 11 e.g. 11th. As is the case with other numbers, number 11 has a unique symbolism in the scriptures. The symbolism can be drawn from its appearance in the scriptures as well as the fact that it is an inverse of the number.
The number 11 represents judgment and chaos. We can infer this from the context of Genesis 11 when the people united to build the tower of Babel with the goal of reaching God. Because this was not God’s will, he confused their tongue and scattered them which resulted in the emergence of many languages.
The historical context of 11
Jehoiakim, who was one of the last kings of Judah reigned for a period of 11 years from 609 to 598 B.C. Three months after his reign ended, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon overthrew Jerusalem and he set up Zedekiah as his puppet ruler of Judea. The reign of Zedekiah would last until 586 B.C. after 11 years in power. The end of Zedekiah’s reign was precipitated by his revolt from Babylon which led to Nebuchadnezzar attacking him and reconquering Jerusalem. This time, Nebuchadnezzar not only conquers the city but also destroys it as well as the temple. The fact that the king that Both king Jehoiakim and Zedekiah ruled for 11 years preceding Babylon’s conquest can be a symbol of the disorder and chaos that the number 11 represents.
Biblical symbolism of 11
With only 43 explicit mentions, number 11 is not as popular as other numbers in the Bible. For purposes of contrast, number 1 appears 1695 times, number 2 703 times and number three appears 426 times. The reason the number 11 is not commonly used in the Bible is that it signifies evil. This is not surprising because the Bible focuses more on good than on evil. For instance, the word Satan has been used only 17 times while God appears 4473 times. Another example is dark, which appears approximately 170 times in the Bible versus light, which appears 433 times in the Bible.
Number 11 comes immediately after number 10 which symbolizes law and order. Interestingly, the number 11 symbolizes the opposite because it symbolizes disorder as well as judgment. We can draw this symbolism from Genesis 11 which is a chapter of how men rebelled against God and started erecting a tower (the tower of Babel). As a result of their disobedience, God confused their language resulting in disorder and chaos.
Another illustration of how the number 11 symbolizes disorder and chaos is the journey of Israel from Egypt to the wilderness. As the Psalmist documents in Psalms 78, the Israelites gave God a hard time during this journey and for this, they suffered the wrath of God on several occasions. Apart from most of them dying in the wilderness, they were also quite disorderly which wasted a lot of precious time. They ended up wasting 40 years on a journey that would have taken them 11 days (Deuteronomy 1:2). The 11-day journey that ended up taking them 40 years signified disorder and chaos as a consequence of their disobedience.
11 in relation to 1
The number 11 can also be said to be two 1s which makes the symbolism of 1 also relevant in interpreting the symbolism of 11. Number 1 is independent of any other numbers and that is a metaphor of God. Even though God is tripartite, he is still one (Deuteronomy 6:4). Jesus made this clear when he sought to clarify that he was one with the Father (John 10:30-38).
The number 1 also symbolizes unity. For instance, it denotes the unity of the trinity (God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit). In Genesis 11, the people that came together to build the tower of Babel were united in purpose. In the words of scripture, God saw that the people were one. The use of one in this context was to illustrate the symbolism of unity in number 1.
The first commandment that was given by Moses in Exodus 20 was based on the oneness of God. Israel was reminded to worship God alone and have no other God. This was an important commandment because Israel had been exposed to communities that did not practice monotheism. The significance of this commandment was that if Israel stopped worshipping the one and true God, the result would be chaos. And this was the case for Israel whenever they allowed idolatry to enter their land.
The significance of 11 and judgment can be traced back to the violation of the first commandment. When man ceases to recognize God’s authority in their life, they inadvertently
attract judgment over them. This is true both for individuals as well as communities, nations, or groups of people. For instance, proverbs say that sin can attract judgment over an entire nation (Proverbs 14:34).
As we have seen, the number 11 signifies God’s judgment and disorder. God usually releases judgment when sin increases and it is the judgment that brings disorder and chaos. For instance, the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah was due to their unbearable sin. In the ensuing chaos, Lot’s wife, who was warned by the angels not to turn back as they fled, also suffered the same fate when she turned into a pillar of salt.
To wrap it up, the number 11 may not be a very popular number in the Bible but it is still mentioned in a couple of instances in both the Old and New Testaments. The number symbolizes God’s wrath and judgment. As such, the number 11 is often interpreted to mean evil. Numerologists may not always agree with the biblical meaning of some numbers but on this, they agree that number 11 symbolizes chaos and evil.