Forty years -- a relatively long time in the Bible

It's amazing how many things took forty years in the Bible. If it's more than ten years but less than one hundred, it pretty much always takes forty years.

Here's a list of things that took forty years in the Bible.

  1. Isaac was forty years old "when he took Rebekah to wife." Gen 25:20
  2. Esau was forty years old "when he took to wife Judith and Bashemath." Gen 26:34
  3. Moses was forty years old when he murdered the Egyptian. Acts 7:23
  4. Forty years later (when he was 80), Moses saw the burning bush and told the Pharoah to release the Israelites. Acts 7:30, Ex 7:7
  5. Forty years after that (when he was 120), Moses died. Dt 34:7
  6. "The children of Israel did eat manna forty years." Ex 16:35
  7. The Israelites traveled for forty years during the Exodus. Num 14:33, 32:13; Dt 2:7, 8:2, 8:4, 29:5; Jos 5:6; Neh 9:21; Amos 2:10, 5:25; Acts 7:36, 7:42, 13:18; Heb 3:9, Heb 3:17
  8. Joshua was forty years old when Moses sent him on his spying mission. Jos 14:7
  9. The land "had rest" for forty years while Othniel was judge. Jg 3:11
  10. "The land had rest for forty years" after Jael murdered Sisera by pounding a nail through his skull. Jg 5:31
  11. "The country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon." Jg 8:28
  12. God delivered the Israelites into the hand of the Philistines forty years. Jg 13:1
  13. Eli judged Israel forty years. 1 Sam 4:18
  14. Saul was king for forty years. Acts 13:21
  15. Saul's son was forty years old when he began to reign in Israel. 2 Sam 2:10
  16. David was king for forty years. 2 Sam 5:4, 1 Kg 2:11, 1 Chr 29:27
  17. After forty years, Absalom said to king David, "I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow." 2 Sam 15:7
  18. Solomon was king for forty years. 1 Kg 11:42, 2 Chr 9:30
  19. Jehoash was king for forty years. 2 Kg 12:1
  20. Joash was king for forty years. 2 Chr 24:1
  21. The author of Psalm 95 grieved for forty years with this generation. Ps 95:10
  22. Egypt will be uninhabited for forty years. Ezek 29:11
  23. Egypt's cities will be laid waste and desolate for forty years. Ezek 29:12
  24. God will gather the Egyptians from wherever they were scattered after forty years. Ezek 29:13