Lucky Number Seven?
Very little in the Old Testament is coincidental. The reappearance of words, the choice of names, the span of time – everything can be linked to a greater or deeper theological meaning. This is especially true with numbers. Whole fields of study and schools of thought have arisen around the idea that numbers in the Torah are symbolic and meaningful. This claim is hard to deny when we think about the number seven. There are countless examples of the appearance of the number seven, many of which are in some way connected to the idea of wholeness or completion (seven days in a week, for example!).
It’s therefore probably not that surprising that the Book of Judges is the seventh book of the Tanakh (the Old Testament). The judges described in this book were more than legal advisors – they were the leaders of the community. They emerged when the Israelites had become so corrupted that they needed to be rescued, and were selected by God for just this task.
While our judges today are not quite the divine military figures we read about in the Old Testament, they are crucial to the functioning of our society. Unfortunately, we live in a time where judicial emergencies—situations in which a particular region does not have enough judges to hear all of its cases—are numerous, and where Senate obstructionism to nominations is high.
Yesterday, President Obama nominated a series of new judges, bringing the total number of nominees currently awaiting floor votes to nineteen. Many are speculating that a judicial nominations package (confirming non-controversial nominees who have bipartisan support) could be passed in the upcoming lame duck session. The most recent batch of nominees proposed by the President would increase the number of women, minorities and openly gay judges serving on the federal bench. In addition to applauding this commitment to diversity, we recognize that judicial emergencies are a real problem in our country, and urge the Senate to swiftly consider the nominees suggested by the President.
And oh yeah – how many judges did Obama nominate yesterday? That would be seven.