Numbers were considered magick talismans, and their hidden meanings have long held the interests of mystics and scientists alike.
In Hebrew and Greek, letters are also used as numbers. The introduction of Arabic numbers greatly increases their usefulness, and the concept of Zero, a placeholder for NOTHING, is controversial in Europe. It's utility overcomes resistance, and Leonardo da Vinci proclaims that of all the things in the world, the greatest, strongest of all is NOTHING.
In the Bible, NUMBERs based on 10, (like 20, 80 800)are often inflated rather than exact, and are based on the Hebrew letters and number of fingers the Human hands contain for convenient counting. NUMBERs based on 12 are of Babylonian origin, as it was Astrologically based numbers like 360. While we Humans can divide most events into our own units for counting, the Day /Night / Seasons cycles lead the Babylonians to a 12 based number system, which greatly influenced the ancient world. The third type of NUMBER in the Bible is Qabalistic puzzles, such as the age of Israel /Jacob when he dies. "G/47/28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were a hundred forty and seven years. " As 147 is neither a Classic 10 based or 12 based number, it poses a mystery to be unraveled by Gemantria, a Qabalistic number substitution code based on the fact that every Hebrew letter is also a NUMBER.
One possible interpretation is that the four most often used NAMES of God, YHVH, ADNI, AHYH and AGLA or 26 + 65 + 21 + 35 = 147, are the Key to the puzzle of the age at which the Patriarch of the Tribe, Israel, dies.
In Qabalistic thought, the PROCESS of WORKing out such puzzles can lead to moments of enlightenment.
Resources: http://www.slate.com/blogs/lexicon_valley/2013/10/16/piraha_cognitive_anumeracy_in_a_language_without_numbers.html on the Pirahã language which contains no numbers;