Gematria is a Jewish interpretive method that first circulates the numerical number of a particular word and then matches it with another word with exact same numerical value, showing a connection.
Let’s take the ladder in Jacob’s dream story – Sulam (סֻלָּם). It has a numerical value of 130 (ס (samekh) = 60, ל (lamed) = 30, מ (mem) = 40). The Hebrew word for “Sinai” (סיני), has the same numerical value, although it is made up of different letters. Hence, one interpretation of Jacob’s ladder could be that it represents the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.
Interestingly enough, some New Testament authors used Gematria in their interpretation as well. For example, beautifully organized argument in the Gospel of Matthew connects Jewish history with Jesus:
“So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the deportation to Babylon, fourteen generations; and from the deportation to Babylon to the Messiah, fourteen generations.” (Matt.1:17)
Jesus, as David King Messiah, is the main theme in the Gospel of Matthew. Once we assigned numerical value to the word David, Matthew’s point becomes clear.
David’s numerical value is fourteen: ד (four) + ו (six) + ד (four) = fourteen.