E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Divinity in Odd Numbers.
Falstaff tells us (in the Merry Wives of Windsor, v. 1) that this divinity affects nativity, chance, and death. A Trinity is by no means confined to the Christian creed. The Brahmins represent their god with three heads; the Greeks and Romans had three Graces, three Fates, three Furies, and a threefold Hecate. Jupiter had his three thunderbolts, Neptune his trident, and Pluto his three-headed dog. The Muses were three times three. Pythagoras says God is threefoldthe beginning, middle, and end of all things. Then, again, there are five features, five parts to the body, five vowels, five lines in music, five acts to a play, etc.; seven strings to a harp, seven planets (anciently, at any rate), seven musical notes, etc.
Chance. Theres luck in odd numbers Numero Deus impre gaudet (Virgil: Eclogue viii. 75). The seventh son of a seventh son was always held notable. Baalam would have seven altars, and sacrificed on them seven bullocks and seven rams. Naaman was commanded to dip seven times in Jordan, and Elijah sent his servant seven times to look out for rain. Climacteric years are seven and nine with their multiples by odd numbers.
Death. The great climacteric year of life is 63 (i.e. 7 x 9), and Saturn presides over all climacteric years.