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Bible Dictionaries

Morrish Bible Dictionary


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Many efforts have been made to ascertain the length of this measure, from which others could be calculated. Its name signifies that it was the measure of a man's arm from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Of course this would vary in different persons, and some measure would have to be taken as a standard. In the Palestine Exploration this subject has not been lost sight of. Many tombs have been measured, but they give no definite result. The inscription found in the Siloam tunnel states the length of the tunnel to be 1,200 cubits, as read by Major Conder; but 1,000 cubits as interpreted by Professor Sayce. Doubtless only a round number is intended. Its length has been found to be 1,750 feet; which makes the cubit by the two interpretations, 17.5 or 21 inches. There are however many other measurements that seem to give a cubit of 16 inches. Many of the ancient stones in the base of the temple area, the breadth of the pilasters found in the north-western corner of the area, together with their distances apart, and also the Galilean synagogues, all give a measure of 16 inches. 'Quarterly Statement,' Jan., 1894.

In Ezekiel 41:8 we read of a 'great cubit,' and in the commencement of the description of the future temple the reed is described as being "six cubits long by the cubit and a handbreadth." Ezekiel 40:5 . This agrees with the former passage which speaks of 'a full reed of six great cubits.' From this we gather that there was an ordinary cubit, and a great cubit, the difference being a handbreadth, which is accounted to be the same as the palm, a sixth of a cubit. In Deuteronomy 3:11 we find a cubit 'after the cubit of a man;' and in 2 Chronicles 3:3 , a cubit 'after the first measure,' or 'former' or 'older' measure. From these passages it is clear that there were different measures called the cubit. The 16 inches above named may have been the shortest, but what was the length of the longest is quiteuncertain. See WEIGHTSand MEASURES.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Morrish, George. Entry for 'Cubit'. Morrish Bible Dictionary. 1897.

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