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Cubit, from the Latin word cubitus, meaning the lower arm, is used to translate the original Biblical Hebrew word pronounced am-mah, which meant the forearm. Based on the length of a man's arm from elbow to finger tips, the cubit is one of the major Biblical Weights and Measures. Although the precise length of the Biblical cubit is unknown today, it's estimated to have been approximately 17½ to 20½ inches, with Scriptural references to both a "common" cubit and a "long" cubit.

Meter, Yard, Cubit, Foot

Some references to the cubit in Bible History:

"And God said to Noah, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make yourself an ark of gopher wood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits." (Genesis 6:13-15 RSV) (see The Flood and How Big Was Noah's Ark?)

"They shall make an ark of acacia wood; two cubits and a half shall be its length, a cubit and a half its breadth, and a cubit and a half its height. And you shall overlay it with pure gold, within and without shall you overlay it, and you shall make upon it a molding of gold round about." (Exodus 25:10-11 RSV) (see The Ark Of The Covenant. Also The Ten Commandments and The Ten Commandments Now?)

"And he made the court; for the south side the hangings of the court were of fine twined linen, a hundred cubits; their pillars were twenty and their bases twenty, of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. And for the north side a hundred cubits, their pillars twenty, their bases twenty, of bronze, but the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. And for the west side were hangings of fifty cubits, their pillars ten, and their sockets ten; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets were of silver. And for the front to the east, fifty cubits." (Exodus 38:9-13 RSV) (see The Tabernacle In The Wilderness)

"And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered, and encamped in the valley of Elah, and drew up in line of battle against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on the mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on the mountain on the other side, with a valley between them. And there came out from the camp of the Philistines a champion named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span." (1 Samuel 17:2-4 RSV) (see David And Goliath and King David)

"In the four hundred and eightieth year after the people of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv, which is the second month, he began to build the house of The Lord. The house which King Solomon built for The Lord was sixty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and thirty cubits high." (1 Kings 6:1-2 RSV) (see Temples and Layout Of Solomon's Temple)

Fact Finder: How long was the water tunnel that King Hezekiah had made in Jerusalem?
See Hezekiah's Tunnel

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