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How Deep Was The Flood?

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 (see the Fact Finder question below). 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. Cubits are the Biblical standard of measurement of length and from that we know everything from how tall Goliath was (very surprisingly, there have been modern-day men the same size as Goliath - see the text below) to how deep the floodwaters covered the entire earth.

Meter, Yard, Cubit, Foot

"Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered"

Some references to the cubit in Bible History with their modern-day approximate equivalents in feet (based on a cubit equivalent to 18 inches) and meters:

The ark was 300 cubits (450 feet / 137 meters) long (see How Big Was Noah's Ark?):

"And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits." (Genesis 6:15 KJV)

The Flood covered the entire earth, 15 cubits (22½ feet / 7 meters) above the highest mountains (see also The Fountains Of The Great Deep):

"And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man" (Genesis 7:19-21 KJV)

The Ark Of The Covenant, which contained the Ten Commandments, was 2½ cubits (3¾ feet / 1.1 meters) long:

"And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof."

Goliath (see David And Goliath) was over 6 cubits (9 feet) tall, which might have put him in the Guinness Book of Records if it existed in ancient times (one edition has a man named Robert Pershing Wadlow of Illinois who lived 1918 to 1940; Mr. Wadlow is recorded as being over 8 feet 11 inches and 490 pounds - very slightly, only an inch or two in height, less than Goliath):

"And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span (1 Samuel 17:4 KJV)

Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar made a golden idol 60 cubits (90 feet / 27 meters) tall (not to be confused with a great prophetic vision of a statue that he was given - see Nebuchadnezzar's Dream; also Nebuchadnezzar's Conversion):

"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon." (Daniel 3:1 KJV)

The walls of the outer courtyard of The Tabernacle In The Wilderness were 100 cubits (150 feet / 45 meters) long and 50 cubits (75 feet / 23 meters) wide. Toward the west end of the courtyard stood the Tabernacle itself which measured 30 cubits (45 feet) long and 10 cubits (15 feet) wide.

"And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side ... And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits" (Exodus 27:9,12 KJV)

The Temple (see Temples and Layout Of Solomon's Temple) that King Solomon was given to build for The Lord in Jerusalem was 60 cubits (90 feet / 27 meters) long and 20 cubits (30 feet / 9 meters) wide:

"And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of The Lord. And the house which king Solomon built for The Lord, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits." (1 Kings 6:1-2 KJV)

Fact Finder: Along with the cubit, what other weights and measures are found in the Holy Bible?
See Biblical Weights and Measures

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