THE EARTHLY INHERITANCE SERIES of BIBLE SUBJECTS
Various Bible study guides in subjects pertaining to
New Earth prophecy, as taught by Paul Phelps.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD,
they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9
DISCOVERING ISRAEL'S CUBITS
A description of Israel’s ancient cubit measures based on
the archaeological findings at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.
From the Biblical Archaeological Review, March/April ‘83,
(pages 46-49): the findings of Israeli Professor Yigal Yadin.
An informational essay by Paul Phelps.
After several years of study this writing was completed in 2000.
In antiquity the cubit was the usual unit of length measure in many countries.
This is an average length of a man’s forearm from elbow to extended fingertip.
The length varied from time-to-time and country-to-country. The cubit is often
referred to in the Bible but the exact length could not be known until recently.
Cubits express human body proportions; every cubit consists of two ‘spans,’
(a span is a man’s spread-open hand from small finger tip unto the thumb tip).
Each span is three palms. One palm is the breadth of four fingers put together.
A palm or handbreadth is four fingers (digits). There are six handbreadths in a
cubit, and each cubit is therefore twenty-four digits.
Onsite cubit measures of Temple foundation stones have been discovered at
Jerusalem’s Temple Mount; the incised notches show the precise locations and
orientations of the First and Second Temples on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and
reveal the exact lengths of the cubit measures. Israel’s three cubits are called
‘medium cubits’ in historic reference. The three ‘medium cubits’ are different
by an approximate half digit.
The shortest cubit is the first or former cubit from Moses’ time. This was the
cubit of the First Temple (2 Chron. 3:3). As this is the cubit given by Moses, the
Tabernacle was based on this cubit. The obtained measures are 42.857142 cm.
When the Jews returned from Babylon they brought with them two measures:
the small and large cubits. The second temple was built using the small cubit.
The large cubit was used daily and became the standard cubit of Roman times.
The obtained measures of the small cubit average 43.7 cm.
The obtained measures for the large cubit average 44.5 cm.
Ezekiel was a priest in the first temple and in his time the first cubit was still
being used. The angel of his vision used a six cubit measure rod, but the cubits
he used were one handbreadth longer (40:5) making his cubits 50 cm in length.
Angels use half-metre units (50 cm) in their measuring system. The angel’s rod
was six of the longer cubits, so it means he was using a three-metre rod.
Based on Ezekiel’s vision of the future, it is probable that the New Earth cubit
will be the longer half-metre cubit used by the angel.
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