Biblical Weights and Measures, a guide, Part 2

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Biblical Weights and Measures, a guide, Part 2

Postby GethN7 » Thu May 09, 2019 3:09 am

See here for Part 1; ... guide.html

(original blog post link) ... ide_9.html

Lengths: Measures of width and distance.

Finger: About 8/10ths an inch, or the width of a finger measured horizontally.

Handbreathth: About 3 inches, or the measure of 4 fingers horizontally. (minus the thumb)

Span: 9 inches.

Cubit: 18 inches. Would have been the ancient equivalent to the American foot of 12 inches.

Long Cubit: 20 inches: A rarely used measurement mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel.

Fathom: 6 feet. Would have been used most often as a nautical measure.

Note: Survived to see more modern usage. Mark Twain's pen name is derived from the term "Twain", which would have been four fathoms, or 24 feet.

Reed: 8 cubits, around 9 feet (rounded up)

Furlong: 1/8th mile/650 feet. A measure of distance mentioned in Revelation, relating to a span of distance crossable by horses.

Stadion: Around 700 feet. Alternatively used with furlong in some cases.

Sabbath day's journey: 3/5 of a mile. Distance was used to measure the length from Jerusalem's outer gates to the Mount of Olives.

Day's journey: 20 miles. Distance crossed by Elijah in 2 Kings after he fled for his life after the showdown between Baal and God on Mount Carmel.

Weights: Would have been used to evaluate the weight of certain objects aside from money, though has some overlap, as money was often evaluated in terms of weight before the use of currency.

Gerah: 1/50 ounce. A modern American dime would be about equivalent to this.

Bekah: 1/5 ounce or ten gerahs. Two copper American pennies would be about equivalent.

Pim: 1/3 ounce. Standard American nickel would be roughly equivalent.

Shekel: 2/5 ounce. Standard American quarter would be roughly equivalent.

Note: Has survived into modern usage as a monetary measure for the State of Israel, but that would be a proper form of currency, not a weight or measure.

Mina: 1.25 pounds or 50 shekels. Standard roll of American quarters would be equivalent.

Note: This term is one of the oldest known terms for weight for most historians, having shown up as early as the Semitic civilizations that were established along the Fertile Crescent of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

Talent: 60 minas or 75 pounds.

Note: Gold and silver were later assigned specific talent measures to determine their value as an exchange medium, this measure of talent would have been used more universally for all items regardless of value, merely representing their aggregate weight.
Last edited by GethN7 on Fri May 10, 2019 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Biblical Weights and Measures, a guide, Part 2

Postby ccgr » Fri May 10, 2019 6:46 am

Very helpful, thanks!

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