“The Tabernacle its construction and furnishings”, Part 6

As we continue in our examination of the tabernacle and its furnishings we will continually be referring to
the unit of measure known as the “
cubit”, therefore I believe a little background on this subject would
prove helpful at this time before we proceed any further. (
The following excerpts were taken from Brother
Frey’s
Notes on the Tabernacle” Pages 61-65)

“Innumerable attempts have been made in the course of the last two centuries to determine
the absolute
length or lengths of the Old Testament
cubit … a few of the more noteworthy values proposed in
recent years are as follows:

Conder (Handbook of the Bible) 16.00 inches
Beswick (1879) 17.72 inches
Watson (1897) 17.70 inches
Petrie (1892) 22.60 inches
Warren (1899) 17.75 inches
Petrie (Ency. Brit. 9th ed. Vol. 24, p. 484) 25.20 inches

To these may be added the estimates adopted in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible, from Thenius, of
19.50 inches. From these widely varying results it will be clear to every reader the reliable data for the
exact evaluation of the Hebrew cubit does not exist.” (
Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible)

“In the Hebrews, as in every other system, measures of length are of two classes: the smaller measures
of length and the measures for land and distance. The two are connected by having one unit, the cubit.
The smaller measures of length were all originally derived from the measurements of certain parts of the
human body, in every case, however, parts of the hand and forearm, while in Roman measurements the
foot was in use. “
The unit was the cubit, originally the length of the human arm from the tip of the
middle finger to the elbow
. The ordinary equivalent for this is 18 inches, though in early times it
was more, at one time even about 25 inches.
The legal cubit of the Talmudists was about 22 inches.
There are a great variety of these standards, as might naturally be expected.” (
Peloubet, Bible
Dictionary
)

“That the cubit among the Hebrews was derived from the human body is clear from
Deut 3:11,`after the
cubit of a man.’
But it is difficult to determine whether this cubit was understood as extending to the
wrist or the end of the third finger… it appears measures of length were, for the most part, borrowed by
the Hebrews from members of the human body. Still no absolute and invariable standard presents itself.”
(
McClintock & Strong, Cyclopedia, Vol. 2, p. 598)

“We have no certain means of determining the length of the ordinary cubit among the Hebrews, but there
are two ways by which we may approximate its value.
The Siloam Inscription states that the tunnel in
which it was found was 1200 cubits long. The actual length has been found to be about 1707
feet which would give a cubit of about 17.1 inches
... Of course, the given length may be a round
number, but it gives a close approximation.” (
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia,
“Weights and Measures,” Volume 5
)

“The length of the Siloam tunnel being (1,200 cubits) shows that in Hezekiah’s age, the Hebrew cubit
cannot have exceeded 17 inches. According to Maimonides
the building cubit was 16 inches and the
smaller cubit 13.3 inches
, equal to half an Arabic Draá, or `arm.’ The word cubit means a `forearm.’
(
Dummelov, One Volume Bible Commentary)

“It is evident that we cannot now accurately know the length of the Hebrew (i.e., the Mosaic cubit). Nor is
this really necessary, save perhaps in formulating some idea as to the size of the Tabernacle and its
furnishings as per
Tabernacle Shadows, Pages 13–15. At best this can be only an approximation.
When the Bible speaks in measurements, such as the cubit, we must consider the measurements in the
language of the Bible and not in feet or inches regardless of any coincidences.

Concerning the Pyramid, Morton Edgar had this to say:

It is Pyramid units, and not any other units of length, which unlock the symbolic and scientific
secrets of the Great Pyramid. Therefore, all measures of the Pyramid must be expressed in
Pyramid units
.” (Edgar, The Great Pyramid: Its Scientific Features, p. 25)

For a similar reason since the Architect of the Great Pyramid and the Tabernacle was one and the same
(Jehovah God), the unit to reveal spiritual truths in the Tabernacle must likewise be its unit of length (the
cubit) as given in the Scriptures themselves.

It seems to us that Bro. Russell, at the time of writing
Tabernacle Shadows of the Better Sacrifices,
was aware of the fact that no one living any longer knew the actual length of the ancient, sacred cubit;
and that he therefore,
arbitrarily used 18 inches as an approximation for the measurements of the
Tabernacle and its furnishings
. (See T13–15)

In conclusion it would seem to me that the “cubit” was a unit of measurement somewhere between 16
and 25 inches, and that its determination would be based upon what specifically one was measuring,
whether that be land measurement, distance, (time) or in building measurements, i.e. construction. The
Scriptures themselves mention both
a smaller cubit, the former or typical cubit (2 Chron 3:3) as well
as
a larger cubit, the typical cubit (the shorter one) being referred to as the length of the human arm
from elbow to middle digit of the hand, and the larger cubit being referred to as “
a cubit and a hands
breath
” See Ezekiel 40:5.

Therefore it is best that we keep an open mind when referring to the cubit.


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