BAR 12:02, Mar/Apr 1986
Measurements in the BibleEvidence at St. Étienne for the Length of the Cubit and the Reed
Our work at the burial caves at St. Étienne has yielded an unexpected bonus by clarifying the length of the cubit and the reed, units of measurement mentioned frequently in the Bible.
The cubitactually the Egyptian cubitwas the standard measure of length in the Biblical period. The priestly tabernacle, the Temple of Solomon and many other structures are described in the Bible in cubit measurements. In fact, there were two different cubits, the long or royal cubit and the short cubit. Scholars have used various means to determine the length of the cubits, more or less with success. The long cubit is approximately 52.5 centimeters and the short cubit is about 45 centimeters.