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What is a Cubit?

Date: 03/31/2002 at 17:26:31
From: Becky
Subject: Cubit

The Bible says that Moses was 9 cubits tall and Pharaoh was 1 cubit 
tall. How do you calculate that in today's standard of height in 
inches or feet?

Thank you.

Date: 04/01/2002 at 13:33:13
From: Doctor Sarah
Subject: Re: Cubit

Hi Becky - thanks for writing to Dr. Math.

Russ Rowlett's _How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement_ is a 
good place to look up things like a 'cubit'.   

a historic unit of distance frequently mentioned in the Bible. The 
word comes from the Latin cubitum, "elbow," because the unit 
represents the length of a man's forearm from his elbow to the tip of 
his outstretched middle finger. This distance tends to be about 18 
inches or roughly 45 centimeters. In ancient times, the cubit was 
usually defined to equal 24 digits or 6 palms. The Egyptian royal or 
"long" cubit, however, was equal to 28 digits or 7 palms. In the 
English system, the digit is conventionally identified as 3/4 inch; 
this makes the ordinary cubit exactly 18 inches (45.72 centimeters). 
The Roman cubit was shorter, about 44.4 centimeters (17.5 inches). The 
ordinary Egyptian cubit was just under 45 centimeters, and most 
authorities estimate the royal cubit at about 52.35 centimeters (20.61 

- Doctor Sarah, The Math Forum   
Associated Topics:
Middle School Definitions
Middle School Terms/Units of Measurement

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