5618 weights and measures, linear
These terms were based on natural units of measurement that could be easily applied. Measures are given in ascending order, with their approximate imperial and metric equivalents.
Finger (1/4 handbreadth): about 3/4 inch (about 1.85 centimetres)
Jer 52:21 The finger was 1/4 handbreadth and was the smallest subdivision of the cubit. This is its only mention in Scripture.
Handbreadth (4 fingers): about 3 inches (about 8 centimetres)
Ex 25:25 pp Ex 37:12 The handbreadth was the width of the hand at the base of the four fingers. See also 1Ki 7:26 pp 2Ch 4:5; Ps 39:5 The handbreadth is here used figuratively of the shortness of human life; Eze 40:5
Span (half a cubit): about 9 inches (about 23 centimetres)
Ex 28:16 pp Ex 39:9 The span was the width of the outstretched hand from thumb to little finger. See also 1Sa 17:4 Goliath’s height is given in the Hebrew as “six cubits and a span”; Ps 90:10 The span is here used figuratively of the shortness of human life; Eze 43:13
Cubit (2 spans): about 18 inches (about 0.5 metre)
Ex 25:10 pp Ex 37:1 The cubit was the distance from the fingertip to the elbow, and was used to measure height, size, depth and distance. See also Ge 7:20 The Hebrew describes the depth of the water as “fifteen cubits”; Ex 27:9-18 pp Ex 38:9-15; 1Ki 6:2-3 pp 2Ch 3:3-4; 1Ch 11:23 The Hebrew describes the man as “five cubits tall”; Eze 40:5; Eze 45:1-6; Eze 47:3-5; Jn 21:8 The Greek text describes the distance as “about two hundred cubits”; Rev 21:17
Reed (6 cubits): about 10 feet (about 3 metres)
Mt 5:41 The Greek word for “mile” here is “milion”, a transliteration of the Roman measurement “mille passuum”, “a thousand paces”. See also Lk 24:13 The measurement in the Greek is “sixty stadia”. Eight stadia were about one mile (about 1480 metres); Jn 6:19 The measurement in the Greek is “twenty-five or thirty stadia”; Jn 11:18 The measurement in the Greek is “fifteen stadia”.