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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.
Jer 52:21 The finger was 1/4 handbreadth and was the smallest subdivision of the cubit. This is its only mention in Scripture.
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
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
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
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”.