# Biblical Weights and Measures

What are the various weights and measures used in the Bible? What are their modern equivalents?

It should be first noted that the maintenance of honest weights and measures was an important principle in Biblical times. God himself directly commanded his people to be honest when they traded and not attempt to cheat each other (especially those who were strangers, see Leviticus 19:34 - 36).

Below is a list of the King James Bible words that refer to the most commonly used weights and measures found in the Old and New Testaments.

Bath
1 ephah = 22 liters = 5.8 Gallons
Used in the Bible for liquids (1Kings 7:26, Isaiah 5:10).

Cubit
44.5 to 52 centimeters = 17.5 to 20.4 inches
The length of a cubit is based on the distance between the tip of the middle finger and the elbow (Genesis 6:13 - 16, Matthew 6:27, Luke 12:25).

There were at least two sizes of cubits used in the Old Testament. The first or ordinary cubit was about 17.5 inches (44.5 centimeters) long. The second, known as the long or "royal" (sacred) cubit, was a hand-breadth longer (see Ezekiel 40:5, 43:13) or about 20.4 inches (51.8 centimeters) long. The royal cubit was likely used by Solomon to build Jerusalem's temple (2Chronicles 3:3) and possibly utilized to construct Noah's Ark.

Day's Journey
32 kilometers = roughly 20 miles
This distance is used only once in the New Testament (Luke 2:44).

Ephah
10 omers = .62 bushels = 22 liters = 20 dry quarts
Used in the Bible for a dry measure (Exodus 16:36, 1Samuel 17:17).

Farthing
2 mites = 1/4th of a cent
Used only three times in the New Testament as a measure of money (Matthew 5:26, 10:29, Mark 12:42).

Firkin
34 liters = 9 gallons
Used only once in the New Testament in reference to Jesus' miracle of turning water into wine (John 2:6).

Furlong
1/8th of a mile = 201.2 meters
Translated from the Greek word stadion and used as a measure of distance (Luke 24:13, John 6:19, 11;18, Revelation 14:20, 21:16).

Gerah
1/20th of a Shekel = .57 grams = .02 ounces
The smallest weight and piece of money used in Israel (Exodus 30:13, Leviticus 27:25, Numbers 3:47).

7.6 centimeters = 3 inches
Used for lengths (1Kings 7:26, Psalm 39:5).

Hin
1/6th of a Bath = 3.7 liters = 1 Gallon
Used as a measurement of liquids (Exodus 29:40, 30:24, Numbers 15:4).

Homer (Cor)
Dry Measure: 10 Ephahs = 211 liters = 6.2 bushels
Liquid: 10 Baths = 220 liters = 58 Gallons
Can be used to measure volume of dry commodities like barley or liquids (Numbers 11:32, Hosea 3:2, Ezekiel 45:11, 13 - 14).

Log
1/72 of a bath = .3 liter = 1/3 of a quart
Used as a measure of liquid (Leviticus 14:10, 12, 15, 21, 24).

Mina
50 Shekels
Translated from the Hebrew maneh as "pound." Used as a measure of currency (1Kings 10:17, Ezra 2:69, Ezekiel 45:12).

Mite
1/2 Roman quadran = 1/2 farthing = 1/8th of a cent
Translated from the Greek word lepton, it was the smallest coin used (Mark 12:42, Luke 12:59, 21:2).

Omer
1/10 ephah = 2.2 dry liters = 2 dry quarts
The Hebrew word omer is also sometimes translated as "sheaf" or "sheaves" (Leviticus 23:10 - 12, Ruth 2:7). A sheaf was considered a quantity of grain big enough to bundle (Exodus 16:22, 32 - 33, 36).

Penny (KJV Bible)
1 Penny = 1 Roman Denarius = 1 Greek Drachma
In the KJV New Testament, the same Greek word denarion (denarius) is translated as "penny" (Matthew 20:2 - 13, 22:19, Revelation 6:6), "pennyworth" (Mark 6:37, John 6:7) and "pence" (Matthew 18:28, Mark 14:5, Luke 7:41). Jesus used a denarius to teach that it was lawful to pay Roman taxes (Matthew 22:19, Luke 20:22 - 25). One denarius was considered a single day's wages.

Pound
Used as Weight: 100 shekels
Used for Money: 100 Roman denarii = 100 Greek drachmas = \$16.00 U.S.
Another common weight also used for the value of money (1Kings 10:17, Ezra 2:29, Luke 19:13, 16, 18).

Reed
3 meters = 10 feet
Used for length measurements (Ezekiel 42:16, Revelation 21:15).

Sabbath's day journey
2,000 cubits = .91 kilometers = 1/2 of a mile
According to Jewish tradition (not the Bible) this was the maximum allowable distance a person could travel on the Seventh-day Sabbath and not violate the law (Acts 1:12, Joshua 3:4).

Shekel
20 gerahs = 11.4 grams = .4 ounces
A common weight also used for money (Genesis 23:15 - 16, Exodus 21:32, 30:13, 1Samuel 17:5, Ezekiel 45:12).

Span
1/2 cubit = 22.8 centimeters = 9 inches
A span is the width of a spread out human hand from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the pinky finger (Exodus 28:16, 1Samuel 17:4, Ezekiel 43:13).

Talent
3,000 shekels = 60 minas = 34.3 kilograms = 75 U.S. pounds
One of the common Biblical weights also used to value money (Exodus 38:24 - 29, 1Kings 9:14, Matthew 18:24, Revelation 16:21).

A talent of gold weighs, using a modern weight, 1,094 troy ounces. Assuming one troy ounce is worth \$1,700 U.S., a talent is worth about \$1.86 million dollars! If we assume silver at \$20 per troy ounce, a talent is worth \$21,880 today.

## Note

Biblical commentaries vary regarding what they believe to be the modern equivalents of various weights and measures. The ancient shekel, for example, when used as a weight, is usually quoted as between .25 (or 1/4) ounces (U.S.) and .5 (or 1/2) ounces (U.S.), with .4 (or 2/5) ounces the most commonly believed equivalent. What is listed on this page is a consensus of our research and should therefore be taken only as an approximation.

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