A linear measure roughly corresponding to the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger. (De 3:11) There are indications that the Israelites commonly used a cubit of about 44.5 cm (17.5 in.), and calculations in this publication are figured accordingly. The Siloam Inscription, for instance, gives 1,200 cubits as the length of the water tunnel built by King Hezekiah. According to modern measurements, this tunnel is 533 m (1,749 ft) long. Thus, when taken at face value, these figures yield a cubit of 44.4 cm (17.49 in.). Also, numerous buildings and enclosures excavated in Palestine can be measured in whole numbers of this unit, giving further basis for reckoning the cubit at about 44.5 cm (17.5 in.).
Evidently the Israelites also used a larger cubit that was one handbreadth (7.4 cm; 2.9 in.) longer than the “common” cubit. This larger cubit of about 51.8 cm (20.4 in.) figured in the measurements of Ezekiel’s visionary temple. (Eze 40:5) There may also have been a short cubit of about 38 cm (15 in.), measured from the elbow to the knuckles of the clenched hand.—Jg 3:16, ftn.