Welcome to our article, where we will explore the conversion of 6 cubits into feet. Join us as we dive into this fascinating topic and uncover the height equivalence of 6 cubits in feet. Let’s get started!
How Tall Is 6 Cubits In Feet?
We unrolled a large paper roll to measure Goliath’s height. According to 1 Samuel 17:4, Goliath was described as six cubits and a span, which my Bible’s notes indicated to be about 9 feet and 9 inches tall. To clarify, a “cubit” is the distance from the elbow to the end of the middle finger, approximately 18 inches, while a “span” refers to the width of a hand, around 9 inches. Although I’m only 5 feet and 1 inch tall, we decided to use my arm for the measurement.
Aidan came up with the idea of marking each cubit on the paper using my arm as a guide. Another suggestion was to use a piece of string the length of my arm, but we eventually built a rod the length of my arm using Trios. Once we had everything set up, we unrolled the paper and had the boys guess where Goliath’s height would be on it. We marked their guesses. Then, we measured the 6 cubits and a span, followed by measuring out 9 feet and 9 inches using a ruler.
Comparing the two measurements, 9 feet and 9 inches was about 6 inches greater than the 6 cubits and a span, which wasn’t surprising given my short stature. The boys were amazed to see just how tall Goliath was! He even exceeded the height of our 8-foot ceilings by quite a bit!
How tall is 6 cubits and a hand?
In 1 Samuel 17:4, various English translations mention that Goliath’s height is given as six cubits and a span, approximately nine feet nine inches tall. However, some translations, like the ESV, provide a footnote stating, “Hebrew; Septuagint, Dead Sea Scroll and Josephus four.” This note indicates that the Hebrew version reads “six,” while other sources, such as the Septuagint, Dead Sea Scrolls, and writings of Josephus, suggest a shorter Goliath, measuring four cubits and a span, about six feet nine inches tall. One version presents Goliath as a true giant, while the other portrays him as shorter than individuals like Shaquille O’Neal.
Readers may not be familiar with terms like “Hebrew” or “Septuagint” in the English Bible footnotes, and even fewer may understand the complexities behind choosing between “six” and “four” as Goliath’s height. So, which reading is correct? To find out, let’s analyze the sources and explore how each reading likely came about.
What was Goliath height?
According to the oldest manuscripts, which include the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Samuel from the late 1st century BCE, the writings of the 1st-century CE historian Josephus, and the major Septuagint manuscripts, Goliath’s height is recorded as “four cubits and a span” (equivalent to 6 feet 9 inches or 2.06 meters). However, the Masoretic Text presents his height as “six cubits and a span” (approximately 9 feet 9 inches or 2.97 meters). This difference in measurement has caught the attention of scholars.
Many experts have proposed that the smaller number, “four cubits and a span,” may have developed during the process of transmission. Some suggest that this variation arose when a scribe focused on the number six in line 17:7 and inadvertently altered the original larger measurement.
While only a few have proposed the opposite scenario, suggesting that the original measurement was larger and later reduced. This discrepancy raises intriguing questions about the accuracy and evolution of Goliath’s height in historical texts.
How big is a cubit in the Bible?
The English usage of the term “cubit” presents some challenges when trying to ascertain its exact length. The measurement can vary depending on whether it encompasses the entire length from the elbow to the tip of the longest finger or one of the alternative interpretations mentioned earlier.
Some scholars propose that the longer dimension was the original cubit, resulting in an ordinary cubit of 20.24 inches and a sacred cubit of 21.88 inches. Alternatively, it could represent a standard cubit from the elbow to the end of the middle finger (20 inches) and a lower forearm cubit from the elbow to the base of the hand (12 inches). These dimensions align with Egyptian measurements, as indicated in Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary.
How tall was Goliath in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
The height of Goliath has been a subject of debate among experts. According to most English translations of 1 Samuel 17:4, Goliath stood “six cubits and a span,” making him an imposing nine feet tall. However, a damaged Dead Sea scroll suggests that he may have been “four cubits and a span,” which would make him a more modest six and a half feet tall. This discrepancy has led to differing interpretations, and the official U.S. Catholic Bible presents Goliath with the shorter stature.
Another example of potential changes in biblical texts can be seen in Psalm 145, an acrostic where each verse starts with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. In the standard Hebrew text, one verse is missing, but it was found in a Dead Sea scroll and has been included in most recent translations. These rewordings may impact the meaning of the passages.
While some scholars may consider such alterations, those who view each word of the Bible as divinely inspired find even small changes to be significant.