# Fractional cubits and gopher wood

Were there any fractional units to the Hewbrew cubit? I’m not trying to start a great flood debate, just add the scale as a cute feature to a toy ark I’m making for a friend’s children. While I’m at it is there any reference for what gopher wood might have been?

Aw, c’mon. Everyone knows 1 cubit = 65.2541 barleycorns or 31438.674 twips.

“Some people are worried about the difference between right and wrong. I’m worried about the difference between wrong and fun.”
~P.J. O’Rourke~

1 cubit = 6 handbreaths

Young’s Concordance suggests cedar, cypress, or fir.

Offhand, I think this is one we just don’t know for sure; the Hebrew word “gfr” only occurs once in the entire Bible, and the Bible is something like 99% of all the really ancient Hebrew there is.

John W. Kennedy
“Compact is becoming contract; man only earns and pays.”
– Charles Williams

If I were making a cartoon about the Ark, would 1 handbreadth = 3 fingers?

I dunno, Keeves.

I just measured on myself, and a cubit (fingertips to elbow) is only 5 handbreadths.

Keystream: I was simply quoting the definitions as used in the Talmud.

But I tried your experiment and found something interesting. The first time I tried it, without really thinking, I am just sitting here at my desk looking at my arm, and I put one hand against the arm, and got the same 5 that you did. Then I realized that my arm was bent at the elbow, and I was taking the inside measure. When I measured the outside, I did get 6. And I repeated both measures several times and it came out pretty much the same. Any other experimenters?

If I measure using a “handwidth” as the width of my hand right at the point where my index finger joins the palm, I get pretty close to six per cubit. If I measure out at the tips, it’s closer to seven; if I include the thumb it’s more like five.

In recent translations I’ve seen “acacia” used for what the KJV calls “shittim wood”, but I can’t recall what they used for the kind of wood the ark was built of.

If I measure using a “handwidth” as the width of my hand right at the point where my index finger joins the palm, I get pretty close to six per cubit. If I measure out at the tips, it’s closer to seven; if I include the thumb it’s more like five.

In recent translations I’ve seen “acacia” used for what the KJV calls “shittim wood”, but I can’t recall what they used for “gopher wood”.

Padeye, all we know about ‘goferwood’ is that it had a reddish coloration to it. I was the Technical Director for our high school production of Children of Eden. I built a portion of the Ark and stained the whole thing with a cherry stain. You might consider something like that for your toy.

Just curious, Babar. How do we know it had a reddish tint?

Mr. K’s Link of the Month:

The Enchanted World of Rankin-Bass

I could get 4 handwidths if I used the widest part of my hand (at the point where the fingers join the hand) and I made a fist. My fingers are a full handwidth themselves making 5 to the finger tips.

Yeah, “gopher” is one of those Hebrew words “of unknown meaning,” being left untranslated (as with “cherubim” and “seraphim” recently mentioned in another thread."

I think we’ve assumed it meant cypress, but I could be wrong.

Is cypress red?

most modern translations i’ve seen say gopher* *unknown,possibly cypress (use pine,Pad, a dull red stain,don’t get all bright cherry sorta as if you rubbed it with red chalk,then wiped it off…I could take the time to go look it up but does it say somethin about the pitch bein red? Some tree pitch is reddish, but i think the sumerians had bituminous pitch,did they have shellac? Shellac can be red. Been makin saw dust a long time,Redheart Cypress can be red,not a species, red is due to minerals it takes up ( a light not too bright cherry is close,good choice,Babar) usually it is a light brownish yellow or tan and it IS used in boat building. EY! Libouxe i come by for you to take me in your new red cyprus pirou up da bayou! Redcedar can also be redDISH it CAN be used in boat building but kinda soft and not really red,look at a new cedar fence (not the same as aromatic cedar used in closets.) both grow in the fertile crescent. Gopher wood is obviously the wood woodchucks chuck.
The cubit is from the outside bent elbow to the tip of the middle finger. Noahs was about 22 inches,his cubit not his finger.(That’s the length of the cubit back then and there,romans had an 18 inch one) 6 hands to a cubit.(across the palm basically, 4 fingers to a hand. (cept for Gill,leave those damn pokemons out of the ark this time)finger is across at the first joint out from the hand. As ya’ll found out these relationships, not to mention the actual measurements, varyfrom person to person. Sometimes arm to arm. I’m sure glad they came up with the tape measure,I mean what if I had to measure something really big,I get enuff sawdust down my pants as it is.

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

How many cubits to the pica? How many fingers to the Gry?

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

Checked the NLT, and it says “resinous wood” but doesn’t get specific about the type.

Thanks for all the input. The scale is just a humourous touch since it won’t be practical make Noah, his wife or the critters to the same scale as the ark. I have to recalculate as Roman cubits will not do. I’ll also have to skimp on the variety of beasts as well as Noah’s sons and daughters in law. I still think my friend’s kids will get a kick out of it.

Mr. John, I bet we’re on the same woodworking boards. Ever make it to TheOak or Badger Pond?

A few years ago I heard a news blurb about “Gopher Wood” supposedly being identified. Some highly specialized scientist (Mid-East Paleobotany or somesuch) claimed that gopher wood was Corkwood Pine. The blurb didn’t say how this was determined, so for all I know the guy could have asked a Magic 8-Ball.

“I had a feeling that in Hell there would be mushrooms.” -The Secret of Monkey Island