Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Just how long is a cubit?

At least Noah had the advantage of a warning from the Almighty but we few, here in wettest Wales, have been unprepared for the deluge that has been with us now for some years weeks.

The garden is a swamp and the bantams have taken to paddling around a la duck fashion.

The weathermen (and women) say that it will be with us at least until July (hopefully they mean July this year).

What to do in such appalling weather conditions?

Toy thoughtfully with a hara kiri knife?

Put on a Gorecki CD?

Sing "Shine Jesus Shine" (and mean it)?

Or build an ark?

For those of little faith who believe that most of the accounts contained within the Old Testament are fairy stories, the story of Noah is remarkably prosaic and detailed.

The ark that Noah and his fine sons crafted was made of cypress wood, a very hard softwood, if you follow me. It is also full of natural resinous type oil and so would repel the inroads of water. But, in true boatbuilder fashion, the ark was caulked from within with burning pitch.
This working model of the Ark was built by a Dutchman because
he feared that the The Netherlands would be flooded (?)

By all accounts it was no Gypsy Moth flying across the surface of the sea, more like a rather squat oil tanker and about as manoeuvrable as an iceberg.

We are told that it measured 300 cubits in length, 50 wide and 30 high. Now, a cubit is very roughly based on the length of a man's forearm which, erring on the generous side would make it two feet in length.

Convert that to yards and the ark is not so very big at 200 yards from sharp to blunt end (or, in the ark's case, from blunt end to blunt end).

Now I do believe totally in the story of Noah from a Douay Bible, but I do have a bit of a hang up when it comes to fitting the animal population of the world, times two, into a vessel 200 yards high by 33 yards wide.
The Old Testament definitely mentions "wild animals" most specifically but, I do have some concerns as far as that is concerned.

Doubtless there will be some learned folk out there who can advise better (and I welcome any advice) but I am assuming that the animals that Noah and family herded onboard were actually domestic animals, two goats, two chickens, two sheep etc.And that any wild animals were left to fend for themselves.
Is it possible that what we classify as a domestic animal today might have qualified as "wild" in Noah's time?

Pairs of domestic beasts would fit very nicely into that sort of area and any extra space would, of course, be dedicated to animal feedstuffs and living accommodation for the Noah family.

But as for fitting in an arguable 1.5 million species times two....I think that's as wild a theory as claiming that Noah was six hundred years old.


  1. A cubit is the measurement from your elbow to the tip of your longest finger(usually the middle finger)

  2. But it would cost an arm and a leg....

  3. I measured my forearm, and it's 8.5 inches, so I would have made a much smaller boat for very small animals. It's a good thing God gave the job to Noah because Noah was alive then and knew more about boat building.

  4. I want to know about the fish...

  5. Actually Noah was instructed to take a pair of each unclean animal and seven pairs of each clean animal so the total population on the ark would have been much greater than most people think.

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