Attention!
15 million Ukrainian are displaced by Russia's war.
Millions miss a meal or two each day.
Help us change that! Click to donate today!

Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words

Measure

Additional Links

A. Verb.

Mâdad (מָדַד, Strong's #4058), “to measure, measure off, extend.” Found in both ancient and modern Hebrew, in modern usage this word has the nuance of “to survey.” The word has cognates in Akkadian, Phoenician, and Arabic. It occurs 53 times in the text of the Hebrew Old Testament. The basic meaning of the verb is illustrated in its first occurrence in the Old Testament: “… they did mete it with an omer …” (Exod. 16:18). Mâdad is used not only of “measuring” volume but also of “measuring” distance (Deut. 21:2) and length (Num. 35:5).

A rather gruesome use is found in 2 Sam. 8:2, where, after defeating the Moabites, David “measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive.”

The greatness of the creator God is expressed in the question, “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand …?” (Isa. 40:12). Also, God “stood, and measured [NASB, “surveyed”] the earth” (Hab. 3:6).

Mâdad can express the idea of extending, stretching: “And he stretched himself upon the child three times …” (1 Kings 17:21).

B. Noun.

Middâh (מִדָּה, Strong's #4060), “measure; measurement; extent; size; stature; section; area.” Of the 53 times this noun appears, 25 appearances are in Ezekiel. The rest of the word’s occurrences are scattered throughout every period of biblical Hebrew.

This noun refers to the act of “measurement”: “You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity” (Lev. 19:35, RSV). In Ezek. 41:17 this word is used of length “measurement,” and in Job 28:25 of liquid “measurement.”

Second, middâh means the thing measured, or the “size.” Exod. 26:2 (the first occurrence) specifies: “… Every one of the curtains shall have one measure [the same size].” The word can also refer to the duration of one’s life: “Lord, make me to know [realize] mine end, and the measure of my days [how short my life really is] …” (Ps. 39:4). A “man of measure” is one of great “stature or size”: “And he [Benaiah] slew an Egyptian, a man of great stature, five cubits [about 7 1/2 feet] high …” (1 Chron. 11:23).

Third, middâh sometimes represents a “measured portion” of a thing: “Malchijah the son of Harim, and Hashub the son of Pahath-moab, repaired the other piece, and the tower of the furnaces” (Neh. 3:11). In Ezek. 45:3 the word appears to represent a “measured area.”

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Measure'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/vot/m/measure.html. 1940.

Search for…
Enter query in the box below:
Choose a letter to browse:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T U V W Y
Next Entry
Meditate