Measuring Reed

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Used in Eze 40:5 ff; 42:16; 45:1; Re 11:1; 21:15,16. The length of the reed is given as 6 cubits, each cubit being a cubit and a palm, i.e. the large cubit of 7 palms, or about 10 ft. See Cubit. Originally it was an actual reed used for measurements of considerable length, but came at last to be used for a measure of definite length, as indicated by the reference in Ezkiel (compare "pole" in English measures).

In Ezekiel’s vision of the temple a "man" (an angel) appears with a "measuring reed" to measure the dimensions of the temple (Eze 40:3 ff; 42:16 ). The reed is described as 6 cubits long, "of a cubit and a handbreadth each," i.e. the cubit used was a handbreadth longer than the common cubit (see nodetitle; Weights and Measures; TEMPLE). In the Apocalypse this idea of a measuring reed reappears for measuring the temple (Re 11:1) and the holy city (Re 21:15,16, "a golden reed"). The thought conveyed is exactitude in the dimensions of these edifices, symbolic of the symmetry and perfection of God’s church.