Measuring Circumference

“And he (Hiram) made the sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.”                                                                                          – I Kings 7: 23

tabernacle

√ Image Source: http://www.kjvbible.org/firmament.html

 

1.  This is one of the more assaulted passages in the Bible from skeptics – and it has to do with the math at play here

2.  As it turns out, it ends up being one of the most remarkable passages illustrating Scriptural accuracy

3.  In I Kings 7, we have the dimensions of the Temple and its implements (furniture if you will) being laid out

 

“And he (Hiram) made the sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.”                                                                                                    – I Kings 7: 23

measuring-circumference

Image Source: http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/math.html

4.  Here is what we are talking about – it’s basically a massive laver

 

“And he (Hiram) made the sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.”                                                                                                                                – I Kings 7: 23

circumference-and-diameter

√ Image Source: http://www.kjvbible.org/firmament.html

 

5.  The Bible gives its dimensions and lays out that we are dealing with a circular object as looked at from the top

  • The Circumference is 30 cubits (a cubit is basically 18 inches)
  • The Diameter is 10 cubits

6.  How good is your geometry?  Does anyone see a problem with this?

  • Have we finally found a mistake in the Bible?  Of course not…but this baffled many a scholar

circumference-formulas

circumerence

measuring-circumference

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

√ Image Sources: http://creation.com/does-the-bible-say-pi-equals-3

√ http://www.thywordistrue.com/contradictions/13/What_is_the_value_of_PI.html

 

“And it was a hand breadth thick, and the brim thereof was wrought like the brim of a cup.”                                                                                                               – I Kings 7: 26

 

7.  One approach was to take a look at verse 26 which suggested that the brim itself should not be accounted for in the diameter

  • In other words, the brim was as thick as a handbreadth all the way around
  • The circumference was actually measured from within the molten sea – not from without
  • This is a possibility – but this requires a not so natural reading of the text…

“And he (Hiram) made the sea of cast bronze, ten cubits from one brim to the other; it was completely round. Its height was five cubits, and a line of thirty cubits measured its circumference.”                                                                                      – I Kings 7: 23

1-kings-chart

√ Image Source: http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=1Ki&c=7&v=23&t=NKJV#conc/23

 

8.  Another approach and the one that we are putting forth here involves a Hebrew construct and how the language would depict numerical values at the time the Scripture was penned

9.  The common word for line in Hebrew is the transliteration “qav” – notice the green arrow pointing to the Interlinear Text as taken from the Blue Letter Bible website

  • When you couple “qav” (translated “line”) with “cabiyb (“round about”), you know that a circumference is being referred to – see the blue arrow

10.  Here, however, the spelling is the transliteration “qaveh” – in other words, an extra heh sound of (h) in English is added – note the red arrow

11.  When copying the Hebrew Bible, Masoretic scribes would not alter any text – even if they felt a previous copy had been made incorrectly

  • Instead, they noted in the margin what they thought the written text should be
  • The written variation is called a “kethiv”; and the marginal annotation is called the “qere”
  • The Masoretic scribes however included a “remez” note here – which meant they believed there was a hint of something deeper
  • Jewish Scribes (and theologians) down through the years have concluded this to be a mathematical formula

√ Source: http://www.khouse.org/articles/1998/158/

12.  Old Testament Hebrew would have used letters to signify numbers – much the way Romans did (such as I, V, X, etc…we use Arabic numerals which are distinct from our letters, save for o or 0)

  • Using the English equivalents:
    1. “q” in “qav” has a value of 100
    2. “a” is added in the transliteration, but is not resident in the text – it is just there to help us with pronunciation…so there is no value
    3. “v” has a value of 6
  • Thus, the normal spelling for “qav” would yield a numerical value of 106
  • The addition of the “h” on the end however, adds a value of 5
  • This would increase the numerical value to 111

√ Source: http://www.khouse.org/articles/1998/158/

13.  If our theory is correct, then the Hebrew “remez” is presenting us with an adjustment ratio of 111/106, or a multiplying factor of 1.04716981

  • Sure enough, the math now works out with a great degree of precision
  • 1.04716981 x 30 cubits = 31.4150943 is the value of the circumference being presented in the passage

14.  Using the geometric formula of Circumference = “Pi” or 3.14159265… x the Diameter of 10 we are given a value of 31.4159265 as the circumference
√ http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_exact_value_of_pi

irrational-numbers

15.  The value of the circumference being presented by the text is 1.04716981 x 30 cubits, or 31.4150943 cubits

16.  Using the established Geometric formula of Circumference = “Pi” or 3.14159265… x the Diameter of 10 we are given a value of 31.4159265 cubits

17.  If you compare the value presented by the passage (i.e., 31.4150943) with the Geometric Value (i.e., 31.4159265), you have 99.99735% agreement

  • In other words, you have to go out to the thousands decimal place before there is divergence
  • In geometry class, we used to use a 22/7 ratio to depict the value of “Pi” – that only gave you a 99.95976% agreement

18.  The events described in I Kings 7 took place sometime before 950 BC

  • Understand that mathematicians only determined the value of Pi @ 250 BC
  • The credit for this discovery goes to the Greek mathematician Archimedes

√ Source: http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/52543.html

  • Pi is an irrational number and can never be stated with absolute precision…

√ Source: http://www.mathsisfun.com/irrational-numbers.html

19.  The Bible is incredibly precise in its mathematics