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Ephah (/ˈfə/,[1] Hebrew: עֵיפָה‘Êp̄āh) was one of Midian's five sons as listed in the Hebrew Bible.[2] Midian, a son of Abraham, was the father of Ephah, Epher, Enoch, Abida, and Eldaah. These five were the progenitors of the Midianites.

Other usesEdit

Biblical figureEdit

The name of three persons in the Old Testament, two men and one woman.

"(1) The son of Midian, descended from Abraham by his wife Keturah (Genesis 25:4 ; 1 Chronicles 1:33), mentioned again in Isaiah 60:6 as a transporter of gold and frankincense from Sheba, who shall thus bring enlargement to Judah and praise to Yahweh. According to Fried[rich] Delitzsch, Schrader, and Hommel, `Ephah is an abbreviation of `Ayappa, the Kha-yappa Arabs of the time of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon."[3]

"(2) A concubine of Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:46)."[3]

"(3) The son of Jahdai, a descendant of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:47)."[3]


The Book of Isaiah, chapter 60, mentions a land of Ephah whence camels and dromedaries would come to Israel: "A multitude of camels shall cover you, the young camels of Midian and Ephah". Kenneth E. Bailey suggests Ephah is a tribal land in northern Arabia.[4]


The Hebrew word "ephah" (איפה) means a particular measure for grain, and "measure" in general. The Bible's ephah in modern terms is about 23 liters (5.1 imp gal; 6.1 U.S. gal), being ten times larger than the omer.[5]

The Book of Exodus records that an omer was equal to one tenth of an "ephah".[6] The Targum Pseudo-Jonathan implies that an omer was the equivalent of the capacity of 43.2 eggs.[7] In dry weight, various rabbinical sources rule that the omer weighed 1.560–1.770 kg (3.44–3.90 lb), being the quantity of flour required to separate therefrom the dough offering.[8] It corresponds to the bath (Ezekiel 45:11) in liquid measure and was the standard for measuring grain and similar articles since it is classed with balances and weights (Leviticus 19:36 ; Amos 8:5) in the injunctions regarding just dealing in trade. In Zechariah 5:6–10 it is used for the utensil itself.


  1. ^ "Book of Mormon Pronunciation Guide" (retrieved 2012-02-25), IPA-ified from «ē´fä»
  2. ^ Genesis 25:1–4; I Chronicles 1:32–33
  3. ^ a b c Charles B. Williams, "Ephah." International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1906).
  4. ^ Kenneth E. Bailey (20 September 2009). Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels. InterVarsity Press. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-8308-7585-6.
  5. ^ Adele Berlin; Marc Zvi Brettler (17 October 2014). The Jewish Study Bible: Second Edition. Oxford University Press. p. 579. ISBN 978-0-19-939387-9.
  6. ^ Exodus 16:36
  7. ^ Based on the Aramaic Targum of pseudo-Jonathan ben Uzziel on Exodus 16:36 who says: "an omer is one-tenth of three seahs." In Hebrew measures, 1 seah is equal to the capacity of 144 eggs. Three seahs are the equivalent of 432 eggs; one-tenth of this is 43.2 eggs (The Mishnah, ed. Herbert Danby, Oxford University Press: Oxford 1977, Appendix II, p. 798)
  8. ^ Maimonides brings down its approximate weight in Egyptian dirhams, writing in Mishnah Eduyot 1:2: "...And I found the rate of the dough-portion in that measurement to be approximately five-hundred and twenty dirhams of wheat flour, while all these dirhams are the Egyptian [dirham]." This view is repeated by Maran's Shulhan Arukh (Hil. Hallah, Yoreh Deah § 324:3) in the name of the Tur. In Maimonides' commentary of the Mishnah (Eduyot 1:2, note 18), Rabbi Yosef Qafih explains that the weight of each Egyptian dirham was approximately 3.333 grams (0.1176 oz), which total weight of flour requiring the separation of the dough-portion comes to appx. 1.733 grams (0.0611 oz). Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, in his Sefer Halikhot ʿOlam (vol. 1, pp. 288–91), makes use of a different standard for the Egyptian dirham, saying that it weighed appx. 3.0 grams (0.11 oz), meaning the minimum requirement for separating the priest's portion is 1.560 grams (0.0550 oz). Others (e.g. Rabbi Avraham Chaim Naeh) say the Egyptian dirham weighed appx. 3.205 grams (0.1131 oz), which total weight for the requirement of separating the dough-portion comes to 1.666 kilograms (3.67 lb). Rabbi Shelomo Qorah (Chief Rabbi of Bnei Barak) brings down the traditional weight used in Yemen for each dirham, saying that it weighed 3.36 grams (0.119 oz), making the total weight for the required separation of the dough-portion to be 1.77072 kg (3.9038 lb).