1. The measures of the Jews.
It obtained among the Jews, "That the land of Israel contained the square of four hundred parsae." And they are delighted, I know not how nor why, with this number and measure. "Jonathan Ben Uzziel interpreted from the mouth of Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi; and the land of Israel was moved four hundred parsae every way." "When a hog was drawn up upon the walls of Jerusalem, and fixed his hoofs upon them, the land of Israel shook four hundred parsae every way."
A parsa contains in it four miles. "Ten parsae (saith the Gloss at the place in the margin) are forty miles": which might be proved largely elsewhere, if need were. So that four hundred parsae (or so many thirty furlongs), made a thousand six hundred miles. Which measure why they ascribed it to the land of Israel on every side of the square of it, whether from the measurings of Ezekiel, or from somewhat else, we do not here inquire. But we cannot but observe this, that the same number is mentioned, and perhaps the same measure understood, Revelation 14:20: "Blood issued out of the lake to the horses' bridles, for a thousand six hundred furlongs." Where the Arabic reads, "for the space of a thousand six hundred miles."
The Talmudists measure sometimes by miles, sometimes by parses, sometimes by diets. Every one of these you will meet with in them very frequently.
Of the Talmudic mile, take this admonition of theirs namely, that "it consisted" (not of eight, as the Greek and Roman did, but) "of seven furlongs and a half."
And of the diet, take this: "R. Jochanan saith, How much is a man's journey in one day? Ten parses. From the first dawning of the morning to sun-rise, five miles. From sun-set until stars appear, five miles. There remain thirty. Fifteen from morning to noon. Fifteen from noon till even." Behold a day's journey of forty miles in one sense, that is, as much as may be despatched in one day; and of thirty in another, that is, as much as most usually was wont to be despatched. Where you are admonished by them also, that these are computed "according to the equinoctial day."
They feign, that Saul in one day travelled sixty miles, as the Israelites did also from Jordan to mount Gerizim: but most commonly they judge the diet to be according to what was said, namely, that under it are comprehended thirty miles.
And hither let those passages be brought. "What is a long way? From Modim" (the sepulchres of the Maccabees) "and forward; and, according to this measure, on every side. He saith, moreover: From Modim to Jerusalem were fifteen miles." The dispute is upon that, Numbers 9:10, where it is commanded, that every one keep the Passover in the first month, unless he be unclean, "or in a long way"; and it is concluded, that by a long way is to be understood the distance of fifteen miles at the least, which was the half of a common diet.