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PEN:

An instrument for writing. The older expressions for "writing," which later occur as archaisms in lofty speech, mean "to cut in," "to scratch" ("ḥaḳaḳ," "ḥaraṭ," "ḥarat," "ḥarash"). There is no mention, therefore, of pens, but of iron styles ("'eṭ barzel"—Jer. xvii. 1; Job xix. 24; "ḥereṭ"—Ex. xxxii. 4; Jer. xvii. 1). For writing material stone was used, as for the tables of the Decalogue; Ezekiel, in Babylonia, speaks of tiles (iv. 1), Jeremiah of writing in the earth (xvii. 13). Often tablets covered with wax were used; sometimes also metal strips (comp. Ex. xxviii. 36, xxxix. 30). The characters were always cut into this material by means of the style. It is difficult to determine the antiquity of writing with colored matter, and, therefore, with a pen. Ink is mentioned only once, in Jer. xxxvi. 18, but that method of writing is certainly much older. If it is true that the word "katab" originally meant writing with colored matter (comp. "katam" = "to cover something"), then the custom of writing with a pen would be as old as the word "katab." This is very probable since the art of writing with colors was known in Egypt long before Israel settled in Palestine. That writing, however, was not customary in Palestine in the fifteenth pre-Christian century, but that there, as in Babylon, clay tablets were used, even in every-day life, is shown by the discoveries in Tell el-Amarna and at Seilun in Palestine. See Jew. Encyc. viii. 306, s.v. Manuscripts.

E. G. H. W. N.
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