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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Ink

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ink ( דּיו , deyō , from root meaning "slowly flowing," BDB , 188; μέλαν , mélan , "black"): Any fluid substance used with pen or brush to form written characters. In this sense ink is mentioned once in the Hebrew Bible ( Jeremiah 36:2 ) and 3 times in the Greek New Testament (2 Corinthians 3:3; 2 John 1:12; 3 John 1:13 ), and it is implied in all references to writing on papyrus or on leather. The inference from the "blotting out" of Exodus 32:33 and Numbers 5:23 that the Hebrew ink was a lamp-black and gum, or some other dry ink, is confirmed by the general usage of antiquity, by the later Jewish prejudice against other inks ( OTJC , 71 note) and by a Jewish receipt referring to ink-tablets (Drach, "Notice sur l'encre des Hébreux," Ann. philos. chrét ., 42, 45, 353). The question is, however, now being put on a wholly new basis by the study of the Elephantine Jewish documents (Meyer, Papyrusfund2, 1912, 15, 21), and above all of the Harvard Ostraca from Samaria which give actual specimens of the ink in Palestine in the time of Ahab (Harvard Theological Review , Jan. 1911, 136-43). It is likely, however, that during the long period of Bible history various inks were used. The official copy of the law in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus was, according to Josephus (Ant. , XII , ii, 11), written in gold, and the vermilion and red paints and dyes mentioned in Jeremiah 22:14; Ezekiel 23:14 , and The Wisdom of Solomon 13:14 (mı́ltō kaı́ phúkei ) were probably used also for writing books or coloring incised inscriptions. See literature under WRITING; especially Krauss, Talmud, Arch . 3 ,148-153; Gardthausen, Greek Palestine , 1911, I, 202-17, and his bibliographical references passim .

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Ink'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/i/ink.html. 1915.

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