Who doth grant now, That my words may be written? Who doth grant that in a book they may be graven?
Job 19:23 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
O that my words were now written! - Job introduces the important subject which follows in a manner unusually solemn; and he certainly considers the words which he was about to utter of great moment, and therefore wishes them to be recorded in every possible way. All the modes of writing then in use he appears to refer to. As to printing, that should be out of the question, as no such art was then discovered, nor for nearly two thousand years after. Our translators have made a strange mistake by rendering the verb יחקו yuchaku, printed, when they should have used described, traced out. O that my words were fairly traced out in a book! It is necessary to make this remark, because superficial readers have imagined that the art of printing existed in Job's time, and that it was not a discovery of the fifteenth century of the Christian era: whereas there is no proof that it ever existed in the world before a.d. 1440, or thereabouts, for the first printed book with a date is a psalter printed by John Fust, in 1457, and the first Bible with a date is that by the same artist in 1460. Three kinds of writing Job alludes to, as being practiced in his time:
1. Writing in a book, formed either of the leaves of the papyrus, already described, (see on Job 8:11 (note)), or on a sort of linen cloth. A roll of this kind, with unknown characters, I have seen taken out of the envelopments of an Egyptian mummy. Denon, in his travels in Egypt, gives an account of a book of this kind, with an engraved facsimile, taken also out of an Egyptian mummy.
2. Cutting with an iron stile on plates of lead.
3. Engraving on large stones or rocks, many of which are still found in different parts of Arabia.
To the present day the leaves of the palm tree are used in the East instead of paper, and a stile of brass, silver, iron, etc., with a steel point, serves for a pen. By this instrument the letters are cut or engraved on the substance of the leaf, and afterwards some black colouring matter is rubbed in, in order to make the letters apparent. This was probably the oldest mode of writing, and it continues among the Cingalese to the present day. It is worthy of remark that Pliny (Hist. Nat., lib. xiii., c. 11) mentions most of these methods of writing, and states that the leaves of the palm tree were used before other substances were invented. After showing that paper was not used before the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great, he proceeds: In palmarum foliis primo scriptitatum; deinde quarundam arborum libris: postea publica monumenta plumbeis voluminibus, mox et privata linteis confici caepta, aut ceris. "At first men wrote on palm tree leaves, and afterwards on the bark or rind of other trees. In process of time, public monuments were written on rolls of lead, and those of a private nature on linen books, or tables covered with wax." Pausanias, lib. xii., c. 31, giving an account of the Boeotians, who dwelt near fount Helicon, states the following fact: -
Και μοι μολιβδον εδεικνυσαν, ενθα ἡ πηγη, τα πολλα ὑπο του χρονου λελυμασμενον, εγγεγραπται γαρ αυτῳ τα εργα;
"They showed me a leaden table near to the fountain, all which his works (Hesiod's) were written; but a great part had perished by the injuries of time."
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Oh. Heb. Who will give, etc. my words
Job 31:35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that my adversary had written a book.
Isaiah 8:1 Moreover the LORD said to me, Take you a great roll, and write in it with a man's pen concerning Mahershalalhashbaz.
Isaiah 30:8 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
oh that they were (Rather, 'Oh that they were described (yuchakoo) in a book, with an iron stile and lead! Were graven on a rock for ever!' Pliny observes, 'At first men wrote on palm leaves, and afterwards on the bark or rind of other trees. In process of time, public monuments were written on rolls of lead (plumbeis voluminibus); and those of a private nature on linen books, or tables covered with wax.')
Job 19:23 Parallel CommentariesBook Grant Graven Inscribed Printed Recorded Scroll Words Writing WrittenBook Grant Graven Inscribed Printed Recorded Scroll Words Writing WrittenTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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