2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing:
but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
Medieval depiction of a monk at work
Before the creation of printing presses, the Scribe was the person who was entrusted with the responsibility to write and copy books, documents and city records. It is this profession that has evolved into the jobs that are now held by public servants, journalists and even lawyers. This profession was always previously present in all literate societies. The work of the scribe also involved secretarial and administrative duties, including the taking of dictation, as well as the keeping of business, judicial and historical records.
Ancient Israel relied on Scribes to accurately make copies of the books of the Old Testament. This was a distinguished profession, their role also involved the functions that are now performed by lawyers, government ministers and judges.
In the year 586 B.C. the Babylonians invaded Jerusalem. The Temple was looted and then destroyed by fire. This was the fulfillment of the Word of the Lord as spoken by Jeremiah 25:9-12.
9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations. 10 Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.11 And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.12 And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.
True to the prophecy, 70 years later the Jewish captives returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. Ezra, who was a scribe and a priest recovered a copy of the Torah (also known as the Pentateuch – the first 5 books of the Old Testament) and read it aloud to the whole nation.
And all the people gathered themselves together as one man into the street that was before the water gate; and they spake unto Ezra the scribe to bring the book of the law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded to Israel.
2 And Ezra the priest brought the law before the congregation both of men and women, and all that could hear with understanding, upon the first day of the seventh month.
Apart from just reading out from the Torah, Ezra expounded the Word and gave the people the proper sense of the Word. In a similar fashion, the Scribe of this web site will be clearly explaining the Word of God concerning these last days. This will allow everyone to clearly understand what is happening upon the earth as these days and this age come to a close.
8 So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.
From then on, realizing the critical importance of having these documents preserved, the Jewish scribes solidified the following process for creating copies of the Torah and eventually other books in the Old Testament.
1.They could only use clean animal skins, both to write on, and even to bind manuscripts.
2.Each column of writing could have no less than forty-eight, and no more than sixty lines.
3.The ink must be black, and of a special recipe.
4.They must verbalize each word aloud while they were writing.
5.They must wipe the pen and wash their entire bodies before writing the word “Jehovah,” every time they wrote it.
6.There must be a review within thirty days, and if as many as three pages required corrections, the entire manuscript had to be redone.
7.The letters, words, and paragraphs had to be counted, and the document became invalid if two letters touched each other. The middle paragraph, word and letter must correspond to those of the original document.
8.The documents could be stored only in sacred places (synagogues, etc).
9.As no document containing God’s Word could be destroyed, they were stored, or buried, in a genizah.
After Jerusalem was sacked by Rome in the First Century, the process was lost. While a Hebrew version of the Old Testament continued to exist, the language wasn’t spoken by many. Greek and eventually Latin versions continued to be copied.