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ink (deyo, from root meaning "slowly flowing," BDB, 188; melan, "black"): Any fluid substance used with pen or brush to form written characters. In this sense ink is mentioned once in the Hebrew Bible (Jer 36:2) and 3 times in the Greek New Testament (2 Cor 3:3; 2 Jn 1:12; 3 Jn 1:13), and it is implied in all references to writing on papyrus or on leather. The inference from the "blotting out" of Ex 32:33 and Nu 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 Hebreux," Ann. philos. chret., 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 Israel 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 Jer 22:14; Ezek 23:14, and The Wisdom of Solomon 13:14 (milto kai phukei) were probably used also for writing books or coloring incised inscriptions. See literature under WRITING; especially Krauss, Talmud, Arch. 3, 148-53; Gardthausen, Greek Israel, 1911, I, 202-17, and his bibliographical references passim.
E. C. Richardson
Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'ink'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". - ISBE; 1915.

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