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Pen

The first writing was done on clay, wax, lead or stone tablets by scratching into the material with some hard pointed instrument. For this purpose bodkins of bronze, iron, bone or ivory were used (Job 19:24; Isa 8:1; Jer 17:1). In Jer 17:1 a diamond is also mentioned as being used for the same purpose. In Jer 36 Baruch, the son of Neriah, declares that he recorded the words of the prophet with ink in the book. In Jer 36:23 it says that the king cut the roll with the penknife (literally, the scribe’s knife). This whole scene can best be explained if we consider that Baruch and the king’s scribes were in the habit of using reed pens. These pens are made from the hollow jointed stalks of a coarse grass growing in marshy places. The dried reed is cut diagonally with the penknife and the point thus formed is carefully shaved thin to make it flexible and the nib split as in the modern pen. The last operation is the clipping off of the very point so that it becomes a stub pen. The Arab scribe