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TILE (Heb. levēnâh, brick, Gr. keramos). Ancient writing was done with a stylus on blocks of soft clay, which varied in size according to need. Ezekiel used such a tile in drawing a prophetic picture of the doom awaiting Jerusalem (Ezek.4.1-Ezek.4.8 kjv; niv “tablet”). When a permanent record was desired, the inscribed tile was baked in a furnace. So skilled were scribes of the day that many of their tiles remain in perfect condition after three thousand years.

Roofing tiles are mentioned in Luke.5.19, where the reference is apparently to clay roofing—tiles with which the roof was covered. Clay tiles were not commonly used as roofing material for houses in Palestine, roofs usually being covered with a mixture of clay and straw. It may be that Luke uses the expression “through the tiles” to mean “through the roof,” without reference to the material used for the roof.

TILE. A tile was a slab or a tablet of baked clay. Such tablets were used for writing in the cuneiform syllabary before 3000 b.c. While the clay was soft, impressions were made with a stylus. Then the clay tablet was placed in the sun to bake, or baked in an oven. Tiles were common roofing material through much of the ancient world, but houses in Pal. were usually roofed with a mixture of clay and straw. Roofing tiles are mentioned in Luke 5:19 and Mark 2:4. If the house was Palestinian, the reference is prob. to the clay on the roof. Greek and Rom. aliens prob. used tiles for their houses in Pal.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

til, til’-ing (lebhenah, "brick" Eze 4:1; keramos, "potter’s clay," "a tile," Lu 5:19).

See EZEKIEL, II, 1, (2); HOUSE, II, 1, (10).

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