750. Writing Tablets

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 11
Writing tablets were in use among various ancient nations. They are referred to in Isaiah 30:88Now 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: (Isaiah 30:8) and in Habakkuk 2:22And the Lord answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. (Habakkuk 2:2), and metaphorically in Proverbs 3:33Let not mercy and truth forsake thee: bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: (Proverbs 3:3), Jeremiah 17:11The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart, and upon the horns of your altars; (Jeremiah 17:1) and 2 Corinthians 3:33Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart. (2 Corinthians 3:3). They are yet to be seen in modern Greece. Among the Romans they were occasionally made of ivory or of Citron-wood, but generally of beach, fir, or some other common wood. They were covered with a thin coating of wax, in which the letters were formed by a stylus, an instrument corresponding to the modern pen. It was made of gold, silver, brass, iron, copper, ivory, or bone. One end was pointed for writing, while the other was smooth, fiat, and circular, for erasing, and for smoothing the waxed surface so that it might be used again for writing. The outside part of the tablet, which was held in the hand, was not coated with wax, and around the edge of the inside there was a thin, narrow ledge, so that when two tablets came together the waxed surfaces would not touch each other and become marred.
A book was often made of several of these tablets combined, sometimes as many as five or six being fastened together at the backs by means of wires, which also served as hinges. Tablets were used for almost every species of writing, where the document was not of great length. Letters, or even wills, were written upon them. For the purpose of sealing these, and other documents which might require it, holes were made in the outer edge, through which a triple thread was passed and fastened with a seal.