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Writing
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Writing
 
 The art of writing must have been known in the time of the early
 Pharaohs. Moses is commanded "to write for a memorial in a book" 
 Ex 17:14 a record of the attack of Amalek. Frequent mention is
 afterwards made of writing Ex 28:11,21,29,36 31:18 32:15,16 34:1,28
 Ex 39:6,14,30 The origin of this art is unknown, but there is
 reason to conclude that in the age of Moses it was well known. The
 inspired books of Moses are the most ancient extant writings, although
 there are written monuments as old as about B.C. 2000 The words
 expressive of "writing," "book," and "ink," are common to all the
 branches or dialects of the Semitic language, and hence it has been
 concluded that this art must have been known to the earliest Semites
 before they separated into their various tribes, and nations, and
 families.  "The Old Testament and the discoveries of Oriental
 archaeology alike tell us that the age of the Exodus was throughout
 the world of Western Asia an age of literature and books, of readers
 and writers, and that the cities of Palestine were stored with the
 contemporaneous records of past events inscribed on imperishable clay.
 They further tell us that the kinsfolk and neighbours of the
 Israelites were already acquainted with alphabetic writing, that the
 wanderers in the desert and the tribes of Edom were in contact with
 the cultured scribes and traders of Ma'in [Southern Arabia], and that
 the 'house of bondage' from which Israel had escaped was a land where
 the art of writing was blazoned not only on the temples of the gods,
 but also on the dwellings of the rich and powerful.", Sayce.
   See DEBIR 23995 
   See PHOENICIA 25943 
 The "Book of the Dead" was a collection of prayers and formulae, by
 the use of which the souls of the dead were supposed to attain to rest
 and peace in the next world. It was composed at various periods from
 the earliest time to the Persian conquest. It affords an interesting
 glimpse into the religious life and system of belief among the ancient
 Egyptians. We learn from it that they believed in the existence of one
 Supreme Being, the immortality of the soul, judgement after death, and
 the resurrection of the body. It shows, too, a high state of literary
 activity in Egypt in the time of Moses. It refers to extensive
 libraries then existing. That of Ramessium, in Thebes, e.g., built by
 Rameses II., contained 20,000 books. When the Hebrews entered Canaan
 it is evident that the art of writing was known to the original
 inhabitants, as appears, e.g., from the name of the city Debir having
 been at first Kirjath-sepher, i.e., the "city of the book," or the
 "book town" Jos 10:38 15:15 Jud 1:11 The first mention of
 letter-writing is in the time of David 2Sa 11:14,15 Letters are
 afterwards frequently spoken of 1Ki 21:8,9,11 2Ki 10:1,3,6,7 19:14
 2Ch 21:12-15 30:1,6-9 etc.
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