Reference in early OT times to those employed for their ability to transcribe information. After the exile, scribes are a class of scholars who teach, copy, and interpret the Jewish Law for the people. They appear in the Gospels primarily as opponents of Jesus.
Although scribes continue to perform such roles in the postexilic period (cf. Neh. 13:13, where a scribe named Zadok is appointed as a treasurer over the storehouses where tithes are kept), the term begins to be more specifically associated with the transmission and interpretation of Torah.
Three men are mentioned as successively filling the office of “secretary” or scribe under David and Solomon (2 Sam. 8:17; 20:25; 1 Kings 4:3). We may think of them as the king’s secretaries, writing his letters, drawing up his decrees, managing his finances (2 Kings 12:10).
Scribes were employed as secretaries in Palestine, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Greco-Roman Empire. Court scribes would sometimes rise to positions of social prestige and considerable political influence, much as a Secretary of State today.
The Lachish Letters or Lachish Ostraca, sometimes called Hoshaiah Letters, are a series of letters written in carbon ink containing Canaanite inscriptions in Ancient Hebrew on clay ostraca.
Scribes were a class of literate professionals ranging from copiers, secretaries, and government officials in the earlier OT period to special scholars and teachers of the Torah in the postexilic and NT periods.
Texts and versions provide the raw materials for the discipline known as textual criticism. The ultimate aim is to provide a text in the form intended by its author. Generally speaking, the greater the age of a document, the greater is its authority.
The Habakkuk Commentary or Pesher Habakkuk, labeled 1QpHab (Cave 1, Qumran, pesher, Habakkuk), was among the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in 1947 and published in 1951.
The Hebrew text was like the Greek NT; it had accumulated copyist errors, a few intentional, a good number accidental, between the Malachi days of 440 BCE and Rabbi Judah ha-Nasi (135 to 217 CE). The same thing happened to the Greek New Testament from about 400 CE to 1550 CE, a period of copyist errors.