That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock
] Or "that they were written with an iron pen and lead, that they were cut or hewn out in a rock for ever"; not with both an iron and leaden pen, or pencil; for the marks of the latter are not durable, and much less could it be used on a rock according to our version; but the sense seems to be, that they might be written with an iron pen, which was used in writing, ( Jeremiah 17:1 ) ; upon a sheet of lead, as the Vulgate Latin version; for it was usual in ancient times, as Pliny F17 and others relate, for books to be made of sheets of lead, and for public records to be engrossed, as in plates of brass, so sometimes in sheets of lead, for the perpetuity of them; or else it refers to the cutting out of letters on stones, as the law was on two tables of stone, and filling up the incisions or cuttings with lead poured into them, as Jarchi suggests: so Pliny, F18 speaks of stone pillars in Arabia and the parts adjacent, with unknown characters on them; also this may have respect to the manner of writing on mountains and rocks formerly, as the Israelites at or shortly after the times of Job did. There are now, in the wilderness through which the Israelites passed, hills called Gebel-el-mokatab, the written mountains, engraved with unknown ancient characters, out into the hard marble rock; supposed to be the ancient Hebrew, written by the Israelites for their diversion and improvement which are observed by some modern travellers F19. In the last age, Petrus a Valle and Thomas a Novaria saw them; the latter of which transcribed some of them, some of which seemed to be like to the Hebrew letters now in use, and others to the Samaritans; and some agreed with neither F20; and Cosmoss the Egyptian F21, who wrote A. D. 535, declares on his own testimony, that all the mansions of the Hebrews in the wilderness were to be seen in stones with Hebrew letters engraved on them, which seemed to be an account of their journeys in it. The inscription on a stone at Horeb, brought from thence by the above mentioned Thomas a Novaria, and which Kircher F23 has explained thus,
``God shall make a virgin conceive, and she shall bring forth a son,''is thought by learned men to be of a later date, and the explication of it is not approved of by them. F24 Job may have in view his sepulchre hewn out of a rock, as was usual, and as that was our Lord was laid in; and so his wish might be that the following words were his funeral epitaph, and that they might be cut out and inscribed upon his sepulchral monument, his rocky grave; that everyone that passed by might read his strong expressions of faith in a living Redeemer, and the good hope he had of a blessed resurrection.
F17 Nat. Hist. l. 13. c. 11. Alex. ab Alex. l. 2. c. 30. Pausaniae Messenica, sive, l. 4. p. 266. & Boeotica, sive, l. 9. p. 588.
F18 Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 28. & 29.
F19 See a Journal from Cairo in 1722, p. 45, 46. and Egmont and Heyman's Travels, vol. ii. p. 171, 181.
F20 Antiqu. Eccles. Orient. p. 147.
F21 Apud Montfaucon, tom. 2. p. 205.
F23 Prodrom. Copt. c. 8. p. 201, 207.
F24 Vide Hottinger. Praefat. ad Cipp. Hebr. p. 6, 7, 8. Wagenseil Carmin. Lipman. Confut. p. 429