papyrus

papyrus

An aquatic plant of the sedge family that grew abundantly in the shallow waters of the Nile in the vicinity of the Delta (Job 8:11). Resembling a stalk of corn (maize), the plant was used in a great variety of ways, not only in making “paper,” but also for fuel, food, medicine, clothes, rugs, sails, ropes, and even a kind of chewing gum. In the manufacture of “paper,” the stem of the mature plant was cut into sections about twelve to fifteen inches in length; after each of these was split open lengthwise, the core of pith was removed and sliced into very thin strips; these strips were laid lengthwise on a flat surface just overlapping each other and all facing the same direction; then a second layer, placed at right angles, was laid on top; the two layers were then pressed or pounded together until they formed one fabric. About twenty individual sheets of papyrus could be joined together end to end to form a roll. From such a roll, pieces would be cut to the size needed for writing a letter, a bill of sale, a deed, or any other record.

Job 8:11

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