Roll (מגַלָּה, megillah'; Sept. κεφαλίς: but in Ezr 6:1, the Chald. ספִר, sephdr, a book, as elsewhere rendered: in Isa 8:1; גַּלָּיוֹן, gillayon, a tablet, once of a mirror, 3, 23). A book in ancient times consisted of a single long strip of paper or parchment, which was usually kept rolled up on a stick, and was unrolled when a person wished to read it. SEE BOOK. Hence arose the term megillah, from galal, "to roll," strictly answering to the Latin volumen, whence comes our volume; hence also the expressions, "to spread" and "roll together" (in Heb. פָּרֵשׂ [2Ki 19:14] and גָּלִל[Isa 34:4]: in Gr. ἀναπτύσσειν and πτύσσειν [Lu 4:17,20]), instead of "to open" and "to shut" a book. The full expression for a book was "a roll of writing, " or "a roll of a book" (Jer 36:2; Ps 40:7; Eze 2:9), but occasionally "roll" stands by itself (Zec 5:1-2; Ezr 6:2). The κεφαλίς of the Sept. originally referred to the ornamental knob (the umbilicus of the Latins) at the top of the stick or cylinder round which the roll was wound. The use of the term megillah implies, of course, the existence of a soft and pliant material: what this material was in the Old Test. period we are not informed; but, as a knife was required for its destruction (Jer 36:23), we infer that it was parchment. The roll was usually written on one side only (Mishna, Erub. 10, § 3), and hence the particular notice of one that was "written within and without" (Eze 2:10). The writing was arranged in columns, resembling a door in shape, and hence deriving their Hebrew name (דּלָתוֹת, leaves), just as "column, " from its resemblance to a columna, or pillar. It has been asserted that the term megillah does not occur before the 7th century B.C., being first used by Jeremiah (Hitzig, in Jeremiah 36:2); and the conclusion has been drawn that the use of such materials as parchment was not known until that period (Ewald, Gesch. 1, 71, note; Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 289). This is to assume, perhaps too confidently, a late date for the composition of Psalm 40, and to ignore the collateral evidence arising out of the expression "roll together" used by Isaiah (Isa 34:4), and also out of the probable reference to the Pentateuch in Ps 40:7, "the roll of the book, " a copy of which was deposited by the side of the ark (De 31:26). The book of Esther is specially designated by the Hebrew term Megillah. SEE MEGALLOTH.

Bible concordance for ROLL.

Definition of roll

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