Staatliche Museen Zu Berlin/Preussicher Kulturbesitz

The royal scribe stands before the king, ready to record his master’s every word on a writing table held snugly under his arm. The inscription above the king’s head on this 4-foot-tall diorite relief identifies him as King Bar Rakib of Aram. Dating to about 730 B.C.E., the relief was discovered at Zincirli, in Turkey.

Columnist Mary Joan Winn Leith compares the relation between king and scribe with that of God and prophet in the Hebrew Bible.