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.
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.
A communication, especially from a king or high official, usually containing commands, promulgations, or reports.
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).
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.