|red ((achu) reed-grass, ('ebheh) swift, ('aghammim) reeds, ('aroth) meadows, (qaneh) stalk)
RELATED: Rush, WEIGHTS AND MEASURES
Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) "Paper reeds" ( Isaiah
19:7 ; RSV, "reeds"). Hebrew 'aroth, properly green herbage growing in marshy
(2) Hebrew kaneh ( 1
Kings 14:15 ; Job
Isaiah 19:6 ), whence the Greek kanna, a "cane," a generic name for a reed
of any kind.
(3) The reed of Egypt and Palestine is the Arundo donax, which grows to the height
of 12 feet, its stalk jointed like the bamboo, "with a magnificent panicle of
blossom at the top, and so slender and yielding that it will lie perfectly flat
under a gust of wind, and immediately resume its upright position." It is used
to illustrate weakness ( 2
Kings 18:21 ; Ezekiel
29:6 ), also fickleness or instability ( Matthew
11:7 ; Compare Ephesians
(4) A "bruised reed" ( Isaiah
42:3 ; Matthew
12:20 ) is an emblem of a believer weak in grace. A reed was put into our
Lord's hands in derision ( Matthew
27:29 ); and "they took the reed and smote him on the head" ( Matthew
27:30 ). The "reed" on which they put the sponge filled with vinegar ( Matthew
27:48 ) was, according to ( John
19:29 ), a hyssop stalk, which must have been of some length, or perhaps a
bunch of hyssop twigs fastened to a rod with the sponge. (See CANE .)
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Under this name may be noticed the following Hebrew words:
"Agmon" occurs in ( Job 40:12 , 40:16 ; Isaiah 9:14 ) (Authorized Version
"rush"). There can be no doubt that it denotes some aquatic reed-like plant, probably
the Phragmitis communis , which, if it does not occur in Palestine and Egypt,
is represented by a very closely-allied species, viz., the Arundo isiaca of Delisle.
The drooping panicle of this plant will answer well to the "bowing down the head"
of which Isaiah speaks. ( Isaiah 58:5 )
"Gnome", translated "rush" and "bulrush" by the Authorized Version,
without doubt denotes the celebrated paper-reed of the ancients, Papyrus antiquorum
, which formerly was common in some parts of Egypt. The papyrus reed is not now
found in Egypt; it grows however, in Syria. Dr. Hooker saw it on the banks of
Lake Tiberias, a few miles north of the town. The papyrus plant has an angular
stem from 3 to 6 feet high, though occasionally it grows to the height of 14 feet
it has no leaves; the flowers are in very small spikelets, which grow on the thread-like
flowering branchlets which form a bushy crown to each stem; (It was used for making
paper, shoes, sails, ropes, mattresses, etc. The Greek name is Biblos , from which
came our word Bible--book--because books were made of the papyrus paper. This
paper was always expensive among the Greeks, being worth a dollar a sheet. --ED.)
"Kaneh", a reed of any kind. Thus there are in general four kinds of
reeds named in the Bible:
|(1) The water reed; No, 1 above.
(2) A stronger reed, Arundo donax , the true reed of Egypt and Palestine, which
grows 8 or 10 feet high, and is thicker than a mans thumb. It has a jointed stalk
like the bamboo, and is very abundant on the Nile.
(3) The writing reed, Arundo scriptoria , was used for making pens.
(4) The papyrus; No. 2.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
translated "reed-grass" (Genesis 41:2 , 18 ; Job 8:11
margin). See FLAG.
translated "swift," margin "reed" (Job 9:26). The "ships of reed" are the light
skiffs made of plaited reeds used on the Nile; compare "vessels of papyrus" (Isaiah
translated "reeds," margin "marshes," Hebrew "pools"
(Jeremiah 51:32); elsewhere "pools" (Exodus 7:19 ; 8:5 ; Isaiah 14:23, etc.).
(4) 'aroth; achi,
translated "meadows," the King James Version "paper reeds" (Isaiah 19:7). See
(5) qaneh; kalamos (the English "cane" comes from Hebrew via Latin and Greek canna),
"stalk" (Genesis 41:5,22); "shaft" (Exodus 37:17 , etc.); "reed," or "reeds" (1
Kings 14:15 ; 2 Kings 18:21 ; Isaiah 36:6 ; 42:3 ; Psalms 68:30, the King James
Version "spearman"); "calamus" (Exodus 30:23 ; Song of Solomon 4:14 ; Ezekiel
27:19); "sweet cane," margin "calamus" (Isaiah 43:24 ; Jeremiah 6:20); "bone"
(Job 31:22); used of the cross-beam of a "balance" (Isaiah 46:6); "a measuring
reed" (Ezekiel 40:3); "a staff of reed," i.e. a walking-stick (Isaiah 36:6 ; Ezekiel
29:6); the "branches" of a candlestick (Exodus 37:18).
"a reed shaken with the wind" (Matthew 11:7; Luke 7:24);
"a bruised reed" (Matthew 12:20); they put "a reed in his right hand" (Matthew
27:29 , 30); "They smote his head with a reed" (Mark 15:19); "put it on a reed"
(Matthew 27:48 ; Mark 15:36); "a measuring reed" (Revelation 11:1 ; 21:15 , 16);
"a pen" (3 John 1:13).
It is clear that qaneh and its Greek equivalent kalamos mean many things. Some
refer to different uses to which a reed is put, e.g. a cross-beam of a balance,
a walking-stick, a measuring rod, and a pen (see above), but apart from this qaneh
is a word used for at least two essentially different things:
(1) an ordinary reed,
The most common reed in Palestine is the Arundo donax (Natural Order Gramineae),
known in Arabic as qacabfarasi, "Persian reed." It grows in immense quantities
in the Jordan valley along the river and its tributaries and at the oases near
the Dead Sea, notably around 'Ain Feshkhah at the northwest corner. It is a lofty
reed, often 20 ft. high, of a beautiful fresh green in summer when all else is
dead and dry, and of a fine appearance from a distance in the spring months when
it is in full bloom and the beautiful silky panicles crown the top of every reed.
The "covert of the reed" (Job 40:21) shelters a large amount of animal and bird
life. This reed will answer to almost all the requirements of the above references.
(2) some sweet-smelling substance.
Qaneh is in Jeremiah 6:20 qualified qaneh ha-Tobh, "sweet" or "pleasant cane,"
and in Exodus 30:23, qeneh bhosem, "sweet calamus," or, better, a "cane of fragrance."
Song of Solomon 4:14 ; Isaiah 43:24 ; Ezekiel 27:19 all apparently refer to the
same thing, though in these passages the qaneh is unqualified. It was an ingredient
of the holy oil (Exodus 30:23); it was imported from a distance (Jeremiah 6:20
; Ezekiel 27:19), and it was rare and costly (Isaiah 43:24). It may have been
the "scented calamus" (Axorus calamus) of Pliny (NH, xii.48), or some other aromatic
scented reed or flag, or, as some think, some kind of aromatic bark. The sweetness
refers to the scent, not the taste.
See also BULRUSH; PAPYRUS.
E. W. G. Masterman
(FROM MEASURING REED)
(7) In Ezekiel's vision of the temple a "man" (an angel) appears with a "measuring
reed" to measure the dimensions of the temple (Ezekiel 40:3 ; 42:16). The reed
is described as 6 cubits long, "of a cubit and a handbreadth each," i.e. the cubit
used was a handbreadth longer than the common cubit (see CUBIT; WEIGHTS AND MEASURES;
TEMPLE). In the Apocalypse this idea of a measuring reed reappears for measuring
the temple (Revelation 11:1) and the holy city (Revelation 21:15 , 16 , "a golden
reed"). The thought conveyed is exactitude in the dimensions of these edifices,
symbolic of the symmetry and perfection of God's church.
achu, agmon, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, define, gnome, kaneh, reed, rush, stalk, unit of measure