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NAVE: Reed
EBD: Reed
SMITH: REED
ISBE: REED
Red Sea, Passage of | Redeemer | Redeeming the Time | Redness Of Eyes | Redound | Reed | Reed Sea | Reed, Measuring | Reed-Grass | Reelaiah | Reelias

Reed

Reed [EBD]

(1.) "Paper reeds" (Isa. 19:7; R.V., "reeds"). Heb. 'aroth, properly green herbage growing in marshy places.

(2.) Heb. kaneh (1 Kings 14:15; Job 40:21; Isa. 19:6), whence the Gr. kanna, a "cane," a generic name for a reed of any kind.

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; Ezek. 29:6), also fickleness or instability (Matt. 11:7; comp. Eph. 4:14).

A "bruised reed" (Isa. 42:3; Matt. 12:20) is an emblem of a believer weak in grace. A reed was put into our Lord's hands in derision (Matt. 27:29); and "they took the reed and smote him on the head" (30). The "reed" on which they put the sponge filled with vinegar (Matt. 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.)

Reed [NAVE]

REED
A water plant, Isa. 19:6, 7; 35:7; Jer. 51:32.
Used as a measuring device of six cubits, Ezek. 40:3-8; 41:8; 42:16-19; 45:1; Rev. 11:1; 21:15, 16.
Mockingly given to Jesus as a symbol of royalty, Matt. 27:29.
Jesus struck with, Matt. 27:30; Mark 15:19.
Figurative
Of weakness, 1 Kin. 14:15; 2 Kin. 18:21; Isa. 36:6; 42:3; Ezek. 29:6; Matt. 11:7; 12:20.

REED [SMITH]

Under this name may be noticed the following Hebrew words:
  1. Agmon occurs in (Job 40:12,16; 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)
  2. 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.)
  3. 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 man?s 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.

REED [ISBE]

REED - red: (1) achu, translated "reed-grass" (Gen 41:2,18; Job 8:11 margin). See FLAG. (2) 'ebheh, 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" (Isa 18:2). (3) 'aghammim, translated "reeds," margin "marshes," Hebrew "pools" (Jer 51:32); elsewhere "pools" (Ex 7:19; 8:5; Isa 14:23, etc.). See POOL. (4) `aroth; achi, translated "meadows," the King James Version "paper reeds" (Isa 19:7). See MEADOW. (5) qaneh; kalamos (the English "cane" comes from Hebrew via Latin and Greek canna), "stalk" (Gen 41:5,22); "shaft" (Ex 37:17, etc.); "reed," or "reeds" (1 Ki 14:15; 2 Ki 18:21; Isa 36:6; 42:3; Ps 68:30, the King James Version "spearman"); "calamus" (Ex 30:23; Song 4:14; Ezek 27:19); "sweet cane," margin "calamus" (Isa 43:24; Jer 6:20); "bone" (Job 31:22); used of the cross-beam of a "balance" (Isa 46:6); "a measuring reed" (Ezek 40:3); "a staff of reed," i.e. a walking-stick (Isa 36:6; Ezek 29:6); the "branches" of a candlestick (Ex 37:18). (6) kalamos, "a reed shaken with the wind" (Mt 11:7; Lk 7:24); "a bruised reed" (Mt 12:20); they put "a reed in his right hand" (Mt 27:29,30); "They smote his head with a reed" (Mk 15:19); "put it on a reed" (Mt 27:48; Mk 15:36); "a measuring reed" (Rev 11:1; 21:15,16); "a pen" (3 Jn 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, and (2) some sweet-smelling substance.

(1) 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) Qaneh is in Jer 6:20 qualified qaneh ha-Tobh, "sweet" or "pleasant cane," and in Ex 30:23, qeneh bhosem, "sweet calamus," or, better, a "cane of fragrance." Song 4:14; Isa 43:24; Ezek 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 (Ex 30:23); it was imported from a distance (Jer 6:20; Ezek 27:19), and it was rare and costly (Isa 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


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