Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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reed Summary and Overview

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reed in Easton's Bible Dictionary

(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 Israel 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; compare 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 T0000710.)

reed in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Under this name may be noticed the following Hebrew words: 1. Agmon occurs in #Job 40:12,16; Isa 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 Israel 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. #Isa 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 Israel, 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 in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

REED , used generically for various tall plants of the grass or sedge order. See Bulrush, Flag, Rush. Fishpoles, canes, and rods, Matt 27:29, are formed of it. These plants flourish in marshes or in the vicinity of water-courses; hence the allusion, Job 40:21. It is often used by the sacred writers to illustrate weakness and fragility. 2 Kgs 18:21; Isa 36:6; Isa 42:3; Eze 29:6; Matt 12:20. Reeds were also used to make pens of (see Pen), and also as measuring-rods. Eze 40:5. See Measures. From their height and slender shape, plants of this kind are moved by the slightest breath of wind, 1 Kgs 14:15, and hence nothing could be more unimportant in itself than such a motion, and nothing more strikingly illustrative of fickleness and instability. Comp. Matt 11:7 and Eph 4:14. The true reed of Egypt and Palestine (Arundo donax) has a slender jointed stalk like bamboo, about 12 feet in height, with a fine large brush of bloom at the top. This flexible stalk often lies prostrate before the wind, ready to rise again at the first lull. About the perennial waters of the Holy Land there are often dense canebrakes of this plant, in the midst of which wild beasts find their lairs. With one or more hollow tubes of reed, musical instruments are constructed by the youth of the country, and it is likely that David first learned to play on a similar primitive reed-organ.

reed in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

'agmon. Used to form a rope: Job 41:2, "canst thou put a rush rope ('agmon) into his nose?" in Job 41:20 'agmon is a "caldron" from agam, "to flow." "Branch ("the high") and rush ("the low")" (Isaiah 9:14; Isaiah 58:5), "bow down ... head as a bulrush," imply that the head of the 'agmown was pendulous. Some aquatic, reed like, plant, the Arundodonax, or phragmitis, used as a walking stick, but apt to break and pierce the hand leaning on it (2 Kings 18:21; Ezekiel 29:6-7). The gomee, of the sedge kind (Cyperaceae), the papyrus or paper reeds of which Moses' ark was formed (Exodus 2:3). Used to form boats on the Nile, also garments, shoes, baskets, and paper (Isaiah 18:2); Job 8:11 "can the papyrus plant grow without mire?" so the godless thrive only in outward prosperity, which soon ends, for they are without God "the fountain of life" (Psalm 36:9). Rapid growth at first, like the papyrus; then sudden destruction. The papyrus is not now found in Egypt; but it has for ages been on the margin of Lake Huleh or Merom and Lake Tiberius and in Syria. Paper was formed by cutting the interior of the stalks into thin slices lengthwise, after removing the rind, and laying them side by side in succession on a flat board; similar ones were laid over them at right angles, and the whole was cemented together by a glue, and pressed and dried. The Egyptians stewed and ate the lower part of the papyrus (Herodotus ii. 92). It grows from three to six feet high; Tristram (Land of Israel, 436) says 16 feet, and the triangular stems three inches in diameter, N. of Lake Tiberias. There are no leaves; the flowers are small spikelets at the tip of the threadlike branchlets which together form a bushy crown on each stem. Aroth (Isaiah 19:7) not "paper reeds," but grassy pastures on the banks of the Nile; literally, places bare of wood, from 'aarah "to make bore" (Gesenius). KJV is from 'or the delicate "membrane"; the antithesis to "everything sown by the brooks" is, the aroth were not sown but growing of themselves. In mentioning "the reeds and flags" it is likely the papyrus would not be omitted; however, a different word in the chap. before (Isaiah 18:2, gomee) expresses the "papyrus". Kaneh "a reed" in general; a measuring reed, six cubits long (Ezekiel 40:5; Ezekiel 41:8; compare Revelation 11:1; Revelation 21:15). The "sweet reed from a far country" is possibly the Andropogon calamus aromaticus of central India; keneh bosem (Exodus 30:23 "sweet calamus") or hatob (Jeremiah 6:20); or it may be rather the lemon grass (Andropogon schoenanthus) of India (Isaiah 43:24; Song of Solomon 4:14; Ezekiel 27:19).