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(King James Version)
(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.)