Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Reed: Under this name may be noticed the following Hebrew words:
- 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)
- 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 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.