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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Reed (2)

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REED (κάλαμος).—This represents the Heb. kaneh, probably Arundo donax, a plant which grows in great abundance in the marshes of the Jordan Valley and along the river sides. The stem is tall and straight, and the head bends gracefully with a great feathery brush, sensitive to the slightest breath of air (Matthew 11:7, Luke 7:24). The wood is put to many uses. It forms the frames of the rush mats with which the Arabs of el-Hûleh make their slender houses. It serves as a walking-stick. When bruised, it is not only useless but dangerous; because, giving way when one leans upon it, the splinters are apt to pierce the hand (Matthew 12:20). As a mock-sceptre, a reed was put into Christ’s hand (Matthew 27:29), and with this He was smitten (Matthew 27:30). On a reed the sponge with vinegar was raised to His lips on the cross (Matthew 27:48). Pens are made from the smaller stems, the Gr. κάλαμος (3 John 1:13) again corresponding to the Arab. [Note: Arabic.] ̣kalam and the Lat. calamus. The ancients made the shafts of their arrows from the κάλαμος, and the divining arrow of the Arab. [Note: Arabic.] is also Kalam. The flute and pipes played on all occasions of festivity are made from the reed (Matthew 11:17, Luke 7:32). Measuring-rods were so uniformly of reed that they came to be known generally by this term (Ezekiel 40:3, Revelation 21:15 etc.).

W. Ewing.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Reed (2)'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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