"Paper reeds" (Isaiah 19:7; RSV, "reeds"). Heb. 'aroth, properly green herbage growing in marshy places.
Heb. kaneh (1 Kings 14:15; Job 40:21; Isaiah 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; Ezekiel 29:6), also fickleness or instability (Matthew 11:7; Compare Ephesians 4:14).
A "bruised reed" (Isaiah 42:3; Matthew 12:20) is an emblem of a believer weak in grace. A reed was put into our Lord's hands in derision (Matthew 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 (Matthew 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 .)
These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for 'Reed'". "Easton's Bible Dictionary".