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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Calamus

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קנה Exodus 30:23 ; Song of Solomon 4:14 ; Isaiah 43:24 ; Jeremiah 6:20 ; Ezekiel 27:19 . An aromatic reed, growing in moist places in Egypt, in Judea near lake Genezareth, and in several parts of Syria. It grows to about two feet in height; bearing from the root a knotted stalk, quite round, containing in its cavity a soft white pith. The whole is of an agreeable aromatic smell; and the plant is said to scent the air with a fragrance even while growing. When cut down, dried, and powdered; it makes an ingredient in the richest perfumes. It was used for this purpose by the Jews.

CALAMUS SCRIPTORIUS, a reed answering the purpose of a pen to write with. The ancients used styles, to write on tablets covered with wax; but reeds, to write on parchment or papyrus. The Psalmist says, "My tongue is the pen of a ready writer," Psalms 45:1 . The Hebrew signifies rather a style. The third book of Maccabees states, that the writers employed in making a list of the Jews in Egypt, produced their reeds quite worn out. Baruch wrote his prophecies with ink, Jeremiah 36:4 ; and, consequently, used reeds; for it does not appear that quills were then used to write with. In 3 John 1:13 , the Apostle says, he did not design to write with pen (reed) and ink. The Arabians, Persians, Turks, Greeks, and Armenians, to this day, write with reeds or rushes.


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Calamus'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/c/calamus.html. 1831-2.

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