(as the name of a plant) stands in the Auth. Vers. as the representative in part of two Heb. words. SEE BOTANY.

1. Achu' (אָחוּ; Sept. Grs-cizes ἄχι, ἄχει, βούτομον; Vulg. locus palustris, carectaus-), a word, according to Jerome (Comment. in Isa 19:7), of Egyptian origin, and denoting " any green and coarse herbage, such as rushes and reeds, which grows in marshy places" (comp. Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 67). III Job 8:11, it is asked, " Can the achu ("flag") grow without water?" It seems probable that some apacsfie plant is here denoted, as Celsius has endeavored to prove (Herob. i, 342), for the achu is mentioned with the gome or "papyrus." See the treatise of Happoch, De papyro, etc. (Coburg, 1772; with the Adlitaument. ib. 1777). The word occurs once again in Ge 12:2,18, where it is said that the seven well-favored kine came .up out of the river and fed in an achu (" meadow"). Now it is generally well known that most of the plants which grow in 'water, as well as many of those which grow in its vicinity, are not well suited as food for cattle; some being very watery, others very coarse in texture, and some possessed of acrid and even poisonous properties. None, therefore, of the Algxa can be intended, nor any' species of Butomus, or "flowering rush" (as might be inferred from one rendering of the Sept.). The different kinds of Juencus, or rush, though abounding in such situations, are not suited for pasturage, and, in fact, are avoided by cattle. So are the majority of the Qqyperace, or sedge tribe; and also the numerous species of ('arex, which grow in moist situations, yet yield a very coarse grass, which is scarcely if ever touched by cattle. A few species; of Cyperus serve as pasturage, and the roots of some, of them are esculent and aromatic; but these must be dug up before cattle can feed on them.

Bible concordance for FLAG.

Some species of Scirpus, or club-rush, however, serve as food for cattle: S. cespilosus, for instance, is the principal food of cattle and sheep in the highlands of Scotland from the beginning of March till the end of May, Varieties of S. meritimus, found in different countries, and a few of the numerous kinds of Cyperacese common- in Indian pastures, as Cyperasr dubius and hexastachkyss, are also eaten by cattle. Therefore, if any specific plant is intended, as seems implied in what goes before, it is perhaps one of the edible species of scirpus or cyperus, perhaps C. esculentmss, which, however, has distinct Arabic names: or it may be a true grass; some species of panicum, for instance, which form excellent pasture in warm countries, and several of which grow luxuriantly in the neighborhood of water. But it is weal known to all acquainted with warm countries subject to excessive drought- that the only pasturage to which. cattle can resort is a green strip of different grasses, with some sedges, which runs along the banks of rivers or of pieces of water, varying more or less id breadth according to the height of the bank, that is, the distance of water from the surface. Cattle emerging-from rivers, which they may often be seen doing in hot countries, would naturally go to such green herbage as intimated in this passage of Genesis, and which, as indicated in Job 18:2, could not grow without water in a warm, dry country and climate. Kitto (Pict. Bib. on Genesis, 1. c.) identifies this sedge with thie', μαλιναθάλλη of Theophrastus (Hist. Plant. 4:8, 12), which plant was much eaten by sheep and cattle.' There is, however, much doubt as to what the malinathalla denotes, as Schneider has shown. Theodotion, in Job 8:11, has ἀχί; and ἄχι occurs in .the. Sept. (Isa 19:7) also as the representative of עָרוֹת (A. V. "paper reeds"), which word is explained by Gesenius, naked places without trees-the grassy places on the banks of the Nile. The same Greek word is used by the son of Sirach, Ec 11:10 (ἄχι or ἄχει, for; the copies vary). As no similar name is known to be .pplied to any plant or plants in Hebrew, endeavors have been made to find a similar one so applied in the cognate languages (see Jablonski, Opusc. i, 45; ii, 159, ed. Te-Water), and, as quoted by Dr. Harris (Nat. Hist. of the Bible, s.v.), the learned Chapellon says, "We have no radix for אָחוּ, unless we derive it, as Schultens does (Comment. in Job, 1. c.), from the Arabic achi, to bind or join together." Hence it has been inferred that it might be someone of the grasses or sedges employed in former times, as some still are, for making ropes. But there is probably some other Arabic root which has not yet been ascertained, or which may have become obsolete; for there are numerous words in the Arabic language having reference to greenness, all of which have akh as a common element. Thus akhyas, thickets, dark groves, places- full of reeds or flags, in which animals take shelter; akhevas,' putting forth leaves; so akhzirar, greenness, verdure; a/khchish!lb, abounding in grass. These may be connected with kah, a common term for grass in Northern India, derived from the Persian, whence amber is called kah- robehy grass-attracter. SEE REED.

2 . Suph. (סוּŠ, Sept. ἔλος, Vulg. carectum, pelagus) occurs frequently in the 0. T. in connection with yam, "sea," to denote the "Red Sea" (q.v.). The term here appears to be used in a very wide sense to denote " weeds of any kind." The yam-suph, therefore, is the "sea of weeds," and perhaps, as Stanley (S. and P. p. 6, note) observes, suph "may be applied to any aqueous vegetation," which would include the arborescent coral growths for which this sea is celebrated, as well as the different algae which grow at the bottom: see Pliny (H. N. 13:25) and Shaw (Travels, p. 387, fol. 1738), who speaks of a "variety of algae and fuci that grow within its channel, and at low water are left in great quantities upon the sea-shore" (see also p. 384). The word suph in Jon 2:5, translated "weeds" by the A. V., has, there can be no doubt, reference to " seaweed," and more especially to the long, ribbon-like fronds of the Laminarie, or the entangled masses of Fuci. In Ex 2:3,5, however, where we read that Moses was laid "in the suph, A. V. 'flags,' by the river's brink," it is probable that "reeds" or "rushes," etc., are denoted, as Rab. Salomon explains it, "a place thick with reeds." (See Celsius, Hierob. ii, 66.) The yam-suph in the Coptic version (as in Ex 10:19; Ex 13:18; Psalm 106:7,9, 22) is rendered "the Sari-sea." The word sari is the old Egyptian for a sedge of some kind. Jablonski (Opusc. i, 266) gives Juncus as its rendering, and compares a passage in Theophrastus (Hist. Plant. 4:8, § 2, 5) which thus describes the sari: "The sari grows in water about marshes and those watery places which the liver after its return to its bed leaves behind it; it has a hard and closely-twisted root, from which spring the saria (stalks) so-called." Pliny (Hr. N. 13:23) thus speaks of this plant: " The sari, which grows about the Nile, is a shrubby kind of plant (?), commonly being about two cubits high, and as thick as a man's thumb; it has the panicle (coma) of the papyrus, and is similarly eaten; the root, on account of its hardness, is used in blacksmiths' shops instead of charcoal." Sprengel (Hist. Herb. i, 78) identifies the sari of Theophrastus with the Cyperusfastigiatus, Linn.; but the description is too vague to serve as a sufficient basis for identification. There can be little doubt that suph is sometimes used in a general sense like our English " weeds." It cannot be restricted to denote alga, as Celsius has endeavored to show, because none of the proper algce are found in the Nile. Lady Calcott (Script. Hlerb. p. 158) thinks the Zostera marina ("grass-wrack") may be intended, but there is nothing in favor of such an opinion. The svph of Isa 19:6, where it is mentioned with the kaneh, appears to be used in a more restricted sense to denote some species of " reed" or "tall grass." There are various kinds of C.yperacece and tall Graminacece, such as A rundo and Saccharum, in Egypt. SEE WEED.

Definition of flag

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Scripture linking and popups powered by VerseClick™.