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Besom of Destruction

Isaiah 14:23 states, "I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts." What is a besom? It is only mentioned in this one place in the Bible and it is a broom. This is clear in the context because it is used for sweeping. Would 'broom' then be a better rendering for modern English? Not at all. A brief study of the besom shows why it is used here. Originally, a besom was a bundle of rods or twigs used as an instrument of punishment. The word is used in English in this context as early as 893. Later (by 1000), it was used to refer to a tool for sweeping: a bundle of straw, heather, twigs, etc., bound to the end of a handle; that is, a broom. By the fourteenth century, it was used figuratively of any agent that cleanses, purifies, or sweeps away unwanted things. All three of these meanings come together in the besom of Isaiah 14:23. No other English word (including 'broom') could say it better. [historical information from Oxford English Dictionary]