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Broom

BROOM brōōm (רֹ֫תֶם, H8413). Broom and broom-tree are both correct trs. from the Heb. word rothem. It is a desert shrub doubtless identified with the Arab ratham, which grows in abundance in southern Pal. and the Sinai Peninsula. Strictly speaking, it is not a juniper tree, though sometimes so called, but is a member of the pea family. It has long slender branches, small leaves, and showy yellow blossoms, and provides only scant shade. Its sparse shade, however, is welcome to the weary traveler, as in the case of Elijah who rested “and slept under a broom tree” (1 Kings 19:5). Its forage is of low grade, eaten by animals only in dire need. Its stock and roots are good fuel and provide charcoal when burned (Job 30:4). The psalmist spoke of “glowing coals of the broom tree” (Ps 120:4). Isaiah’s prediction of God sweeping Babylon “with the broom of destruction” (Isa 14:23) prob. refers to a hand broom (besom).