Our present sense of “see” for behold has lost a bit of beauty. “Behold” uses the “be-” meaning of “around”, and in its early years “behold” was definitely all about holding something around its middle or throat or other hold-able part. From holding on or retaining something, the meaning moved to holding an idea firmly in one’s mind and considering it. From thence to “observe” in the mind or with the eyes, and now our usual use.
- 01.059 and behold!
- 13.048 and behold!
- 15.015 Behold! the birds are gathering
- 17.041 Behold! the bats are above his army
“behold, v.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, March 2015. Web. 7 May 2015.