Straw

STRAW (מַתְבֵּן, H5495, תֶּ֫בֶן, H9320). Teben is mentioned fifteen times, but only once (Isa 25:10) is ‘mathbēn’ used. This word should have been tr. “vegetable waste.”

There would be more barley straw available in Pal. than wheat straw, for barley was used for feeding horses, donkeys and cattle, and most of the poor people ate barley bread.

There was also undoubtedly spelt straw available. It is uncertain, however, whether the straw mentioned in Exodus 5:7-18 was, in fact, barley or spelt straw, or whether it was merely the stalks of wild grasses, because the children of Israel were forced to gather what they needed for brick making.

Was hay the straw and provender which was given in Genesis 24:32? The reference to the lion eating “straw” in Isaiah 11:7 prob. refers to hay also.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

stro, stub’-’-l: The cognates of Hebrew tebhen, "straw" and qash, "stubble," have been retained in the modern Arabic terms tibn and qashsh. Tibn applies to the straw which has been cut up into short pieces and more or less split by the threshing operations. It is commonly used throughout the East as a coarse fodder or roughage for domestic herbivorous animals (compare Ge 24:25,32; Jud 19:19; 1Ki 4:28; Isa 11:7; 65:25). Hay and similar cured crops are practically unknown. Barley, peas and other grain, when fed to animals, are mixed with the tibn. The animals will frequently reject the tibn unless there is grain in it. They often nose about the tibn until the grain settles to the bottom so that they can eat the latter without the straw. Straw left in the manger is thrown out in the stall to form part of the bedding (compare Isa 25:10).

Tibn is mixed with clay for plastering walls or for making sun-dried bricks. It is also mixed with lime and sand for plastering. The children of Israel had their task of brickmaking made more arduous by being required to gather stubble and prepare it by chopping it up instead of being given the already prepared straw of the threshing-floors (Ex 5:7 ).

Qashsh (literally, "dried up") refers to the stalks left standing in the wheat fields or to any dried-up stalks or stems such as are gathered for burning. Camels and other flocks sometimes supplement their regular meals by grazing on the stubble, otherwise it has no use. In the Bible stubble is used to typify worthless inflammable material (Ex 15:7; Job 13:25; 41:28,29; Ps 83:13; Isa 5:24, etc.; 1Co 3:12, kalame).

mathben, is translated "straw" in Isa 25:10.

James A. Patch