Both wheat and barley straw were used by the ancient Hebrews chiefly as fodder for the horses cattle and camels. (Genesis 24:25; 1 Kings 4:28; Isaiah 11:7; 66:25) There is no intimation that straw was used for litter. It was employed by the Egyptians for making bricks, (Exodus 5:7,16) being chopped up and mixed with the clay to make them more compact and to prevent their cracking. [See Brick] The ancient Egyptians reaped their corn close to the ear, and afterward cut the straw close to the ground and laid it by. This was the straw that Pharaoh refused to give to the Israelites who were therefore compelled to gather "stubble" instead--a matter of considerable difficulty, seeing that the straw itself had been cut off near to the ground.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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