Provender (מַספּוֹא, mispo), fodder for cattle (Ge 24:25,32). In the account of king Solomon's stables, in 1Ki 4:28, we read, "Barley, also, and straw for the horses and dromedaries, brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge." Harmer remarks upon this passage: "Besides provisions for themselves, the Orientals are obliged to carry food for the beasts on which they ride or carry their goods. That food is of different kinds. They make little or no hay in these countries, and are therefore very careful of their straw, which they cut into small bits, by an instrument which at the same time threshes out the corn; this chopped straw, with barley, beans, and balls made of bean and barley meal, or of the pounded kernels of dates, are what they are wont to feed them with. The officers of Solomon are accordingly said to have brought, every man in his month, barley and straw for the horses and dromnedaries;
not straw to litter them with, there is reason to think, for it is not now used in those countries for that purpose, but chopped straw for them to eat, either alone or with their barley. The litter they use for them is their own dung, dried in the sun, and bruised between their hands, which they heap up again in the morning, sprinkling it in summer with fresh water, to keep it from corrupting. In some other places we read of provender and straw, not barley and straw; because it may be other things were used for their food anciently, as well as now, besides barley and chopped straw. בּלַיל, belil, one of the words used for provender (Isa 30:24), implies something of mixture, and the participle of the verb from which it is derived is used for the mingling of flour with oil; so the verb in Jg 19:21 may be as well translated 'he mingled [food] for the asses' as 'he gave them provender,' signifying that he mixed some chopped straw and barley together for the asses. Thus also barley and chopped straw, as it is just after reaping, unseparated in the field, might naturally be expressed by the Hebrew word we translate provender, which signifies barley and straw that had been mingled together, and accordingly seems to be so. 'They reap every one his corn in the field' (Job 24:6), 'Hebrew, mingled corn or dredge,' says the margin. What ideas are usually affixed to secondary translation I do not know, but Job apparently alludes to the provender, or heap of chopped straw, lying mingled together in the field, after having passed under the threshing instrument, to which he compared the spoils that were taken from passengers so early as his time by those that lived somewhat after the present manner of the wild Arabs, which spoils are to them what the harvest and vintage were to others. With this agrees that other passage of Job where this word occurs (vi, 5), 'Will the ox low in complaints over his provender?' or 'fodder,' as it is translated in our version, when he has not only straw enough, but mixed with barley." Travellers in the East, wherever they mention the subject, use much the same terms as Walpole, who, in his Journal, remarks, "Neither hay nor oats are known to the Turks; nor has any nation in the East ever used them for their horses." SEE FODDER.