Used in AV (a) in the primary sense of a house-floor, and (b) in the secondary sense of a threshing-floor, the Heb. words for which are quite distinct. Under (a) we have the earthen floor of the Tabernacle, Nu 5:17, and the wooden floor of the Temple, 1Ki 6:15 (see House,
FLOOR, for threshing corn, or threshing floor, is frequently mentioned in Scripture. This was a place in the open air, in which corn was threshed, by means of a cart or sledge, or some other instrument drawn by oxen. The threshing floors among the Jews were only, as they are to this day in the east, round level plats of ground in the open air, where the corn was trodden out by oxen. Thus Gideon's floor appears to have been in the open air, Jg 6:37; and also that of Araunah the Jebusite, 2 Samuel 24, otherwise it would not have been a proper place for erecting an altar, and offering sacrifices. In Ho 13:3, we read of the chaff which is driven by the whirlwind from the floor. This circumstance of the threshing floor's being exposed to the agitation of the wind seems to be the principal reason of its Hebrew name. It appears, therefore, that a threshing floor, which is rendered in our textual translation, "a void place," might well be near the entrance of the gate of Samaria, and a proper situation in which the kings of Israel and Judah might hear the prophets, 1Ki 22:10; 2Ch 18:9. An instrument sometimes used in Palestine and the east, to force the corn out of the ear, and bruise the straw, was a heavy kind of sledge made of thick boards, and furnished beneath with teeth of stone or iron, Isa 41:15. The sheaves being laid in order, the sledge was drawn over the straw by oxen, and at the same time threshed out the corn, and cut or broke the straw into a kind of chaff. An instrument in the east is still used for the same purpose. This sledge is alluded to in 2Sa 12:31; Isa 28:27; 41:15; Am 1:3. Dr. Lowth, in his notes on Isa 28:27-28, observes, that four methods of threshing are mentioned in this passage, by different instruments, the flail, the drag, the wain, and the treading of the cattle. The staff, or flail, was used for the infirmiora semina, the grain that was too tender to be treated in the other methods. The drag consisted of a sort of frame of strong planks, made rough at the bottom with hard stones or iron; it was drawn by horses or oxen over the corn sheaves on the floor, the driver sitting upon it. The wain was nearly similar to this instrument, but had wheels with iron teeth, or edges like a saw. The last method is well known from the law of Moses, which forbids the ox to be muzzled when he treadeth out the corn. Niebuhr, in his Travels, gives the following description of a machine which the people of Egypt use at this day for threshing out their corn: "This machine," says he, "is called nauridsj. It has three rollers which turn on their axles; and each of them is furnished with some irons round and flat. At the beginning of June, Mr. Forskall and I several times saw, in the environs of Dsjise, how corn was threshed in Egypt. Every peasant chose for himself, in the open field, a smooth plat of ground from eighty to a hundred paces in circumference. Hither was brought on camels or asses the corn in sheaves, of which was formed a ring of six or eight feet wide, and two high. Two oxen were made to draw over it again and again the sledge, traineau, above mentioned; and this was done with the greatest convenience to the driver; for he was seated in a chair fixed on the sledge. Two such parcels or layers of corn are threshed out in a day, and they move each of them as many as eight times, with a wooden fork of five prongs, which they call meddre. Afterward they throw the straw into the middle of the ring, where it forms a heap, which grows bigger and bigger. When the first layer is threshed they replace the straw in the ring, and thresh it as before. Thus the straw becomes every time smaller, till at last it resembles chopped straw. After this, with the fork just described, they cast the whole some yards from thence, and against the wind; which driving back the straw, the corn and the ears not threshed out fall apart from it, and make another heap. A man collects the clods of dirt, and other impurities to which any corn adheres, and throws them into a sieve. They afterward place in a ring the heaps, in which a good many entire ears are still found, and drive over them for four or five hours together ten couple of oxen joined two and two, till by absolute trampling they have separated the grains, which they throw into the air with a shovel to cleanse them."