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Builders in History (Part 2): The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

June 18 , 2021

Builders in History (Part 2): The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

If you’re a construction worker, bricks and nails may seem like standard materials, but in the bible – and throughout history – adobe brick and iron nails played a huge role, as did workplace conditions.

Keep reading to learn more about the history of construction materials.

Mud and Adobe Bricks Are Part of the Story of Exodus

In the story of Exodus, Israelites living in Egypt gathered Nile mud to make adobe bricks. The mud did not stick together on its own, however, and another party gathered straw to help hold the brick together.

When the Israelites asked for 3 days off for a religious retreat, the pharaoh got mad and forced them to gather both mud and straw by themselves. The punishment prompted the famous biblical Exodus, and the new working conditions served as “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Although many people now use fired bricks instead of mud and straw, adobe bricks are energy-efficient and still serve a purpose in hot, dry areas of the world. Fortunately, working conditions have improved, as well, and employers cannot retaliate against employees for their religious beliefs.

Iron Nails Were Extremely Valuable

Historically, construction workers used only the finest materials for religious structures, and the trend continues today. In biblical times, iron nails were difficult to manufacture, rare, and extremely valuable. Even in Roman times, blacksmith shops focused on creating iron nails in addition to weapons and armor.

Colonial Americans coveted iron nails, as well. If a family moved, they would burn down their house to take the nails with them! Iron nails were also valuable during the Great Depression, and families would straighten and reuse old nails around the house.

Of course, nails are readily accessible now, and most carpenters and construction workers would never consider reusing a nail – the time it takes to straighten the nail is worth more than the price of a new one!

What About Workplace Safety?

From working in the hot sun to manufacturing building materials and even hammering nails, there’s a lot that could go wrong. The pharaoh in the Exodus story is a good example of a bad employer, and like the Israelites, employees must look after their own wellbeing.

If you have concerns about workplace safety or get hurt at work, consider contacting Ramsay Law Firm, P.A. With over 60 years of combined experience, our workers’ compensation employees can help you recover from workplace injuries.

All you need to do is call us at (704) 376-1616 or contact us online.

Why Choose Ramsay Law Firm?


  • Familiarity With the Medical Field and How to Effectively Argue Cases

  • Work Directly With An Attorney Who Is Devoted to Your Success

  • Over 60 Years of Combined Experience With Workers' Compensation Cases

  • Two Board Certified Attorneys Dedicated to Your Recovery

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