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Fausset's Bible Dictionary
First mentioned in Exodus 9:31, which shows the barley harvest was earlier than the wheat, a month earlier in Egypt. Neither is found wild. Cereals and the art of converting them into bread were probably God's direct gift to man from the first. The worship of Ceres was probably a corruption of this truth. Canaan was "a land of wheat and barley" (Deuteronomy 8:8). Barley was a food for horses (1 Kings 4:28), but also for men. The hordeum distichum, or "two rowed barley" was that usual in Palestine (Judges 7:13; Ezekiel 4:12). Its inferiority to wheat is marked by the jealousy offering being of barley, whereas the ordinary (minchah ) meat, offering was of fine wheaten flour (Leviticus 2:1), and the purchase price of the adulteress (Hosea 3:2). The scanty supply, marking the poverty of the disciples, but multiplied by Jesus, was five barley loaves (John 6:9).
The people in Palestine still complain that their oppressors leave them nothing but barley bread to eat (Thomson's Land and Book, p. 449). A measure of wheat is made equivalent to three of barley (Revelation 6:6). Barley rapidly ripens. Some was sowed at the autumnal rains in October or November, other barley seed immediately after winter. Barley harvest was a note of time; as when it is said Rizpah, the afflicted widow of Saul, watched over her seven sons' bodies "from the beginning of barley harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven" (2 Samuel 21:9-10), i.e., from May until September. In the Midianite's dream Gideon was regarded as a mere vile barley cake, yet it is just such whom God chooses to overthrow the mighty (Judges 7:13; 1 Corinthians 1:27).
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Barley'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/b/barley.html. 1949.