Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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This grain is mentioned in Scripture as cultivated and used in Egypt (Exodus 9:31), and in Palestine (Leviticus 27:16; Deuteronomy 8:8; 2 Chronicles 2:10; Ruth 2:17; 2 Samuel 14:30; Isaiah 28:25; Jeremiah 41:8; Joel 1:11). Barley was given to cattle, especially horses (1 Kings 4:28), and was indeed the only corn grain given to them, as oats and rye were unknown to the Hebrews, and are not now grown in Palestine. This is still the chief use of barley in Western Asia. Bread made of barley was, however, used by the poorer classes (Judges 7:13; 2 Kings 4:42; John 6:9; John 6:13; comp. Ezekiel 4:9). In Palestine barley was for the most part sown at the time of the autumnal rains, October—November, and again in early spring, or rather as soon as the depth of winter had passed. The barley of the first crop was ready by the time of the Passover, in the month Abib, March—April (Ruth 1:22; 2 Samuel 21:9; Judith 8:2); April is the month in which the barley-harvest is chiefly gathered in, although it begins earlier in some parts and later in others.

In Exodus 9:31, we are told that the plague of hail, some time before the Passover, destroyed the barley, which was then in the green ear; but not the wheat or the rye, which were only in the blade. This is minutely corroborated by the fact that the barley sown after the inundation is reaped, some after ninety days, some in the fourth month, and that it there ripens a month earlier than the wheat.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Barley'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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