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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
A cereal often mentioned in the Old Testament as one of the common food-products of Palestine. It was and still is used as second only to wheat as an ingredient for bread, and as such was indicative of poverty, as seen in several notable instances (Judges 7:13; Ruth 2:17; 2 Kings 4:42; John 6:9,13); indeed, it seems to have been the chief food of the poorer people. It is cultivated everywhere in Palestine, principally as provender for horses (1 Kings 5:8 [A. V. 4:28]) and asses. In Europe and often in America its place is taken by oats, and the cut straw of barley and wheat is sometimes used for fodder. In the lowest depressions of the Jordan valley the seed is always sown in the autumn, and the harvest begins in April, and advances with the season, until on the heights it reaches into July and August. The most frequently cultivated barley in antiquity seems to have been the six-rowed (Hordeum hexastichon), noted on the most ancient Egyptian monuments and on the coins of Metapontum, 600 B.C. "The meal offering of jealousy" (Numbers 5:15) seems to have been the only use made of barley in the Hebrew ritual.
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Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Barley'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/b/barley.html. 1901.