|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
A grain much cultivated in Egypt (Exodus 9:31) and in Palestine (Leviticus 27:16; Deuteronomy 8:8). It was usually the food of horses (1 Kings 4:28). Barley bread was used by the poorer people (Judges 7:13; 2 Kings 4:42). Barley of the first crop was ready for the harvest by the time of the Passover, in the middle of April (Ruth 1:22; 2 Samuel 21:9). Mention is made of barley-meal (Numbers 5:15). Our Lord fed five thousand with "five barley loaves and two small fishes" (John 6:9).
Noah Webster's Dictionary
(n.) A valuable grain, of the family of grasses, genus Hordeum, used for food, and for making malt, from which are prepared beer, ale, and whisky.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) In the Bible, as in modern times, barley was a characteristic product of Palestine-"a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig-trees," etc. (Deuteronomy 8:8), the failure of whose crop was a national disaster (Joel 1:11). It was, and is, grown chiefly as provender for horses and asses (1 Kings 4:28), oats being practically unknown, but it was, as it now is, to some extent, the food of the poor in country districts (Ruth 2:17 2 Kings 4:42 John 6:9, 13). Probably this is the meaning of the dream of the Midianite concerning Gideon: "Behold, I dreamed a dream; and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came unto the tent, and smote it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat. And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon, the son of Joash, a man of Israel" (Judges 7:13). Here the barley loaf is type of the peasant origin of Gideon's army and perhaps, too, of his own lowly condition.
Barley was (Ezekiel 4:9) one of the ingredients from which the prophet was to make bread and "eat it as barley cakes" after having baked it under repulsive conditions (Ezekiel 4:12), as a sign to the people. The false prophetesses (Ezekiel 13:19) are said to have profaned God among the people for "handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread."
Barley was also used in the ORDEAL OF JEALOUSY (s. v.). It was with five barley loaves and two fishes that our Lord fed the five thousand (John 6:9, 10).
(2) Several varieties of barley are grown in Palestine The Hordeum distichum or two-rowed barley is probably the nearest to the original stock, but Hordeum tetrastichum, with grains in four rows, and Hordeum hexastichum, with six rows, are also common and ancient; the last is found depicted upon Egyptian monuments.
Barley is always sown in the autumn, after the "early rains," and the barley harvest, which for any given locality precedes the wheat harvest (Exodus 9:31), begins near Jericho in April-or even March-but in the hill country of Palestine is not concluded until the end of May or beginning of June.
The barley harvest was a well-marked season of the year (see TIME) and the barley-corn was a well-known measure of length.
See WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.
E. W. G. Masterman
Barley (35 Occurrences)
John 6:9 "There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these among so many?" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 6:13 So they gathered them up, and filled twelve baskets with broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which were left over by those who had eaten. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Revelation 6:6 I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A choenix of wheat for a denarius, and three choenix of barley for a denarius! Don't damage the oil and the wine!" (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Exodus 9:31 The flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Leviticus 27:16 "'If a man dedicates to Yahweh part of the field of his possession, then your valuation shall be according to the seed for it: the sowing of a homer of barley shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 5:15 then the man shall bring his wife to the priest, and shall bring her offering for her: the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal. He shall pour no oil on it, nor put frankincense on it, for it is a meal offering of jealousy, a meal offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to memory. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Deuteronomy 8:8 a land of wheat and barley, and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees and honey; (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 7:13 When Gideon had come, behold, there was a man telling a dream to his fellow; and he said, "Behold, I dreamed a dream; and behold, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and struck it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 1:22 So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter-in-law, with her, who returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 2:17 So she gleaned in the field until evening; and she beat out that which she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 2:23 So she stayed close to the maidens of Boaz, to glean to the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and she lived with her mother-in-law. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 3:2 Now isn't Boaz our kinsman, with whose maidens you were? Behold, he winnows barley tonight in the threshing floor. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 3:15 He said, "Bring the mantle that is on you, and hold it." She held it; and he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her; and he went into the city. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ruth 3:17 She said, "He gave me these six measures of barley; for he said,'Don't go empty to your mother-in-law.'" (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 14:30 Therefore he said to his servants, "Behold, Joab's field is near mine, and he has barley there. Go and set it on fire." Absalom's servants set the field on fire. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 17:28 brought beds, and basins, and earthen vessels, and wheat, and barley, and meal, and parched grain, and beans, and lentils, and parched pulse, (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 21:9 He delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the mountain before Yahweh, and all seven of them fell together. They were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, at the beginning of barley harvest. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Kings 4:28 Barley also and straw for the horses and swift steeds brought they to the place where the officers were, every man according to his duty. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 4:42 A man from Baal Shalishah came, and brought the man of God bread of the first fruits, twenty loaves of barley, and fresh ears of grain in his sack. He said, "Give to the people, that they may eat." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 7:1 Elisha said, "Hear the word of Yahweh. Thus says Yahweh,'Tomorrow about this time a measure of fine flour will be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.'" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 7:16 The people went out, and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of Yahweh. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 7:18 It happened, as the man of God had spoken to the king, saying, "Two measures of barley for a shekel, and a measure of fine flour for a shekel, shall be tomorrow about this time in the gate of Samaria;" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Chronicles 11:13 He was with David at Pasdammim, and there the Philistines were gathered together to battle, where there was a plot of ground full of barley; and the people fled from before the Philistines. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 2:10 Behold, I will give to your servants, the cutters who cut timber, twenty thousand measures of beaten wheat, and twenty thousand measures of barley, and twenty thousand baths of wine, and twenty thousand baths of oil. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 2:15 Now therefore the wheat and the barley, the oil and the wine, which my lord has spoken of, let him send to his servants: (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 27:5 He fought also with the king of the children of Ammon, and prevailed against them. The children of Ammon gave him the same year one hundred talents of silver, and ten thousand measures of wheat, and ten thousand of barley. So much did the children of Ammon render to him, in the second year also, and in the third. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Job 31:40 let briars grow instead of wheat, and stinkweed instead of barley." The words of Job are ended. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 28:25 When he has leveled its surface, doesn't he plant the dill, and scatter the cumin seed, and put in the wheat in rows, the barley in the appointed place, and the spelt in its place? (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 41:8 But ten men were found among those who said to Ishmael, Don't kill us; for we have stores hidden in the field, of wheat, and of barley, and of oil, and of honey. So he stopped, and didn't kill them among their brothers. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezekiel 4:9 Take for yourself also wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentils, and millet, and spelt, and put them in one vessel, and make bread of it; according to the number of the days that you shall lie on your side, even three hundred ninety days, you shall eat of it. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezekiel 4:12 You shall eat it as barley cakes, and you shall bake it in their sight with dung that comes out of man. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezekiel 13:19 You have profaned me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to kill the souls who should not die, and to save the souls alive who should not live, by your lying to my people who listen to lies. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezekiel 45:13 This is the offering that you shall offer: the sixth part of an ephah from a homer of wheat; and you shall give the sixth part of an ephah from a homer of barley; (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Hosea 3:2 So I bought her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Joel 1:11 Be confounded, you farmers! Wail, you vineyard keepers; for the wheat and for the barley; for the harvest of the field has perished. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)