Barley

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

Much cultivated by the Hebrews (Ex. 9:3131And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. (Exodus 9:31); Lev. 27:1616And if a man shall sanctify unto the Lord some part of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: an homer of barley seed shall be valued at fifty shekels of silver. (Leviticus 27:16); Deut. 8:88A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; (Deuteronomy 8:8); Ruth 2:77And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house. (Ruth 2:7)). Used for bread chiefly among the poor (Judg. 7:1313And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. (Judges 7:13); 2 Kings 4:4242And there came a man from Baal-shalisha, and brought the man of God bread of the firstfruits, twenty loaves of barley, and full ears of corn in the husk thereof. And he said, Give unto the people, that they may eat. (2 Kings 4:42); John 6:9-139There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? 10And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. 11And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. 12When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. 13Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. (John 6:9‑13)); and for fodder (1 Kings 4:2828Barley also and straw for the horses and dromedaries brought they unto the place where the officers were, every man according to his charge. (1 Kings 4:28)). Barley harvest preceded wheat harvest (Ruth 1:22; 2:2322So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabitess, her daughter in law, with her, which returned out of the country of Moab: and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest. (Ruth 1:22)
23So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz to glean unto the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest; and dwelt with her mother in law. (Ruth 2:23)
; 2 Sam. 21:9-109And he delivered them into the hands of the Gibeonites, and they hanged them in the hill before the Lord: and they fell all seven together, and were put to death in the days of harvest, in the first days, in the beginning of barley harvest. 10And Rizpah the daughter of Aiah took sackcloth, and spread it for her upon the rock, from the beginning of harvest until water dropped upon them out of heaven, and suffered neither the birds of the air to rest on them by day, nor the beasts of the field by night. (2 Samuel 21:9‑10)).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

In the trial of jealousy an offering was made of barley meal, without oil or frankincense, (Num. 5:1515Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. (Numbers 5:15)). It was a domestic sorrow, that never ought to occur; but if the sin was there it must be judged. In Judges 7:1313And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. (Judges 7:13) Gideon hears himself compared to a cake of barley bread: he would not have heard this had he not been afraid (Judg. 7:1010But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host: (Judges 7:10)); but it the more showed him whose hand must give the victory. Israel is charged with having polluted God among His people for “handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread” (Ezek. 13:1919And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies? (Ezekiel 13:19)); as it says elsewhere, they had sold themselves for naught.

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Barley was the usual fodder for cattle. They were also fed with a mixture of chopped straw, barley, beans, and pounded date kernels.