Cereals, a general term embracing all those kinds of grain (דָּגן, "corn") of which bread (q.v.) is made. SEE AGRICULTURE. These, among the Hebrews, were the following (see Jahn, Bibl. Archceol. § 58). SEE GRAIN.
1. Wheat (חַטָּה, chittah´, i.e. חנטָה, like the Arabic chintah; the several kernels are denoted by the plur. חַטַּים; Greek πῦρος; in the N.T. the more generic term σῖτος; in modern Egypt and Barbary kamchun, Heb. קֶמִח) was the most important kind of bread-corn grown in Palestine (Isa 28:25; Eze 4:9), and, like barley, was raised throughout the land (De 8:8; Jg 6:11; 1Sa 6:13; 2Sa 4:6; 2Sa 17:28; comp. Pliny, 18:21); so fully supplying the inhabitants that Solomon was enabled with a surplus to procure the services of king Hiram's artificers (1Ki 5:11), and considerable exports of wheat to Tyre are spoken of at a later date (Eze 27:17). The culture of wheat is still practiced there (Robinson, Researches, 2:276 etc.). The finest wheat is said (Mishna, Menach. 8:1) to have grown in Michmnash, and an unknown locality called Mezunichah (מזוניחה). In Ezekiel (l. c.) a peculiar kind of wheat (חַטֵּי מַנַּית, "'wheat of Minnith") is spoken of. SEE MINNITH. The sowing of wheat fell in Marchesvan (Oct.-Nov.), and the reaping (קצר חַטַּים, "wheat-harvest") at the end of Nisan (March-April). SEE CALENDAR. Wheat still ripens in Palestine sometimes in April (Korte, Reise, p. 145, 432; Shaw, Trav. p. 290), although it is usually fit to cut in May or the beginning of June (Robinson, Researches, 2:99, etc.). SEE FIRST-FRUITS. Wheat flour (סֹלֶת חַטַּים, Ex 29:2) was used for bread and cakes (q.v.), and the grains were also roasted, SEE PARCHED CORN, when, green (Jos 5:11; Ru 2:14; 1Sa 17:17; 2Sa 7:28), as is still the case in Palestine, especially by the reapers (Hasselquist, p. 91).. SEE HARVEST. The kernels were also pounded (Le 2:14; Le 23:14; 2Ki 4:42) into a kind of grits (כִּרמֶל). SEE EARS (OF CORN). In the sanctuary wheat was used in considerable quantity (Ezr 7:22; comp. 6:9; see Bel 2). Wheat was universally cultivated in the lands of hither Asia and the adjoining parts of North Africa (Egypt), from the earliest times; but how it was introduced to the Hebrews is unknown. See generally Link, in the Abhandl. der Berliner Akademie, 1816-17, p. 127 sq.; Celsii Hierobot. 2:112 sq. SEE WHEAT.
2. Barley (שׂעַרָה, seirah), of various kinds (chiefly the six-rowed), was largely cultivated (Ge 27:16; 2Ch 2:10; Ru 2:17; 2Sa 14:30; Isa 28:25; Jer 41:8) by the Egyptians (Ex 9:31 sq.) and Hebrews (as one of the staple products of Palestine, De 8:8; comp. Joe 1:11), and was used partly as fodder (1Ki 4:28; comp. Pesach. f. in, 2) for cattle (Phaedr. 5:5, 3; Juven. 8:154; Pliny, 13:47; 18:14; 28:81) or horses (Esop, Fab. 140; comp. Sonnini, Trav. 2:20), partly for bread (Pliny, Hist. Nat. 18:26) for the poorer classes (Jg 7:13; 2Ki 4:42; Joh 6:9,13; comp. Eze 4:9; Joseph. War, 5:10, 2; Philo, 2:307; Seneca, Ep. 18, p. 85. Bip.; Athen. 7:304; Plutarch, Apoph. reg. p. 6, Lips.; Xenoph. Anab. 4:5, 31; see Weistein, 1:876 sq.); for the latter purpose it was regarded as wholesome (Lucian, Macrob. 5; Pliny, 22:65); but, being less palatable than wheat (Athen. 3:115), it was not usually eaten except under the pressure of hunger (Wilhelm Tyr. 11:22, p. 809), and therefore constituted the regular fare of Roman soldiers when undergoing correction (Livy, 27:13; Sueton. Aug. 24; Veget. Mil. 1:13; Dio Cass. 49, 100:27 and 38; Polyb. 6:38, 4; Polysen. 4:24), as of the hermits in the Christian Church (Jerome, Opp. 2:5); although in early times it was a common article of food (Pliny, 18:14; Artemid. 1:71), and is still highly relished by the Arabs in Morocco (Hist, Nachr. p. 132). It was also employed as malt for a species of intoxicating drink (q.v.). SEE WINE. Barley was sown in the middle of the month of Marchesvan (q.v.), or November (Lightfoot, p. 340, 1004), and was reaped in the month Abib (q.v.), or April (at Jericho in March; see Buhle, Calendar. Palaest. econ. p. 14, 23; in less favored situations even in May, Robinson, Res. 2:99, 100); and these seasons became regular notations of time (2Sa 21:9; Ru 1:22; Judith 8:2). SEE HARVEST. See generally Celsius, Hierob. 2:239 sq. On the kinds of barley known to the ancients, see Link, in the Abhandl. der physikal. Classe der kön. preuss. Akademie d. Wissensch. 1816-17, p. 123 sq. On Nu 5:15, comp.). the article SEE JEALOUSY- OFFERING. SEE BARLEY.
3. Spelt (כֻּסֶּמֵת, kusse´meth; Arab. kassamat; Aram. כּוּנתָּא; Triticum spelta of Linn.; by the Latins ador or adoreum, Adam, Romans Ant. 2:434), mentioned in Ex 9:32; Isa 28:25; Eze 4:9, SEE FITCHES, is a species of bread-corn with a four-petaled blunt calyx, hermaphrodite blossoms, followed by little bearded slender ears, seemingly shorn (hence the name, from כָּסִם, to curtail), whose grains adhere so firmly in the husk as to be with difficulty separated from it. It grows about as tall as barley, and was cultivated in the southern parts of Europe (Strabo, 5:227), as well as in Egypt (Herod. 2:36; Pliny, 18:19), Arabia, and Palestine (where it is still raised), of several varieties, the winter grain being esteemed the best (Ex 9:32). Among the Israelites it was usually associated with barley as a field-crop (Isaiah 1. c.). The meal is fine, and whiter than wheat flour (Pliny, 18:11); the bread made of it (Phocas, 100:23) is more brittle and less nutritious than wheaten (Dioscor. 2:111). Comp. generally Celsius, Hierob. 2:98 sq. Various other significations of the above Heb. term may be seen in Lindorfii Ler. Heb. 2:1007; among moderns," Shaw (Trav. p. 351) understands rice (oryza, Linn.); the Sept. has ζέα in Isaiah, but ὄλορα in both the other passages (both are synonymous terms, Herod. 2:34). Comp. Link, Urwelt, 1:404 sq. SEE SPELT.
4. Millet appears to be denoted by the Hebrews דֹּחִן dclhacn' (Arab. duchna) of Eze 4:9, which, however, Gesenius (Thes. p. 333) regards as a generic term, in distinction from the Indian millet (Holchus dochna, Linn.), a species of cereal (Pliny, 27:63) peculiar for its hermaphrodite or two-bearded and mostly two-petaled calyx. It stands quite tall, and bears prolate brown-kernels pressed together and resembling rice. It blossoms in Egypt (Rosellini, Monum. civ. 1:363 sq.; Forskal found it at Rosetta) in the beginnner of November, and is also now cultivated in Arabia (Wellsted, Trav. 1:295), where the grain is used for a poor sort of bread (Niebuhr, Reise, 1:1758). See generally Celsii Hierob. 1:453 sq.; Oedmann, Samml. , 5:92 sq. SEE MILLET.
Some distinct species of grain is thought by many (so the Sept., Aquila, Theod., and Vulg.) designated by the term נסמָן, nisman´, of Isa 28:5; whether a variety of millet, spelt, barley, or some totally different cereal, is not agreed; but the word is perhaps rather an appellative indicative (so the A. V. "appointed" barley) of a barley-field (see Rosenmüller and Gesenius, in loc.). Other modern gramineous plants, as rye, oats, maize, rice, etc. do not appear to be mentioned in Scripture. SEE RYE. Some of the smaller grasses, however, seem to have been employed as farinacea. SEE CUMMIN. Certain legumes also, as beans, peas, etc. were used for similar culinary purposes. SEE PULSE.