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Famine
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
An extreme scarcity of food, due to climate changes, that affects a large number of people. One of the classical triad of catastrophes, along with pestilence and warfare (e.g., 2 Chr 20:9; Jer 14:12; Ezek 6:11; Rev 6:8). For information on food shortages caused by people, see this article: War in the Ancient Near East.
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Famine
Famine An extreme scarcity of food, due to climate changes, that affects a large number of people. One of the classical triad of catastrophes, along with pestilence and warfare (e.g., 2 Chr 20:9; Jer 14:12; Ezek 6:11; Rev 6:8). For information on food shortages caused by people, see this article: War
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Famine
FAMINE. The main word used in biblical Hebrew for famine is rāʿāb. The same word is used to express the simple idea of hunger. As a noun this word occurs 100 times in the Hebrew Bible. Its verbal cognate rǵb, “to be hungry,” is attested in Ugaritic. The difference between the two main uses of this
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Famine
Famine. Prolonged and extreme lack of food. Famine along with other disasters (such as war and disease) have always been part of the human experience. Sometimes there was enough rainfall, properly timed, but occasionally rainfall was too early or late or insufficient (Lv 26:19; Am 4:7, 8). The Hebrews
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
Famine
Famine [Heb. rāʿāḇ-‘hunger,’ ‘fāmine’; cf. Ugar. rǵb-‘to be hungry’] (Gen. 12:10; 26:1; 41:27–54; etc.); AV also DEARTH; NEB also HUNGRY, etc.; [reʿāḇôn] (Gen. 42:19, 33; Ps. 37:19); NEB also HUNGRY; [kāp̱ān] (Job 5:22); NEB STARVATION; [Gk. limós] (Mt. 24:7; Mk. 13:8; Lk. 4:25; 15:14; 21:11;
Tyndale Bible Dictionary
Famine
FAMINE Prolonged and extreme lack of food. Famine, along with other disasters (such as war and disease), has always been part of the human experience. Sometimes there was enough rainfall, properly timed, but occasionally rainfall was too early or late or insufficient (Lv 26:19; Am 4:7–8). The Hebrews
The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated)
Famine
famine. In Ezek. 14:21, famine is listed as one of God’s “four deadly acts of judgment” along with the sword (war), evil beasts, and pestilence. Famine is also mentioned as a divine judgment in Jeremiah, along with the sword (fourteen times) and with the sword and pestilence (fifteen times). In Deut.
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
Famine
FAMINE. A general condition of extreme shortage of food. Bible history mentions numerous instances of famine during the days of Abraham (Gen 12:10), Isaac (Gen 26:1), Joseph (Gen 41:56–57), Elimelech and Naomi (Ruth 1:1), David (2 Sam 21:1), Elijah (1 Kgs 18:2; Lk 4:25), Elisha (2 Kgs 6:25; 8:1), the
Dearth
DEARTH. This word means scarcity of famine. The word originated from “dear”, that which is precious or dear is rare or scarce. The word is used in the KJV in Gen 41:54; 2 Kgs 4:38; 2 Chr 6:28; Neh 5:3; Jer 14:1; Acts 7:11; 11:28. In later translations “dearth” is replaced in most instances by such terms
The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition
Famine
FAMINE. The Bible does not always indicate the moral and spiritual significance of the famines it records. Those, for example, of Gn. 12:10; 26:1; Acts 11:28, etc., are simply stated as historical facts. But famines, like every other event in nature or history, are elsewhere integrated into the characteristic
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Famine
FamineIn the ancient world, the greatest of disasters (Lam. 4:9 prefers death by sword to a slow death of famine). Mentioned frequently in biblical and nonbiblical material from the ancient Near East, famine affected lives on many levels. Often seen as a major disaster along with pestilence and the
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
Famine
Famine (Heb. rā˓āḇ, re˓āḇon; Gk. limós).† An extreme scarcity of food. The Bible records famines during the time of the patriarchs (Gen. 12:10; 41:54), the Judges (Ruth 1:1), the united (2 Sam. 21:1) and divided monarchies (1 Kgs. 17:1ff.), and the Roman period (Acts 11:28). In the ancient
Catholic Bible Dictionary
Famine
FAMINE Famines often happened in Palestine and surrounding countries. Common causes were droughts, plagues of locusts, unusually extreme flooding along the Nile in Egypt, and war. Periods of starvation were sometimes seen as a consequence of sin (Deut 28:20, 48; 32:24; Isa 51:19; Jer 5:12; Ezek 6:11),
Smith’s Bible Dictionary
Famine
Famine. In the whole of Syria and Arabia, the fruits of the earth must ever be dependent on rain; the watersheds having few large springs, and the small rivers not being sufficient for the irrigation of even the level lands. If therefore the heavy rains of November and December fail, the sustenance of
Key passages
Ge 12:10

And there was a famine in the land. And Abram went down to Egypt to dwell as an alien there, for the famine was severe in the land.

Ge 26:1

And there was a famine in the land, besides the former famine which was in the days of Abraham. And Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, to Gerar.

1 Ki 17:1

Elijah the Tishbite from Tishbe of Gilead said to Ahab, “As Yahweh lives, the God of Israel before whom I stand, there shall surely not be dew nor rain these years except by my command.”

2 Ki 25:2–3

So the city came under siege until the eleventh year of King Zedekiah. In the ninth month, the famine became severe in the city, and there was no food for the people of the land.