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famines in the Bible
widespread, severe scarcities of food
The most remarkable famine of all was the one that arose in Egypt in the days of Joseph (son of Jacob), which lasted for 7 years and was extremely severe (Genesis 41-45). As a result of Joseph’s wisdom, he amply prepared the nation in advance and saved numerous lives, including that of his large family in The Promised Land.
The biblical woman Naomi experienced a famine in the days when judges ruled in Israel, causing her family to move to Moab, where her son married Ruth. She returned to Israel with her daughter-in-law after the famine was over, following the death of her husband and sons (Ruth 1).
During the days of David, there were 3 consecutive years of famine due to King Saul and “his bloody house” who wrongly slew the Gibeonites (2 Samuel 21:2, 5) in violation of the Israelite covenant with them (Joshua 9:3-27).
Years later, King David and his land were punished by God with 3 years of pestilence and famine, killing 70,000 men of Israel, due to David’s sin of taking a census against God’s command (1 Chronicles 21).
God called for a 7 year famine during the days of Elisha (2 Kings 8:1).
The ancient historian Josephus makes mention of the famine which occurred 45 A.D. Helena, queen of Adiabene, being at Jerusalem at that time, procured corn from Alexandria and figs from Cyprus for its poor inhabitants.