Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Often sent as visitations from God for sin. 2 Kings 8:1; "the Lord hath called for a famine" (Psalms 105:16), as a master calls for a servant ready to do his bidding. Compare Matthew 8:8-9; contrast Ezekiel 36:29. So associated with pestilence and the sword (2 Samuel 21; 1 Kings 17). The famine in Ruth 1:1 was probably owing to the Midianite devastation of the land (Judges 6), so severe in the Holy Land that Elimelech had to emigrate to Moab, and Naomi his widow returned not until ten years had elapsed. Isaiah 51:19; Jeremiah 14:15; Jeremiah 15:2; Ezekiel 5:12. Defects in agriculture, in means of transit, and in freedom of commerce through despotism, were among the natural causes of frequent famines anciently.
Failure of the heavy rains in November and December in Palestine (Genesis 12:10; Genesis 26:1-2), and of the due overflow of the Nile, along with E. and S. winds (the N. wind on the contrary brings rains, and retards the too rapid current) in Egypt, the ancient granary of the world, often brought famines (Genesis 41:25-36; Genesis 41:42). Abraham's faith was tried by the famine which visited the land promised as his inheritance immediately after his entering it; yet though going down to Egypt for food, it was only "to sojourn," not to live there, for his faith in the promise remained unshaken. A record of famine for seven years in the 18th century B.C. has been found in China, which agrees with the time of Joseph's seven years of famine in Egypt.
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Famine'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/f/famine.html. 1949.