Dearth (usually רָעָב, hunger; λιμός, famine; as both are elsewhere rendered; but in Jer 14:1, בִּצֹּרֶת, batstso'reth, restraint, sc. of rain, drought, as in Jer 17:8), a scarcity of provisions. Although Palestine is a very fruitful land, yet a famine naturally followed a lack of crops, especially when the rain failed (1 Kings 17; Josephus, Ant. 15:9, 1), or the country was visited, among the not infrequent land-plagues (2Sa 24:13; Ps 33:19; Eze 36:29; Jer 14:13,15), with swarms of locusts (q.v.); and we read of dearths in the historical narratives not only in the patriarchal period (Ge 12:10; Ge 47:4,13), and the era of the judges (Ru 1:1), when the soil was not regularly farmed, but also in the time of the kings (2Sa 21:1; 1Ki 18:2; 2Ki 4:38; Jer 14:1), and, indeed, the destitution sometimes continued more than one year together (2Sa 21:1). In such cases the inhabitants availed themselves of supplies from the neighboring Egypt (Ge 12:10; Ge 42:1 sq.; 43:1 sq.; Josephus, Ant. 15:9, 2; 20:2, 6; 5, 2), although this region likewise suffered in like manner whenever the Nile failed to reach its usual overflow (Ge 41; Ge 43). Under the Roman rule an extensive famine prevailed (Ac 11:12) in the time of the emperor Claudius (q.v.), which occurred during several years in different provinces of the empire, and reached Palestine at the end of the fourth year of his reign (Joseph. Ant. 20:2, 6; comp. 3, 15, 3). SEE AGABUS. Josephus mentions an earlier famine (Ant. 15:9, 1), that took place in the thirteenth year of Herod the Great, which resulted from drought, and was followed by pestilence. SEE FAMINE.

Bible concordance for DEATH.

Definition of dearth

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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