Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing
That is, the inhabitants of the land, when they are in general become sinners against God and his law; and not merely sinners, as all men are, but grievous ones, notorious sinners, guilty of very gross enormities, of great prevarication, perfidy, and treachery; for God is a God longsuffering, and has great patience with a people; and does not usually come forth in his judgments against nation, until sin has universally prevailed among them, and they are guilty of grievous abominations, and those continued in: but when this is the case, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it;
his hand of vindictive wrath and justice, and cause it to fall heavily, and men to feel it: and will break the staff of the bread thereof;
take away bread corn from the nation, the support of human life; which is that unto it, and the stay of it, as a staff is to a decrepit old man, that cannot walk without one; or take away the virtue of it, so as though it might be had and eaten, yet not be nourishing; see ( Ezekiel 4:16 ) ; and will send famine upon it;
by causing a drought, restraining rain, sending mildew, locusts, caterpillars to eat up the fruits of the earth: and will cut off man and beast from it;
the latter for the sake of the former, and both through want of food.