And [there was] no bread in all the land
The land of Egypt and the parts adjacent, but in Pharaoh's storehouses, all being consumed that were in private hands the first two years of the famine: for the famine [was] very sore;
severe, pressed very hard: so that the land of Egypt, and [all] the land of Canaan, fainted by
reason of the famine;
that is, the inhabitants of both countries, their spirits sunk, as well as their flesh failed for want of food: or "raged" F2; became furious, and were like madmen, as the word signifies; according to Kimchi F3, they were at their wits' end, knew not what to do, as Aben Ezra interprets it, and became tumultuous; it is much they had not in a violent manner broke open the storehouses of corn, and took it away by force; that they did not must be owing to the providence of God, which restrained them, and to the care and prudence of Joseph as a means, who, doubtless, had well fortified the granaries; and very probably there were a body of soldiers placed everywhere, who were one of the three parts or states of the kingdom of Egypt, as Diodorus Siculus F4 relates; to which may be added, the mild and gentle address of Joseph to the people, speaking kindly to them, giving them hopes of a supply during the famine, and readily relieving them upon terms they could not object to.
F2 (hlt) "insanivit vel acta fuit in rahiem", Vatablus; "furebat", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
F3 In Sepher Shorash rad (hhl) ; so Ben Melech in loc.
F4 Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 67.