Verse 16. Moreover he called for a famine upon the land. He had only to call for it as a man calls for his servant, and it came at once. How grateful ought we to be that he does not often call in that terrible servant of his, so meagre and gaunt, and grim, so pitiless to the women and the children, so bitter to the strong men, who utterly fail before it.
He brake the whole staff of bread. Man's feeble life cannot stand without its staff -- if bread fail him he fails. As a cripple with a broken staff falls to the ground, so does man when broad no longer sustains him. To God it is as easy to make a famine as to break a stall He could make that famine universal, too, so that all countries should be in like case: then would the race of man fall indeed, and its staff would be broken for ever. There is this sweet comfort in the matter, that the Lord has wise ends to serve even by famine: he meant his people to go down into Egypt, and the scarcity of food was his method of leading them there, for "they heard that there was corn in Egypt."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 16. -- He called for a famine. As a master calls for a servant ready to do his bidding. On the contrary, God says ( Ezekiel 36:29 ), "I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you." Compare the centurion's words as to sickness being Christ's servant, ready to come or go at his call, Matthew 8:8 Matthew 8:9 . --A.R. Fausset.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 16. --
- All things come at the call of God. He called for plenty, and it came, for famine, and it came; for captivity, and it came; for deliverance, and it came.
- The most unlikely means of accomplishing an end with man is often the direct way with God. He fulfilled the promise of Canaan to Abraham by banishing him from it; of plenty, by sending a famine; of freedom, by bringing into captivity. --G.R.