Famine - Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament Words
Usage Number: 1
Part Of Speech: Noun
Strong's Number: H7458
Original Word: ra‘ab
Usage Notes: "famine; hunger." This word appears about 101 times and in all periods of biblical Hebrew. Ra‘ab means "hunger" as opposed to "thirst": "Therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies which the Lord shall send against thee, in hunger, and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things …" (Deut. 28:48).
Another meaning of the word is "famine," or the lack of food in an entire geographical area: "And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt …" (Gen. 12:10, the first occurrence). God used a "famine" as a means of judgment (Jer. 5:12), of warning (1 Kings 17:1), of correction (2 Sam. 21:1), or of punishment (Jer. 14:12), and the "famine" was always under divine control, being planned and used by Him. Ra‘ab was also used to picture the "lack of God's word" (Amos 8:11; cf. Deut. 8:3).
Usage Number: 2
Part Of Speech: Verb
Strong's Number: H7456
Original Word: ra‘eb
Usage Notes: "to be hungry, suffer famine." This verb, which appears in the Old Testament 14 times, has cognates in Ugaritic (rgb), Arabic, and Ethiopic. The first biblical occurrence is in Gen. 41:55: "And when all the land of Egypt was famished…"