And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.…
A famine? A famine in the Land of Promise? Yes, as afterwards, so then; the rains that usually fall in the latter part of the year had failed; the crops had become burnt up with the sun's heat before the harvest; and the herbage, which should have carpeted the uplands with pasture for the flocks, was scanty, or altogether absent. If a similar calamity were to befall us now, we could still draw sufficient supplies for our support from abroad. But Abraham had no such resource. A stranger in a strange land; surrounded by suspicious and hostile peoples; weighted with the responsibility of vast flocks and herds — it was no trivial matter to stand face to face with the sudden devastation of famine. Did it prove that he had made a mistake in coming to Canaan? Happily the promise which had lately come to him forbade his entertaining the thought. And this may have been one principal reason why it was given. It came, not only as a reward for the past, but as a preparation for the future; so that the man of God might not be tempted beyond what he was able to bear. Our Saviour has His eye on the future, and sees from afar the enemy which is gathering its forces to attack us, or is laying its plans to beguile and entrap our feet. His heart is not more careless of us than, under similar circumstances, it was of Peter, in the darkening hour of his trial, when He prayed for him that his faith might not fail, and washed his feet with an inexpressible solemnity. And thus it often happens that a time of special trial is ushered in by the shining forth of the Divine presence, and the declaration of some unprecedented promise. Happy are they who gird themselves with these Divine preparations, and so pass unhurt through circumstances which otherwise would crush them with their inevitable pressure.
(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And there was a famine in the land: and Abram went down into Egypt to sojourn there; for the famine was grievous in the land.