What a Short Famine

November 8th, 2005 by Yaakov Ellis

ויהי רעב בארץ וירד אברם מצרימה לגור שם כי כבד הרעב בארץ
And there was a famine in the land, and Avram went down to Mitzrayim to dwell there, for the famine was very harsh in the land

Bereishit 12:10

ויעל אברם ממצרים הוא ואשתו וכל אשר לו ולוט עמו הנגבה
And Avram went up from Mitzrayim, him and his wife and all that was his, and Lot was with him – to the Negev

Bereishit 13:1

Avram had to go down to Mitzrayim because there was a famine in the Land of Canaan. Regardless of whether or not Avram was justified in doing this this was still one heck of a famine – Avram would not have left otherwise. What happens next? He goes down to Mitzrayim, his wife is taken to Pharoah, a makah strikes Pharoah’s household, Pharoah tells Avram to take his wife and his possessions and get lost. Avram goes back up to Canaan and goes on to his next adventure.

So what happened to the famine? From the chronology of the pesukim, it does not seem like Avram was down in Mitrayim for too long of a time – yet, when Avram comes back up to Canaan, there evidently is enough food to go around (otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to come back). Where did all of the food come from? If it was an open miracle, this would probably have been mentioned in the Torah. If the food came back through natural means, how could this have happened so quickly?

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