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Famine in the Promised Land Signaled a Crisis in Leadership and Led to Critical Political Changes and Survival Responses: A Preliminary Study in Conflict Resolution

Authors: William Dando*, Indiana State University
Topics: Bible Geography, Historical Geography, Middle East
Keywords: famine, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, food deficiencies, disease, conflict resolution
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Hunger and famine were prevalent in the Ancient Near East and in the Promised Land. Rural occurrences claimed few lives, but urban hunger and famine claimed many lives. The classic response to famine was to walk away from it. Food generally was available less than fifty miles away. Examples include: Abraham emigrated to Egypt; Isaac was driven from his home; Jacob sent his sons to Egypt; Saul was blamed for a famine and his sons suffered death; Naomi fled to Moab where she met Ruth; prophets of Baal were massacred; cannibalism occurred; and international Christians, led by Paul and Barnabas, sent cash relief to Judea. Individual freedoms and community interests were impacted, and the amenities of urban life were destroyed. Famines disrupted family bonds and destroyed social support. Death of loved ones created unhappy and unhealthy isolation and nurtured urban crime. This presentation identifies food deficiency crises that led to socioeconomic devastation, political change, life-changing actions, and death.

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