Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it:
Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously,.... That is, the inhabitants of the land, when they are in general become sinners against God and his law; and not merely sinners, as all men are, but grievous ones, notorious sinners, guilty of very gross enormities, of great prevarication, perfidy, and treachery; for God is a God longsuffering, and has great patience with a people; and does not usually come forth in his judgments against nation, until sin has universally prevailed among them, and they are guilty of grievous abominations, and those continued in: but when this is the case,
then will I stretch out mine hand upon it; his hand of vindictive wrath and justice, and cause it to fall heavily, and men to feel it:
and will break the staff of the bread thereof; take away bread corn from the nation, the support of human life; which is that unto it, and the stay of it, as a staff is to a decrepit old man, that cannot walk without one; or take away the virtue of it, so as though it might be had and eaten, yet not be nourishing; see Ezekiel 4:16;
and will send famine upon it; by causing a drought, restraining rain, sending mildew, locusts, caterpillars, &c. to eat up the fruits of the earth:
and will cut off man and beast from it; the latter for the sake of the former, and both through want of food.