The first of these past disasters is introduced by the phrase "indeed it was I..." which implies a contrast or connection with what preceded.
As in the other elements of the series the description of the calamity God has wrought is followed by the formula "yet you did not return to me". This indicates both the purpose of the disaster, and its failure.
In such dry land famine is a frequent danger (Southern Judean Hills, from Arad)
"Clean teeth" is a finely ironic way of expressing famine. It is far from a cliche but is unique to Amos in the Hebrew Bible.
Paralleling "cities" and "settlements" implies that the whole land is affected.
On the relation of famine to breach of covenant obligations see Kaminsky (105, 109).
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