the plenty: It is well known, that in Egypt there is scarcely any rain, the country depending for its fertility upon the overflowing of the Nile; and that the fertility is in proportion to the duration and quality of the overflow, in order to saturate the land and prepare for the seed. Pliny has given a scale, by which the plenty or dearth may be ascertained; which may be considered as perfectly correct. The ordinary height of the inundations is 16 cubits. When the waters are lower than this standard, they do not overflow the whole ground; when above this standard they are too long in running off. In the first case, the ground is not saturated; by the second, the waters are detained so long on the ground that seed-time is lost. The province marks both. If it rise only 12 cubits, a famine is the consequence; at 13 hunger prevails; 14 produces general rejoicing; 15 perfect security; and 16 all the luxuries of life.
grievous: Heb. heavy, 1Sa 5:6, Isa 24:20
Reciprocal: Gen 47:13 - so that Act 11:28 - great