International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
hun'-ger (ra`abh; limos (subs.), peinao (vb.):
(1) The desire for food, a physiological sensation associated with emptiness of the stomach, and dependent on some state of the mucous membrane;
(2) starvation as the effect of want of food, as Exodus 16:3 Isaiah 49:10;
(3) to feel the craving for food as Deuteronomy 8:3; when used to indicate the condition due to general scarcity of food as Jeremiah 38:9 Ezekiel 34:29 it is replaced in the Revised Version (British and American) by "famine." The word is used to express the poverty which follows idleness and sloth (Proverbs 19:15). The absence of this condition is given as one of the characteristics of the future state of happiness (Isaiah 49:10 Ezekiel 34:29 Revelation 7:16). Metaphorically the passionate striving for moral and spiritual rectitude is called hungering and thirsting after righteousness (Matthew 5:6); and the satisfaction of the soul which receives Christ is described as a state in which "he shall not hunger" (John 6:35).
On two occasions it is said of our Lord that He hungered (Matthew 21:18 Luke 4:2); 9 times the old English expression "an hungred" is used, the "an" being a prefix which indicates that the condition is being continued (Matthew 12:1, 3; Matthew 25:35, 37, 42, 44 Mark 2:25 Luke 6:3 the King James Version). In Matthew 4:2 the King James Version, "an hungred" has been changed to "hungered" in the Revised Version (British and American). "Hard bestead and hungry" in Isaiah 8:21 means bested (that is, placed) in a condition of hardship, "sore distressed," the American Standard Revised Version. The word occurs in Spenser, "Thus ill bestedd and fearful more of shame" (I, i, 24). The reference of the aggravation of the sensation of hunger when one who is starving awakes from a dream of food (Isaiah 29:8) is graphically illustrated by the experience of the antarctic voyager (Shackleton, Heart of the Antarctic, II, 9).