In the ancient Mediterranean world, droughts and famines were common in a hot, dry climate. Right from the start, beginning in the book of Genesis, Jacob's family ends up in Egypt looking for food. In an agriculturally based society, where Israel's three major religious festivals focus on the harvest of food, an untimely drought could be disastrous. But as deadly as physical famine could be, the prophet Amos warns of a different kind of scarcity. He predicts a famine of hearing the words of the Lord (Amos 8:11). They will stagger and faint, searching from north to south, but they will not hear it, Amos says. Even though God pictures Israel as a full basket of summer fruit, they are too ripe for God's taste. Israel delights more in the sabbath being over so they could get back to business; even their religious practices were a pretext for dishonesty and injustice.