One might think that the word “lechem” was a fairly general term. It seems to refer sometimes to animals' feed (Psalms 147:09), mannah (Ex 16:22), or sacrificial meat (Lev 03:16, Num 28:02). Rashi sometimes says that it means “food” in general: Gen 31:54, Gen 49:20, Lev 03:11, Lev 21:17, Lev 21:21, etc., sometimes citing Jeremiah 11:19, Daniel 05:01, or Ecclesiastes 10:19. See also Ramban at Ex 16:04.
And yet at Gen 18:05, Avraham offers to bring “pas lechem” to the angels. What do these words mean? By now, one might think that they mean “some food.” But here Rashi seems to think that they refer to bread; if they mean “food,” then what is the meaning of Rashi’s comment – that FOOD sustains life? Does he mean that “lechem” alone is food, while the expression “pas lechem” together refers to bread? If so, then how can Rashi cite the passage from Psalms, which does not say “pas lechem” but just “lechem”?
Does the association of this story with the moral “Say little but do much” suggest some understanding of the words “pas lechem”? I always thought that the inference was that Avraham said little (I will bring bread) but did much (brought other foods too); is it rather that Avraham said "I will bring just a little food” but instead brought a feast?
And lastly, the whole conversation seems to be about the assumption that “lechem” means bread. If that’s wrong, then where did the impression arise? Are there places later in Tanach where it does clearly mean bread? Or that just a sense the word took on in later Hebrew?