23. They shall cut down her forest, saith the Lord, though it cannot be searched; because they are more than the grasshoppers, and are innumerable.
23. Exciderunt sylvam ejus, dicit Jehova, quia non investigabitur, quia multiplicati sunt prae locusta (phsquam locustrae) et non illis numerus.
He goes on here with the same subject. He indeed uses the past tense, but we know that this was commonly done by the Prophets. He compares the people of Egypt to a forest, as he had said that individual men would be like trees: They have then cut down, that is, they shall cut. down its forest, saith Jehovah. For the sake of confirmation he ascribes the words to God; as though he had said, that he predicted nothing but what God had determined to do. His object then was to remove every doubt; because the Jews might on the one hand have refused to believe this prophecy on considering the power of Egypt; and the Egyptians on the other might have disregarded these threatenings, confiding in their own strength. Hence the Prophet introduces God as the speaker, as though he had said, "This decree cannot be revoked, because God hath spoken."
And he says, that they had multiplied more than locusts, so there could be no number. I have omitted one previous sentence, It shall not be searched. As the particle yk, ki, is read twice, some think that both clauses refer to the Chal-deans. Others read, "It shall not be numbered;" but the verb rqx, chekor, properly means to inquire, to investigate; and the sentence may be thus suitably rendered, "That the forest may not be investigated." Yet another meaning has been more approved, that the Chaldeans shall not be numbered. If this view be received, there is a Change of number, for it immediately follows, "They shall multiply," wbr, rebu; and then, there shall not be a number to them, Mhl, laem. But what I stated in the first place, as it appears to me, does not ill suit the passage, that is, that there would be no investigation of the forest of Egypt, that is, of the people; for when a forest is cut down, it appears a naked plain, nor can the place of any tree be pointed out. As to the general meaning, there is not much difference. The Prophet, in short, means, that the slaughter, of which he prophecies, would be so great, that Egypt would be reduced to a waste, because the Chaldeans would come with a numerous army: and he sets up this number in opposition to the Egyptian forces, that they might know that their enemies would be far superior to them. It follows --