The voice thereof shall go like a serpent
That is, the voice of Egypt, before compared to a heifer, when in its glory; but now it shall not bellow like a heifer in fat pasture, bat hiss like a serpent, when drove out of its hole, and pursued; signifying, that their voice should be low and submissive, and should not speak one big or murmuring word to their conquerors. The voice of the serpent is, by Aristotle F13 said to be small and weak; so Aelianus F14. Though Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abarbinel, understand it of the voice of serpents heard afar off; and so it may respect the dreadful lamentation the Egyptians should make, when they should see the Chaldeans come upon them to destroy them; just as serpents in woods make a horrible noise, when they are set on fire, or are cut down, to which there is an allusion in some following clauses. The Targum seems to interpret this of the Chaldean army thus,
``the voice of the clashing of their arms as serpents creeping;''and of them the following words are certainly meant: for they shall march with an army;
the Targum adds, against you; the meaning is, that the Chaldeans should come with a great army, and march against the Egyptians with great strength, force, and fury: and come against her with axes, as hewers of wood;
with battle axes, as if they came to cut down trees; nor would they spare the Egyptians any more than such hewers do the trees; nor would they be able any more to resist them than trees can resist hewers of wood.
F13 Hist. Animal. l. 4. c. 9.
F14 De Animal. l. 15. c. 13.