He hath laid my vine waste
That is, the locust, which spoiled the vines in Judea, the singular being put for the plural, by gnawing the branches, biting the tops of them, and devouring the leaves and the fruit; and so not only left them bare and barren, but destroyed them: this may emblematically represent the Assyrians or Babylonians wasting the land of Judea, the vine and vineyard of the Lord of hosts; see ( Isaiah 5:1-5 ) ; and barked my fig tree;
gnawed off the bark of them; locusts are not only harmful to vines, as is hinted by Theocritus F15, but to fig trees also: Pliny F16 speaks of fig trees in Boeotia gnawn by locusts, which budded again; and mentions it as something wonderful and miraculous that they should: and yet Sanctius observes, that these words cannot be understood properly of the locusts, since fig trees cannot be harmed by the bite or touch of them; which, besides their roughness, have an insipid bitter juice, which preserves them from being gnawn by such creatures; and the like is observed of the cypress by Vitruvius F17; but the passage out of Pliny shows the contrary. Some interpret it of a from or scum they left upon the fig tree when they gnawed it, such as Aben Ezra says is upon the face of the water; and something like this is left by caterpillars on the leaves of trees, which destroy them; he hath made it clean bare;
stripped it of its leaves and fruit, and bark also: and cast [it] away;
having got out all the juice they could: the branches thereof are made white;
the bark being gnawed off, and all the greenness and verdure of them dried up; so trees look, when this is their case: and thus the Jews were stripped by the Chaldeans of all their wealth and treasure, and were left bare and naked, and as the scum and offscouring of all things.
F15 Idyll. 5.
F16 Nat. Hist. l. 17. c. 25.
F17 De Architectura, l. 2. c. 9. p. 70.