Small, mouselike animals covered with fine, short fur. The original-language term is thought to be derived from a root signifying “dig” (Ge 26:15), and therefore a number of scholars have suggested that it may denote any of a variety of burrowing animals, including rats, mice, mole rats, jerboas, and the like. However, according to Koehler and Baumgartner, chaphar·pa·rohthʹ designates “shrewmice.”—Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros, Leiden, 1958, p. 322.
These creatures have long, slender snouts, tiny eyes, and rounded ears with a rather crumpled appearance. Of enormous appetite, shrewmice can devour more than their own weight in food in a day. They subsist largely on insects and worms, although also feeding on small animals their own size and larger, such as mice. The kind of shrewmouse mentioned in Isaiah 2:20 is identified by I. Aharoni as Crocidura religiosa.—Osiris, Brugge, 1938, Vol. 5, p. 463.