This translates the word hha·gavʹ, but there is uncertainty as to the insect or insects designated by this Hebrew term. It is considered to be derived from a root meaning “to hide, to cover over.” Hence, hha·gavʹ may denote a variety of flying locust whose vast swarms virtually hide the sun and cover the ground. Or, since the fully developed, winged stage of locust (Heb., ʼar·behʹ) is mentioned along with the hha·gavʹ at Leviticus 11:22 (as being clean for food), hha·gavʹ may refer to a leaper rather than a flier.
The English designation “grasshopper” is applied to any of numerous leaping insects of the families Acridiidae (including the migratory locusts and the grasshoppers having short feelers) and Locustidae (including the grasshoppers with long feelers).
Aside from its being listed as an insect clean for food and the allusion to its destructiveness to vegetation (2 Chron. 7:13), the grasshopper appears in an illustrative setting in Scripture. The unfaithful Israelite spies reported that in size they were as grasshoppers in comparison with the inhabitants of Canaan. (Num. 13:33) Men are as grasshoppers from Jehovah’s standpoint and in view of his greatness. (Isa. 40:22) In portraying the difficulties of old age, the congregator employed the figure of a grasshopper dragging itself along, perhaps thereby depicting the aged person as bent and stiff in figure, arms thrust somewhat backward.—Eccl. 12:5; see LOCUST.