They hatch cockatrice eggs, and weave the spider's web
Invent false doctrines according to their own fancies, which may seem fair and plausible, but are poisonous and pernicious; as the "eggs [of the] cockatrice", which may look like, and may be taken for, the eggs of creatures fit to eat; and spin out of their brains a fine scheme of things, but which are as thin, and as useless, and unprofitable, as "the spider's web"; and serve only to ensnare and entangle the minds of men, and will not stand before the word of God which sweeps them away at once; particularly of this kind is the doctrine of justification by the works of men, which are like the spider's web, spun out of its own bowels; so these are from themselves, as the doctrine of them is a device of man, and is not of God: he that eateth of their eggs dieth:
as a man that eats of cockatrice eggs dies immediately, being rank poison; so he that approves of false doctrines, receives them, and feeds upon them, dies spiritually and eternally; these are damnable doctrines, which bring upon men swift destruction; they are poisonous, and eat as do a canker, and destroy the souls of men: and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper;
or "cockatrice"; so Kimchi and Ben Melech take it to be the same creature as before, which goes by different names; and the words seem to require this sense; however, it cannot be the creature we call the viper, since that is not oviparous, but viviparous, lays not eggs, but brings forth its young; though both Aristotle F23 and Pliny F24, at the same time they say it is viviparous, yet observe that it breeds eggs within itself, which are of one colour, and soft like fishes. The Targum renders it "flying serpents": the sense is, that if a man is cautious, and does not eat of the cockatrice eggs, but sets his foot on them, and crushes them, out comes the venomous creature, and he is in danger of being hurt by it; so a man that does not embrace false doctrines, and escapes eternal death by them, but tramples upon them, opposes them, and endeavours to crush and destroy them, yet he is exposed to and brings upon himself calumnies, reproach, and persecution.
F23 Hist. Animal. l. 5. c. 34.
F24 Nat. Hist. I. 10. c. 62.