Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina
The land of the Philistines; the inhabitants of Palestine are meant, who rejoiced at the death of Uzziah, who was too powerful for them, and during the reign of Ahaz, of whom they had the better; and, now he was dead, they hoped things would still be more favourable to them, since a young prince, Hezekiah, succeeded him; but they would find, by sad experience, that they had no occasion to rejoice in these changes: "whole Palestine" is mentioned, because it was divided into five districts or lordships, over which there were five lords, ( Joshua 13:3 ) ( 1 Samuel 6:4 ) and as they were all rejoicing in their late successes in Ahaz's time, and in hopes of still greater, so they would all suffer in the calamity hereafter threatened: because the rod of him that smote thee is broken:
meaning not Ahaz, for be did not smite the Philistines, but was smitten by them, for they invaded his country, and took many of his cities; see ( 2 Chronicles 28:18 ) but rather Uzziah, who broke down the walls of their cities, and built others, ( 2 Chronicles 26:6 2 Chronicles 26:7 ) wherefore they rejoiced at his death; and their joy continued during the reigns of Jotham and Ahaz, and was increased at the death of Ahaz, a new and young king being placed on the throne. Some understand this of the breaking of the Assyrian, the rod of God's anger, ( Isaiah 14:25 ) by whom the Philistines had been smitten, and therefore rejoiced at his ruin; and to this the Targum seems to incline, paraphrasing it thus,
``because the government is broken, whom ye served.''Such that interpret in this way, by the "serpent" after mentioned understand Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria, whose successors were more troublesome to the Philistines than he; and by the "cockatrice" Sennacherib; and by the "fiery flying serpent" Nebuchadnezzar. Cocceius thinks that the sense of the prophecy is, that the Philistines should not rejoice at the sceptre being taken away from the Jews, and they being carried captive into Babylon, since it would not be to their advantage; for after Nebuchadnezzar and his sons, meant by the "serpent", should come the Medes and Persians, signified by the "cockatrice": and after them the Macedonians or Greeks, designed by the "flying fiery serpent", under Alexander, who should "kill" their "root", take Tyre their metropolis, at the siege of which was a famine; and then "slay [their] remnant", the city of Gaza, the last of their cities, whose inhabitants he slew; but the first sense of the prophecy, as it is most common, so most easy and natural: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice:
that is, from the posterity, of Uzziah king of Judah, who greatly annoyed the Philistines, for which reason he is compared to a "serpent", should arise Hezekiah compared to a "cockatrice", because he would be, and he was, more harmful and distressing to them; see ( 2 Kings 18:8 ) : and his fruit [shall be] a fiery flying serpent;
not the fruit of the cockatrice, but of the serpent; and intends the same as before, Hezekiah, likened to such a creature, because of the fury and swiftness with which he was to come, and did come, against the Philistines, and the hurt he did to them: the "serpent" to which he is compared is called "fiery", or "burning", because it inflames where it bites; of which see ( Numbers 21:6 ) and "flying", not because it has wings, though some serpents are said to have them; but because, when it leaps or darts upon a man, it is with such swiftness, that it seems to fly; the serpent called "acontias", or "serpens jaculus", is here alluded to. The Targum applies the passage to the Messiah, thus,
``for out of the children's children of Jesse shall come forth the Messiah, and his works shall be among you as a flying serpent.''