Therefore the Lord will cut off from Israel head and tail,
&c.] The former of these is afterwards interpreted of "the ancient and honourable", men in high places, civil magistrates, judges, governors, and elders of the people, the king as supreme, and all subordinate officers; and so the Targum,
``the Lord will destroy from Israel the prince and the ruler;''and the latter is interpreted of the false prophet. The people of Israel are compared to a beast with a tail, being so sadly degenerated and corrupted; as the Romish antichrist, in both his capacities, civil and ecclesiastical, is compared to a beast; the one being the head, and the other the tail, ( Revelation 13:1 Revelation 13:2 Revelation 13:11 ) and Rome Pagan to a dragon with a tail, ( Revelation 12:3 Revelation 12:4 ) and the Saracens and Turks to locusts with tails like the tails of scorpions, ( Revelation 9:10 Revelation 9:19 ) : branch and rush, in one day.
The Septuagint render it, "great and small"; and so the Arabic version; the first word intending the great men of the nation, in flourishing circumstances, like branches of trees; the latter the common, people, like reeds and rushes, weak and feeble; so Kimchi explains them,
``the strong and the weak;''though the Targum interprets both of the governor and lord; and so Jarchi says they signify kings and governors; but Aben Ezra renders the word root and branch; and so they may denote the utter destruction of the people of Israel, fathers and children, high and low, rich and poor. See ( Malachi 4:1 ) .