the most powerful of all carnivorous animals. Although not now found in Palestine, they must have been in ancient times very numerous there. They had their lairs in the forests (Jer. 5:6; 12:8; Amos 3:4), in the caves of the mountains (Cant. 4:8; Nah. 2:12), and in the canebrakes on the banks of the Jordan (Jer. 49:19; 50:44; Zech. 11:3).
The lion of Palestine was properly of the Asiatic variety, distinguished from the African variety, which is larger. Yet it not only attacked flocks in the presence of the shepherd, but also laid waste towns and villages (2 Kings 17:25, 26) and devoured men (1 Kings 13:24, 25). Shepherds sometimes, single-handed, encountered lions and slew them (1 Sam. 17:34, 35; Amos 3:12). Samson seized a young lion with his hands and "rent him as he would have rent a kid" (Judg. 14:5, 6). The strength (Judg. 14:18), courage (2 Sam. 17:10), and ferocity (Gen. 49:9) of the lion were proverbial.
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