"The most powerful, daring and impressive of all carnivorous animals, the most magnificent in aspect and awful in voice." At present lions do not exist in Palestine; but they must in ancient times have been numerous. The lion of Palestine was in all probability the Asiatic variety, described by Aristotle and Pliny as distinguished by its short and curly mane, and by being shorter and rounder in shape, like the sculptured lion found at Arban. It was less daring than the longer named species, but when driven by hunger it not only ventured to attack the flocks in the desert in presence of the shepherd, (1 Samuel 17:34; Isaiah 31:4) but laid waste towns and villages, (2 Kings 17:25,26; Proverbs 22:13; 26:13) and devoured men. (1 Kings 13:24; 20:36) Among the Hebrews, and throughout the Old Testament, the lion was the achievement of the princely tribe of Judah, while in the closing book of the canon it received a deeper significance as the emblem of him who "prevailed to open the book and loose the seven seals thereof." (Revelation 5:5) On the other hand its fierceness and cruelty rendered it an appropriate metaphor for a fierce and malignant enemy. (Psalms 7:2; 22:21; 57:4; 2 Timothy 4:17) and hence for the arch-fiend himself. (1 Peter 5:8)
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