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Bible Dictionaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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We meet with many passages in Scripture concerning the lion. This beast was very common in Palestine, and hence, in the sacred writings, frequent allusion is made to the lion by way of similitude and figure. It would have been unnecessary, in a work of this kind, to have noticed the lion, had it not been that the Lord Jesus Christ is spoken of under this title, as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah." The comparative view of Genesis 49:9 with Revelation 5:5 will serve to explain. The dying patriarch blessing the tribe of Judah, and holding forth his prophetic sayings with an eye to Christ, describes our glorious Judah, or Jehudah, under this strong figure—his hand was to be "in the neck of his enemies;" meaning that he would totally destroy them from the head to the feet. And all his father's children were "to bow down before him." It is the distinguishing feature of Jesus, that while bringing hell and all his foes under his feet, his redeemed bend in holy adoration, and love, and praise before him. "He is the praise of all his saints." (Psalms 148:14) There is a great beauty in the figures Jacob makes use of concerning Christ. Not content with simply speaking of him as a lion, which includes every thing in the similitude, that is royal, courageous, terrible, and full of dignity and majesty, Jacob particularizes the figure under the several characters of the lion, and the lion's whelp, and the old lion. "Judah (said he) is a lion's whelp; from the prey, my son, thou art gone up; he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion, who shall rouse, him up?" It is said of the lion, that both in his rampant state, when couching, he is equally formidable; when seizing his prey, or when consuming it, none dare to follow or oppose.

We should not have understood the beauty of those similitudes in reference to Christ, had not the sacred writers been so very particular: But it is remarkable, how many and various the names the Hebrews adopted to describe the different characters of the lion by. We find, as here by Jacob, they had names for the lion's whelp, and the young lion, and the old, and the lion from "the swellings of Jordan," (Jeremiah 50:44) and the lion like men of Moab. (2 Samuel 23:20) Frequent expressions we find of the kind by say of allusion in the Scriptures. What a sweet consoling thought to the believer travelling through this waste and howling wilderness, that our Jesus is the sovereign of all, and the ruler over all. "The Lion of the tribe of Judah" is gone up from the prey, and he alone hath power to kill and to save.

The Scriptures speak of the old serpent the devil under this character, as "a roaring lion going about seeking whom he may devour." (1 Peter 5:8) But while we behold the almighty Lord Jesus in his victories having subdued our foe, we have nothing to fear, but to resist him stedfast in the faith, and sure we are "to overcome by the blood of the Lamb," as all have done before. (See Revelation 12:10-11)

If I might be permitted under this article to offer one observation more, it should be to say, what a mercy it is for us that this apostate Spirit which scours through the earth, and the Prince of the power of the air, and now worketh, as we are told he doth, in the children of disobedience, is invisible. The sight of such an enemy would freeze our very nature. The common lions and beasts of the forest, would shrink with terror from the view. How happy ought the people of God to consider themselves, that though so near them in his devilish devices, yet he dare not become visible; and though he is so busy in the cruelties of his temptations, yet his power is limited. When I hear or see some awful effects of his devices, on the minds of my fellow creatures and fellow sinners; oh! how powerfully doth it teach me the blessed consequences of distinguishing grace! Doth he work his devilish purposes on others, and am I preserved from his snare? Doth he accomplish their destruction, and do I escape? Reader! think of this precious subject! How doth it exalt my Lord in the consciousness of preserving grace! And how doth it tend to humble my soul!'

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Lion'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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