|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:7-11 Eliphaz argues, 1. That good men were never thus ruined. But there is one event both to the righteous and to the wicked, Ec 9:2, both in life and death; the great and certain difference is after death. Our worst mistakes are occasioned by drawing wrong views from undeniable truths. 2. That wicked men were often thus ruined: for the proof of this, Eliphaz vouches his own observation. We may see the same every day.
Verse 10. - The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. Wicked men, especially oppressors, are often compared to lions in Scripture (see Psalm 7:2; Psalm 10:9; Psalm 17:12, etc.; Ezekiel 19:3, 5; Nahum 2:12; Zephaniah 3:3, etc.). The meaning of Eliphaz is that, within his experience, all classes of wicked men, young, or old, or middle-aged, weak or strong, have received in this life the reward of their iniquity. However fiercely they might roar, however greedily they might devour, their roaring has died away, their teeth have been broken in their mouths, vengeance has lighted on them in some shape or other; they have paid the penalty of their transgressions. Five classes of lions seem to be spoken of in this and the following verses:
(1) the whelp (ver. 11);
(2) the half-grown lion, just able to make its voice heard;
(3) the young full-grown lion (cephir);
(4) the lion in full maturity (ariyeh); and
(5) the old lion which is growing decrepit (laish).
To these is joined (ver. 11) labi, "the lioness." Lions are still frequent in the Mesopotamian region ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. pp 39, 221), though no longer found in Palestine, nor in Arabia.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion,.... Which Aben Ezra interprets of God himself, who is compared to a lion; who not only by his voice terrifies, but in his wrath tears the wicked in pieces, and destroys them, and so is a continuation of the preceding account; and others, as R. Moses and R. Jonah, whom he mentions, take this to be a continuation of the means and methods by which God destroys wicked men sometimes, namely, by beasts of prey; this being one of his sore judgments he threatens men with, and inflicts upon men, see Leviticus 26:22; and in this they are followed by some Christian interpreters, who render the words "at" or "by the roaring of the lion, and by the voice of the fierce lion, by the teeth of the young lions" (c), they the wicked "are broken", ground to pieces, and utterly destroyed; but it is better, with Jarchi, Ben Gersom, and others, to understand it of kings and princes, of the mighty ones of the earth, tyrannical and oppressive rulers and governors; comparable to lions of different ages; because of their grandeur and greatness, their power and might, their cruelty and oppression in each of their different capacities; signifying, that these do not escape the righteous judgments of God: the Targum interprets the roaring of the lion of Esau, and the voice of the fierce lion of Edom; and another Jewish writer (d) of Nimrod, the first tyrant and oppressor, the mighty hunter before the Lord; but these are too particular; wicked men in power and authority in general are here, and in the following clauses, intended, see Jeremiah 4:7 2 Timothy 4:17; and the sense is, that such ploughers and sowers of iniquity as are like to fierce and roaring lions are easily and quickly destroyed by the Lord:
and the teeth of the young lions are broken: the power of such mighty ones to do mischief is taken away from them, and they and their families are brought to ruin; the teeth of lions are very strong in both jaws; they have fourteen teeth, four incisors or cutters, four canine or dog teeth, six molars or grinders.
(c) "Rugitu leonis et voce ferocis leonis", &c. Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so some in R. Someon Bar Tzemach. (d) R. Obadiah Sephorno.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10, 11. lion—that is, wicked men, upon whom Eliphaz wished to show that calamities come in spite of their various resources, just as destruction comes on the lion in spite of his strength (Ps 58:6; 2Ti 4:17). Five different Hebrew terms here occur for "lion." The raging of the lion (the tearer), and the roaring of the bellowing lion and the teeth of the young lions, not whelps, but grown up enough to hunt for prey. The strong lion, the whelps of the lioness (not the stout lion, as in English Version) [Barnes and Umbreit]. The various phases of wickedness are expressed by this variety of terms: obliquely, Job, his wife, and children, may be hinted at by the lion, lioness, and whelps. The one verb, "are broken," does not suit both subjects; therefore, supply "the roaring of the bellowing lion is silenced." The strong lion dies of want at last, and the whelps, torn from the mother, are scattered, and the race becomes extinct.
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