Psalm 104:21
The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Psalm 104:21. The young lions — Which can no more subsist, without Divine Providence, than those that are old and infirm; roar after their prey — They roar, as naturalists observe, when they come within sight of their prey, by which interpretation this place is reconciled with Amos 3:4, Will a lion roar in the forest when he hath no prey? that is, when he hath no prey in view. And seek their meat from God — This is a figurative and poetical expression; their roaring is a kind of natural prayer to God for relief, as the cries of infants are a kind of prayer to their mothers for the breast. It is observed by Dr. Hammond here, that lions are not provided with great swiftness of foot to pursue those beasts on which they prey, and that it was necessary, therefore, that this defect should be provided for some other way: and, accordingly, it has been affirmed, that their very roaring is useful to them for this purpose; and that when they cannot overtake their prey, they do, by that terrible noise, so astonish and terrify the poor beasts, that they fall down, and become an easy prey to them. 104:19-30 We are to praise and magnify God for the constant succession of day and night. And see how those are like to the wild beasts, who wait for the twilight, and have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Does God listen to the language of mere nature, even in ravenous creatures, and shall he not much more interpret favourably the language of grace in his own people, though weak and broken groanings which cannot be uttered? There is the work of every day, which is to be done in its day, which man must apply to every morning, and which he must continue in till evening; it will be time enough to rest when the night comes, in which no man can work. The psalmist wonders at the works of God. The works of art, the more closely they are looked upon, the more rough they appear; the works of nature appear more fine and exact. They are all made in wisdom, for they all answer the end they were designed to serve. Every spring is an emblem of the resurrection, when a new world rises, as it were, out of the ruins of the old one. But man alone lives beyond death. When the Lord takes away his breath, his soul enters on another state, and his body will be raised, either to glory or to misery. May the Lord send forth his Spirit, and new-create our souls to holiness.The young lions roar after their prey - This is a continuation of the description in the previous verse. At night the beasts which had been hidden in the daytime crawl forth and seek their food. The lion is particularly specified as one of the beasts that in a general survey would attract attention. The psalmist hears his "roar" as he goes forth in the forest in pursuit of his prey.

And seek their meat from God - Their food. That is, God bestows it on them, and they act as if they sought it at his hand. They seek it where he has placed it; they are dependent on him for it. It is a beautiful idea that even the brute creation act as if they called on God, and sought the supply of their needs at his hands.

20-23. He provides and adapts to man's wants the appointed times and seasons. The young lions; which can no more subsist without Divine Providence than those which are most old and decrepit.

Roar after their prey; they roar when they come within sight and reach of their prey, as naturalists observe; whereby this place may be reconciled with Amos 3:4.

Seek their meat from God: this is a figurative and poetical expression: their roaring is a kind of natural prayer to God for relief, as the cries of infants are a kind of prayers to their mothers for the breast. And this is justly noted as an act of God’s special providence, because the lions are very ravenous, and need much prey, and also are dull in their scent, and so difficultly find it, and slow in their motion, and unable to reach it; and therefore God hath provided another creature, of quicker sense and motion, which is usually confederate with them, and procures prey for them, partaking of it with or after them. The young lions roar after their prey,.... Or, "at the prey" (f); for, according to the Scriptures, it seems as if their time of roaring was when they have got their prey, and are tearing it and feeding on it, and not till then, Amos 3:4 though naturalists tell us, that, when they are pinched with hunger, they make such a hideous roaring, as quite stupefies, as well as terrifies, other creatures; that they have no power to stir, till they come up to them, and become their prey, who otherwise could outrun them; for the lion is neither a swift creature, nor of good scent: wherefore, according to credible accounts, a creature called a "jackal", little bigger than a fox, hunts its prey for it, and secures it till it comes up to it. Young lions are rather mentioned, because their appetite is keenest, and their voice loudest and strongest. This creature is an emblem of Satan, who goes about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour, 1 Peter 5:8.

And seek their meat from God; as all creatures in their way do; as the ravens by crying, so the young lions by roaring; neither one nor other can provide for themselves, but God, in his providence, supplies them all with food; see Psalm 104:27. And should not we seek and ask our meat of God too, even both temporal and spiritual? And may we not expect it from him? Does he feed the ravens, and also the young lions, and will he not take care of his own people, and feed them with food convenient for them, and especially when they ask it of him? Psalm 34:10.

(f) "ad praedam", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c.

The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat {l} from God.

{l} That is, they only find meat according to God's providence, who cares even for the brute beasts.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. The dreaded beasts of prey are part of God’s creation, depending on His bounty. Cp. Psalm 147:9.In the fourth decastich the poet goes further among the creatures of the field and of the forest. The subject to להוציא is מצמיח. The clause expressing the purpose, which twice begins with an infinitive, is continued in both instances, as in Isaiah 13:9, but with a change of subject (cf. e.g., Amos 1:11; Amos 2:4), in the finite verb. On what is said of wine we may compare Ecclesiastes 10:19, Sir. 40:20, and more especially Isaiah, who frequently mentions wine as a representative of all the natural sources of joy. The assertion that משּׁמן signifies "before oil equals brighter than oil," is an error that is rightly combated by Bttcher in his Proben and two of his "Gleanings,"

(Note: Proben, i.e., Specimens of Old Testament interpretation, Leipzig 1833, and Aehrenlese (Gleanings), referred to in the preface of these volumes. - Tr.)

which imputes to the poet a mention of oil that is contrary to his purpose in this connection wand inappropriate. Corn, wine, and oil are mentioned as the three chief products of the vegetable kingdom (Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Dathe, and Hupfeld), and are assumed under עשׂב in Psalm 104:14, as is also the case in other instances where distinction would be superfluous, e.g., in Exodus 9:22. With oil God makes the countenance shining, or bright and cheerful, not by means of anointing-since it was not the face but the head that was anointed (Matthew 6:17), - but by the fact of its increasing the savouriness and nutritiveness of the food. להצהיל is chosen with reference to יצהר. In Psalm 104:15 לבב־אנושׁ does not stand after, as in Psalm 104:15 (where it is לבב־ with Gaja on account of the distinctive), but before the verb, because לבב as that which is inward stands in antithesis to פנים as that which is outside. Since the fertilization of the earth by the rain is the chief subject of the predication in Psalm 104:13, Psalm 104:16 is naturally attached to what precedes without arousing critical suspicion. That which satisfies is here the rain itself, and not, as in Psalm 104:13, that which the rain matures. The "trees of Jahve" are those which before all others proclaim the greatness of their Creator. אשׁר־שׁם refers to these trees, of which the cedars and then the cypresses (ברושׁים, root בר, to cut) are mentioned. They are places where small and large birds build their nests and lodge, more particularly the stork, which is called the חסידה as being πτηνῶν εὐσεβέστατον ζώων (Barbrius, Fab. xiii.), as avis pia (pietaticultrix in Petronius, Leviticus 6), i.e., on account of its love of family life, on account of which it is also regarded as bringing good fortune to a house.

(Note: In the Merg& district, where the stork is not called leklek as it is elsewhere, but charnuk[ on account of its bill like a long horn (Arab. chrn) standing out in front, the women and children call it Arab. 'bû sa‛d, "bringer of good luck." Like the חסידה, the long-legged carrion-vulture (Vultur percnopterus) or mountain-stork, ὀρειπελαργός, is called רחם (Arab. rḥm) on account of its στοργή.)

The care of God for the lodging of His creatures leads the poet from the trees to the heights of the mountains and the hiding-places of the rocks, in a manner that is certainly abrupt and that disturbs the sketch taken from the account of the creation. הגּבהים is an apposition. יעל (Arabic wa‛il) is the steinboc, wild-goat, as being an inhabitant of יעל (wa‛l, wa‛la), i.e., the high places of the rocks, as יען, Lamentations 4:3, according to Wetzstein, is the ostrich as being an inhabitant of the wa‛na, i.e., the sterile desert; and שׁפן is the rock-badger, which dwells in the clefts of the rocks (Proverbs 30:26), and resembles the marmot - South Arabic Arab. tufun, Hyrax Syriacus (distinct from the African). By שׁפן the Jewish tradition understand the coney, after which the Peshto here renders it לחגסא (חגס, cuniculus). Both animals, the coney and the rock-badger, may be meant in Leviticus 11:5; Deuteronomy 14:7; for the sign of the cloven hoof (פּרסה שׁסוּעה) is wanting in both. The coney has four toes, and the hyrax has a peculiar formation of hoof, not cloven, but divided into several parts.

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