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A lion is a mighty and very courageous animal. Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

I want more boldness in my life. I want more courage. I want to be bold for Jesus. Thank God for the power of the Holy Spirit.

I get edgy. We all do. Guilty consciences cause us to run from imagined pursuers. Knowing we have done wrong, we suspect we are being chased by lawmen.

The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions. | ~King Solomon | Proverbs 28:1 (The Message Bible)

By contrast the righteous are as bold (i.e., self-confident) as a young lion.

God gives us courage; we have no fear of reprisal from wrongdoing.


ὁ λέων ὁ ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς Ἰούδα, ho leōn ho ek tēs phylēs Iouda. Behold the Lion from the tribe of Judah.

This is a designation of the Messiah that highlights the attributes of His royal nobility (Rev 5:5).

The “Lion of the tribe of Judah” occurs only once in the Bible in Rev 5:5. The phrase draws from Israel’s history and from the Old Testament.

  • The lion is a prominent animal in the ancient Near East, used in the artwork of many nations to signify royalty and power. In Egypt, there were lioness cults in the Nile Delta and gods such as Horus were depicted with lion features. Ancient Mesopotamians associated the lion with the goddess Ishtar and both Egypt and Mesopotamia described their rulers as “lions” to portray them as mighty warriors.
  • “Tribe” is an organizational term used here to assert one’s identity as a member of the people of God.
  • “Judah” forms an allusion to Genesis 49:9 where Jacob blesses Judah and calls him “a lion’s cub.”

Lions depict deities and nobility as dangerous, strong, and royal

  • The Old Testament uses the lion motif to describe God (Hos 5:14; 11:10; Isa 31:4; Amos 1:2; Job 37:4) and Israel’s kings (2 Sam 1:23; Prov 19:12; 20:2).
  • Solomon’s throne was surrounded by lion statues (1 Kgs 10:19–20; 2 Chr 9:18–19).
  • Judas Maccabeus is portrayed as a lion for his warrior-like leadership (1 Maccabees 3:4; 2 Maccabees 11:11).

The “Lion of the tribe of Judah” in Revelation is also called the “root of David” (5:5). The “root of David” qualifies the royal ancestry of the lion figure and is possibly an allusion to Isaiah 11:1–10, which describes a peaceful lion (Isa 11:7).

Jesus is the amazing Lion of Judah. Bold and courageous. Stunning and beautifully amazing. Yes, and yes and yes again. Let us all praise the mighty Lion of Judah.

A similar contrast is used in Revelation where the “Lion of the tribe of Judah” appears as a lamb (Rev 5:6). How do we reconcile the two portrayals by saying that the lamb exhibits the messianic, lion-like qualities of an ideal ruler? The shift from lion to lamb demonstrates that the power of God, represented by the lion, is only made known through the cross, exemplified by the lamb. What a stunning King we serve.

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).

No fewer than at least six different words are used in the Old Testament for the lion. (1.) Gor (i.e., a “suckling”), the lion’s whelp (Gen. 49:9; Jer. 51:38, etc.). (2.) Kephir (i.e., “shaggy”), the young lion (Judg. 14:5; Job 4:10; Ps. 91:13; 104:21), a term which is also used figuratively of cruel enemies (Ps. 34:10; 35:17; 58:6; Jer. 2:15). (3.) ʾAri (i.e., the “puller” in pieces), denoting the lion in general, without reference to age or sex (Num. 23:24; 2 Sam. 17:10, etc.). (4.) Shahal (the “roarer”), the mature lion (Job 4:10; Ps. 91:13; Prov. 26:13; Hos. 5:14). (5.) Laish, so called from its strength and bravery (Job 4:11; Prov. 30:30; Isa. 30:6). The capital of Northern Dan received its name from this word. (6.) Labi, from a root meaning “to roar,” a grown lion or lioness (Gen. 49:9; Num. 23:24; 24:9; Ezek. 19:2; Nah. 2:11).

The lions of Palestine

They were 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.

What does it mean to be bold?

The Hebrew here is בָּטַח bâṭach, baw-takh’; to trust, be confident or sure:— be bold (confident, secure, sure), put confidence, (make to) hope, (put, make to) trust.

Jesus gives us the power to be bold! I want more boldness in my life.

What does righteousness mean?

Righteousness is fulfillment of the expectations in any relationship, whether with God or other people. It is applicable at all levels of society and is relevant in every area of life.

  • Righteousness denotes the fulfilled expectations in relationships between man and wife, parents and children, fellow citizens, employer and employee, merchant and customers, ruler and citizens, and God and man.
  • Depending on the fulfillment of one’s expectations, an individual could be called righteous and his or her acts and speech could be designated as righteous.
  • The opposite of righteous is “evil,” “wicked,” or “wrong” (cf. Ps 1:6; Zep 3:5).

Righteousness is the fiber which holds society, religion, and family together. Righteousness enhances the welfare of the community. A godly (not “pious” in the modern sense) person was called “righteous” (ṣaddîq). The ṣaddîq was a person of wisdom, whose “righteousness” …

The Hebrew is צַדִּיק tsaddı̂yq, tsad-deek’; from 6663; just: — just, lawful, a righteous person.

Bold Faith