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From: Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

    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.) _'Ari_ (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 lion of Palestine was 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.