on Psalms 17 :12
Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey - I believe the word lion is here used to express Saul in his strength, kingly power and fierce rapacity. See the observations at the end of the Psalm.
Psalm 17:12Like as a lion that is greedy of his prey - This is the picture of Saul. While his huntsmen were beating every bush, prying into every cave and crevice, and examining every foot of ground to find out a track, Saul is ready, whenever the game is started, to spring upon, seize, and destroy it. The metaphors are well connected, well sustained, and strongly expressive of the whole process of this persecution.
In the ninth verse the huntsmen beat the forest to raise and drive in the game. In the tenth they set their nets, and speak confidently of the expected success. In the eleventh, they felicitate themselves on having found the slot, the certain indication of the prey being at hand. And in the twelfth, the king of the sport is represented as just ready to spring upon the prey; or, as having his bow bent, and his arrow on the string, ready to let fly the moment the prey appears. It is worthy of remark, that kings and queens were frequently present, and were the chiefs of the sport; and it was they who, when he had been killed, broke up the deer: 1. Slitting down the brisket with their knife or sword; and, 2. Cutting off the head. And, as Tuberville published the first edition of his book in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, he gives a large wood-cut, p. 133, representing this princess just alighted from her horse - the stag stretched upon the ground - the huntsman kneeling, holding the fore foot of the animal with his left hand, and with his right presenting a knife to the queen for the purpose of the breaking up. As the second edition was published in the reign of James the First, the image of the queen is taken out and a whole length of James introduced in the place.
The same appears in Tuberville's Book of Falconrie, connected with the above. In p. 81, edition 1575, where the flight of the hawk at the heron is represented, the queen is seated on her charger: but in the edition of 1611 King James is placed on the same charger, the queen being removed.
on Psalms 17 :12
Like as a lion - Margin, "The likeness of him" (that is, "of every one of them") is "as a lion that desireth to ravin." The meaning is plain. They were like a lion intent on securing his prey. They watched the object narrowly; they were ready to spring upon it.
That is greedy of his prey - "He is craving to tear." Prof. Alexander. - The Hebrew word rendered "is greedy," means "to pine, to long after, to desire greatly." The Hebrew word rendered "of his prey," is a verb, meaning "to pluck, to tear, to rend in pieces." The reference is to the lion that desires to seize his victim, and to rend it in pieces to devour it.
And, as it were, a young lion - Hebrew, "And like a young lion."
Lurking in secret places - Margin, as in Hebrew, "sitting." The allusion is to the lion crouching, or lying in wait for a favorable opportunity to pounce upon his prey. See the notes at Psalm 10:8-10. There is no special emphasis to be affixed to the fact that the "lion" is alluded to in one member of this verse, and the "young lion" in the other. It is in accordance with the custom of parallelism in Hebrew poetry where the same idea, with some little variation, is expressed in both members of the sentence. See the introduction to Job, Section 5.
on Psalms 17 :12