The old lion perisheth for lack of prey
Or rather "the stout" and "strong lion" F5, that is most able to take the prey, and most skilful at it, yet such shall perish for want of it; not so much for want of finding it, or of power to seize it, as of keeping it when got, it being taken away from him; signifying, that God oftentimes in his providence takes away from cruel oppressors what they have got by oppression, and so they are brought into starving and famishing circumstances. The Septuagint render the word by "myrmecoleon", or the "ant lion", which Isidore F6 thus describes;
``it is a little animal, very troublesome to ants, which hides itself in the dust, and kills the ants as they carry their corn; hence it is called both a lion and an ant, because to other animals is as an ant, and to the ants as a lion,''and therefore cannot be the lion here spoken of; though Strabo F7 and Aelianus F8 speak of lions in Arabia and Babylon called ants, which seem to be a species of lions, and being in those countries, might be known to Eliphaz. Megasthenes F9 speaks of ants in India as big as foxes, of great swiftness, and get their living by hunting:
and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad;
or "the whelps of the lioness" F11, these are scattered from the lion and lioness, and from one another, to seek for food, but in vain; the Targum applies this to Ishmael, and his posterity; Jarchi, and others, to the builders of Babel, said to be scattered, ( Genesis 11:8 ) ; rather reference may be had to the giants, the men of the old world, who filled the earth with violence, which was the cause of the flood being brought upon the world of the ungodly. Some think that Eliphaz has a regard to Job in all this, and that by the "fierce lion" he designs and describes Job as an oppressor and tyrant, and by the "lioness" his wife, and by the "young lions" and "lion's whelps" his children; and indeed, though he may not directly design him, yet he may obliquely point at him, and suggest that he was like to the men he had in view, and compares to these creatures, and therefore his calamities righteously came upon him.
F5 (vyl) "leo major", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Schmidt; "leo strenuns et fortis", Michaelis; "robustior leo", Schultens.
F6 Origin. l. 12. c. 3.
F7 Geograph. l. 16. p. 533.
F8 De Animal. l. 7. c. 47. & l. 17. c. 42.
F9 Apud Strabo, l. 15. p. 485.
F11 (aybl ynb) "filii leaenae", Bochart, Schultens.