The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps
The metaphor is still continued; and the kings of Assyria are compared to lions that hunt for their prey, and, having found it, tear it in pieces, and carry home a sufficiency for their whelps. It is a notion that is advanced by some writers, as Herodotus F16, that the lioness, the strongest and boldest creature, brings forth but once in its life, and then but one; which Gellius F17 confutes by the testimonies of Homer and Aristotle; and it appears from the prophet here to be a false one, as well as from ( Ezekiel 19:2 Ezekiel 19:3 ) thus the Assyrians made war on other nations, and pillaged and plundered them, to enlarge their dominions, provide for their posterity, and enrich their children: and strangled for his lionesses;
that is, strangled other beasts, as the lion first does, when it seizes a creature, and then tears it in pieces, and brings it to the she lion in the den with its whelps. These "lionesses" design the wives and concubines of the kings of Assyria, among whom they parted the spoils of their neighbours. So the Targum,
``kings bring rapine to their wives, and a prey to their children;''that is, riches, which they have taken from others by force and rapine: thus Cicero F18 observes of the kings of Persia and Syria, that they had many wives, and gave cities to them after this manner; this city for their headdress, this for the neck, and the other for the hair; the expenses of them: and filled his holes with prey, and his dens with ravine;
as the lion fills his dens and lurking holes with the prey he has seized and ravened; so the kings of Assyria filled their palaces, treasures, magazines, towers, cities, and towns, with the wealth and riches they took by force from other nations; as the Targum,
``and they filled their treasuries with rapine, and their palaces with spoil.''
F16 Thalia, sive l. 3. c. 108.
F17 Noctes Atticae, l. 13. c. 7.
F18 Orat. 8. in Verrem, l. 3. p. 509.