The wicked flee when no man pursueth
Through the terrors of a guilty conscience, as in Cain and others; who fear where no immediate cause of fear is, are frightened with their own shadows; and as Gaal was with the shadow of the mountains, he took for an army of men, as his friend told him, ( Judges 9:36 ) ; they are chased with the sound of a shaken leaf, and fancy men are at their heels to destroy them, and therefore with all haste flee to some place of safety; see ( Leviticus 26:17 Leviticus 26:36 ) ( Deuteronomy 28:7 Deuteronomy 28:25 ) ; but the righteous are bold as a lion;
which turns not away from any creature it meets with, nor mends its pace when it is pursued, but walks on intrepidly, and oftentimes lies down and sleeps in open places, and as securely as in woods and dens, being devoid of all fear; hence the heart of a valiant man is said to be as the heart of a lion, ( 2 Samuel 17:10 ) ; see ( Proverbs 30:30 ) ; so Pindar F26 compares a courageous man to a lion for boldness. Now righteous men are as bold as this creature, or more so; some of them have stopped the mouths of lions, and have dwelt securely in the midst of them, as righteous Daniel: and all righteous men are or may be as fearless as the lion; fear God they do, but have no reason to fear any other; and many of them are fearless of men, of their menaces and reproaches, or of anything they can do to them; since not only angels are their guardians, but God is on their side, and Christ has overcome the world for them: they are fearless of Satan and his principalities; they are delivered out of his hands; they know he is a coward, though a roaring lion, and when resisted will flee from thorn; yea, that he is a chained, conquered, enemy: and, though they are afraid of committing sin, yet are fearless of the damning power of it; Christ having bore their sins, made satisfaction for thong; for whose sake they are pardoned; and whose righteousness justifies and blood cleanses from all sin: they are fearless of death; its sting being removed, itself abolished as a penal evil, and become a blessing, and is the righteous man's, gain: they are fearless of wrath to come; Christ having delivered them from it, and they being justified by his blood: they are courageous as the lion in fighting the Lord's battles with sin, Satan, and the world, and in enduring hardiness as good soldiers of Christ; knowing their cause is good, that Christ is the Captain of their salvation, their spiritual armour is proved, and they are sure of victory and of a crown They are "confident" F1 as the lion, as the word may he rendered; they are confident of the love of God, of their interest in Christ, of the grace of God in their hearts, and that all things work together for their good; and that it is, and always will be, well with them, let things go how they will in the world, and so are secure. They are bold and undaunted, both before God and men; before God in prayer, knowing him to be their covenant God in Christ, having in view the blood and righteousness of Christ, and being assisted by his Spirit: and they are undaunted before men; if the righteous man is a minister of the word, he speaks it boldly, as it ought to be spoken, fearing the faces of none, knowing it to be the Gospel of Christ, the truth, as it is in him, and the power of God to salvation; and if a private Christian, he is a public professor of Christ, this word and ordinances, which he is not ashamed to own before all the world; in short, the righteous are bold in life and in death, and will be so in the day of judgment; and it is their righteousness which makes them so, from which they are denominated righteous, even not their own, but the righteousness of Christ.
F26 Isthm. 4. antistroph. 3. col. 1. v. 5.
F1 (xjby) "confiduat", Mercerus, Gejerus, Trigurine version; "confidet, vel confidere solet", Baynus; "confidit", Michaelis.