(Heb. namer, so called because spotted, Cant 4:8 ), was that great spotted feline which anciently infested the mountains of Syria, more appropriately called a panther (Felis pardus). Its fierceness ( Isaiah 11:6 ), its watching for its prey ( Jeremiah 5:6 ), its swiftness ( Habakkuk 1:8 ), and the spots of its skin ( Jeremiah 13:23 ), are noticed. This word is used symbolically ( Daniel 7:6 ; Revelation 13:2 ).
(Heb. namer ) is invariably given by the Authorized Version as the translation of the Hebrew word, which occurs in the seven following passages: ( Solomon 4:8 ; Isaiah 11:6 ; Jeremiah 5:6 ; 13:23 ; Daniel 7:6 ; Hosea 13:7 ); Habb 1:8 Leopard occurs also in Ecclus. 28:23 and in ( Revelation 13:2 ) From ( Solomon 4:8 ) we learn that the hilly ranges of Lebanon were in ancient times frequented by these animals. They are now not uncommonly seen in and about Lebanon and the southern maritime mountains of Syria. Under the name namer , which means "spotted," it is not improbable that another animal, namely the cheetah (Gueparda jubata ), may be included; which is tamed by the Mohammedans of Syria, who employ it in hunting the gazelle.
lep'-erd ((1) namer (Song of Solomon 4:8; Isaiah 11:6; Jeremiah 5:6; 13:23; Hosea 13:7; Habakkuk 1:8); compare Arabic nimr, "leopard." (2) Chaldaic nemar (Daniel 7:6). (3) pardalis (Revelation 13:2; Ecclesiasticus 28:23); compare nimrim Nimrim (Isaiah 15:6; Jeremiah 48:34), nimrah, Nimrah (Numbers 32:3), and beth-nimrah, Beth-nimrah (Numbers 32:36; Joshua 13:27)):
The leopard is found throughout Africa and ranges through Southern Asia from Asia Minor to Japan, being absent from Siberia and Central Asia. Its range is much the same as that of the lion, which latter, however, does not extend so far to the East. Like other animals of wide range, it has local varieties, but these shade into each other imperceptibly, and the one specific name, Felis pardus, includes all. Leopards live in some of the valleys East and South of the Dead Sea, and in the mountains of Sinai and Northwestern Arabia. They have but rarely been seen of recent years in Lebanon or the more settled portions of Palestine. So far as can be judged from skins which are available for comparison, the leopard of Palestine is rather light in color, and is not as large as. some found in Africa or India. It is not certain that the place-names, NIMRIM, NIMRAH, and BETH-NIMRAH (which see), have to do with namer, "leopard," but their location is in Moab, where leopards are well known, even at the present day. One of the valleys entering the Dead Sea from the East, South of the Arnon, is called Wadi-en-Numeir ("valley of the little leopard"; numeir, diminutive of nimr).
In the Bible "leopard" occurs mainly in figurative expressions, as a large and fierce beast. The leopard is mentioned with the lion and bear in Daniel 7:6; Hosea 13:7; Revelation 13:2; with the lion, wolf and bear in Isaiah 11:6; with the lion and wolf in Jeremiah 5:6; with the lion alone in Ecclesiasticus 28:23; with the wolf alone in Habakkuk 1:8. The leopard is smaller than the lion and the tiger, but is more active than either. Its swiftness is referred to in Habakkuk 1:8:
"Their horses also (of the Chaldeans) are swifter than leopards." The spots of the leopard are referred to in Jeremiah 13:23: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots?"
The Greek pardalis, and panther, were both applied to the leopard. "Panther" is sometimes used of large leopards, while in America, with its corrupt form "painter," it is one of the names applied to the cougar or puma, Felis concolor, which, as the specific name implies, is not spotted like the leopard, or striped like the tiger.
Alfred Ely Day
These files are public domain.