Verse 21. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God. This is the poetic interpretation of a roar. To whom do the lions roar? Certainly not to their prey, for the terrible sound tends to alarm their victims, and drive them away. They after their own fashion express their desires for food, and the expression of desire is a kind of prayer. Out of this fact comes the devout thought of the wild beast's appealing to its Maker for food. But neither with lions nor men will the seeking of prayer suffice, there must be practical seeking too, and the lions are well aware of it. What they have in their own language asked for they go forth to seek; being in this thing far wiser than many men who offer formal prayers not half so earnest as those of the young lions, and then neglect the means in the use of which the object of their petitions might be gained. The lions roar and seek; too many are liars before God, and roar but never seek.
How comforting is the thought that the Spirit translates the voice of a lion, and finds it to be a seeking of meat from God! May we not hope that our poor broken cries and groans, which in our sorrow we have called "the voice of our roaring" Psalms 12:10 , will be understood by him, and interpreted in our favour. Evidently he considers the meaning rather than the music of the utterance and puts the best construction upon it.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 21. -- The young lions...seek their meat from God. God feeds not only sheep and lambs, but wolves and lions. It is a strange expression that young lions when they roar after their prey, should be said to seek their meat of God; implying that neither their own strength nor craft could feed them without help from God. The strongest creatures left to themselves cannot help themselves. As they who fear God are fed by a special providence of God, so all creatures are fed and nourished by a general providence. The lion, though he be strong and subtle, yet cannot get his own prey; we think a lion might shift for himself; no, it is the lord that provides for him; the young lions seek their meat of God. Surely, then, the mightiest of men cannot live upon themselves; as it is of God that we receive life and breath, so all things needful for the maintenance of this life. -- Joseph Caryl.
Verse 21. -- The young lions roar. The roar of a lion, according to Burcheil, sometimes resembles the sound which is heard at the moment of an earthquake; and is produced by his laying his head on the ground, and uttering a half stifled growl, by which means the noise is conveyed along the earth. The instant it is heard by the animals reposing m the plains, they start up in alarm, fly in all directions, and even rush into the danger which they seek to avoid. --From Cassell's Popular Natural History.
Verse 21. -- The roaring of the young lions, like the crying of the ravens, is interpreted, asking their meat of God. Both God put this construction upon the language of mere nature, even in venomous creatures, and shall he not much more interpret favourably the language of grace in his own people, though it be weak and broken groanings which cannot be uttered? --Matthew Henry.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 21. -- Inarticulate prayers, or how faulty the expression may be and yet how real the prayer in the esteem of God.