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Lions' Den

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception

Volume 16
Editor(s): Christine Helmer, Steven L. McKenzie, Thomas Römer, Jens Schröter, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
De Gruyter (Berlin, Boston) 2018

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Steven L. McKenzie

“Lions’ den” is an expression that refers to two different, but related things in the HB/OT. Two passages use it in regard to the place where lions lived in the wild, that is, their lair. In these verses, the Hebrew word is māʿôn (Nah 2:11) or its feminine counterpart mĕʿōnâ (Amos 3:4), meaning “habitation, dwelling.” Both verses contain rhetorical questions. Amos 3:4 asks whether a young lion will roar from its den if it has not seized prey. It is one of a series of rhetorical questions in Amo…

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