Hosea 13:7

Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them:

Therefore I will be unto them as a lion, Because of their idolatry, ingratitude, luxury, and especially their forgetfulness of God, which is last mentioned, and with which the words are connected. By this and the following metaphors are set forth the severity of God's judgments upon them for their sins, and their utter destruction by them. Some observe the word {f} here used signifies an old lion, which, though slower in the pursuit of its prey, is more cruel when it has got it; see Hosea 5:14;

as a leopard by the way will I observe them; which is a quick sighted, vigilant, crafty, and insidious creature, which lurks in trees, and watches for men and beasts that pass by the way, and seizes on them. The lion makes his onset more openly, this more secretly; and both express the various ways God would take in his providence to chastise these people for their sins, and that he would watch over them to do them hurt, as he had to do them good, and take the proper opportunity of doing it, and execute his purpose with great wrath and fury, to their utter ruin; see Jeremiah 5:6. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions, render it, "as a leopard by the way of Assyria" {g}, or "the Assyrians"; and so some interpreters take the sense to be, that God would watch them in their way to Assyria for help, and blast their designs, disappoint them of their expected assistance, and surprise them with his judgments; see Hosea 5:13; and there was a mountain in Syria, called the mountain of the leopards, where they used to haunt, and from whence they came out to take their prey, to which there is a reference in Song of Solomon 4:8; which was two miles from Tripoli (a city of Syria) northward, three from the city Arces southward, and one from Mount Lebanon {h}; and such is the vigilance and agility of leopards, that they will sometimes, as Pliny {i} says, mount thick trees, and hide themselves in the branches, and leap at once, and unawares, upon those that pass by, whether men or beasts, as before observed; wherefore, with great propriety, is this simile used. The Targum is, "my word shall be", &c.

{f} lxv "vetus leo", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
{g} rwva Krd le data thn odon assuriwn Sept. "in via Assyriormm", V. L. "super via Assyriae", Schmidt; "in via Assyria", Liveleus, Cocceius.
{h} Adrichomii Thestrum Terrae Sanct. p. 186.
{i} Nat. Hist. l. 10. c. 73.