One of the large cats, usually having a light-tan coat with black spots arranged in broken circles. (Jer. 13:23) Leopards commonly measure four feet (1.2 meters) in length, not including the tail. Although even in more recent years several leopards have been killed near Jerusalem, these creatures evidently were found in far greater numbers in ancient Palestine. (Song of Sol. 4:8) The cheetah or hunting leopard, ranked among the fastest of mammals, was also found in Palestine, and the Hebrew designation na·merʹ may have included this animal as well as the leopard. The cheetah differs from the true leopard in that its claws are only partially retractile and its spots are solid, not ringed.
In the Scriptures, allusion is made to the swiftness of the leopard (Hab. 1:8) and its manner of lying in wait near towns, ready to pounce upon passing domestic animals. (Jer. 5:6; Hos. 13:7) In sharp contrast with this, the leopard and the kid are depicted as lying down together in peace during Messiah’s rule.—Isa. 11:6.
At Daniel 7:6, the four-winged, four-headed leopard represents the Grecian World Power, which conquered Medo-Persia with the swiftness of a leopard. Also, the wild beast out of the sea, seen in vision by the apostle John, was basically like a leopard.—Rev. 13:1, 2; see BEASTS, SYMBOLIC.
The Hebrew word laʹyish, otherwise translated “lion” (Job 4:11; Prov. 30:30), is, in harmony with a Mishnaic Talmudic meaning, rendered “leopard” at Isaiah 30:6 (NW), the “lion” (la·viʼʹ) already being mentioned in the same text.
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The prophet Habakkuk alluded to the leopard’s swiftness