"The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets" (Proverbs 22:13).
Today there are no known lion populations in the Middle East. But at the time of the Old Testament, they were still fairly common, enough so that the indolent could use it as an excuse to stay indoors. As such, this "king of the beasts" is often used both metaphorically and literally in the Scriptures as a picture of power, danger, and ferocity. We know that both Samson (Judges 14:5-6) and David killed lions(I Samuel 17:34-35).
Twice a lion is utilized by God to bring fatal judgment on a disobedient Israelite (I Kings 13:23-24; 20:35-36). There is even a specific situation where God sent lions into the communities: "And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the Lord: therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which slew some of them" (II Kings 17:25). But there is a promise to those who do fear God: "Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet" (Psalm 91:13).
In the New Testament the lion is used to picture the fierce, powerful attack of Satan. "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (I Peter 5:8). But just as David experienced God's victory over the physical lion, we can trust God for strength to fight off Satanic attack. Indeed, in the very next verse we are told to resist him "steadfast in the faith." However, the day is coming when the lion will no longer be an animal to fear. "The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6). DW