The destroying animals (Jer 5:6-5:6)

“Therefore a lion from the forest

Shall kill them.

A wolf from the desert

Shall destroy them.

A leopard is watching

Against their cities.

Everyone who goes out of them

Shall be torn to pieces.

Because their transgressions are many.

Their apostasies are great.”

Due to their transgressions and the renunciation of their religious practices, the people of Jerusalem were in danger from wild animals. The lions from the forest would kill them. A wolf from the desert would destroy them. A leopard was watching them outside their cities. All of them would be torn to pieces because of their many sins and failure to worship Yahweh.

Peaceful times (Isa 65:24-65:25)

“‘Before they call,

I will answer.

While they are yet speaking,

I will hear.

The wolf shall feed together

With the lamb.

The lion shall eat straw

Like the ox.

But the serpent’s food shall be dust.

They shall not hurt.

They shall not destroy anyone

On my holy mountain.’

Says Yahweh.”

Everything will be wonderful in the New Jerusalem. Yahweh, in the first person singular, says that he will answer before they call. He will hear them while they are still speaking. The wolf and the lamb would eat together, while the lions would eat straw like oxen. However, the food for the serpent would be dust. They will not hurt or destroy anyone on his holy mountain.

The perfect future time (Isa 11:6-11:9)

“The wolf shall live

With the lamb.

The leopard shall lie down

With the kid goat.

The calf shall be with the lion.

The lion and the fatling shall be together.

A little child shall lead them.

The cow and the bear shall graze together.

Their young shall lie down together.

The lion shall eat straw

Like the ox.

The nursing child shall play

Over the hole of the asp.

The weaned child shall put his hand

On the adder’s den.

But they will not get hurt.

They will not destroy

All my holy mountains.

The earth shall be full

Of the knowledge of Yahweh,

Just as the waters cover the sea.”

Isaiah points out that this future messianic king will be Davidic, with the Spirit of Yahweh, just, and live in an ideal perfect time, where all disagreements would disappear. All our problems would be solved in this idyllic perfect age to come, like the paradise that was lost. The wolf and the lamb would get along. So too, the leopard and the kid goat would be fine together. Calves, lions, and feed animals would all be as one. The cow and the bear would graze on the same field. A little child would be able to lead them, since they are so tame. Lions would eat grass and straw, just like oxen. Little nursing children would play by an asp nest or put their hands into adder’s den, and still not get hurt. No one will hurt the holy mountains. The whole earth would be filled with the knowledge of Yahweh, the Lord, just as there is the right amount of water in the seas.

Stay with your own kind (Sir 13:15-13:20)

“Every creature loves its like.

Every person loves his neighbor.

All living beings associate

With their own kind.

People stick close to those

Like themselves.

What does a wolf have in common

With a lamb?

No more has a sinner anything in common

With the devout.

What peace is there

Between a hyena and a dog?

What peace is there

Between the rich and the poor?

Wild asses in the wilderness

Are the prey of lions.

Likewise the poor

Are feeding grounds for the rich.

Humility is an abomination

To the proud.

Likewise the poor are an abomination

To the rich.”

Sirach tells us that people and creatures like to stick with their own kind. There is a natural born prejudice to stay with your own kind of people. Everybody usually loves their neighbors. Why else would they live there? A wolf and a lamb have nothing in common, just like the sinner and the devout do not have anything in common. There can never be peace between hyenas and dogs, so too the animosity between rich and poor cannot be bridged. Wild donkeys are the prey of lions, so too are the poor the feeding grounds of the rich. The rich take advantage of the poor. The proud hate the humble, just like the rich hate the poor.