The old lion perishes for lack of prey, and the strong lion's whelps are scattered abroad.
All Commentaries on Job 4:11 Go To Job 4
Gregory The Dialogist
39. For whom does he denote by the name of ‘tiger’ but blessed Job, marked with the stamp of changeableness or covered with the spots of dissimulation? For every dissembler, in that he desires to appear righteous, can never shew himself pure in all things; for while he assumes some virtues in hypocrisy, and secretly gives way to vicious habits, some concealed vices speedily break out upon the surface, and exhibit the hide of overlaid hypocrisy, like a coat for sight, varied with their admixture, so that it is very often a marvel how one, who is seen to be master of such great virtues, should be at the same time stained with such damnable deeds. But truly every hypocrite is a tiger, in that while he derives a pure colour from pretence, it is striped with the intermediate blackness of vicious habits. For it often happens that while he is extolled for pureness of chastity, he renders himself foul by the stain of avarice. Often while he makes a fair shew by the good quality of bountifulness, he is stained with spots of lust. Often while he is clad in the bright array of bountifulness and chastity, he is blackened by ferociousness in cruelty, as if from a zealous sense of justice. Often he is arrayed in bounty, chastity, pitifulness, in a fair outside, but is marked with the interspersed darkness of pride. And thus it comes to pass, that whereas by the intermixture of vicious habits, the hypocrite does not present an unstained appearance in himself, the tiger, as it were, cannot be of one colour. And this same ‘tiger’ seizes the prey, in that he usurps to himself the glory of human applause. For he, that is lifted up by usurped praise, is as it were glutted with the prey. And it is well that the applause that hypocrites have is called ‘prey.’ For it is nought else than a prey, when the things of another are taken away by violence. Now every hypocrite, in that by counterfeiting the life of righteousness he seizes for himself the praise that belongs to the righteous, does in truth carry off what is another's. Thus Eliphaz, who knew that blessed Job had walked in ways worthy to be praised in the period of his wellbeing, concluded from the stroke that came after that he had maintained these in hypocrisy, saying, The tiger perisheth for lack of prey. As if he had said plainly, ‘The shifting of thine hypocrisy is at end, because the homage of applause is also taken from thee, and thine hypocrisy is in ‘lack of prey,’ in that being stricken by the hand of God, it lacks the favourable regards of man.’
40. But in the translation of the Septuagint, it is not said ‘the tiger,’ but ‘the Myrmicoleon perisheth for lack of prey.’ For the Myrmicoleon is a very little creature, a foe to ants, which hides itself under the dust, and kills the ants laden with grains, and devours them thus destroyed. Now ‘Myrmicoleon’ is rendered in the Latin tongue either ‘the ants' lion,’ or indeed more exactly ‘an ant and lion at once.’ Now it is lightly called ‘an ant and lion;’ in that with reference to winged creatures, or to any other small-sized animals, it is an ant, but with reference to the ants themselves it is a lion. For it devours these like a lion, yet by the other sort it is devoured like an ant. When then Eliphaz says, the Ant-lion perisheth, what does he censure in blessed Job under the title of ‘Ant-lion’ but his fearfulness and audacity? As if he said to him in plain words, ‘Thou art not unjustly stricken, in that thou hast shewn thyself a coward towards the lofty, a bully towards those beneath thee.’ As though he had said in plain terms, ‘Fear made thee crouch towards the crafty sort, hardihood swelled thee full towards the simple folk, but ‘the Ant-lion’ no longer hath prey,’ in that thy cowardly self elation, being beaten down with blows, is stayed from doing injury to others.’ But forasmuch as we have said that the friends of blessed Job contain a figure of Heretics, there is a pressing necessity to shew how these same words of Eliphaz are to be understood in a typical sense likewise.