Leopard. The huge cats known as leopards were familiar in Palestine, and the Hebrews had good reason to fear them. Smaller and lighter than lions, leopards are better hunters. They are swift, wary, and intelligent; and they can climb trees as easily as a domestic cat. A leopard is also strong enough to drag his prey to a tree branch, where he can devour it out of reach of lions or hyenas. Although leopards do not usually attack human beings, Jeremiah portrayed them symbolically as an instrument of God’s judgment: “A leopard will watch over their cities. Everyone who goes out from there shall be torn in pieces” (Jer. 5:6).
The books of Daniel and Revelation use the leopard as a symbol of swiftness in cruelty (Dan. 7:6; Rev. 13:2). Isaiah suggested that a day of peace would come when the savage leopard would not harm a young goat (Is 11:6).