Lapwing (see Hoopoe).
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).
Lice. Lice thrive in dry, dusty climates where sanitation is poor. These tiny insects are parasites with flat, colorless bodies. They cling to animals, humans, or plants, sucking blood or sap. The Egyptian nobles and priests shaved their heads and beards so lice could find no hiding place on their bodies. An infestation of lice, the third plague of the Exodus, must have been particularly bothersome to them (Ex. 8:16-18), (gnats, RSV, NIV, NASB; maggots, NEB).
See also Maggot,
Lice is a type of insect that lives in the hairy parts of animals and people, eating and living off of them as a host. In the Bible it is associated with evil.
Lamb (see Sheep).
A lamb is a type of cattle bred for its meat and wool. While it is like a cow, it is smaller, and a less aggressive type. God makes a special association between Christians and sheep. The pastor of sheep is also identified as the spiritual caretaker of Christians, God’s children. The point being the contrast between sheep and cattle, between a pastor and a cowpoke. Cowboys who tend cows are often cruel to the cattle because they won’t move very easily. They typically use whips and cattle prods which get the cattle to move because of pain and stress. Pastors use their kind caring relationship to build a relationship between pastors and sheep and the sheep typically follow the pastor. In our spiritual life, this focuses on the pastor being Christlike and the sheep follow his example of Christ.
Lion. The lion was the most awesome and dangerous wild beast in Palestine. His tawny hide blended into the golden fields and sandy wastes. Lions hid in forests and sometimes pounced from the thickets near the Jordan River (Jer. 49:19).
The Bible contains many references to lions. Daniel miraculously survived a night in a lions’ den (Daniel 6). Samson and David killed lions singlehandedly (Judg. 14:5-6; 1 Sam. 17:34-37). Kings hunted lions for sport. According to (Ezekiel 19:1-9), lions were also captured with pits and nets.
Lizard. Lizards receive little attention in the Bible, although they are common in Palestine. They appeared on the list of unclean animals (Lev. 11:30) and were thus forbidden as food to the Israelites.
The lizard comes in many species. Some of the small lizards often pass for snakes, while larger versions of this animal resemble the crocodile. All lizards are cold-blooded reptiles. Since their body temperature depends on their surroundings, they thrive in the tropics and in deserts. But when the sun gets too hot even for them, they lie in the shade or burrow into the sand. One species is even called a sand lizard (Lev. 11:30); (skink, NIV).
Leech. A leech may be described as a type of worm with suckers at each end of its body. One end also contains a mouth. Some species of this animal even have tiny teeth. Parasitic leeches attach themselves to a person or an animal, from which it sucks blood for nourishment. A leech of this type secretes chemicals which keep the blood flowing freely.
In primitive times, physicians used leeches to “bleed” a patient and purge his body of what was thought to be contaminated blood. But an untended leech could cause pain and damage. In his Proverbs, Solomon may have had the blood-sucking nature of this animal in mind when he spoke of the leech’s “two daughters” who cry “Give! Give!” (Prov. 30:15).
Leviathan (see Crocodile).A Leviathan in the Bible is a monster from the sea.
Locust an insect that travels in a band of many of them,
* Attacus (Leviticus 11:22). — Instead of this Latin word, the A.V. reads bald-locust. According to the tradition enshrined in the Talmud, the common truxalis, a locust with a very long smooth head is probably signified.
The locust is called an insect, as well as the ant and the bee, but instead of being harmless, as they usually are, it does a great deal of injury. It is also much larger than they; for it is generally three inches long, and sometimes as much as four or five. The plague of the locusts was the eighth that God sent upon the Egyptians, because they would not let the children of Israel go, as he commanded; and it was a very terrible one indeed. The Bible says, “They covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left; and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field through all the land of Egypt.” This is the way they often do in those countries, though perhaps it is not common for so many to come at once.
They fly in companies of thousands together, and so close that they look like a great black cloud. When they alight on the ground they all come down in a body, and immediately begin to devour the grass and grain; they also eat the leaves of the trees, and every green thing they can find. The people dread them more than they do the most terrible fire or storm; because though they are so small, they destroy all the food, and leave the people ready to starve. When the inhabitants see them coming over their fields, they try to drive them away by making loud noises or by kindling fires; but this does little good.
It is said that a great army of locusts came over the northern part of Africa about a hundred years before the birth of Christ. They consumed every blade of grass wherever they alighted; also the roots, and bark, and even the hard wood of the trees. After they had thus eaten up every thing, a strong wind arose, and after tossing them about awhile, it blew them over the sea, and great numbers of them were drowned. Then the waves threw them back upon the land, all along the sea-coast, and their dead bodies made the air so unwholesome that a frightful pestilence commenced, and great numbers of men and animals died.
Many travellers have seen these great clouds of locusts, and describe them in their books. One says that he saw a company consisting of so many that they were an hour in passing over the place where he was. They seemed to extend a mile in length and half a mile in width. When he first noticed them, they looked like a black cloud rising in the east; and when they came over head, they shut out the light of the sun, and made a noise with their wings like the rushing of a water-fall. Another swarm is mentioned which took four hours to pass over one spot; and they made the sky so dark that one person could not see another at twenty steps off.
You can now understand two or three passages from the Bible which I will mention. David says in the 23d verse of the 109th Psalm, “I am tossed up and down as the locust;” that is, as the clouds of locusts are tossed about by the wind. In the first chapters of Joel God threatens to send the locust among the people, because of their wickedness; and he says of them, “Before their faces the people shall be much pained; all faces shall gather blackness. They (the locusts,) shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war. They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall; they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.” An English clergyman who visited countries where the locusts are found, a few years ago, says that these verses describe them exactly as he has himself seen them.
Locusts are sometimes used for food. The Arabs boil them with salt, and then add a little oil or butter; sometimes they toast them by the fire before eating them. A traveller speaks of seeing the Arab women employed in filling bags with locusts, which were to be used for food. You know it is said in the New Testament that John the Baptist “did eat locusts and wild honey,” but it is not quite certain that this insect was meant; perhaps it was the fruit of the locust-tree that he ate.
[Cook, Scripture Alphabet of Animals]