Today, day 2 of March, we are having quite a blizzard. March is definitely coming in like a lion. What does that mean exactly?
I don’t know about you, but when I think about lions I associate them with jungles and tropical weather rather than cold and snow. There’s only one exception which I’ll share, so to illuminate the nature of lions. Maybe we can learn something about March as well.
The Bible tells us that Benaiah killed a lion on a snowy day. I believe this referred to what we now call an Asiatic Lion which were eradicated from Palestine by the middle ages.
Benaiah son of Jehoiada was a valiant fighter from Kabzeel, who performed great exploits. He struck down two of Moab’s best men. He also went down into a pit on a snowy day and killed a lion. – 2 Samuel 23:20
According to Eastman’s Bible Dictionary: “The lion of Palestine was properly of the Asiatic variety, distinguished from the African variety, which is larger. Yet it not only attacked flocks in the presence of the shepherd, but also laid waste towns and villages (Kg2 17:25, Kg2 17:26) and devoured men (Kg1 13:24, Kg1 13:25). Shepherds sometimes, single-handed, encountered lions and slew them (Sa1 17:34, Sa1 17:35; Amo 3:12). Samson seized a young lion with his hands and “rent him as he would have rent a kid” (Jdg 14:5, Jdg 14:6). The strength (Jdg 14:18), courage (Sa2 17:10), and ferocity (Gen 49:9) of the lion were proverbial.”
So lions, like blizzards, and tornados which our neighbors in the south are experiencing tragically, can sneak up on us and attack with their ferocious strength. Three weeks from Spring we are hoping to receive milder weather, but not yet. The lion has pounced upon us.
The first appearance of the weather proverb “in like a lion, out like a lamb” is in English literature, in 1624. At that time it was familiar enough to English audiences to appear as a bit of banter in a popular play.
The origins of the expression can be found in astronomy, though later it also became associated with weather. It has to do with the relative positions of the constellations Leo (the Lion) and Aries (the ram or lamb) in the sky at the beginning and end of the month of March.
I hope this March will be as true in the end of the month as it is in the beginning. I’m getting tired of winter and am ready for some gentler weather.