Lion of Judah
Lion of Judah
A lion cub is Judah; from the prey, my son, you elevated yourself. He crouches, lies down like a lion, and like an awesome lion, who will dare rouse him? The scepter will not depart from Judah. (Genesis 49:9-10)
When Jacob blessed his sons, he compared Judah to a lion. Just as the lion is "king of the beasts," the tribe of Judah was destined to rule over the Jewish people. According to tradition, each tribe has its own flag and its own gemstone in the Kohen Gadol’s breastplate. Judah’s flag is light blue and illustrated with a lion; and the tribe’s gemstone is light turquoise. A lion is usually pictured as hot and fiery; the challenge was to capture its essence in blue, as well as to convey the spiritual quality of the jewel. This lion’s body is formed with just a few strokes of the palette knife; a gem-like feeling was achieved by the sweeping of hands in the wet acrylic paint. The lion’s somewhat human head is pronounced, as if emerging out of the canvas, while the quality of light on his face gives him a regal look. Each eye conveys a different expression. The right side of his face is bright and powerful, while the left is older, wiser, and even humble (perhaps because the left eye is closed, looking inward). The two sides of the face reflect the dual qualities of a Jewish king. Though all-powerful, he must be humble enough to rule well over both himself and others, and to serve the King of Kings.