The second chapter of the lion combines two properties. When the lion sleeps, it keeps its eyes open and watches. The lion sleeping with its eyes open represents Christ on the cross; his body sleeps in death, but his divinity keeps watch at the right hand of God. The second property is that the lion cub is born dead, but is brought to life after three days when the father breathes on its face (some accounts say the father roars over the cub). This represents Christ's three days in the grave, after which God his father revived him.

The male and female lions in the van der Borcht copperplate engraving below both have somewhat human heads; this is not uncommon in lion images. The lion cub is dead, as indicated by the way it is lying on its back, but is reviving as both its father and mother breathe on it. The attribute of sleeping with eyes open has not been illustrated.

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The woodcut below (from the Rome, 1577 edition) is quite different. The mother lion passively watches while the father looms over the more obviously dead cub; it is not clear if the father is breathing on it or roaring over it. The lion's heads are much less human in appearance.


Second Property of the Lion