Proverbs 28:15
As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.
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(15) A ranging beari.e., wandering hungrily in great want of food.

Over the poor people—i.e., a people too weak to resist him, over whom he can tyrannise without fear.

Proverbs 28:15. As a roaring lion and a ranging bear — Always cruel and greedy in their natures, and especially so when they are hungry and want prey; in which case the lions roar, and bears range about for it; so is a wicked ruler — Instead of being a nursing father, and a faithful and tender shepherd, as he ought to be, he is a cruel and insatiable oppressor of his subjects; over the poor people — Whom he particularly mentions to aggravate this wicked ruler’s sin, in devouring them whom the laws of God and common humanity bound him to relieve and protect; or to express the effect of his bad government, in making the people poor by his frauds and rapines.

28:1 Sin makes men cowards. Whatever difficulties the righteous meet in the way of duty, they are not daunted. 2. National sins disturb the public repose. 3. If needy persons get opportunities of oppressing, their extortion will be more severe than that of the more wealthy. 4. Wicked people strengthen one another in wicked ways. 5. If a man seeks the Lord, it is a good sign that he understands much, and it is a good means of understanding more. 6. An honest, godly, poor man, is better than a wicked, ungodly, rich man; has more comfort in himself, and is a greater blessing to the world. 7. Companions of riotous men not only grieve their parents, but shame them. 8. That which is ill got, though it may increase much, will not last long. Thus the poor are repaid, and God is glorified. 9. The sinner at whose prayers God is angry, is one who obstinately refuses to obey God's commands. 10. The success of ungodly men is their own misery. 11. Rich men are so flattered, that they think themselves superior to others. 12. There is glory in the land when the righteous have liberty. 13. It is folly to indulge sin, and excuse it. He who covers his sins, shall not have any true peace. He who humbly confesses his sins, with true repentance and faith, shall find mercy from God. The Son of God is our great atonement. Under a deep sense of our guilt and danger, we may claim salvation from that mercy which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. 14. There is a fear which causes happiness. Faith and love will deliver from the fear of eternal misery; but we should always fear offending God, and fear sinning against him. 15. A wicked ruler, whatever we may call him, this scripture calls a roaring lion, and a ranging bear. 16. Oppressors want understanding; they do not consult their own honour, ease, and safety. 17. The murderer shall be haunted with terrors. None shall desire to save him from deserved punishment, nor pity him.The form of political wretchedness, when the poverty of the oppressed subjects not only embitters their sufferings, but exasperates the brutal ferocity of the ruler. 15. The rapacity and cruelty of such beasts well represent some wicked men (compare Ps 7:2; 17:12). The lion and

bear are always cruel and greedy in their natures, and especially when they are hungry and want prey, in which case the lions roar, Psalm 104:21 Isaiah 31:4, and bears range about for it.

So is a wicked ruler; instead of being a nursing father, and a faithful and tender shepherd, as he ought to be, he is a cruel and insatiable oppressor and devourer of them:

Over the poor people; whom he particularly mentions, either to note his policy in oppressing them only who were unable to withstand him, or to revenge themselves of him; or to aggravate his sin in devouring them, whom the laws of God and common humanity bound him to relieve and protect; or to express the effect of his ill government, in making his people poor by his frauds and rapines.

As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear,.... Which are both terrible; the lion that roars for want of food, or when it is over its prey; and the hear, when it runs from place to place in quest of provision, being "hungry and very desirous" of food, has a keen appetite, as some think the word (l) signifies. The Targum and Jarchi take it to be expressive of the cry and roaring it makes at such a time, as well as the lion; see Isaiah 59:11; so the Tigurine version. "Roaring" is the proper epithet of a lion, and is frequently given it in Scripture, and in other writers (m); and the bear, it is to have its name, in the Oriental language, from the growling and murmuring noise it makes when hungry; hence that of Horace (n);

so is a wicked ruler over the poor people; one that rules over them in a tyrannical manner, sadly oppresses them, takes away the little from them they have, which is very cruel and barbarous; when he ought to protect and defend them, against whom they cannot stand, and whom they dare not resist; and who therefore must be as terrible to them, being as cruel and voracious as the above animals. Tyrants are frequently compared to lions, Jeremiah 4:7; and the man of sin, the wicked ruler and great oppressor of God's poor people, is compared to both; his feet are as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion, Revelation 13:2.

(l) "avidus", Pagninus, Montanus; "famelicus", Castalio, Schultens; "esuriens", V. L. Vatablus, Mercerus, Gejerus, Bochart; "adpetens", Michaelis. (m) "Leo fremit", Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 16. "Spumat aper, fluit unda, fremit leo, sibilat anguis"; Licentius de Protheo. (n) "Nec vespertinus circumgemit ursus ovile", Epod. Ode 16. v. 51.

As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is {h} a wicked ruler over the poor people.

(h) For he can never be satisfied but always oppresses and spoils.

15. ranging] i.e. with a view to satisfy its hunger. The word is used in its secondary sense, hungry, Psalm 107:9. Comp. 1 Peter 5:8. λέων πεινῶν καὶ λύκος διψῶν, LXX., ursus esuriens, Vulg.

Verse 15. - A wicked ruler over the poor people; a people weak and resourceless. To such a powerful tyrant is as fatal as a roaring lion or a hungry bear prowling in quest of food. The prophets compare evil rulers to ravenous lions (see Jeremiah 4:7; Ezekiel 19:6). They are like lions in strength and cruelty, like bears in craft and ferocity. Septuagint, "A hungry lion and a thirsty wolf is he, who, being poor, rules over an indigent nation." The poverty of the subjects embitters the conduct of the ruler. Proverbs 28:15This general ethical proverb is now followed by one concerning the king:

15 A roaring lion and a ravening bear

     Is a foolish ruler over a poor people,

i.e., a people without riches and possessions, without lasting sources of help - a people brought low by the events of war and by calamities. To such a people a tyrant is a twofold terror, like a ravenous monster. The lxx translate מושׁל רשׁע by ὃς τυραννεῖ πτωχὸς ὤν, as if רשׁ had been transferred to this place from Proverbs 28:3. But their translation of רשׁע, Proverbs 29:7, wavers between ἀσεβής and πτωχός, and of the bear they make a wolf זאב, dialectical דּיב. שׁוקק designates a bear as lingering about, running hither and thither, impelled by extreme hunger (Venet. ἐπιοῦσα), from שׁקק equals שׁוּק, to drive, which is said of nimble running, as well as of urging impulses (cf. under Genesis 3:16), viz., hunger.

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