Free Range Bear
As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. Proverbs 28:15
Years ago, we had the privilege of living in a small city in the heart of the Monongahela National Forest in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. We enjoyed living there and were always blessed to see the “Wild and Wonderful” wildlife of West Virginia. We had many black bear in our area. It was not uncommon to see a mother bear and her cubs playing, or a bear running up a hill. Even though the cubs look like teddy bears, they grow up fast and when hungry can be dangerous to humans.
I understand that black bear are territorial and have a certain “circuit” they travel in their search for food. Berries and nuts are their primary food source. Many times a bear will defend its area so as to not run out of food. During times of drought, or when for some reason food is scarce, a bear may expand its area to find more food. These “free ranging” bear will come into cities and areas where people live in seasons like this. Our dog was really excited one morning when a bear showed up in our back yard!
One day, we were at another church family’s house on the mountain when we noticed a bear near our truck. This bear was lying down in the driveway. He looked hungry as his body was not plump, but very skinny, almost emaciated. Some corn from feeding the chickens was in the driveway and this bear was laying there licking it off the ground. The other man banged pots and pans together and we rushed at the bear, trying to appear bigger in an attempt to chase him away from the truck so we could leave. The bear was ranging, but expanding his territorial range. He was in an area that he was not supposed to be in because he was hungry.
Ranging in this verse has to do with a “running a course, and eating greedily.” This verse indicates that a governmental leader that is roaring like a lion and ranging like a bear is a wicked leader. Speaking many words, but saying very little is a common tactic of governmental leaders, especially when involved in political campaigns.
Consider then the ranging bear. Just as a bear gets into areas that it should not be in, the government can also get into areas that it should not be in. Wicked leaders can be like the bear. When the “wicked ruler” of this verse is too involved in the life of his citizens, he is in reality interfering with their lives. When the ranging bear goes out of his territory it is because he is hungry and wanting more. When governmental leaders want more control they are acting the same. Greed, lust, power, and manipulation of the poor people is the result. An ever hungry government is like the hungry bear, looking for more food to devour. It is the poor among us who are affected the most.
This application can be seen throughout history in nations with Kings, Parliaments, Congress and Presidents. We should pray for our leaders no matter which party they may be a part of. I suppose the solution to this growing problem would be to elect leaders who do not extend themselves beyond the range of their office.