Proverbs 28:15

ESV Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
NIV Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.
NASB Like a roaring lion and a rushing bear Is a wicked ruler over a poor people.
CSB A wicked ruler over a helpless people is like a roaring lion or a charging bear.
NLT A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor as a roaring lion or an attacking bear.
KJV As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

What does Proverbs 28:15 mean?

Solomon (Proverbs 25:1) was a man of peace who ruled his people wisely and judged them fairly. He observes here the effect an ungodly ruler (Proverbs 28:16) has on his oppressed subjects. Whether by violence, repression, hardship, or other means, the evil tyrant drives people into hiding. Here, the mention of "a poor people" suggests heavy taxation or theft and other types of direct abuse. People afflicted this way respond to a tyrant's leadership as to an aggressive predator: by hiding (Proverbs 28:12). Godly rulers inspire confidence and security in their people; the people learn to trust that the leader will do what is right (Proverbs 28:2; 29:2). Many of history's most notorious dictators ruled by fear and intimidation.

In Moses' day, Pharaoh ruled Egypt with a heavy hand. He made life especially hard for the Hebrews, enslaving them. Seeking to curtail the Hebrew population, he assigned cruel masters "to afflict them with heavy burdens" (Exodus 1:11). The taskmasters "ruthlessly made the people of Israel work as slaves and made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves" (Exodus 1:13–14).
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