1 The wicked flee though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers,
but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.
The wicked may deny morality, but that does keep them from the consequences of violating it. If their behavior is right, why do they conceal it? If they aren’t guilty, why do they hide? They are always on the run, suspicious of everyone, unable to trust. They have chosen the path of deception. It began with the deception of others, but it continues with the deception of self. If you find yourself on this path, turn back as soon as you can! Confess what you’ve done, reconcile with those you’ve wronged, free yourself from the bondage of guilt!
Those who do right are free from inner conflict. The path they have chosen is not easy, but it is far less complicated than the path of deception. They choose to do the difficult thing in the present, knowing that the easy path only leads to more difficulty. They are “as bold as a lion,” able to take on whatever life throws at them with confidence and courage. They are also bold in seeking reconciliation, quick to apologize and quick to forgive.
“When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.” Those who rebel cannot free themselves from rule. They will be ruled by their desires, by their stubbornness or by the consequences of their rebellion. They have rejected authority, not realizing that it protected them from themselves. The discerning ruler knows the heart, and is not surprised by human nature. He discourages rebellion with liberty and justice. Without liberty, justice is oppressive; without justice, liberty is self-destructive. With neither, a nation unravels.