Proverbs 28:15-16

15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear

   is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.

16 A tyrannical ruler practices extortion,

   but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.

 

 The wicked ruler is hostile towards his own people, whose main motivation is fear. This keeps them in a constant state of self-preservation, rather than contributing to the harmony of society they are preoccupied with their own defenses. He is dangerous and unpredictable, they are distressed and withdrawn. This is a recipe for disaster, as “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.

 

 “A tyrannical ruler practices extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.” The tyrant may benefit from threats in the short term, but in the long term they will be his undoing. He sacrifices loyalty for submission and honor for contempt. He may have delusions of lasting dominion, but the paths he chooses lead to his downfall. Power does not exempt one from justice, the one who upholds it will be upheld.

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