"Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs,
I am currently living in the Pacific Northwest and have been warned of the dangers of encountering a bear cub because mamma bears tend to be a little protective of their little ones. I have seen the YouTube videos of people who have survived an encounter with a bear. They usually include a face that is barely recognizable as human and phrases like "I heard my bones crunching". Not pretty.
So when the biblical writer uses the image of a man meeting a bear robbed of her cubs, I am pretty sure he is going for one of the strongest and most vivid images of which he can imagine. This is the image he says is better than meeting a fool in his folly.
Think about that. It is better to be in as situation where you will fear for your life and likely soil yourself out of terror than be with a fool in his folly. It is better to have the potential to be mauled within an inch of your life than to be with a fool in his folly. It is better to encounter the full rage of a mamma bear than to meet a fool in his folly.
I am getting the impression the writer of these Proverbs thinks foolishness is a serious thing. We as Christians spend some effort and energy tending to the avoidance of blatant sin in our lives. I don't think we spend enough time pursing wisdom and fleeing from foolishness and folly. We should. It is apparently more dangerous and damaging than an enraged bear that could tear us limb from limb.