Maya asked me to give her a list of all of the Old Testament references to bears (the large shaggy variant). I thought to make quick work of it with Logos Bible Software, and in only a few seconds I fired off a search. ‘Bear’ occurs 179 times in the OT (288 times in the whole Bible), but most of them are verbs and not the kind of beast for which Alaska and Montana are famous. It would take far too long to analyze that many hits for our target word. My faith in technology prevented me from just turning to something like Young’s Analytical Concordance, although I knew that that would get me what Maya needed – albeit with less style.
Without wasting a minute, I created a syntax query that searched for words with an English gloss tag of ‘bear’ and a semantic tag of ‘creature’ in the Anderson-Forbes Hebrew Database. That narrowed it down to the twelve occurrences that Maya was after. It would have taken me slightly longer with a paper Young’s. In fact, it saved me enough time to write an insignificant post on the subject before handing the list to Maya.
Note: Two other solutions would be, of course, to 1) search for the gloss ‘bear’ tagged as a noun, and 2) to do a plain search for the Hebrew word for bear. But, really, how interesting would that be?