The Wicked and the Righteous Face Tragedy
1. In this proverb, Solomon discusses the fact that BOTH the wicked and the righteous face tragedy and death…
2. He also notes the contrast in the way it affects them.
3. Same struggles and trials; different results.
The wicked is driven away in his wickedness…
1. The wicked:
a. Defined: wicked; criminal; guilty one; one guilty of crime; sinners; the unsaved.
b. Gen. 18:25 – the Old Testament separates mankind into two classifications: the wicked and the righteous.
c. Deut. 25:1 – a criminal who is guilty of a crime
2. His wickedness:
a. Evil, distress, misery, injury, calamity, evil, adversity…
b. This term seems to describe not so much the wickedness of his activities, but the evil consequences…
c. It speaks of the calamities that enter his life BECAUSE of his wickedness.
d. A sinner sins; a criminal commits crimes; wicked men do wicked things… AND sooner or later, they PAY for it.
3. He is driven away:
a. Driven away defined: to be thrust down, be cast down; pushed violently; trip up.
b. Used in:
• Ps. 118:13 – Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall…
• Ps. 35:5 – Let them be as chaff before the wind: and let the angel of the LORD chase them.
• Ps. 36:12 – There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise…
c. Their wicked lifestyle eventually catches up to them, and it brings distress and misery into their lives.
• Eventually, it will trip them up; cause to stumble
• It will knock them down violently…
d. Criminals bring calamity to their lives… the calamity of 10 years in prison!
e. People with uncontrolled anger bring calamity into their lives… the calamity of broken relationships!
f. Drug abusers bring calamity to their lives… the calamity of disease!
g. Immorality brings calamity into one’s life… the calamity of aids…
h. Lazy people bring calamity into their lives… the calamity of unemployment and poverty.
i. Gossipers bring calamity into their lives… the calamity of a loss of friends.
j. Adulterers bring calamity to their lives and the lives of others… the calamity of a broken home… and kids whose lives are damaged…
4. Solomon’s point: Evil lifestyles bring calamity into one’s life.
a. When tragedy comes into the life of the wicked, it is especially violent…
b. It knocks them down… it thrusts them down and pushes at them violently…
c. Wicked lifestyles come back to bite you… often in this life… but always in the life to come.
d. Solomon makes a transition in thought here… from the fact that the wickedness of wicked people knocks them down… to the ultimate… the final knocking down of the wicked.
e. In his death, the unsaved, whose lifestyles are characterized by wickedness eventually, are cast down violently and driven away into the Lake of Fire.
f. Psalm 9:17 – the wicked are turned away into hell.
But the righteous hath hope in his death.
1. The righteous:
a. This man stands in contrast to the wicked…
b. His lifestyle is characterized by righteousness… most likely because he is righteous before God… justified by faith… a believer.
2. The righteous man hath HOPE:
a. Hope defined: to seek refuge; protection; to put trust in (God), confide or hope in (God)
b. Dictionary of Biblical Languages: To go to a place where one will find safety, rest, or comfort, implying the place of refuge is a place to be trusted to keep one safe.
c. This term speaks of coming to God for refuge; protection; comfort in time of trial… knowing that you can trust in Him.
• II Sam. 22:31 – He is a buckler to those who trust in Him.
• Ps. 57:1 (2X—trust and refuge)… “In the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge…”
• Ps. 61:4 – I will trust (seek refuge) in the covert of thy wings…
• Ps. 91:4 – He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
3. In his death…
a. Textual issue in this verse
• Most manuscripts read death here…
• Some read integrity
• Majority Text = integrity; Textus Receptus = death
• I found 5 translations that translated this term integrity or righteousness. Most translated it as “death.”
b. If integrity… it makes good sense:
• The wicked are cast down violently because of their wickedness… but the righteous take comfort and refuge in their integrity.
• They don’t have to worry about a wicked lifestyle coming back to bite them.
• They lived a life of integrity… and can take COMFORT in that.
• They aren’t worried about aids… or being caught by the IRS… or being sentenced to prison… or divorce.
• Just as there are evil consequences to a life of sin, there are GOOD consequences to a life of integrity.
• Similar thoughts are found elsewhere in Proverbs.
» Prov. 10:25 – the wicked are blown away… but the righteous is on a firm foundation… because of his integrity and righteousness.
» Prov. 12:7 – the righteous shall stand…
» Psalm 25:21 – “Let integrity and uprightness preserve me; for I wait on thee.”
» A wicked lifestyle knocks you down; a life of righteousness and integrity holds you up.
• Translating the term as “integrity” maintains the clearest balance between the two parts of the proverb.
» Wicked vs. Righteous
» Knocked down vs. safety / refuge
» The consequences of wickedness vs. the consequences of integrity
c. If death… it also makes good sense:
• The wicked are cast down because of their wickedness… and especially so at death; and the righteous have comfort in their death.
• Most translations insert the word “death” here.
d. The righteous hath comfort and refuge in his death.
• When the righteous die, he does so with confidence… bright hope for his eternal destiny.
• He dies in comfort… knowing his relationship to the Lord… while the wicked are thrust down violently into death… with no comfort.
• Both the wicked AND the righteous face calamities in life… and ultimately, death.
• But there is a BIG difference in the WAY they face calamities.
• The wicked are thrown down violently because of them.
• The righteous have comfort and refuge in the midst of them… and especially when facing life’s final calamity: death!
• The righteous also have comfort when they face death-like trials in this life.
• His righteousness and integrity preserve him… and bring comfort.
• He can come under the shadow of the Almighty… and find refuge, safety, comfort, and protection.
• In every possible way—whether in life or in death—righteousness is superior to wickedness.