Summary: These verses contrast the long-term outcome of righteousness with that of wickedness. A righteous person will be secure in hiswalk but a person whose paths are crooked, whose conduct is wicked, eventually will find him self in troubles of his own maki
PROVERBS 11: 3-9
THE HOPE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
These verses contrast the long-term outcome of righteousness with that of wickedness. A righteous person will be secure in his or her walk (conduct) but a person whose paths are crooked, whose conduct is wicked, eventually will find him or her self in troubles of their own making. Righteousness has power to deliver but the wicked though are bound to failure (CIT).
This section begins by referring to the value of righteousness in guiding and protecting from hardships. Then it moves to what the end results of choosing the path of righteousness verses the path of the world will be. The righteous will be delivered but the wicked will be destroyed.
I. DELIVERED OR DESTROYED, 3-6.
II. DESTRUCTION OR SALVATION, 7-9.
Proverbs 11:3 refers to the value of righteousness in guiding & protecting from disaster. "The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the crookedness of the treacherous [perversions of the ungodly] will destroy them."
The upright stands in contrast to the ungodly or treacherous. Integrity refers to moral wholeness, being without moral blemish. Integrity or righteousness is a most valuable guide in all perplexities (Mt. 6:22). When integrity is a way of life, it guides and guards like a shepherd. Integrity says, "I come to You Lord today, not to get You to do what I say, but to hear and to do what You say."
Duplicity is the contrasting characteristic. [The noun selep is used only here and in 15:4; the related verb slap means "to pervert, subvert, or overturn." It is rendered "overthrows" in 13:6 and "frustrates" in 22:12.] [Walvoord, John; Zuck, Roy. The Bible Knowledge Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, S. 928.] A person’s conduct who is crooked (lit. twisted) is devious. The perverseness that rebels against righteousness is the wicked’s own snare which will lead them to destruction.
Verse 4 reveals that riches are unable to help us in facing disaster. "Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death."
The day of wrath stands for serious troubles or reversals, especially death. Most prefer riches to righteousness and place their faith in them. Riches are destitute of value in the day of wrath. You can’t take your riches with you after you die or on your way to captivity so they will no longer be able to aid, protect, or comfort you.
In contrast the just person will be delivered from trouble. Wealth cannot buy long life; only righteousness can aid in that (10:2b). [In 10:27 fearing the Lord is said to contribute to longevity.]
Verse 5 again encourages the student to virtuous conduct. "The righteousness of the blameless will smooth his way, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness (NASB)
The image is that of going along a path without stumbling or falling. Righteous living or living to become righteous or sanctified results in a smooth or straight way (3:5-6), a life with fewer obstacles and troubles (11:8). Keeping your conscience and character pure enables you to pursue your aims without stumblings or hindrances that impede and misdirect. Wickedness though leads to a person’s downfall. The evil are ensnared by their own desires and greed which causes them to stumble and fall. A persons basic orientation will effect the way he or she turns out and how they end up.
In verse 6 we encounter another benefit of righteous living which is deliverance or escape from troubles. "The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the treacherous will be caught be their own greed."
God’s providence sees to it that there is a connection between deed and result. Evil deeds will cause a downfall. The evil desires of an unfaithful ("treacherous") person get him in trouble (v. 3). He is trapped (1:17-18; 6:2; 7:22-23; 12:13), for his desires are leading him into sin.
The straight forward straight through type of integrity delivers the godly from the stares and dangers which are laid out for them.
II. DESTRUCTION OR SALVATION, 7-9.
Verse 7 teaches that it is futile to forsake righteousness to gain power. "When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of strong men perishes."
To a godless man possessions, pleasures, and power are his motivation and hope [lit. "the hope of strength"]. There is a sudden end to the expectations of those who are full of strength and build their prospects for life on it. All that the wick put their hopes in, such as riches, will disappear. If not in life, most certainly in death. Death for the wicked puts an end to all he hoped to accomplish (10:28). Neither his wealth (v. 4) nor his power can divert death.
Death everywhere is a sad event. Even in a flower, a bird, or an animal it is a saddening sight. Death of a baby is tragic. Even the death of a righteous man is sad. But the death of the wicked is the saddest most tragic sight under the heavens. When the wicked man dies all hope of salvation and transformation of character dies also. When death strikes its appointed time (Heb. 9:27) the opportunity for change and salvation are over. All hope is gone.