Proverbs 24:20

ESV for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
NIV for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.
NASB For there will be no future for the evil person; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
CSB For the evil have no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
NLT For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
KJV For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

What does Proverbs 24:20 mean?

Scripture does not flinch when discussing the reality of sin and evil: some evildoers gain earthly benefits from their sin. That can be frustrating to those who honor God (Proverbs 24:1–2; Psalm 73:2–3). Yet Scripture is also clear that such persons risk drastic, immediate consequences (Proverbs 8:33–36). More importantly, they temporarily gain what they cannot keep, in exchange for their eternal souls (Proverbs 10:24; 11:23).

The life of an evil person—one who rejects God and His wisdom (Proverbs 1:7)—is empty and hopeless. That path leads to ruin, likely in this life, and certainly in the life to come. This is nothing to envy (Proverbs 24:19). Defying God destroys meaning, purpose, peace, and security. Whatever the godless person obtains will vanish. Nothing they own can ultimately satisfy their soul. Someday, the one who rejects God will perish; Solomon depicts that moment of judgment as a flame being snuffed out.

Jesus told a story about a rich farmer who emphasized his earthly goods and ignored his soul. He cared only about material wealth. When he experienced prosperity, he planned to sit back, relax, and savor the successful harvest. He assumed his soul could be satisfied with the abundant crops, and he could blissfully eat, drink, and be merry (Luke 12:19). However, he did not have an earthly future. His "lamp" would be "put out" that very day. God called such a man a fool, and said: "This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" (Luke 12:20). Jesus concluded, "So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:21).
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