What does Proverbs 14:32 mean?
ESV: The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing, but the righteous finds refuge in his death.
NIV: When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous seek refuge in God.
NASB: The wicked is thrust down by his own wrongdoing, But the righteous has a refuge when he dies.
CSB: The wicked one is thrown down by his own sin, but the righteous one has a refuge in his death.
NLT: The wicked are crushed by disaster, but the godly have a refuge when they die.
KJV: The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.
Verse Commentary:
Here, Solomon observes a vast difference between the destiny of the wicked and the destiny of the righteous. When a wicked person encounters severe trouble because of his immoral lifestyle, he is helpless; he finds no comfort or suitable help (Proverbs 11:21; 12:13; 13:21). Furthermore, when God judges him, the wicked person has no defense. At the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11–15), all the wicked "defendants" will find no hiding place.

In contrast, the righteous experience trials with the Lord alongside them; He helps and comforts them (Matthew 28:20; John 16:33). Psalm 23 explains that the Lord is with the righteous even when they walk through dangers and discouragements (Psalm 23:4). Hebrews 13:5 promises that the Lord will never leave or forsake His people.

The ultimate benefit of pursuing God, and His truth, is eternal salvation. The "righteous," here, are those who honor and obey God (Proverbs 1:1–9; 1 Peter 2:24; John 10:28). Even in physical death, those who honor God find themselves protected and blessed. The apostle Paul testifies in Philippians 1:21 that for a believer death is gain, and in 2 Corinthians 5:8 he explains that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
Verse Context:
Proverbs 14:15–35 continues Solomon's wise sayings, once again mostly contrasting the wicked and the upright. He points out that those who do evil, by rejecting God's wisdom (Proverbs 1:7) are foolish and have no security. Those who do God's will (Proverbs 3:5) are wise and have unfailing security.
Chapter Summary:
This continues a series of literal "proverbs:" short statements of general-case wisdom. The first ten verses of this chapter contrast positive and negative traits related to work ethic, self-control, and seeking wisdom. Then come several verses contrasting the fate of the righteous with that of the wicked. The rest of this passage provides statements on a broad range of subjects.
Chapter Context:
Proverbs 14 continues King Solomon's wise sayings. In this chapter he discusses a variety of topics such as wisdom and folly, honesty and dishonesty, righteousness and evil, national security and national disgrace, personal security and destruction, the fear of the Lord, generosity, and wise servanthood. This series of astute comments will continue for several more chapters.
Book Summary:
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
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