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The Righteous One Is Rewarded
Proverbs 11:31 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
31 If the righteous on earth will be rewarded,
how much more the wicked and the sinner!
If the righteous on earth will be rewarded: The righteous (צַדִּיק tsaddiq) refers to one who is in a righteous standing before God, who is characterized by righteous actions and morals in accordance with God’s moral standards. The Hebrew word (שִׁלּוּם shillum or שִׁלֻּם shillum) rendered reward means to be given recompense for one’s behavior or actions, that is, dispense a just penalty or reward for doing good or for doing bad; to be repaid, receive payment whether good or bad.
how much more the wicked and the sinner: The Wicked (רָשָׁע rasha) is the unrighteous who are evil, being guilty of willfully and purposely violating the standards of God. In the Old Testament, it refers to the one who refuses to acknowledge or obey God. In the book of Proverbs explicitly, it refers to the foolish one who ignores or refuses to follow the divine teachings of God. It is a state or condition of evil that focuses on the violating of God’s laws or standards. (Prov. 3:33; 18:3) The sinner (חָטָא chata) is one who in any spoken word (Job 2:10; Ps 39:1), wrong action (Lev. 20:20; 2 Cor. 12:21) or failing to act when one should have (Num. 9:13; Jam. 4:17), in mind and heart (Prov. 21:4; Rom. 3:9-18; 2 Pet 2:12-15) that is contrary to God’s personality, ways, will and purposes, standards, as set out in the Scriptures. How much more is referring to the fact that if the repentant righteous person is punished; then, the willful wicked person will rightly be punished much more.
The Proverb begins with a Hebrew particle (hen; Look!), which is rendered “if” here, it is used to call attention to an important truth that follows. The righteous person makes his best effort to live according to God’s standards, but there are times when he errs. (Ecclesiastes 7:20) Yes, he wants to do right, but sometimes stumbles and is heartbroken, and the principle, “whatever a man sows, this he will also reap,” applies. (Gal. 6:7) Thus, for the righteous one’s mistakes, he will be rewarded by being disciplined. What about the wicked person, who sins willfully and has no interest in an upright life? Certainly, he deserves a far greater reward, that is, a more severe punishment. The apostle Peter writes, “And ‘If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?’” (1 Peter 4:18) Therefore, let us be the righteous person, seeking to do his best to live according to God’s standards as outlined in his Word. And if we stumble, repent and get up.
 Or repaid
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