Proverbs 24:16 Meaning of The Righteous Fall Seven Times

Proverbs 24:16
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”

Explanation and Commentary on Proverbs 24:16

Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Psalms, and Song of Songs are called the wisdom literature of the Bible. Proverbs bears the message that if one does what is right and walks according to God’s ways, life should almost always reward them.  Other wisdom books deal with some of the exceptions to the rule, but following the maxims in Proverbs will generally pay off, because God has his ways and principles and expects us to live by them.

This verse speaks to God’s faithfulness to his people who follow him.  The righteous are those who know the ways of God and keep them. They love him with all their heart, soul, and strength (Deut 6:4), and they seek to know him and follow him. The Bible is full of promises for the righteous.  God promises blessing beyond blessing for those who love him and keep his commands.  One of those blessings is for protection from enemies who would do us harm. God is our strength and our shield (Ps 28:7).

Interpretation of the Key Parts of Proverbs 24:16

#1 “For…”

The previous verse warns against “lurking near the house of the righteous.” God says that if you seek to harm his children, he will defend them.

#2 “…though the righteous fall seven times,”

We are not promised a perfect and easy life if we follow Jesus and live according to his ways.  We live in a world that has fallen to corruption and sin, but it is a world that has been saved and redeemed by Jesus Christ on the cross.  He will return soon and make all things new and all things right. But in this time, the righteous can expect trial, especially at the hands of the unrighteous.

#3 “…they rise again,”

We are promised that even if we fall we will rise again.  Resilience is a particular trait of the godly because of our great hope in Jesus and in the Father’s plan for us. We know that we are shaped and refined by trial, so not only do we accept it, we thank God for anything that helps us to grow in our likeness of him. Also, this gives a clue to our ultimate triumph when Christ returns and the dead in Christ will rise to “meet him in the air” (1 Thes 4:16).

#4 “…but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.”

As resilient as the righteous are, the unrighteous are fragile.  When “calamity strikes” it is their end, because it is a deposit on hell.  No matter how unjust it may seem that “the wicked” are prospering, calamity will always strike at just the right time in God’s plan.  When it does, the wicked have no worldview to deal with it, and they stumble and fall. Their ultimate calamity will come when, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil 2:10-11).  They will bow, but not happily. They will bow in terror at their final judgment and destruction.

An 8 Minute Expert Overview of the Book of Proverbs

Biblical Translations of Proverbs 24:16

NIV
For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

NLT
The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.

ESV
For the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.

KJV
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

NKJV
For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

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