No ill befalls the righteous,
but the wicked are filled with trouble.
The ill addressed by this proverb is the ill of retribution. The wicked are filled with such trouble because they continually rile up grievances. They must protect themselves from the enemies they have created by their stealing and cheating and offending. Their rash tongues invite angry words. Their acts of deceit result in distrust. Their greed and ambition incite backlash. Their promiscuity produces disease; their indulgence produces debt; their anger produces domestic strife. And there is the response of the authorities acting to bring them to justice.
The righteous fear no such ills. By their love they win friends rather than enemies. By their holiness they avoid the pitfalls of the profligate life. By their integrity they win the respect of neighbor and civil authority. The man faithful to his wife does not fear sexual disease. The person honest in his dealing does not fear imprisonment. The man moderate in his drinking avoids the shame that befalls the drunken man.
The righteous life is the peaceful life. It is the healthy life. Because it seeks after what is good, it experiences goodness.
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