In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
Shelter and substance with love and peace are better than growing income with pain and trouble attached. A righteous man enjoys a happy and quiet life with more than necessities supplied, but a wicked man has adversity and suffering even while increasing financially. This proverb compares the personal results of righteous and wicked lifestyles.
Many of Solomon’s proverbs have two clauses that make a comparison or contrast, and the right meaning and lessons are found by carefully comparing those clauses. In this proverb you should see: a house compared to revenues, the righteous compared to the wicked, and much treasure compared to trouble. Righteous living makes the difference.
Solomon, king and philosopher (Pr 1:1-6; Ec 1:1-3,12-14), taught that intangibles such as love, peace, and righteousness are superior to tangibles like income, assets, luxurious dining, etc. He often stated the superiority clearly so that you would not miss it (Pr 15:16-17; 16:8; 17:1; 21:19; 28:6; Ec 2:26; 4:6; 7:1). These priorities for living are priceless.
Here he taught the same lesson obscurely – more like a true proverb, or dark saying of the wise (Pr 1:6). The lesson is simple. A righteous man may lack the revenue of the wicked, but he lives in his house with much treasure that the wicked man cannot even imagine – a clear conscience, God’s presence, love, peace, quiet, a coming eternal inheritance, etc.
Wicked men may prosper now, but they will spend an eternity in hell (Ps 17:14-15; 73:18-20; Matt 16:26). While righteous men may not have an impressive balance sheet or the adoration of the world now, God blesses them with favor and advantages far greater, both in this life and the next (Pr 3:31-33; 10:22; 13:25; 23:17-18; Mark 10:28-31).
Wicked men, regardless of their riches, often have strife and trouble in their lives that make their life on earth a hell as well. Covetousness and greed will not let them rest. Fear of loss by many means keeps them nervous and troubled. Sinners for family and friends never provide lasting love or peace in relationships. The brevity of life reminds them that they will soon leave all they have to some fool behind them who will quickly waste it.
What is the lesson? Righteous living is far better than sinful living, regardless of income. Is there another lesson? Godliness with contentment is great gain (Pr 30:8-9; I Tim 6:6-10). Is there another? A mystery and hidden wisdom of the gospel is that the righteous truly own everything already (Rom 8:17; I Cor 3:21-23; II Cor 6:10). What is the reward for righteous living? Intangible blessings from God, others, and your own heart now, and tangible blessings in heaven in the future (Pr 14:14; Rom 8:18-23; II Cor 4:17-18)!