The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.
The God of heaven loves the righteous, and He gladly sacrifices the wicked for them. The ransom price to purchase and bless the righteous is the lives of wicked transgressors. He will save the righteous by sacrificing their wicked enemies, and He will return their wicked designs against the righteous upon their own heads. Consider Psalm 7:10-17!
Are you envious at the prosperity of the wicked? Are you troubled by their hatred for the righteous? Are you afraid of their proud waves? They shall foam out their shame in everlasting darkness! But before they get to that dark place, they shall be sold to trouble. There is a righteous God, and He makes differences in how He treats men (Ps 58:10-11)
The best example to illustrate this lesson is the ransom of Egypt for Israel. The LORD loved His people Israel, and He heard their cry by reason of the hard bondage the Egyptians put upon them (Ex 1:13-14; 2:23-25). He had respect for them, but He did not have respect for Egypt. They were about to become the ransom for His righteous nation.
He sent ten plagues and horribly destroyed them before drowning Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea. Pharaoh’s counselors admitted the plagues had destroyed the nation (Ex 10:7). With the firstborn dead in every home, the Egyptians begged for Israel to leave, so Israel “borrowed” the wealth of the whole nation to never return it. And the Lord joyfully directed Israel to spoil the Egyptians this way (Ex 12:35-36). Give God the glory!
The LORD declares of this transaction, “For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life” (Isaiah 43:3-4). This is the lesson.
God directed Joshua to stone Achan and his family to save Israel (Josh 7:1-26). Saul’s seven sons were hanged to ransom Israel from a famine from the LORD (II Sam 21:1-14). And Haman and his ten sons were hanged on the gallows he had built for Mordecai and the Jews (Esther 7:10). There is a God that treats men differently (Ps 58:10-11).
Consider the words in another proverb, “The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead” (Pr 11:8). The Lord will pluck the righteous out of trouble and put the wicked in his place! The Lord will punish the wicked instead of the righteous.
God used Assyria as his tool to chasten Israel; then He turned and crushed Assyria for their actions and attitude (Is 10:5-19). And He did the same to Babylon, whom He used to punish Israel and other nations for seventy years before punishing them (Jer 25:8-14).
The servant that did not earn a return on his single talent was punished severely, and his talent was taken and given to the man with ten. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer; yes, the poor are sacrificed for the rich in this spiritual parable (Matt 25:14-30).
Dear reader, if you fear the Lord and seek to live righteously, the Lord loves you and will gladly sacrifice the wicked for you. There is no need to fear them at all. The Lord is in His holy temple, and He will never let the wicked have their way with you. Your lesson in this proverb is the glorious providence of Almighty God in disposing of events in this life for the benefit of His people. He will sacrifice others for the benefit of His children.
The day is coming when Christians will judge the world and angels (I Cor 6:2-3). The devils and sinners have persecuted them for thousands of years, but the day of vengeance is coming, when the martyrs under the altar of God shall have their great desire fulfilled (Rev 6:9-11). Both wicked men and angels shall be sacrificed in place of His children.
Let this lesson drive away any fear or intimidation of the wicked, and let it replace that fear with a humble desire to be the honourable and beloved people of the most High. For “no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper” (Is 54:11-17). And “he that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye” (Zech 2:8-9). Thank you, Lord, for defending and saving the upright in heart. Consider Psalm 7:10-17 again. Glory!