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Proverbs 10:2

2 Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death.

Read Proverbs 10:2 Using Other Translations

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit, but righteousness delivers from death.
Tainted wealth has no lasting value, but right living can save your life.

What does Proverbs 10:2 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Proverbs 10:2

Treasures of wickedness profit nothing
By which are meant either a large abundance of riches in general, which for the most part are enjoyed by wicked men, and abused to wicked purposes, ( Proverbs 11:4 ) ; or an affluence of them, obtained in a wicked way, by fraud, oppression, and the like; see ( Micah 6:10 ) ; Or are either not used at all, or put to wicked uses: what are not used profit not the possessors of them, for they are "kept to the hurt of the owners" of them; and those which are got by ill means, or put to an ill use, "perish by evil travel", ( Ecclesiastes 5:13 Ecclesiastes 5:14 ) . Nor can anyone by his riches either redeem himself or his brother from destruction, or give to God a ransom for him; nor can he by them save himself from a corporeal death one year, one month, one day, one hour, one moment; nor will they be of any service to him in the day of judgment, when wrath comes forth against him;

but righteousness delivereth from death;
either that which is righteously got, though it be ever so little, is a means of preserving life, and keeps their souls from famishing, ( Proverbs 10:3 ) ; or else what is liberally dispensed, for alms are called "righteousness", ( Psalms 112:9 ) ( Daniel 4:27 ) ( Matthew 6:1 ) ( 2 Corinthians 9:10 ) . These are oftentimes the means of saving the lives of persons ready to perish, on whom they are bestowed, and who will venture their lives to save their benefactors; and such liberal persons are oftentimes blessed with long life, and are kept alive when threatened with death, ( Psalms 41:1-3 ) ; and though their good deeds are not meritorious of eternal life, yet they are rewarded with it in a way of grace, ( Matthew 25:34-38 ) . Moreover, righteousness may be considered as legal and evangelical; a legal righteousness, or the righteousness of men in obedience to the law, cannot deliver from the sentence of death the law has passed; it is not properly a righteousness; it is imperfect, cannot justify, save, or bring to heaven, or entitle to life; notwithstanding this a man must die: but there is an evangelical righteousness; and this is either imparted and implanted in men, is the new man, which is created in righteousness and holiness; and this delivers from a moral or spiritual death, a death in trespasses and sins men are in; for by it they are quickened, live a life of faith on Christ, and have communion with God; have his image stamped on them, and live to him, and to Christ, and to righteousness, being freed from the servitude and dominion of sin; living in which is no other than death: or this righteousness is imputed, which is the righteousness of Christ; wrought out for them, reckoned to them, received by them, and by which they are justified; this delivers them, though not from a corporeal death, yet from the sting and curse of it, and from it as a penal evil, or as a punishment for sin: and it delivers from a legal death, or from the sentence and condemnation of the law, and from the second and eternal death, and entities them to life everlasting.

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