Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 14:32
"The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing, but the righteous has a refuge when he dies"
This verse in Proverbs is a significant rebuke to the critic of Judeo-Christian traditions of the afterlife. There has been a strain of pseudo scholarship that suggests that the Jews did not have a belief in the afterlife until very late in the intertestamental period. But here in this verse written 1,000 BC we have Solomon directly referencing the difference that righteousness makes in the afterlife.
Solomon does a lot more than just reference the afterlife, but it is significant that he does that. He is really seeking to point out the underlying truth of whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.
This is the Hebrew word rasha which is the word for wicked or criminal. A working definition is a person who does activities beyond the Ten Commandments with no thought of getting back inside its boundaries. This is the person who pursues selfish desires and is willing to harm people to gain those desires.
This is the Hebrew word raah which means evil, misery, distress, injury. The idea here is that the result of the wicked, selfish pursuits destroys them. They have sown a crop of poison and will reap poisoned relationships throughout their life.
This is the Hebrew word dachah which means to push, thrust. It is unclear whether Solomon means that the wicked person's selfishness pushes them down to greater punishment in hell or pushes them down with greater consequences in this life. It could be both because biblical theology sees a person's life extend throughout this life into the next one, and the choices that you make here have continuing consequences in the next one.
Every righteous choice you make in this life, to help others and to put your desires beneath others’ needs, is a righteous act that is noted.
Remember that this word has to do with doing what is right through avoiding what is wrong and positively glorifying God and benefiting others. To do the right thing is not just to stop the wrong thing.
This is the Hebrew word hasa which means refuge, protection. This is the word which Solomon's father used for shelter when he was running from King Saul. There is a refuge for those who pursue God's glory through God's righteousness. In the New Testament we understand that the basis for God's graciousness to the righteous is His own payment for sin through the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross.