The Righteous: Falls Seven, Rises the Eighth

TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS 24-26

“Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do violence to his home; for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.” – Proverbs 24:15-16

The Hebrew word for righteous is saddiq. It is used 58 times in proverbs (if my count is correct). Twenty-two of those times it is used in the plural (e.g. righteous ones) even though in English we can’t readily see that. Therefore, 36 times saddiq is used in the singular (e.g. righteous one).

In Proverbs 21:12 in the English Standard Version (ESV), saddiq (singular) is translated “The Righteous One” even though the article “the” (ha in Hebrew) is not there and even though there is no Hebrew word for “one” in the text. Obviously, the translators used “The Righteous One” because they believe it is a reference to Jesus. However, there are four uses of saddiq (singular) where there is the article “the” (ha in Hebrew) where the ha is not translated. So, four times in Hebrew it actually says “the righteous” (ha saddiq) but is only translated “righteous” like the other 34 times saddiq is used.

This is interesting to me because when you read through the verses where saddiq is singular the verses are very reminiscent of Jesus. Proverbs 24:15-16, quoted at the beginning of this post, is just such an example. Both uses of saddiq are in the singular with no article “the” in the Hebrew. But, I believe we can read these two verses as directly referencing Jesus.

Let’s just focus on verse 16 where it says “for the righteous falls seven times and rises again.”

Did you know there is a passage of scripture that says Jesus “fell” seven times but rose the eighth time?

Philippians 2:5-9 says,

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form ¬†of God,

  1. did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
  2. but emptied himself,
  3. by taking the form of a servant,
  4. being born in the likeness of men.
  5. And being found in human form,
  6. he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
  7. even death on a cross.
  8. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.”

Jesus was in the form of God. Jesus is God. Therefore, Jesus is righteous. indeed, he is “the righteous one,” the only righteous one. “None righteous, no, not one.” Except Jesus.

Notice that there were seven steps down, or seven falls, for Jesus to go from his form as God to his death on the cross. Seven most commonly represents spiritual perfection in the Bible. So, here we have the process by which Jesus, the righteous one, was made spiritually perfect.

But, the eighth time, just like in Proverbs 24:16, Jesus rises. God exalts his name, a name that is above every other name. Throughout the Bible, the number eight refers to resurrection and the new creation.

In Philippians 2, Paul exhorts us to be like Jesus, to have the same mind that he had, to think the way that he thought. Therefore, to attain spiritual perfection we need to take the same seven falls that Jesus did so that God can raise us, resurrect us, and make us a new creation.

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