Printed from http://tektonics.org/righteouslive.php
Does the Bible offer a contradictory account of the fate of the righteous?
Ps.92:12: "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree."
Isa.57:1: "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart."
So, the Skeptic asks: What is the fate of the righteous, to flourish or perish?
To begin, Psalm 92 is a psalm of praise, and as such, cannot be read as an absolute. Furthermore, David is expressing his hopes for the future. Read the whole Psalm, but the area v.12 is in begins in v. 9:
For surely your enemies, O Lord; surely your enemies will perish...
Psalms expresses an eschatological hope. Compare this to Is. 56:9-57:21, likewise a poetic passage, which is an expression of rebuke to those who refuse God's salvation in the present. And take a look at all of the verse:
The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil.
In sum: Psalms refers to a time of eschatological hope; Isaiah refers to a present (at his time) reality. Contradiction is only found by removing these verses from context.