Skeptics often point to these Bible verses as contradictory regarding the fate of the righteous. Let’s see if they’re right.
Psalms 92:12, “The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree.”
Isaiah 57:1, “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart.”
Do these verses contradict each other when it comes to the fate of the righteous, or is this just a contextual mistake?
Firstly, as with the last contradiction, Psalm 92 is a psalm of praise, and so shouldn’t be seen as an absolute. Secondly, David in this psalm is expressing hope for the future. This begins in vs.9, “For, lo, thine enemies, O LORD, for, lo, thine enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.”
It’s written in the future perfect tense and displays a hope for the end of time, the reward of the righteous in eternity (to flourish). Compare this now to the context of Isaiah’s passage. Here is the whole verse of concern:
“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.”
Isaiah’s passage is a poetic expression of rebuke to those who refuse God’s salvation in the present. This passage in Isaiah is written in the present tense, and thus reflects a present reality. The righteous are perishing, and their reward is what is recorded in Psalm 92, to be spared from evil and to flourish in eternity. So this contradiction is based only on a lack of contextual understanding.