18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
and the unfaithful for the upright.
19 Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
Though the wicked seek the enslavement and destruction of the righteous, it is often they who pay the price of their schemes (cf 11:8). The ten plagues of Egypt cost them dearly, while being the means of Israel’s redemption (Isaiah 43:3). It was Goliath who paid the price of his threats, and by his own sword his head was removed (1 Samuel 17:51). Haman had plans to eliminate the Jews, and had gone so far as to set up a pole for Mordecai. But he himself was impaled on the pole (Esther 7:10), and his estate was given to Mordecai.
What is the lesson for us? In the midst of intimidation and threats we are tempted to fear our enemies, but we must remember that they too are vulnerable. Only the Lord is worthy of our fear, while our enemies deserve only pity. “Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord. Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear, in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.”
“Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.” The desert is a desolate place, but it is preferable to the desolation of a home filled with fighting and nagging. This is a caution to wives of the ruinous effects of enmity, which should be avoided at all costs. Remember that “the wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” In any relationship there are constructive ways to get your needs met, your happiness depends on learning what they are.