When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.
Sometimes proverbs are a little difficult to understand . . . other times they make us sit back and think, "Duh! I knew that."
Solomon here is instructing his son to place righteous men in places of power and judgement. He says that will encourage the people of righteousness to be visible, to be active, to be involved. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the situation of wicked kings and leaders -- the righteous "go into hiding" and are not visible, or involved.
In I Kings chapter 19, we read the story of the 7,000 righteous citizens who were in hiding, not publicizing themselves, in the day of Ahab and Jezebel. I'm sure that these people asked themselves, "Why risk persecution and retaliation? Why subject the truth of God to ridicule?" And so, they took themselves out of the limelight, out of the public marketplace of ideas.
The New Testament churches did the same; they worshipped in individual's homes, and in Rome, they utilized the maze of catacombs beneath the city.
By contrast, there are examples of leaders who inspired others to become more righteous. In II Chronicles 15, King Asa turned to the God of his fathers, and even citizens from other nations joined him in his quest for the true God. Also in II Chronicles, King Hezekiah inspired others to turn to God, and in Esther, the removal of wicked Haman caused many to adopt the Jewish faith and worship God.
The wisdom is fairly easy for us to follow. Put good people in positions of leadership, and good people will come forth. Put a wicked person in power, and these good and valuable people will disappear -- perhaps from contempt of the wicked person, or perhaps from fear of persecution. We can see this in businesses, in churches, and in our families. A wise and righteous leader inspires those in his charge to be wise and righteous.
Many saints of God today, referred to sometimes as the "silent majority" are in hiding. They are hiding from the world that seems determined to undermine and destroy what they believe in. It's understandable. At the same time, we can be inspired by God's promises to be more vocal, a not-so-silent majority, and impact this world for our Lord!
Isaiah 54:17 ...no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”