Proverbs 17:26

It is terrible to punish a righteous person,
and to flog honorable men is wrong.

I don’t have a way to know this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the concept of “innocent until proven guilty” came from this passage. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know, but just thought I’d throw that out there.

Anyway, have you ever seen one of those movies or heard a story of someone who was wrongfully imprisoned? I have, in fact, I went looking for one when I came across this proverb. Take a listen to this guy’s story.

Can you imagine what that would be like? Especially if you were Alton Logan? You spend all that time in prison, knowing that you didn’t do what you had been convicted of doing, and then one day you get out. Do you get that pit in your stomach? So, you’ve just spent 26 years in prison for a crime you didn’t commit. So long that you stopped counting days or months and just counted the years. And all along, you were innocent.

Even worse than that would be finding out that there was someone on the outside who knew that you were innocent and could prove it. They actually knew who the guilty person was, and they knew that the person who was sitting in prison and paying the penalty for the crime had nothing to do with it. It would be bad enough to know you had wasted all that time, but then to know that all along someone knew and could have rescued you.

It’s awful. It’s awful to think of how many more might be sitting in the same position, but have no hope that they might be rescued. This is why this proverb is important. It truly is terrible to punish a righteous person. It’s terrible to flog honorable men.