Reprove the Reprovable

Proverbs 9:8 

“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”

A Little Irony

In one way it seems counter-intuitive to be told not to reprove someone, but that is exactly what Solomon is saying. Some people refuse to be corrected.

It not only seems counter-intuitive, but ironic. Why would the “wise man” need to be rebuked? Shouldn’t we be rebuking the fool? It’s almost crazy, isn’t it? Don’t correct the fool, but do correct the wise: maybe we should dig into this a little further.

The Scorner

Let’s think about the scorner for a moment. Gesenius described the scorner as one who derides and mocks, maybe even by “imitating [the reprover’s] voice in sport.” In other words, the scorner could be thought of as someone who, when corrected, comes back with a “nah nah nah nah boo boo, I can’t hear you.” Trying to reprove someone like that is more likely to make you angry, rather than help him.

A scorner is also not likely to take kindly to the reprover’s suggestions. Scorners are proud and unwilling to hear instruction. They get offended at the mere notion they could be wrong. This kind of person is just as likely to become your enemy, calling you everything from “judgmental” to “self-righteous” in an attempt to hypocritically justify himself. Therefore, it is impossible to be a friend to a scorner, for they will only hate you when you wound them as a friend (Prov. 27:6).

The Wise Man

Isn’t it wonderful to encounter someone who accepts instruction and reproof? A wise man will accept rebuke because he wants to do what is right, not what is right in his own eyes. Instead of hating you, a wise person will say, “I love you!” They will see that by calling them out about a wrong only serves to keep them in the right.

However, we should be very careful when we attempt to rebuke others. If we don’t do it in love, then the wise will be able to discern our intent. Then, along with the fool who hates our reproof, we may end up losing a friend, as well.

A Prayer

Lord, help me to be teachable. Help me to love those who want me to succeed in life. Help me to never resent the one who loving points out my faults, so that I may change. 


About Anthony Baker

Husband, dad, pastor, artist, and musician. Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2006 (no joke!). Loves coffee (big time), good movies, and sarcastic humor. Holds a Doctorate in Ministry. Most importantly, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. All glory belongs to Him! Matthew 5:16 View all posts by Anthony Baker

5 responses to “Reprove the Reprovable

  • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote

    Well. My goodness. I do believe the Lord is speaking to me through this scripture today.

    I read a daily devotional that was published 28 years ago and has gone out of print. The devotional, Free to Forgive, was written by Paul Meier, MD, the Christian psychiatrist who diagnosed my PTSD in 2003.

    The scripture verse for May 31 is Proverbs 9:8. When I read it this morning, it spoke to me in a way that it never has before. I have a grown daughter whom I want very much to reprove. But she just graduated a couple of weeks ago with a master’s degree in family and marriage therapy and she knows everything now, apparently.

    I think in this situation, all I can do is pray, and hold my tongue. May have to bite my tongue.

    Thanks for this!

    • Anthony Baker

      It still amazes me how the Lord uses these posts to minister to people. God bless you, Linda.

      • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote

        Isn’t God awesome?

      • Anthony Baker

        A little back story… When I first put together the idea for this blog, we had no idea what proverb/verse each one of us would write on, or what the subject matter would be about. Each month or so I would update a Google document with the individual proverbs and the dates the should be posted. We would just go to the document and write in our names, thereby committing to do the commentary by the assigned day. It never failed, however, that it was always a verse that we (the writers) needed at the time we sat down to study and/or write. In other words, what seemed to us to be random selections was actually God moving us to select what we did. It was confirmation God was in this project from the start. There were more than a few times that I dropped tears on my computer keyboard.

      • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote

        Wow. I got chills just now, reading this.

        Now all I need is a verse telling me if God wants me to fly to Connecticut in July as planned, or cancel. Sigh. It’s tough sometimes to figure out God’s will in a specific, complicated situation. But… keeping my mouth shut, whether I go or I don’t go. That’s something I can do.

        Uhm… I think.

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